Recipes

WATCH | Meal prep made easy: turn a veg stir fry into 4 healthy work lunches

24 October 2019 - 09:29 By Foodies of SA
This tuna nicoise bowl with minted yoghurt dressing is one of four tasty make-ahead work lunches you can whip up from a packet of frozen stir-fry vegetables.
This tuna nicoise bowl with minted yoghurt dressing is one of four tasty make-ahead work lunches you can whip up from a packet of frozen stir-fry vegetables.
Image: Foodies of SA/YouTube

Struggle to find the time to pack a healthy lunch every day before work? Meal prepping is the answer. You cook once, but make a whole bunch of dishes that can be stashed in the fridge and grabbed on the way out the door in the mornings. Think of it as making your own ready meals.

Here, we'll show you how to turn a packet of frozen stir-fry mix into four tasty and nutritious packed lunches.

ON THE MENU

Monday: Asian beef and rice bowl with soy and ginger dressing

Tuesday: Vegetarian pasta and chickpea bowl with honey mustard dressing

Wednesday: Chicken and couscous bowl with lemon and thyme dressing

Thursday: Tuna nicoise bowl with a minted yoghurt dressing

WATCH | Meal prep made easy: how to turn a simple veg stir fry into 4 healthy lunches for work

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

  • 4 storage containers with lids
  • 4 small glass jars with lids
  • Labels
  • Pen

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE BOWLS

Stir-fry:

  • 1 tbsp oil of your choice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 600g McCain French Stir Fry (just over ½ pack)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Carbs:

  • 3-4 baby potatoes
  • ½ cup pasta of your choice
  • ¼ cup couscous
  • ¼ cup rice

Proteins:

  • 2 tbsp oil 
  • 1 chicken breast, cut into strips
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 200g steak strips
  • ½ cup chickpeas, drained
  • ½ can tuna, drained
  • 1 medium egg, hard boiled
Vegetarian pasta and chickpea bowl with honey mustard dressing.
Vegetarian pasta and chickpea bowl with honey mustard dressing.
Image: Foodies of SA/YouTube

FOR THE DRESSINGS

Soy and ginger dressing:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp ginger, crushed
  • ½ tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Honey mustard dressing:

  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Lemon and thyme dressing:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Lemon zest, to taste
  • 1-2 tsp thyme, chopped
  • ½ tsp garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Minted yoghurt dressing:

  • 3 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
  • ½ tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
Chicken and couscous bowl with lemon and thyme dressing.
Chicken and couscous bowl with lemon and thyme dressing.
Image: Foodies of SA/YouTube

METHOD

For the stir-fry:

Heat the oil in a large pan over a high heat. Add the garlic followed by the McCain French Stir Fry vegetables. Stir fry for 4-6 minutes, season to taste and set aside to cool.

For the carbs:

  • Place the baby potatoes in a medium pot, cover with water and cook for 15-20 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook for 15-20 minutes until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water (to stop the cooking process) and set aside.
  • Cook the rice according to the packet instructions. Set aside.
  • Add the couscous to a small bowl, top with boiling water until just covered, quickly cover with a small plate and steam for 7-8 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

For the proteins:

  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan. Add the chicken strips, season with salt and pepper, and fry until browned and cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Use the same pan to cook the steak strips to your liking, adding another tbsp of oil and seasoning the meat with salt and pepper. Remove from the pan and set aside.

For the dressings:

Place the ingredients for each of the different dressings into a separate small glass jar, then shake until combined. Keep refrigerated.

Asian beef and rice bowl with soy and ginger dressing.
Asian beef and rice bowl with soy and ginger dressing.
Image: Foodies of SA/YouTube

To assemble the bowls:

  • Divide the stir-fried vegetables among the four storage containers.
  • For the Asian beef and rice bowl, pack the beef strips and rice with the vegetables. You'll serve this bowl with the soy and ginger dressing.
  • For the vegetarian chickpea and pasta bowl, pack the pasta and chickpeas with the vegetables. You'll serve this bowl with the honey mustard dressing.
  • For the chicken and couscous bowl, pack the chicken strips and couscous with the vegetables. You'll serve this bowl with the lemon and thyme dressing.
  • For the tuna nicoise bowl, cut the cooked baby potatoes in half. Peel the hard-boiled egg and cut in half. Pack the tuna, potatoes and egg with the vegetables. You'll serve this bowl with the minted yoghurt dressing.
  • Label the containers and corresponding jars of dressing with the days of the week (Monday to Thursday) and refrigerate until needed. Remember to shake the dressings before serving.

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