How to make a vegan lunchbox

Chef Derek Sarno has made it simple to enjoy a fresh, delicious vegan lunch if you're eating at work or on the go. These four plant-based recipes can be used together for a hearty meal, or mix-and-match your favourites for different combinations.

  1. Mix-and-match

    Cooking up batches of these easy recipes means you can assemble your own meal boxes in no time, even during a busy week. Derek has created a colouful combination of crunchy seed-crusted sweet potatoes, garlicky green beans, a vibrant quinoa salad and tangy sweetcorn salsa that all work well on their own or together.

    Each recipe serves six, so make at the weekend, keep in the fridge and you will have enough for lunches for the week.

    Mix-and-match
  2. Seed-crusted sweet potatoes

    6 small sweet potatoes (about 1kg)
    1-2 tsp olive oil
    4 tbsp chia and flax seed sprinkles
    1 tsp smoked paprika

    1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Brush the potatoes with the oil, put on a baking tray and roast for 45-50 mins until soft. Remove and leave to cool completely, then use your hands to peel off the skin, keeping the potato whole. Discard the skin.

    2. On a plate, mix the seeds with the paprika and some seasoning. Roll each potato in the mix to coat, return to the baking tray and roast for 10-15 mins until crispy. Set aside.

    To freeze: Once coated, wrap each potato in double clingfilm or freezer zip bags. Freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost overnight; roast as per step 2.

    Calories 180 (9%), fat 4g (6%), saturates 1g (3%), sugars 9g (10%), salt 0.3g (10%) based on 6 servings.

  3. Orange and ginger quinoa with chickpeas

    140g quinoa
    1 orange, juiced
    1 bay leaf
    3cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
    400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
    ½ tsp smoked paprika

    1. Tip the quinoa into a deep saucepan with 250ml water, the orange juice, bay leaf and ginger. Bring to the boil, then cook for 1 min. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 mins. Turn off the heat, leave to stand for 15 mins, then remove the lid and leave to cool.

    2. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the chickpeas, parsley and paprika.

    Calories 122 (6%), fat 2g (3%), saturates <1g (1%), sugars 2g (3%), salt 0.3g (4%), based on 6 servings.

  4. Garlic green beans

    220g pack fine green beans, trimmed
    1 tsp sesame oil
    1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

    1. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat until hot. Add the beans with the oil, sauté for 4 mins, then add the garlic and fry for 1 min. The beans should be al dente and a deep green colour. Set aside to cool.

    Calories 14 (1%), fat 1g (1%), saturates <1g (1%), salt 0g (0%) based on 6 servings.

  5. Sweetcorn and courgette salsa

    1 tsp olive oil
    1 large courgette, finely diced
    300g sweetcorn
    2 garlic cloves, sliced
    1 tbsp ground cumin
    20g fresh coriander, chopped

    1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the courgette and corn and sauté for 2-3 mins. Add the garlic, cumin and coriander; season. Fry for 3 mins, then remove from the heat. Set aside to cool.

    Calories 42 (2%), fat 2g (3%), saturates <1g (1%), sugars 2g (2%), salt 0.2g (3%), based on 6 servings.

  6. Ingredients

    Here's everything you'll need to make all the elements of this vegan lunchbox. Be sure to note down the ingredients or take a screenshot before heading to the shops.

    6 small sweet potatoes (about 1kg)
    1-2 tsp olive oil
    4 tbsp chia and flax seed sprinkles
    1½ tsp smoked paprika
    140g quinoa
    1 orange, juiced
    1 bay leaf
    3cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
    400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
    220g pack fine green beans, trimmed
    1 tsp sesame oil
    1 large courgette, finely diced
    300g sweetcorn
    3 garlic cloves, sliced
    1 tbsp ground cumin
    20g fresh coriander, chopped