Spring into spring with easy lunch ideas

With spring just around the corner, I’ve dusted off a few easy recipes to ‘spring’ out of the lunch rut. A PKU friendly Waldorf salad for those days when the sun comes out between the clouds. A protein free Mac & cheese for the days when we need a bit of comfort food, and quick soups.

Spring into spring with easy lunch ideas

This winter, I’ve fallen into a bit of rut and have treated lunch like a second breakfast. This because I manage to be both busy and lazy at the same time. When busy, I scoff down cereal or a round of toast then head out the door to fit in some daylight & exercise before the next call. On less busy days, well, I tend to eat the same lunch because I'm lazy.

With spring just around the corner, I’ve dusted off a few easy recipes to ‘spring’ out of the lunch rut. A PKU friendly Waldorf salad for those days when the sun comes out between the clouds. A protein free Mac & cheese for the days when we need a bit of comfort food, and easy soup recipes to fill up the freezer.

PKU Waldorf salad: 1Phe

1 red apple
1/2 stalk celery (optional)
20 g PKU friendly feta cheese, diced or crumbled
7g pinenuts (1 phe)
Handful of fresh rocket
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Salt & pepper to season

  1. Core & dice the apple. Put this into a large bowl and sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt to bring out the flavour while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  2. Dice the celery and the cheese then mix into with the apple with the pine nuts and rocket. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Mix and taste to see if it needs more salt & pepper.

Phe-free Macaroni & Cheese

Takes about 20 mins from scratch, 15 minutes with a microwave pasta cooker & a bit of practice.
Boiling water
80g dried PKU pasta
10g butter
10g PKU flour
1/4 cup PKU friendly milk
1/4 cup PKU friendly grated cheese
1/4 tsp mustard powder (optional)
1/4 tsp grated horseradish (optional)
Salt & pepper

  1. Cooking the pasta is the time sink here, so the first thing to do is put the kettle on. While the kettle boils, measure out your pasta and get a saucepan ready. Once the kettle boils, pour the water into a saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and set a timer for the cooking time, I find 12 minutes works so start with that and adjust as necessary.
  2. While the pasta cooks, take a second saucepan and melt the butter over a low heat. Then add the flour and mix to a paste. Gradually add the milk and mix in between additions to avoid lumps. The sauce will gradually thicken.
  3. When all the milk is in, add the low protein grated cheese. The mustard powder helps with the cheese flavour while horseradish adds a kick. If you are using either, or both, add them now.
  4. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and combine with the sauce. Add salt & pepper to taste and enjoy.

Quick soups

It is still early in the season, so there will be plenty of cold squalls ahead. Having a few soups in the freezer can brighten a wet afternoon. The carrot soup I posted previously is a great protein free option for batch cooking and freezing.

Alternately, you might want to whip up a quick soup from freezer ingredients. Try this butternut squash soup which I shared with NSPKU News & Views magazine several years ago. It is ready to eat 30 mins after getting into the kitchen.

Phe-free Butternut Squash soup

1/2 Tbsp oil or butter
1 onion, diced or sliced
1 clove garlic, diced or sliced
1 bag of about 500g frozen butternut squash
1 low protein vegetable or chicken stock cube made up with 2 cups of water. Pinch of rosemary or mint or mixed herbs (whatever is handy!)

  1. Fry onion and garlic in the oil or butter for 5 minutes or so until it browns.
  2. Add all the butternut squash, stock and chosen herb. You can add more water while it is cooking to make a thinner soup. Stir well to mix and boil until a knife goes easily into a bit of pumpkin (usually 10-15 mins)
  3. Remove pot from heat and purée smooth before serving with PKU bread.

I am always interested in more low protein and protein free lunch ideas, please do share on twitter!