A 5-day lunch plan with Rooted London

Words Vaara / Pandora Paloma Photography Vaara

Overview

As our attention is turning to summer, whether to book that long-awaited holiday or trying to find the perfect dress for a friend's wedding, regardless of our plans, the one thing we all tend to scrutinize heading into warm months is our nutrition. But for the woman on the go, with most of our lunches spent running from meeting to meeting, ensuring healthy fresh meals can be a little tricky. To help kick things into summer mode and re-set our eating patterns we have teamed with Pandora Paloma of Rooted London - a Holistic Nutritionist and Healer. Much like we do at Vaara, Pandora believes in good food for life, no fads, trends or diets, just feeding and doing your body good. 

Pandora: Eating plants has so many benefits and as we come into the summer months it’s a little easier to pack in your 5 a day. That said, eating 5 portions should be your minimum, aiming towards 10 a day to really feed our bodies all the nutrients they need to feel and be, tip top. 

Pre- summer we tend to deprive ourselves in a bid to lose the extra pounds ahead of bikini weather, but let me tell you that now is not the time to deprive yourself. Getting back into the swing of work and play after the transition from spring takes time so let’s not put more pressure on ourselves! There’s a reason why fresh, crisp salads, high water fruits and vegetables (cue cucumber and watermelon) and juices take centre stage in summer - the extra water content and lighter flavours is just what our body needs at this time of year.

This series of recipes is what I call my Holistic Nutrition, the Rooted Reset. It’s a 5 day nutrient-rich lunchtime meal plan, with simple recipes for you to prepare ahead for the week and take to work. I call it ‘RESET’ as it works to reset the body, reset portion size and up your intake of plant-based foods.

On the side I’ve created a naturally sweet snack for those of you with sweet tooth and some delicious bread to add alongside some of the slightly lighter dishes. Your grocery list for the week is outlined below and I’ve noted when to make extra of something for another dish ahead. 

(As the planning and shopping is done ahead of the typical 5-day work week, please plan to allow yourself enough time for the cooking and prep, ideally to be done on the Sunday before.)

We’d love to see your results so for any of you following one or all of the recipes, please do share your pictures and your journey to reset by tagging @rootedlondon @Vaaralifestyle with the hashtag #rootedreset.

Fresh veggetable salad

Menu:

Monday

- Roasted quinoa and root veg with vegan pesto

Tuesday

- Sweet potato falafel and raw recovery salad with tahini dressing

Wednesday

- Quinoa with peas, mixed herbs, feta, peas and tamari lemon dressing

Thursday

- Courgetti with vegan pesto, chickpea and avocado

Friday

- Raw recovery salad with feta, avocado and raw sprouts

Snacks (optional)

- Coconut and Cacao cookies

- Chia and Beetroot bread

 

Your shopping list:

  • Quinoa (250g pack)
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 5 medium beetroot
  • 2 carrots
  • cumin
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • peas
  • fresh coriander
  • fresh mint
  • lemon
  • 1 courgette
  • 2 small avocado
  • organic feta
  • raws sprouts (you can buy these from most local health food stores)
  • fresh basil
  • nutritional yeast (you can buy this online or from most local health food stores)
  • fresh ginger
  • nutmeg
  • olive oil
  • stock
  • garlic
  • walnuts (150g)
  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • tahini
  • tamari or soy sauce
  • spiralizer or peeler (for the courgetti)
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • pack of 6 eggs
  • coconut flour
  • baking soda
  • xanthan gum (you can buy this online or from most local health food stores)
  • sheep's butter or coconut oil for baking tins
  • sunflower kernels, flax seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, coconut sugar, cacao nibs, vanilla or vanilla bean paste 

Action Plan:

Sunday

This is probably the most intensive day in terms of prep and cooking. But hopefully, it's also when you'd have the most time to do so, which then sets you up nicely for the week. Once you have bought all your required ingredients and the baking is out of the way, after Monday and Tuesday as the week gets busier you will only have to make small tweaks to the existing dishes, or simply reheat, re-use or add a vegetable or two.

Time for baking! Start with the loaf and whilst that is in the oven, make your cookies.

Beetroot and Chia bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium/small beetroot (I used organic) approximately 600g
  • 1 medium eggplant (makes 310g of wet mixed puree)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 60g organic coconut flour
  • 50g sunflower kernels
  • 50g flax seeds
  • 1 tea spoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tea spoon baking soda
  • 1 tea spoon xanthan gum
  • unsalted butter for baking tins
  • sesame seeds for sprinkling bread before baking
  • 10g white chia seeds

Directions:

Roast beetroot and eggplant in fan-forced preheated oven at 180C for an hour or until soft inside and ready. Leave to cool and peel beetroot and scoop eggplant flesh. Puree the roasted vegetables with a stick blender or in food processor.

Grind the flax seeds, sunflower seeds and chia seeds together in a blender or hand grinder. Sift the seed meal in a large bowl, grind the remaining bigger pieces again until all ground seeds come through the sifter. I use a vitamix , which is easy and grinds to a fine meal in seconds. Keep 2-3 teaspoons of ground seeds aside for dusting baking tins

In a large bowl lightly beat the eggs with a whisk.

Add salt and baking soda to sifted seed meal, mix everything together

Butter 2 15cm x 8cm x 5cm mini loaf tins with sheep butter or coconut oil, and sprinkle with ground seeds. This helps the loaf come out of the tin once cooked.

