According to research from Totaljobs, 56 per cent of Britons don’t take their full lunch break. The average worker only spends 27 minutes away from their desks, in fact, blaming a hectic lifestyle and lack of time.
Add to that the imminent prospect of children returning to school and mornings spent frantically preparing lunch boxes, and the need for quick and hassle-free options seems ever more pressing for children and adults alike.
Lunch needs to be sustaining, however, and thankfully a recent crop of one-pot meals, ranging from fragrant miso broth to Keralan curry, have appeared on the supermarket shelves, for when sandwiches just won’t cut it. Many are vegetarian, some vegan, and all are heat-to-eat (so you’ll need a microwave), promising no-fuss nourishment for hectic weekdays.
But can busy workers, armed with a one-pot meal, overcome the afternoon slump? We put the front runners to the test to find out.
Watmuff & Beckett chorizo & butternut squash risotto
This rich and creamy risotto made with tender squash and chorizo had an excellent, authentic flavour that we couldn’t get enough of. Simply heat, eat, and feel yourself transported to Lombardy.
Easy Bean French Cuisinées
£3.99, Ocado, available in store at Whole Foods Market
A hearty, rustic combination of buttery chestnuts, leeks, celery and carrots, coated in a sweet broth of tomato, rosemary and thyme. Eaten with a hunk of crusty bread and salted butter, this kept us full until dinner.
BOL Keralan coconut curry
£3, from Morrisons, widely available
Coconut milk and coriander are the dominant flavours in this creamy curry made with brown rice, red lentils, crunchy green beans and chickpeas; it’s a great lunch option for the health conscious who are strapped for time.
Soulful jackfruit smoky bbq chilli with corn & beans
£3.59, Ocado, selected flavours available in store at Aldi
This chipotle-spiced chilli packs a real heat after a couple of spoonfuls. Kidney beans and black eyed peas offered a good texture but the jackfruit would be nicer in smaller pieces; it added little in terms of flavour.
Pollen + Grace warming miso and kimchi noodle pot
A vegan, delicately fragrant combination of pak choi, lotus root and rice noodles seasoned with miso, kimchi and fresh chilli. It was light and enjoyable; excellent for a snack but not filling enough for lunch.
Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! Thai red vegetable curry with rice
There’s a heady fragrance of lime leaf and ginger but it tastes predominantly of coconut milk. It’s a pretty standard curry with a rather nondescript flavour, but left us feeling full nonetheless.