Three healthy lunch recipes for time poor people.



I would like to start by thanking everyone who voted for me to be the next food blogger for Mamamia.

Since I was little, all I wanted was to become a TV chef and host “Elly’s Kitchen” (cheesy, right!?). I used to walk around the kitchen, pretending to talk to a hidden camera  within the tiles and devotedly finish each ‘segment’ with “tune in next time for more delicious recipes by me, Elly”.

Now, as I’m older, I’ve grown out of my imaginary TV studio and developed a love for blogging. Which is why I’m ecstatic to be joining Mamamia so I can share my recipes with you (and not just my imaginary viewers)!

And so, here’s what I’ve come up with for challenge #1.

Healthy lunches for the time poor.

Today, the majority of us are time poor.

Each year we seem to say the same thing; “this year I’m going to become organised and eat healthier” however, by the end of June we struggle to understand how six months has passed and why we have reverted to skipping breakfast and buying our lunches.

Due to this, I have created three lunch recipes that tick all the boxes:

✓ They can be prepared the night before ✓ Quick ✓ Healthy ✓ Delicious ✓ Most importantly, they create workplace food envy


The perfect lunch for those on the go

Vegetarian and Gluten Free.


I love a robust salad . This one is perfect to eat the next day because the flavours infuse overnight.

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves 1-2

What you need :


o   ¼ cup of quinoa

o   ½ butternut pumpkin, cubed

o   1 roasted capsicum (jarred versions are perfect)

o   1 lebanese cucumber (remove the seeds and cut into small quarters)

o   100g reduced fat feta

o   6 baby tomatoes, quartered

o   8 red grapes, quartered

o   a handful of thinly sliced purple cabbage

o   a handful of toasted pine nuts

o   a handful of fresh rocket leaves

o   a large sprig of fresh mint (roughly torn)

o   A large empty jar



o   ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil

o   juice from 1 fresh lime

o   juice from ¼ of an orange

o   salt and pepper to taste    


Let’s create:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees.


2. Add the dressing ingredients into a jar and shake well until combined, set aside for later use.

3. Place cubed pumpkin into an ovenproof dish. Season with olive oil and salt and pepper.

4. Place pumpkin into the oven and turn the oven down to 180 degrees. Cook for 15-20 or until golden.

5. Add the quinoa to a pan of boiling water and simmer on medium/low heat for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and leave to cool.

6. Toast a handful of pine nuts in a pan- beware… DO NOT LEAVE THESE UNATTENDED- they burn within seconds. Once toasted, add the nuts to your qunioa and mix through. Set aside.

7. Cut the cucumber in half (length ways) and use a small teaspoon to scrape and discard the seeds. Then cut the cucumber into small quarters. Set aside.

8. Roughly dice the roasted capsicum, thinly slice the cabbage and quarter the baby tomatoes and red grapes. Set aside.

9. Now the fun part, assembly! Pour ¼  of the dressing into the bottom of your salad jar (feel free to use more or less). Then add your quinoa and layer the capsicum, cucumber, cabbage, grapes and tomatoes on top. Sprinkle a generous layer of feta and top with the succulent pumpkin and rocket. Place the lid on your jar and…Voila!

10. To serve, simply shake and pour into a bowl.



Yes, men will enjoy it too


Vegetarian and Gluten Free.

This soup is a family favourite. My dad created it and my boyfriend always asks for several servings on a winter’s day.


What you need (makes 8 serves):

o   3 tbs olive oil

o   1 red onion, finely diced

o   2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

o   1 large thumb size of ginger, cut into matchsticks

o   2 desire potatoes, cubed (leave the skin on, it’s packed with goodness)

o   8 button mushrooms, quartered

o   1 zucchini cut in half (length ways) and quartered

o   ½ pumpkin, cubed

o   ½ head of broccoli, cut into small pieces

o   1 tin of tomatoes o   4 sprigs of fresh thyme

o   1 L vegetable stock

o   a handful of  baby spinach

o   ½ bunch of coriander

o   salt and pepper to taste


Let’s create:

1. Place the oil onion, garlic and ginger into a heavy bottom pot on a medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes or until tender and translucent.

2. Add potato’s, mushrooms and zucchinis to the pot, cook for a further 5 minutes.


3. Stir in the tin of tomatoes and thyme and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

4. Add the ¾ of the vegetable stock and bring soup up to a simmer.

5. Add the pumpkin and broccoli and allow to cook on a medium heat for 30minutes or until vegetables are tender.

6. Once cooked, remove from heat. Add torn baby spinach and fresh coriander and season to taste.



Ready in just 15 minutes


What you need (makes 4 lettuce cups):

o   1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks

o   ½ lebanese cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks

o   ¼ red cabbage, thinly sliced

o   1 spring onion, thinly sliced

o   ½ cup of shredded left over chicken (I used a roasted bbq chicken)

o   a handful of mint, torn

o   ¼ cut toasted peanuts

o   a handful of fried shallots (use to garnish dish at the end)

o   4 iceberg lettuce leaves




o   4 tsp fish sauce

o   2 tsp white wine vinegar

o   ½ lime, juiced

o   ¼ cup of honey

o   1 red chilli (optional)

o   dash of water


Let’s create:

1. Mix dressing ingredients together and set aside for later use.

2. In a bowl, mix all of the salad ingredients together (except for the fried shallots). Then dress with your dressing.

3. Separate your lettuce cups and ensure that there are no holes in the leaves.

4. Place an even heap of the San Choy Bow in your lettuce cups.

5. Top with fried shallots and enjoy!

Note: do not dress the San Choy Bow the night before. Take the dressing to work in a separate container and dress prior to serving. To ensure your ingredients stay nice and crisp.


Well there you have it, three recipes that are time saving game changers. I hope you enjoy the dishes as much as I do and “tune in next time for more delicious recipes by me, Elly.” (Hey, a girl can still dream.)


What’s your favourite quick lunch recipe? Care to share? Is there anything you’d like Elly to make in the next few weeks? Write your suggestions in the comments section. 

Elly is a twenty-something Sydneysider, and a lover and creator of all things food. She has a cooking, eating and traveling bug. Monday-Friday she works in the marketing world and as soon as 6pm on Friday hits, she immerses herself into the world of food. She loves bringing people together and creating food filled environments that produce memories that people can savour for a lifetime. Follow Elly on Twitter @threewhisks