What to make for an office lunch box is a big headache every day. And because of the lockdown, we have become out of touch too. But do not worry. I will share some healthy, nutritious, quick, and easy lunch box recipes to ease your life. Check out all my lunch box recipes here.
I give a lot of attention to what to carry for lunch in the office. Even when I was living alone, I used to prepare a full meal for myself – dal, sabzi, roti, and salad. When I got married, my excitement level to pack lunch boxes for both of us doubled. I love this morning job. Usually, making dal and sabzi is my department and making roti is Jatin’s department.
As much as I loved working from home with Jatin during this lockdown period, I missed packing a lunch box for him. Literally. When his office opened, I was happy because I would be able to fulfill my fantasy – packing lunch for my husband 😀 Although, he doesn’t like to carry a lot of dabbas in the office. He prefers either sabzi or dal with some roti. He doesn’t even like to carry salad. But he has no option. I am the in-charge of my kitchen. So, the lunch box meal has to be balanced and nutritious. This is something I learned from my mom. Also, making two things in the morning seems like a lot of work. But if you prep ahead, they get done while you get ready for the office.
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It is always a rush when you have to leave for the office in the morning. And then we tend to ignore the most important thing – our meals. Now we also have the option to buy food from the cafeteria or any restaurant. But, nothing can match the satisfaction and fulfillment of a home-cooked meal. With home-cooked food, you also know what is going inside your body. And don’t worry, with a little bit of preparation, making lunch box for office can be made easy.
Here are a few things which I follow:
1 – Meal Planning
This is such a Time Saver. I am doing it for years now and my life becomes so much easier when I know what to cook every day. I don’t prepare anything for the entire week but I make sure to plan my meals for the entire week. Obviously, it changes depending on our mood and appetite. But when I have the weekly meal plan list ready, I know what to buy from the grocery stores and I know what to cook the next day.
I don’t make an elaborate plan. Just mention the weekly meals in my Google Keep. Try this. Trust me, it will ease your life.
2 – Preps a day before
When your meal planning is done and you have the groceries for the week, you can simply check a night before about what you need to cook tomorrow. If there is any preparation that may take some time, do it before going to the bed. You will feel such a relief the next day.
Cut Veggies: For example, here I am making beans aloo sabzi and mix moong dal. I don’t like to cut beans but it tastes so good that I am ready to do that effort. I cut beans a day before and refrigerate them in an air-tight container. I don’t cut potatoes mostly as they oxidize. Moreover, it is easy to cut potatoes in the morning. When you heat the oil for making sabzi, just quickly cut the potatoes side-by-side.
Soak Lentils: For dals (lentils), I always prefer soaking them for 30 minutes. It ensures faster cooking and better absorption of nutrients. I mostly wake up early so I soak them in the morning. But, if you don’t have time, soak them before going to the bed. Moreover, moong dal cooks very fast. You can cook them without soaking.
Knead the dough: If you prefer roti or paratha for lunch, I would suggest kneading the dough a day before. It saves a lot of time in the morning. I mostly don’t need to worry about it since Jatin takes care of it 🙂 It is his department. So, one extra tip – divide the work.
HOW TO COOK DAL?
There are a few methods of cooking dals/lentils:
1 – Instant Pot
This is the best kitchen machine to make dal. It is mess-free and tension-free. Since there is no pressure release like in a pressure cooker, there is no mess created. Also, I can just set the cooking time in the Instant Pot and do my work without any worry to keep an eye of switch off the flame once done. We both like mushy grains in our dal so we cook for a little long but you can adjust the water and set the time as per your preference. You will get the idea once you start cooking. To start with, just follow my recipe. Then, you can make adjustments accordingly.
2 – Pressure Cooker
The pressure cooker is available in mostly all Indian households. It cooks dals in no time. You just need to take care of the water level and the cooking time. All lentils or dals take different times to cook which you will figure out as you start cooking. To prepare moong dal, add washed and soaked lentils to the pressure cooker with the spices. Add water, close the lid and cook on high flame for 1 whistle. After 1 whistle, lower the flame and let it cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. For all the measurements, check the recipe below.
If you feel, dal is watery or too thick, adjust the water accordingly next time.
3 – Pan or Pot
When we moved to Germany, we didn’t have any cooker or Instant Pot for a very long time. We cooked dals in a pot or pan for months. I won’t lie, it is time-consuming. I mostly cooked moong dal since that is one dal that cooks very fast. To make it in a pan, just add soaked dal along with the spices in the pan. Add water. Cover and let it cook on high flame till it comes to a boil. Lower the flame once boiled. Cover and let it cook till it becomes soft and mushy. If you need more water, add in between. Just make sure that the lentils are well cooked. The water and lentils are not separated.
IS THIS RECIPE VEGAN?
Yes. Of course.
Mostly, tempering is made in ghee but I prefer to use cooking oil. If you are a vegan, avoid adding ghee in dal. The recipe I shared here is totally plant-based.
MORE RECIPES TO TRY
Now you are all ready to make this delicious meal for your office lunch box. It is quick, easy, and very tasty. So, grab all the ingredients because you are ready to make a happy meal for yourself.
If you like the recipe, please share the photo on Instagram and tag us too @marriedfriends. We love to see your recreation of our recipes.
