Are you getting bored of the same old lunch everyday? The Citron team have brain-stormed for you, and we have come up with 11 different fillers you can add into your Citron lunch box. From warming foods to keep your bellies happy during the winter, to sweet snacks for your dessert to dishes from around the world, we hope you enjoy our recipes.
1. Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni cheese is just one of those home comforts that everyone loves! We have added our own twist and have made it a little healthier. Simply heat up your small food jar with hot water before adding your pasta to the food jar, and enjoy! You can then add it to your lunch box with a range of other snacks to keep you going throughout lunch.
- 300g macaroni pasta
- 40g low-fat spread
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 50g plain flour
- 600ml semi-skimmed milk
- 75g reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp English mustard
- 1 pinch of black pepper and salt
- Heat the oven up to 170°C and cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes once the water is boiling.
- Whilst the pasta is cooking, melt the low-fat spread and and cook the onions so they soften for 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour a little at a time.
- Next add boiling water to your small food jar to heat it up.
- Return to the heat and cook gently, stirring constantly for about a minute, until the mixture has the texture of sand. Remove from the heat and add 2/3rds of the cheese and the mustard. Season with salt and pepper and stir.
- Add the hot cheese sauce to the pan with the cooked pasta and mix well and then add to your small food jar.
2. Korean-style Pancakes
Sandwiches are normally the main component of any lunch box, however we have decided to change things up. Here we have a Korean-style spring onion pancake, you can add chicken or prawns to the pancake if you like, or you can keep it vegetarian.
- 75g plain flour
- 1 egg
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 spring onions shredded
- 100g cooked prawns or cooked chicken (optional)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- A pinch of chilli flakes
- A pinch of sugar
- Mix the rice vinegar, soy sauce, chilli flakes and sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and a pinch of salt together. In a mug whisk 100ml water, the egg and garlic together. Make a well in the flour mixture and then pour in the egg mixture and whisk into a smooth batter.
- Heat your oil in a frying pan and cook the shredded spring onions for 1 minute until they have softened. If you're adding cooked prawns or cooked chicken, add that in now and then pour the batter on top.
- Cook on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until cooked through. Slice into wedges and serve with the dipping sauce.
- Add your dipping sauce into one of our sauce containers!
3. Apple Crumble Yoghurt Pot
When you think of winter treats, what do you think of? Apple crumble has to be one of those dishes! Here is a very moorish stewed apple yoghurt pot, making the perfect lunch-time dessert or breakfast!
- 3 apples, peeled, cored & chopped
- 2-4 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 50g oats
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- Add the apples, sugar, lemon juice and half of the cinnamon and all of the nutmeg into a small pan with 1 tbsp water.
- Cook the mixture over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the apples have softened.
- You can either leave the mixture as it is, or if you prefer a smoother consistency you can blend it.
- For the oats, add them to a frying pan until they are golden brown, add the other half of the cinnamon and a pinch of sugar.
- Fill up ¾ of your food jar with yoghurt and then add your apple mixture and a spoonful of the oats.
4. Stir-fry Noodles
Stir fry noodles make a great lunch filler for any lunch box! You can either make a batch of noodles specifically for your lunch, or you could have them the night-before and use the leftovers in your lunch box.
- 1 portion of plain noodles
- 1 hard boiled egg
- A handful of green beans
- 1 tsp chopped coriander
- ½ clove of garlic
- 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
- ½ small carrot
5. Creamy Pea Pasta
We are coming back with another pasta recipe, because who doesn’t love pasta? This time we are sharing a creamy and garlicky pasta loaded with peas. You can make this dish 100% plant-based by swapping the cream out for soy cream.
- 200g pasta or your choice
- 160g peas
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 150ml double cream (dairy or plant-based)
- ½ lemon juice
- 40g parmesan
- Bring a saucepan to the boil and add your pasta, cook as per instructions on the packet. 3 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add your peas to boil.
- Heat a frying pan up with olive oil over a medium heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes until soft and then add the garlic until golden brown. Add the cream, lemon juice, parmesan and season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
- Drain the pasta and peas (keeping a cup of the pasta water). Add the pasta to your sauce and mix well, add some of the pasta water to make it more saucy.
- Add to your small food jar and grate some extra parmesan on top.
6. Creamy Tomato Soup
A winter staple has to be creamy tomato soup! If you try out this recipe make sure you tag us in any photos! It’s also 100% vegan so will be a perfect lunch-time filler if you are attempting Veganuary in 2024.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 300g carrots, chopped
- 500g potato, diced
- 4 bay leaves
- 5 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 4 x 400g chopped tomatoes
- 500g passata
- 3 vegetable stock cubes
- 400ml milk (plant-based or dairy)
- Add the oil, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes and bay leaves into a casserole dish. Fry gently until the onions are softened, it should take between 10-15 minutes. Whilst that is frying, fill the kettle and boil it.
- Add your tomato puree, sugar, vinegar, chopped tomatoes, passata and stock cubes into the casserole dish.
- Add 1 litre of boiling water to a pan and bring it to the boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Remove the bay leaves and blend all the ingredients together in a blender, until very smooth.
