Michelle Darmody: Savoury lunchbox recipes

At times it is hard to see past a sandwich for lunch. Not everyone chooses to eat bread each day.

Michelle Darmody: Savoury lunchbox recipes

At times it is hard to see past a sandwich for lunch. Not everyone chooses to eat bread each day. Things such as fruit kebabs and salads or sushi style rice-balls are good bread free options, but here are a few other sweet and savoury lunchbox suggestions, with a difference.

The date cranberry and fig bars are a good afternoon pick-me-up, this is a no bake recipe, you just need to blitz the ingredients in a mixer and then press the resulting paste into a lined plastic container or lunchbox. The paste can get sticky as you are liquidising, so finely chopping the fruit beforehand helps. The bars can be cut into whatever size slices you like.

Readers often ask for savoury, transportable lunch suggestions and at this time of year, as school is starting back and office lunchboxes need to be filled, these are possible options. The Spanish omelette slices can be popped into a lunchbox with some salad or chutney.

The slices also freeze well and can be taken out afew hours before needed. The finished cornbread muffins also freeze well or the batter can be made up to day in advance and stored in the fridge then baked fresh the morning you need them.

You can carefully slice the sweetcorn kernels straight from a recently boiled cob or acquire ones that are already removed. The muffins are nice eaten warm or cold and are great for mopping up soup or juicy stews.

Spanish omelette for the lunch box

A generous dash of olive oil

2 shallots, sliced

500g of waxy potatoes, cut into think, circular slices

A small bunch of thyme, removed from the stalk and chopped

6 eggs, lightly beaten

Heat the oil in a pan and add the shallots and stir them, add the slices of potato and allow it cook over a low heat until the potatoes are softening.

Strain the potatoes and onion and stir them through the eggs. Season with some sea salt and cracked black pepper and add in the thyme. Heat another dash of oil and gently add the whole mixture into a pan that fits the ingredients snuggly.

Allow to cook over a low heat and gently nudge the edges with a spatula. When it is almost cooked through invert it onto a plate and slide it upside down back onto the pan. Cook for another few minutes. Allow to cool and slice into wedges. These freeze well and can be taken out for lunches or popped into a lunch box.

Date, cranberry and fig bars

140g of dates, destoned and finely chopped

80 g of dried figs, finely chopped

30g of prunes, finely chopped

50g of dried cranberries chopped

100g of cashew nuts, roughly chopped

50g almonds, roughly chopped

30g of mixed seeds

Line a lunch box with baking parchment. Place everything except the seeds into a blender and blitz until a rough paste is formed.

You will have to stir it with a spoon a few times as the paste will be sticky, finely chopping the dried fruit cuts down on how long you need to blitz for.

Add in the seeds towards the end and blitz them lightly. Scoop the sticky paste from the blender and press it into the lined lunchbox.

Place parchment over the top and place into the fridge to firm up. Cut into slices.

Cornbread muffins

60g of plain flour

80g of spelt flour

140g of fine polenta

2 tsp of baking powder, sieved

1 tsp of ground sea salt

Half tsp of smoked paprika

50g of parmesan, grated

380ml of buttermilk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

A dash of olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

100g of sweetcorn kernels

1 spring onion, finely sliced

Grease and flour the 12 holes of a muffin tin. Heat the oven to 200C. Mix the flours, the polenta, baking powder, salt, paprika and cheese together and set aside. Whisk the buttermilk and eggs together and set aside. Heat a dash of olive oil and sauté the shallots and sweetcorn until the shallots are translucent, stir in the spring onion.

Stir the sweetcorn into the milk mixture and make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and stir the wet mixture into it until a smooth batter is formed. Spoon into your prepared muffin tin and bake for about 25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

More in this section


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up
Home Delivery


Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.