I’ve been asked in the past about healthy lunches on the go, and while I’m working from home at the moment, I definitely understand the frustration with not having enough time or options to create something as equally yummy as it is healthy.
During my university packed lunch days, I found solace in large salads with couscous, either the pre-flavoured varieties (watch out for the salt!) or my own, from scratch. I’d usually prep them the night before, adding my leaves and any dressing in the morning. However, a cold couscous salad can become quite boring, and there are definitely healthier carbohydrate options out there.
This is where Uncle Ben’s latest rice and quinoa* combinations come in. I was kindly sent their full range to give a whirl, and while I was at first sceptical, I found their pouches do have perks. While white rice can be a little too starchy and hard to digest, the Uncle Ben’s medleys stick to wholegrain rice, quinoa, and pearl wheat in some packs. In the future, I think it would be nice to see wholly quinoa, pearl wheat, and wild rice options too.
Intriguingly, you can cook the rice in a pan (if you’re anti-microwaves, like me). I would definitely say Uncle Ben’s should adjust their instructions for this, as I needed a few big splashes of water in the pan when cooking, and it did take me more than two minutes. However, if you are working or studying and are looking for a healthy option to whip up under time/kitchen constraints, microwaving may be a good idea.
In my recipe, I used Uncle Ben’s Pearl Wheat & Quinoa Medley*, although if you are a coeliac you could try another from the range (beware of those with soy in, of course). I always think a warm salad makes a nice change, and while this one is a little heavy in the grains department, they’re slow-burning and will give you enough energy to get through a hectic afternoon at work or university.
Warm Rice & Quinoa Salad
1 packet of Uncle Ben’s Pearl Wheat & Quinoa Medley
1/2 red onion
5 cherry tomatoes
1/3 tin of chickpeas
Handful of coriander
Splash of olive oil
1 tbsp tahini
Squirt of lemon juice
- In a pan, boil 20ml water and add the Pearl Wheat & Quinoa Medley, stirring once and keeping the lid on for four minutes (or alternatively, microwave the pouch for two minutes)
- Slice the red onion into rings, halve the cherry tomatoes, wash the chickpeas and grab a handful of coriander
- In a bowl, mix everything together
- Splash the olive oil, lemon juice, and tahini over the salad and enjoy!