- Season to taste and enjoy!
- Add it into your small food jar as part of your lunch box, or you can add it to a large food jar and enjoy a bigger portion.
7. Banana Boats
A delicious lunch box would not be completed without some sweet treats in there as well! Here we have a fruity and creamy snack that will leave you wanting even more.
- 2 Banana
- 150g yoghurt
- 30ml double cream
- 1 tsp honey
- Chocolate chips
- Slice your banana from one tip to the end so you have two long banana strips.
- Next you’re going to make your whipped yoghurt, add your yoghurt, cream and honey into a bowl and whip together until it forms a stiff peak. If the mixture isn’t becoming thicker, add more double cream.
- Once you have created a spreadable mixture, spread onto your banana and then add a few chocolate chips on top.
8. Pesto and Chicken Gnocchi
Now this is a very simple dish to make, you can either follow our recipe or you can simply grab a bag of gnocchi from the shops and a jar of pesto and bam there you have a dish in under 5 minutes. If you would however like to make your own pesto, here it is!
- 65g kale
- 100g spinach
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- ½ small bunch of basil
- 15g pine nuts
- 1 tbsp parmesan
- 25 ml olive oil
- 250g cooked chicken
- 200g peas
- 50g light crème fraiche
- 300ml vegetable stock
- 300g gnocchi
- Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and set aside a bowl of ice-cold water.
- Put the kale and spinach in the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes, once cooked use a spoon and lower the vegetables in the cold water. Next drain the vegetables and squeeze them to remove any water.
- Put the spinach and kale into a food processor with garlic, the lemon juice and zest, basil, pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth and season with pepper.
- Tip your fresh pesto into a pan with the cooked chicken, peas, crème fraiche and the stock and heat until it starts to boil.
- Once it is boiling, add your gnocchi and cook for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.
- Add into your food jar and add some extra basil leaves and parmesan on top.
9. Cheesy Bean Burger
Instead of your usual beef burger, why not make it veggie and try a bean burger for your lunch? Here is our take on a cheesy bean burger - we hope you enjoy!
- 400g black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 75g mature cheddar cheese (dairy or plant-based)
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 egg
- 50g fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 bun
- Condiments of your choice
- Add your beans to a bowl and mash them together with a fork or a masher until it’s formed a rough puree and set aside.
- Heat your oil in a pan and fry your onion and garlic over a gentle heat for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Once cooked, add your onion mixture and your bean mixture together along with the cheese and season to taste.
- Shape the mixture into 4 patties and pop in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls.
- Roll each patty in the flour until lightly covered, then roll it in the egg mixture and then cover with breadcrumbs.
- Heat up some oil and cook your burger patty for 10 minutes or until they start to brown - don’t forget to flip them half-way through. Alternatively you can cook the burgers in your air fryer.
- Remove the excess oil with a paper cloth!
10. Chocolate Chip Muffins
Last but not least, we have one more dessert up our sleeve to add into your lunch box. To make them a little lighter, we add natural yoghurt to ours! You can use milk, dark or white chocolate chips to your muffin, add whichever one is your favourite.
- 125g self-raising flour
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 75g chocolate chips
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 75ml natural yoghurt
- 50g unsalted butter
- Heat the oven to 180°C and pop 6 muffin cases into your muffin tray.
- Sift the bicarbonate of soda and flour into a large mixing bowl. Next add in your chocolate chips and sugar.
- In a bowl mix together the eggs, yoghurt and melted butter and then add to your dried ingredients.
- Once it has all been mixed, add the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes, or until risen and golden brown.
- Make sure they are completely cooled before you add them into your lunch box.
11. Roasted Veggie Couscous
Now we know that this recipe may scream summer, but we just love couscous so we had to add it to our lunch-time recipe repertoire this year! If you prefer to eat it warm, simply heat your small or large food up with boiling water, and add your couscous afterwards to keep warm.
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 red onion sliced into wedges
- 125g cherry tomatoes
- 125g couscous
- 1 stock cube
- 1 pack of salad leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 50g feta
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- Preheat your oven or air fryer to 200°C. Line 2 large baking trays with your chopped peppers and onion. Roast your vegetables for 40 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown. Once they are cooked, set aside to cool.
- On a separate baking tray, add your tomatoes and roast for 20 minutes.
- To cook your couscous, add a stock cube and the couscous to boiling water for 5 minutes or until Al Dente.
- Add your couscous to a bowl with the salad leaves of your choice, and your vegetables. Drizzle the contents of the bowl with olive oil and toss to combine. Simply separate the couscous salad into your lunchboxes and crumble the feta on top and sprinkle with.
Now we have bombarded you with a LOT of lunch box fillers to last you through the winter, we hope a few of them take your fancy! At Citron we have a number of different lunch-boxes for you to choose from, so it might be hard to decide which one would suit you the best. To help you out, we have another blog that goes into depth about all of our boxes and what makes them unique to the others. Make sure you keep an eye out on our website for any sneaky discounts we have coming this Christmas period!