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12 healthy lunch foods to make that cool for hot days

12 healthy lunch foods to make that cool for hot days

12 healthy lunch foods to make that cool for hot days
12 healthy lunch foods to make that cool for hot days

01- Fish tacos with cabbage slaw

The ultimate summer lunch. Try to use a fish that is in season and either farmed or not threatened.
  • 750 g mackerel or salmon fillets, pin-boned and skin removed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chilli adobo
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Garlic yoghurt
  • 130 g (½ cup) Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed with a pinch of sea salt

To serve
Smoky tomato salsa
Avocado salsa
Cabbage slaw
Cut the fish into large bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Add the cumin, paprika, lime juice and adobo sauce and mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Bring the fish to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.
For the garlic yoghurt, whisk together the yoghurt and garlic, then cover and chill until ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Wrap the tortillas in foil and put into the oven about 15 minutes before you are ready to serve.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the fish and cook, turning once, for 5 minutes, until cooked to your liking. Drain on paper towel.
Serve bowls of the garlic yoghurt, smoky tomato salsa, avocado salsa and cabbage slaw with the fish and the warmed tortillas.
Serves 6
TIP: Use the sauce but not the chilli. I like to use Embasa chipotle chillies in adobo sauce.

02- Smoky tomato salsa

  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, unpeeled
  • 1 tablespoon coriander roots, scrubbed
  • 1 chipotle chilli and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat, add the tomatoes, red onion and garlic and cook until the tomato skins are blackened and split and the onion and garlic are slightly charred. Remove from the pan.
Coarsely chop the tomatoes, add to a food processor with the onion, peeled garlic, coriander root, chilli and sauce and lime juice and process until coarse – you don’t want it too smooth.
Set aside to allow the flavours to develop before serving.
Serves 6

03- Avocado salsa

  • 2 avocados, peeled, seeded and halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed with a pinch of sea salt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
Put the avocado, garlic, lime juice and coriander into a bowl, then mix to combine. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Serves 6

04- Cabbage slaw

  • 225 g (3 cups) finely shredded white cabbage
  • 1 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • a handful of mint leaves
Combine the cabbage, onion, coriander and mint in a bowl and mix well.
Serves 6

05- Chopped salad with herbed chicken

If you haven’t tasted a chopped salad before, you are in for a treat. The idea is to serve the salad on the chopping board, so make sure you have a really big board and try not to make too much of a mess chopping.
  • 2 free-range chicken breast fillets
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, ends trimmed
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, ends trimmed
  • 100 g cherry tomatoes
  • a handful of alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 avocado, peeled and halved
  • 1 baby cos lettuce, leaves separated
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon verjuice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Put the chicken and lime slices in a large frying pan, cover with water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and poach for 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. Shred the chicken.
On a large chopping board, chop the spring onions. Add the cucumber and chop into the spring onion, then place the tomatoes on top and chop. Next, chop in the alfalfa sprouts, avocado, cos lettuce, herbs and chicken.
Make a well in the centre of the salad and add the mustard, verjuice and olive oil, then chop and fold into the salad.
Serves 4
In summer I live on chopped salads. They always have sprouts, cooling herbs and an avocado. I change the dressings to suit the other vegetables I add.
Chopped salad with herbed chicken
Chopped salad with herbed chicken


06- Fig, rocket and mozzarella salad with sticky pecans

  • 8 figs, torn into quarters
  • 300 g buffalo mozzarella, roughly torn
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • 200 g mixed salad leaves
  • 8 free-range eggs

Sticky pecans
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 50 g pecans

Dressing
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Arrange the figs, mozzarella, pomegranate seeds and salad leaves on serving plates.
Put the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Leave the eggs to cook in the water for about 5 minutes, until soft boiled. Peel, cut in half and place on the salad.
To make the sticky pecans, combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook until the syrup has reduced and thickened slightly. Add the pecans and toss to coat in the syrup. Spread the nuts out on a baking tray lined with baking paper and set aside to cool slightly. Sprinkle over the salad.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the salad.
Serves 4–6

07- Prawn rice paper rolls with tamarind sauce

  • 50 g rice or mung bean vermicelli
  • 15 sheets of rice paper
  • 24 mint leaves
  • 12 cooked prawns, peeled, deveined and halved
  • 150 g smoked firm tofu, cut into thin strips
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into thin strips
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 50 g baby cos lettuce, finely shredded

Dipping sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind puree
  • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar
Put the vermicelli into a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and allow to stand for 10 minutes, until the noodles are soft. Drain well and cut into shorter lengths.
Working with one sheet at a time, immerse the rice paper in a shallow bowl of lukewarm water until just soft.
Lay the soaked rice paper on a clean tea towel on a chopping board, top with 2 mint leaves, 2 prawn halves, 2 pieces of tofu, 1 heaped tablespoon of vermicelli, a few pieces of cucumber and some carrot and lettuce, then fold in the sides and roll up. Cover and keep moist with a piece of damp paper towel while you make the remaining rolls.
To make the dipping sauce, combine the lime juice, tamarind puree, palm sugar and 2 tablespoons of warm water in a small bowl and whisk together until the sugar dissolves.
Place rice paper rolls on a platter and serve with dipping sauce.

