Lettuce Lunch


Lunchbox: Portobello pizza

Portobello pizza lunchbox

Delicious pizza – the eternal dilemma. Pizza tastes incredible, that is an immutable fact of the universe. But it’s also not very healthy, so you want to eat it, but then you also don’t at the same time. My head hurts already. The thing is, your standard pizza wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the base, the sauce, the cheese, and the toppings. If you take out all that junk you have a perfectly healthy… oh. I see the issue now. Let’s see if we can take the old adage of ‘swap, don’t stop’ and make something great here. Portobello pizza, when it comes to guilt free pizza eating, you’re our only hope.

Portobello pizza luncbox

The first thing you’ll notice is yep, it’s a portobello mushroom. The whole thing. No high carb base here, just mushroom deliciousness. That said, it gives a lovely savoury, umami flavoured foundation to get things moving. Good start! Next, find an organic or no-sugar tomato paste that you like and go to town.

BONUS SAUCE HINT: my god the tomato paste sauce will taste good if you mix in some dry Italian herbs, garlic paste and smoked paprika before putting it on your pizza – the flavours will carry through every bite – never a dull moment, we promise.

Toppings are of course, up to you. Olives being a perennial pizza favourite! Add whatever you like, it’s your pizza. Lastly, cheese. The trick with that is, if you don’t add any, you’ve still got a really tasty meal and you don’t get all that oil slick thing happening. Trust me, you won’t miss it. Vegan pizzas, woo! Put it in the oven for a couple of minutes and it’s all done! Pair it with a kalette and pea salad, then some coconut yoghurt and you’re all good to go – and all in less time than it takes for delivery. Healthy, filling, fast – great work, you!

  • Portobello mushroom, tomato paste, garlic paste, smoked paprika, Italian mixed herbs, tomato, capsicum, red onion, red chilli, olives, dill
  • Coconut yoghurt, nectarines, muesli, toasted coconut
  • Peas, kalettes, brown rice

Lunchbox: Crunchy tofu

Crunchy tofu lunchbox

Tofu; love it, or love to hate it? We’re firmly in the former camp and can’t get enough, but even then it can get a bit same-same unless you give it some love. Honestly, tofu is the most underrated ingredient. Vegetarians, vegans, omnivores – everyone could use more of this in their life! Its economical, lean, and when you do it right, it tastes great. So where’s the tofu on all the menus! Perhaps people have just been put off those little flabby tofu cubes you get floating around in your miso soup at the local sushi joint. It’s hard to get excited about those little white chunks blobbing sadly into another – where’s the flavour? What a waste! So what’s the solution?

Crunchy tofu lunchbox

Enter crispy tofu! It solves any textural complains people might have, while imbuing it with super delicious golden crunchiness. Now I know everyone loves their tofu differently – Amy for example, loves agedashi, though I remain unconvinced. Some people like a medium level of squidge and thats ok. Me, I prefer firm tofu, no big deal. I think the thing we can all agree on though, is crunch is the best and nothing beats some well-seasoned crispy tofu! really, anything crunchy and golden is always going to be a winner. We decided to go with a bread crumb based pistachio crust and served it over a bed of kidney beans, leaves and red chilli for kick. Pair it with some fresh sides and you’re good to go! Tofu – you’re pretty great 😁

  • Tofu (bread crumb crust), pistachios, red cilli, peanuts, carrots, red kidney beans, pepitas, spinach leaves, spring onion, black rice
  • Cucumber, vegan kewpie mayo, nori
  • Blackberries, strawberries, orange

Lunchbox: Acai Bowl

Acai bowl lunchbox

Acai bowls. Look, these things get hyped to the moon and back and, alongside kale, are pretty much the poster boys for the whole hipster health movement. But here’s the thing – we just love both of them. It’s always fun taking a contrarian stance to things but let’s not joke around, they are both incredible and delicious. Overpriced when you buy them out sure, I won’t argue that, but just so good. Here’s my attempt to bring a little acai to lunch! Presenting, the acai bowl lunchbox! One of our most liquid of lunchboxes – maybe do not attempt this one in hot climates 😂

Acai bowl lunchbox

If you do, however, have a lunchbox recipient with access to a fridge/freezer then you can juggle things to be pleasantly cold and fresh when eaten without the sweet acai ruining the cous cous and the roasted sweet potato salad. It is not that often that I make a squishy lunchbox and it’s always a risk, but we haven’t had any major mishaps yet, so fingers crossed. Anyway, think of it as a delicious dessert to get with two filling, main course style sides. You’ll need something hearty if you want your energy to last all afternoon, and roasted sweet potatoes, spinach, cous cous and hummus fit the bill perfectly. Mix with eachother for best results!

As for the acai, We use frozen acai and blend it with a little soy milk, plus any other extras you might like. So take the essentials – frozen acai, soymilk/almond milk… then mix with:

Optional blends: frozen banana, frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries, vanilla bliss soymilk.

Top with anything even vaguely fruity you can find and get ready for a good time. We love making this at home on a hot day too, so feel free to ditch the lunchbox and just make this any time you like. Give it a try! You can find frozen acai in health food and organics stores.

  • Frozen acai, frozen banana, soy milk, mango, strawberries, blueberries, toasted coconuts, pomegranate, buckwheat kernels
  • Cous cous, hummus, red chilli, sesame seeds, coriander
  • Roasted sweet potato, spinach, toasted pepitas

Lunchbox: Sushi with mochi

Mochi sushi lunchbox

Presenting the super kawaii vegan sushi + mochi lunchbox! Decided to send Amy on a trip to Japan today (alas only figuratively) with this little creation. Geographic themed boxes are the best; they just beg to be shown off, and you can throw a whole load of awesome/appropriate things in there and you know the flavours will work because the traditional combinations have been going strong for years/decades/millennia. Easy lunch!

Now Amy has been to Japan and has eaten the food, so I couldn’t just throw a packet of frozen edamame in there and call it a day. Oh no! Never one to be easily fooled, I knew Amy would no doubt demand some authentic, nutritious Japanese yums. Hopefully I didn’t let her down! Firstly, sushi. You can’t go past fresh sushi and this one has been given the vegan treatment – sweet potato forms the base of the filling and beyond that, I pretty much stuffed whatever vegetables I could in. Finish up with a little piece of pickled ginger and there you go, sushi!

Mochi sushi lunchbox

We also fell in love with the mochi balls at the local Asian grocer. They’re delicious, chewy little chunks of glutinous squish (really the only way to describe them) and have a light, sweet flavour. I picked up a packet of them and put two in for an authentic dessert. I know I know, I bought something instead of cooking it! But seriously, making mochi looks downright tiring. If you haven’t seen it, watch the videos of the old guys punching it and smacking it with a hammer. Yes – it’s the only dessert you have to legitimately fight it to make it happen. Even with two guys ganging up on it, looks like crazy hard work!

Finishing off, we have some oyster mushrooms, edamame, spinach leaves, and a little soy sauce/sesame oil/chilli mix I mixed up to dip the sushi in. That little container comes with a lid, by the way, so no soy sauce infused mochi balls today 🙂

  • Nori, brown rice, sweet potato, avocado, red onion, red + yellow capsicum, pickled ginger, oyster mushrooms, edamame, spinach, mochi balls
  • Soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, red chilli