Add coconut flour to vegetable puree and wait 3-5 min to let the flour absorb the moisture. Add beaten eggs to vegetable and coconut flour mix, and again, let coconut flour absorb moisture. Add sifted seed mix and thoroughly mix everything together. Add xanthan gum and mix it in. If the mix is still a little soft, add an extra 10g of coconut flour.

The consistency of the mix does not influence the taste and even texture of the bread, but makes demands on baking process. Fill the baking tins with bread mixture, make the surface flat with spatula and sprinkle some sesame seeds on the top.

Bake for 60 min and then take the bread from the oven and out of the tin. Place it on a wire rack and bake for another 45 minutes. Leave to cool and then slice.

This bread is great toasted with goats butter or humous. In fact you can top it with just about anything.

Healthy cookies

Coconut and Cacao cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar, packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 1/3 cup goats butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line baking paper on a tray.

In a bowl, combine coconut flour, coconut sugar, baking soda and salt.  Add in eggs, butter, vanilla and cacao nibs. Combine until a thin dough forms. Wet hands and roll dough into 9 balls, if you just spoon the cookies onto the baking sheet without rolling them into balls, the cookies won't come out pretty and smooth.  Be sure to roll them into tight little balls.  

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies turn golden brown.  

They'll keep for 5 days in an air-tight container.

 

Sunday - prep for Monday:

Roasted quinoa and root veg with vegan pesto.

Cook 150 grams of quinoa in some stock. Leave to cool and place half into a lunchbox and the other half into an air-tight container.

Chop 1 sweet potato, 1 beetroot and 1 parsnip into large chunks. Place in separate dishes and add olive oil and seasoning. To the parsnip, add some paprika and a drizzle of honey.

Wrap another large sweet potato in tin foil. Bake for 30 minutes until the chunks of root vegetables are soft and leave to cool.

Cook the tin foil wrapped sweet potato for another 30-45 minutes until it is soft and gooey inside. Peel the skin and place the soft inside into an air-tight container. Once cool, place in the fridge.

Make the pesto:

- 30 grams of walnuts

- a good glug of olive oil

- 1 handfuls of organic baby spinach

- handful of fresh basil

- Juice of one lemon and a dash of rind

- 2 tablespoons of tamari (or light soy sauce – I prefer using gluten free)

- 2 tablespoons of water

- salt and pepper to taste

- pinch nutmeg

- 1 cloves roasted garlic

- 1cm ginger

Blend together the pesto ingredients, adding a little extra oil or water to loosen the mixture.

Mix 75g quinoa, roasted sweet potato and parsnip chunks and a good dollop of the vegan pesto into a lunchbox. Leave the remaining pesto in an air-tight container in the fridge (it lasts 3-4 days).

Sweet potato falafel

Monday – prep for Tuesday:

Sweet potato falafel and raw recovery salad with tahini dressing.

Sweet potato falafels are a signature dish, one that I come back to time and time again. This recipe makes 5-6 falafels so you can save a few in the fridge for another day – great with rice, chilli, spring onion and soy for a Asian style macro-bowl.

Take the cooked sweet potato from the fridge and mash it with a fork. Mix with half cup of chickpea flour, juice of half lemon, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsb coriander and some fresh parsley and seasoning. Place in the fridge to set for 20 minutes.

Roll into balls and bake on 160 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes. They should feel slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Grate one beetroot and 2 carrot and then slice a fennel bulb into thin strips. Place half in an air-tight container and wrap in a soaked kitchen towel to keep it moist. Place in the kitchen for Friday’s lunch.

Put the rest of the raw salad in a bowl and mix with the dressing (save half for Friday)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • juice of one lemon
  • seasoning

Add the sweet potato falafels and you’re good to go. This dish is nice with the beetroot bread on the side.

 

Tuesday – prep for Wednesday:

Quinoa with peas, mixed herbs, feta, peas and tamari lemon dressing.

As the week gets busy, mid week you need something quick, and this recipe is pretty much fail-safe and easy to make.

Boil the kettle and place a cup of peas in the bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes whilst you make the rest of the dish.

Take your remaining quinoa from the fridge and place in a bowl. Chop fresh mint and coriander and add to the bowl. Add a drizzle of live oil, 1 tablespoon of tamari and the juice of one lemon. Drain and add the peas. Season, and then top with organic feta cheese.

This dish is incredibly Moorish with the softness of the quinoa, herbs and salty cheese.

Courgetti and vegan pesto

Wednesday – prep for Thursday:

Courgetti with vegan pesto, chickpea and avocado.

Peel or spiralise your courgettes into thin strips. Open and drain your chickpeas and rinse with cold water. Leave to dry.

Mix a good dollop of the vegan pesto into the courgetti, season and give it a good stir. Add half a can of chickpeas (save the other half) and chopped avocado. Option to add crunchy pomegranate too.

Take a couple of slices of the beetroot bread and serve.

 

Thursday – prep for Friday:

Raw recovery salad with feta, avocado, chickpeas and raw sprouts. 

Grab your raw salad from the fridge and finely chop an avocado and add to the mix.

Take the remaining half can of chickpeas and a handful of sprouts, plus the remaining salad dressing and give it a good stir.

Take 30-40 grams of feta and crumble onto the salad. I love topping this with fresh parsley, a tablespoon of chia seeds and a tablespoon of sesame seeds.

So simple and delicious. Take a couple of slices of the beetroot bread and serve on the side.

 

Of course if preferred, these can make for nice dinner alternatives as well. We hope you enjoy your meals! 

 

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