Makes 12
Prawn rice paper rolls with tamarind sauce
Prawn rice paper rolls with tamarind sauce


08- Minted coconut and chicken larb with crisp witlof

  • 2 tablespoons sticky rice
  • 500 g organic chicken mince
  • 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons shredded coconut, toasted
  • 2 handfuls of mint leaves, chopped
  • a handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fried shallots
  • 2 witlof, leaves separated
  • Pickled vegetables, to serve
Toast the sticky rice in a dry non-stick frying pan until fragrant. Pound in a mortar and pestle until finely ground.
Put the chicken into a bowl and mash to break up.
Heat the stock in a saucepan over medium heat, add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, until heated through. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
Add the spring onion, coconut, mint, coriander, toasted rice, lime juice, fish sauce, coconut sugar and fried shallots to the chicken and mix to combine.
Spoon the chicken larb into the witlof leaves and serve with the pickled vegetables.
Serves 4
Fresh young coconut water is an amazing source of energy. I crack open a fresh organic coconut every morning in summer and drink the water. If I am hungry, I eat the flesh; if not, I scoop it out and freeze it for smoothies or salads. Coconut water is perfect for balancing the body’s electrolytes, which allow us to feel hydrated. I don’t buy bottled coconut water, as it has sugar added.
Minted coconut and chicken larb with crisp witlof
Minted coconut and chicken larb with crisp witlof
Minted coconut and chicken larb with crisp witlof 2
Minted coconut and chicken larb with crisp witlof 2
Minted coconut and chicken larb with crisp witlof 3
Minted coconut and chicken larb with crisp witlof 3


09- Poached lemongrass tofu and coconut lime rice

Tofu is naturally cooling and this recipe is great for a quick summer lunch. I like to bake the tofu in the oven, but if you are short on time, you can poach it in a frying pan on the stovetop. You will need a fairly firm tofu for this recipe.
  • 500 g firm organic tofu
  • 2 lemongrass stems, halved lengthways
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 500 ml (2 cups) dashi stock
  • 100 g snow peas
  • 1 bunch of baby bok choy, halved
  • 200 g (1 cup) basmati rice
  • 200 ml coconut milk

finely grated zest of 1 lime
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Slice the tofu and place in a baking dish with the lemongrass, lime leaves and dashi stock. Bake for 40 minutes, until the tofu is coloured and half the liquid has been absorbed.
Add the snow peas and bok choy to the dish and return to the oven for 5 minutes, until they are bright green and tender.
Meanwhile, put the rice into a saucepan with the coconut milk and 250 ml (1 cup) of water. Bring to the boil over high heat and then cook for 10 minutes, until tunnels appear in the rice. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork and fold through the lime zest.
Serve the tofu and its poaching liquid over the rice.
Serves 4

10- Watermelon mango juice blend

This combo is seriously delicious. I don’t use a juicer as it makes me too sad to see all of that beneficial fibre going to waste. Instead, I use a blender. Juice away in summer, but put the handbrake on juices once you pull out your jumpers – it’s time for warmer drinks then. I sometimes add a bit of warming turmeric or ginger to my juices to help my digestive system out.
  • 700 g (4 cups) chopped, chilled watermelon
  • 2 mangoes (about 400 g), peeled and chopped
  • 1 young stalk lemongrass, white part only, chopped
  • a handful of mint leaves
Put the watermelon, mango, lemongrass and mint into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.
Serves 4

11- I love Vietnam chicken patties

  • 3 lemongrass stems, pale part only, chopped
  • 3 red Asian shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • roots and stems from 1 bunch of coriander, roots scrubbed
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 500 g organic chicken mince (use organic mince with a bit of fat or the patties will be dry)
  • 1 free-range egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • cracked black pepper
  • coconut oil, for frying
  • lime wedges, to serve
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
To make the paste, put the lemongrass, shallots, coriander roots and stems and garlic into a mortar and pestle and pound the living daylights out of them. (Put on your favourite music to do this!)
Transfer the paste to a bowl, add the chicken mince, egg white, fish sauce and a couple of cracks of pepper. Shape tablespoons of the mixture into patties, place them on the lined tray, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours, or as long as you can. The longer you leave the patties, the better the flavour.
Bring the patties to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Heat a small amount of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the patties, in batches, and cook until browned on both sides. Transfer to baking tray to finish cooking in the oven for 10 minutes to stop them drying out in the pan. Serve with lime wedges.
Makes about 20

12- Avocado with nori and soba

  • 100 g buckwheat soba noodles
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar
  • 50 g mixed sprouts
  • 50 g baby kale
  • 2 avocados, halved
  • 3 tablespoons mixed pepitas, sunflower seeds and linseeds (flaxseeds)
  • 2 nori sheets, shredded
Cook the soba noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water until just soft. Drain under cold running water, then set aside in iced water to chill while you prepare the dressing.
Whisk together the tamari, mirin, lime juice, olive oil and sugar.
Drain the noodles and toss with the sprouts and baby kale, then pour over the dressing.
Divide the noodle mixture between four serving bowls. Top with the avocado and sprinkle with the seeds and shredded nori.
Serves 4
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