People often tell me they hate cooking for one, but I love cooking a meal just for me, whether it's something elaborate, fancy toast, or a really easy lunch. Don't get me wrong - cooking for people is one of my absolute favourite pastimes, I just think cooking for one isn't as bad as people think.
These two dishes are on high rotate at my place currently, and I'm lucky enough to work from home, so can cook and prepare something for my lunch really easily. Despite that, they're both easy enough to prepare at home and take in a lunchbox to work. You could even do what my workmate used to do and cook halloumi in a cheese toastie machine in the office kitchen.
I'm big on colour at lunchtime at this time of year, trying to "eat the rainbow". Something about the colder weather makes me crave food that's fresh and bright. The Mexican plate recipe works as a starting point - I will often add a spoonful of sauerkraut, more veges and herbs, a crispy fried egg, and sometimes avocado slices to brighten things up. Tinned refried beans are so delicious and add a hit of protein here. Serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt, a squeeze of fresh lime and some hot sauce and you've got a great meal. The haloumi plate is less a salad than an assembly of ingredients - a delicious one. You could add fresh mint for additional flavour. The easy thing about both these is that neither requires elaborate dressings, just a squeeze of citrus and a drizzle of good oil. As always, you could add some meat or fish on the side as a full meal too.
Halloumi with fresh beetroot and rocket
This is a really simple lunch plate and would also work well for an entree at a dinner party.
Handful fresh rocket
Half a medium beetroot, grated
Juice of half a lemon
Drizzle of good quality olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh walnuts
3 slices halloumi, pan-fried until golden
On your serving plate, place the rocket then grate over the beetroot, squeeze over the lemon juice, drizzle over the olive oil, and sprinkle over the walnuts. Serve with haloumi and additional lemon wedges. Add any other green veges you wish if you want to bulk it up.
Mexican rainbow plate
When making this, I just use enough vegetables for what I feel like, and assemble it on the plate.
Handful sliced red cabbage
½ yellow or orange capsicum, sliced
1 carrot, grated
Fresh coriander, small bunch, roughly chopped
2 pieces spring onion
Sprinkle of nuts and seeds - whatever you have in the pantry
1 lime, cut into wedges
Extra virgin olive oil (or your favourite oil) for dressing
½ cup refried beans, heated, to serve
Optional serving options: crispy fried egg, hot sauce, sliced avocado, dollop of natural yoghurt, tortilla chips or wrap.
Add all veges to your serving plate and gently combine. Add any seeds or nuts if you're using them and then drizzle over the oil and squeeze over the juice of half a lime. Serve with refried beans and any additional extras from the list.