Little dippers! Unlike my last lunchbox, the pumpkin soup, which was wholly unsuitable for kids due to fundamental ‘oh my gosh it’s spilling everywhere!’ issues, here we have the opposite end of the spectrum – kids love dipping stuff! Heck, who doesn’t right? Amy isn’t a kid, and she sure loved it ha ha. The idea here is, you’ve got a whole bunch of crunchy, yummy bits and pieces that you can combo with sauces or wrap in leaves and crunch with capsicum until your heart is content. Healthy and fun, what’s not to love!
So let’s take a look at the lineup! From left to right, we have teriyaki tofu. Just chop up some tofu and press the moisture out, then soak it overnight in teriyaki sauce. A quick trip to the oven (it can piggyback off the roast potatoes when you put them in, doesn’t need long) and it will be beautiful and sticky and just yummy. Cover it with sesame seeds and you’re all set on the tofu front. NEXT, roast potatoes! Really, no introduction necessary here. Crunchy, golden, awesome. Carrots are here to bring a fresh crunch to the whole thing, and the capsicum on the end, even more so. It sort of goes from heavier to lighter, so mix it up.
Sauces are kewpie mayo (they do a vegan mayo too, use that one!), peanut butter (you can mix it with a little sesame to give it a more liquid, dippable consistency, and spicy sriracha + chilli for some kick. And that’s it! What a lunch!
PS: After I was done photographing, I loaded a whole bunch more dippers in there – a girl has got to eat! She ended up with about double the pictured amount in total 😂
- Teriyaki tofu, sesame seeds, roast potatoes, carrot, rep mini capsicum, spinach, lime
- Sriracha, red chilli, peanut butter, peanuts, vegan kewpie mayo, cucumber
Presenting the pumpkin soup lunchbox! Once again pushing the boundaries of what should realistically be placed in a lunchbox with open compartments. I would recommend keeping this one upright, otherwise you may be greeted with pumpkin coated strawberries for lunch. Maybe I should embrace that in a future box – a lunchbox where all the elements are designed to be super complementary so you can just shake it up and you’ll have some crazy soup-vegetable-salad combination, but everything just works. It could be a thing! That said, this soup was way thick and didn’t leak out under the compartments, making it a breeze to pack compared to the acai bowls! If you’re feeling brave, give it a go 😂
Pumpkin soup is of course the hero here, but we toasted some bread to give it some crunch, fried up some little diced potato bits for more crunch, then figured we’d throw on some roasted pumpkin seeds, for uh… well, more crunch, actually. It’s a fairly crunchy bowl. Even the fried sage on top was crispy – a close relation and firm ally to crunchy foods. Fried sage is definitely essential, adds such an intense flavour even if you only get a little bit. Oh and the roasted pumpkin seeds were from the pumpkin that we made the soup from, so you don’t need to throw them out – they make ana amazing snack if you roast them in a little bit of oil and paprika. Highly recommended. Finish with some fresh fruits and a little salad and you’re good to go!
- Roast pumpkin, roast sweet potato, soy milk, garlic, vegetable stock, onion, greek yoghurt, potato bits, croutons, roasted pumpkin seeds, fried sage
- Cherries, strawberries, pomegranate
- Red cabbage, pistachios, lemon
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.
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
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?
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