WFH food fatigue? 10 easy (and new) working from home lunch ideas

WFH means eating lunch at home in 2020, every, single, day.
WFH means eating lunch at home in 2020, every, single, day.  Photo: iStock

As the Good Food digital team – like many others – hit the six-month milestone of unexpectedly working from home (wfh) in 2020 (wtf?), we thought we'd share some of our easy, but tasty, throw-together lunches that have replaced sushi rolls and overpriced sandwiches as our midday meal of choice. 

Raid the deli
Think cafe cabinet focaccia of the nineties and noughties, but better. Spread the bottom half with something salty – such as artichoke paste or tapenade, available from Italian delis – and layer slices of grilled, marinated eggplant, fresh tomato, sopressa salami, spinach, sliced provolone and the bread lid (brushed with a little oil from the eggplant tub), then grill in a sandwich press. (Bonus bragging points for homemade focaccia!) Annabel Smith

Turkey Turkish toasties
Split a slab of supermarket Turkish bread (tip: these last a few days, so are good when it's getting towards the end of the week and you're limiting your shopping trips), spread with onion jam, layer slices of smoked turkey breast, baby spinach leaves and sliced or grated smoky cheese (such as That's Amore's smoked caciotta). Squish in a sandwich press until the cheese is stretchy. AS

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's burrata with roasted cherry tomato and basil.

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's burrata with roasted cherry tomato and basil. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

Bargain burrata
Keep an eye out for burrata, now available at major supermarkets, and sometimes marked down due to its short shelf life. Take a ripe, room temperature heirloom tomato, slice and season generously with salt flakes and black pepper, drizzle with the good (olive) oil, chuck on a couple of basil leaves from your herb garden and serve with lightly toasted sourdough for mopping up the cheese's creamy interior. Or make Julia Busuttil Nishimura's burrata with roasted cherry tomato and basil, above (or her other two beaut burrata recipes). AS

Katrina Meynink's Miso rice and charred greens.

Katrina Meynink's Miso rice and charred greens. Photo: Katrina Meynink

Japanese double miso rice bowls
Make Katrina Meynink's miso rice salad for dinner and add the miso roasted pumpkin from this ramen recipe. The stock-simmered rice and miso dressing make great leftovers. For lunch, add a sliced fresh avo, chunks of said miso pumpkin, tuna if that's your thing, and a sprinkling of furikake seasoning. (On night two, make the ramen broth by doctoring-up some stock and simply warm through those excess pumpkin pieces you prepared earlier. Why not add a soft-boiled jammy egg, too?) AS

Scrambled eggs with tapenade and parmesan
Spread toasted sourdough – olive if you have it – with black olive tapenade, then spoon some scrambled eggs on top, drizzle with olive oil and cover with parmesan shavings (use a vegie peeler!). AS 

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Wombok salad with tatsoi, fried noodles and Asian-style dressing.
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Wombok salad with tatsoi, fried noodles and Asian-style dressing  Photo: Megan Johnston

Make your own supermarket wombok salad
It was the little supermarket salad that could. Shredded wombok mixed with a sprinkling of baby tatsoi leaves, crunchy noodles and a punchy Asian-style dressing. Coles used to sell a version a few years ago, now sadly discontinued. Happily, you can make your own. Shred half a wombok in a food processor with the S-shaped chopping blade, then refrigerate in a large container ready for the week ahead. When lunchtime rolls around, mix a few cups of cabbage in a bowl with a half-dozen freshly plucked tatsoi leaves* and a handful of noodles (Chang's Crunchy Fried Noodles for best results), then toss in a light drizzle of sesame oil, lemon juice, fish sauce and soy sauce. It's super healthy, and surprisingly satisfying. Megan Johnston

Now's the time to indulge  your stinky food fantasies - there are no workmates around to complain.

Now's the time to indulge your stinky food fantasies – there are no workmates around to complain. Photo: Pat Scala

Stinky sandwiches
Sardine sandwiches, Swiss-style cheeses and spicy smoked sausages from the deli – now's the time to go crazy on all those stinky foods that taste fantastic but don't travel too well in a lunchbox or have a tendency to offend co-workers' olfactory systems. Serve open on a slice of sourdough with real butter and a dollop of relish, chutney or savoury jam you have stashed away in the pantry, and you have yourself an impressive solo snack. MJ

Making your own sushi rolls is simpler than you may think.

Making your own sushi rolls is simpler than you may think. Photo: Georgia Willis

Home-made sushi rolls
Regular supermarkets usually stock everything you need to MYO sushi: a bamboo rolling mat, sushi rice, yaki nori, rice wine vinegar/sushi seasoning and fillings. Cook and cool a cup of rice, then season with a tablespoon or two of vinegar or sushi seasoning. Lay the nori shiny side down on the mat, then spread a layer of rice on top, leaving a 2cm strip at the far end of the sheet exposed. Place your fillings in a straight line across the rice - cooked tuna mixed with a dollop or two of mayo alongside a few slices of cucumber is an easy option for beginners. Then lift the side of the mat closest to you and roll the sheet tightly, sealing the exposed strip with a few dabs of water. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger. MJ

If you can't go out for dumplings, DIY them yourself.

If you can't go out for dumplings, DIY them yourself. Photo: Brendon Thorne

Dumplings with bok choy
Perhaps the easiest (and best) IMHO. Buy a bag of frozen dumplings. Most supermarkets have pretty good ones now and usually on special (my dump of choice is Mr Chen's Prawn Hargow). Buy a bunch of bok choy (for balance, right?). Steam bok choy. Steam or pan fry dumplings. Top bok choy with dumplings. Splash with soy sauce, chilli oil, or your Chinese condiment of choice. Eat. Also my cheap lazy Friday night dinner of choice. Andrea McGinniss

Tuna melts
Anyone else living on the small cans of Sirena tuna (chilli oil variety) right now? I never ate it in the office for no one likes a tinned fish-breathed colleague, but boy am I making up for it now. On top of Vita-Weats, stirred through last night's leftover pasta with a squeeze of lemon, some capers and parsley, or just on its own from the can, I'm a fan. My favourite way to eat it however is in a good old-fashioned tuna melt. Warm fish with cheese you may say, 'Ew'. You'd be wrong. Mix it with a big dollop of good mayo, some finely chopped red onion and parsley, and pile it atop a slice of sourdough. Slap on a pickle and top with cheddar or gruyere cheese. Top with another buttered-on-the-outside slice of bread. Then toast in a frying pan, or in a fancy toastie machine if you have one. It's great whatever way you slice it. AM

* If you don't have ready access to tatsoi leaves you can swap them for baby spinach, or easily grow your own. It thrives in most Australian seasons – just sow and water seeds in a pot and within a few weeks you'll have baby leaves ready to go.