Happy Cooking 🙂
Love from us
Richa & Jatin
Office Lunch Box – Aloo Beans & Mix Moong Dal
Quick. Healthy. Vegan.
Beans Aloo Sabzi
- 250 g French Green Beans cut into small pieces
- 2 (medium) Potato cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup Frozen Peas
- 2 Green Chilli chopped
- 1 to 1.5 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
Mix Moong Dal
- 1/4 cup Yellow Moong Dal
- 1/4 cup Green Moong Dal (split)
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 3 cup Water
- 1 to 1.5 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 Red Chilli (whole)
- 2 tbsp Coriander Leaves chopped
- Water for soaking lentils
Aloo Beans Sabzi
- Wash & cut french green beans, potatoes, and chilies. Cut them into small pieces. They cook fast.
- Take out the frozen peas and thaw them. Or, put them in hot water for a few minutes. Drain off the water.
- In a pan, heat some cooking oil.
- When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for a few seconds till they turn brown.
Careful. They burn fast.
- Add chopped beans, potatoes, and green chilies. Mix well.
- Add salt to taste, red chili powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well. Lower the flame, cover, and cook. Keep mixing in between.
It takes 7 to 10 minutes for them to cook.
- Once potatoes are cooked, increase the heat and add peas. Mix well. Cover and let it cook for 2 minutes. Keeping the flame high roasts the cooked veggies and make them tastier.
Frozen peas cook fast. Keep an eye else they may burn.
- Mix again. Switch off the flame. Cover and let it sit for a couple of minutes before serving.
Mix Moong Dal
- In a bowl, add both dals (lentils) and soak them in water. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
Soaking helps in faster cooking and better absorption of nutrients.
- Wash lentils with water 2 to 3 times. Drain off the water.
- Add them in the Instant Pot along with salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and water. Pressure cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Once dal is cooked, add the tempering or tadka.
- For tempering, in a tadka pan or any small pan add some cooking oil. Let it heat.
- Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds. Switch off the flame and add whole red chilies. Mix and let it sit for a few seconds. Make sure it doesn't burn or turn black.
You may break whole red chilies into 2 to 3 pieces.
- Add tempering in cooked dal. Finish off with some chopped coriander. Mix well and your dal is ready.
Careful. It sizzles on adding in dal.
- Pack aloo beans sabzi and mix moong dal tadka along with some chapatis or rice and some salad. Your complete office lunch box is ready.
All lentils or dals take different times to cook which you will figure out as you start cooking and follow the recipe instructions. There are a few methods of cooking dals/lentils:
- Instant Pot: This is the best kitchen machine to make dal. It is mess-free and tension-free. Since there is no pressure release like in a pressure cooker, there is no mess created. Also, I can just set the cooking time in the Instant Pot and do my work without any worry to keep an eye of switch off the flame once done. We both like mushy grains in our dal so we pressure cook for a little long (8 to 10 minutes) but you can adjust the water and set the time as per your preference.
- Pressure Cooker: The pressure cooker is available in mostly all Indian households. It cooks dals in no time. You just need to take care of the water level and the cooking time. To prepare moong dal, add washed and soaked lentils to the pressure cooker with the spices. Add water, close the lid and cook on high flame for 1 whistle. After 1 whistle, lower the flame and let it cook for another 5 to 7 minutes.
- Pan/Pot: To make it in a pan, just add soaked dal along with the spices in the pan. Add water. Cover and let it cook on high flame till it comes to a boil. Lower the flame once boiled. Cover and let it cook till it becomes soft and mushy. If you need more water, add in between. Just make sure that the lentils are well cooked. The water and lentils are not separated.
Indian dal is a term used for lentils, pulses, peas, and beans. There are many types of dals – urad dal, masoor dal, kidney bean, chickpeas, moong dal, etc. They are available in different forms too – whole, split, with, or without peel (chilka). They all taste different and are very tasty. These are soaked and cooked with some spices and water till they get a porridge-like texture. In many parts of India, lentils are the staple food of the people there. For example, Punjab is famous for its maa-chane ki dal or rajma-chawal while in Uttar Pradesh, people eat dal, chawal, roti, sabzi every day. These are nutritious and a very good source of proteins.
Yes. Dal is healthy, nutritious, and a very good source of proteins. I am from Uttar Pradesh and I have grown up eating dal every day for lunch. Even today, it is a must-have in our lunch along with some sabzi, rice, and roti. There are so many dals (pulses or lentils) available that you can make something new every day.
French green beans are a staple in many parts of the world. They are widely used in India and United States. They are the special ingredient in many Asian cuisines. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins. If cooked well, you can have a tasty addition in your kitchen. You can make beans aloo sabzi with it or simply steam and make a salad. You can add them in mix veg poha, upma, vermicelli, uttapan, and many other recipes. Do check out our youtube channel – Married Friends. You will find many recipes that use french green beans.
Lentils got their name because of their lens shape. They are an inexpensive ingredient to get a wide range of nutrients. They are a good source of proteins, vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium. They are rich in fibers and promote healthy bowel movement. There are many different kinds of lentils and they all vary in their nutrients. So, include all in your kitchen and in your diet.