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Mark Moriarty: Work-from-home lunches filled with flavour for the price of a coffee

Spice up lunch times with easy miso baked salmon and whole roasted cauliflower with a Mexican twist

Miso salmon and roasted cauliflower. Photographs: Harry Weir

This week the focus is on working-from-home lunches. For most, they involve throwing together a random collection of ingredients from the fridge, or finding the nearest deli counter. Nothing wrong with that, but the cost can add up pretty quickly. How many of us spend €8-€10 a day on a lunch, only to multiply that by five days of the week? In designing this week’s recipes, my aim is to focus on flavour, nutritional balance, cost and time saving. You’ll see in both recipes that I use store cupboard ingredients that last for a long time and are only used in small quantities. Most are now widely available in the supermarkets. I’m talking miso, rice wine vinegar and gochujang paste (once you taste this, you’ll have it on everything).

The first recipe involves miso-baked salmon, which is marinated before being baked in the oven and flaked. This can be cooked in bulk and kept in the fridge for up to three days. The Korean salad is brought together with a very simple yet punchy dressing involving gochujang, lemon juice, soy, honey and ginger. I make this in a bowl and then get everything mixed in. While I’ve used some shredded cabbage, carrot and red pepper, you can substitute ingredients in or out depending on what you have in your fridge. The key is the dressing, which adds the punch. Brown rice adds bulk and soaks up all that leftover dressing and juice. Don’t be shy with the sesame seeds, peanuts and coriander at the end. This is what adds the X factor to the bowl. Price wise, a 450g portion works out at about €5.

Miso baked salmon with brown rice and Korean salad. Photograph: Harry Weir
Whole Baked Cauliflower burrito bowl with refried beans and guacamole. Photograph: Harry Weir

The second recipe is centred on a whole baked cauliflower head. This may seem complicated but the oven does all the work for you. Much like the salmon, it can be made in advance, picked down and stored for up to three days in the fridge. It’s also beautiful as a plant-based dinner or mixed up as a salad for a barbecue. Most of us will be drilled in the age-old tradition of cutting off the cauliflower florettes and steaming them. However, the best flavour and texture for me is in the cauliflower stalks, often discarded. By whole roasting, we use everything, and the juices that are left in the tray are packed with flavour. I’ve taken some Mexican inspiration by adding refried beans and guacamole to the party. Some corn tortilla’s wouldn’t go amiss either. This bowl is very competitive on pricing, coming in at about €3.20 for a 450g portion. Not bad for the price of an average coffee.

So there you have it: inspiration for the working week, packed with flavour, fuel and finesse. Just remember to batch-cook to save hassle. Added bonus: your wallet will thank you later.

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Recipe: Miso baked salmon with brown rice and Korean salad

Recipe: Whole baked cauliflower burrito bowl with refried beans and guacamole