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Serves: 2

We're all trying to save money this month here at Sainsbury's mag HQ, which has prompted a burst of enthusiasm for homemade lunches.

There've been hearty soups, salads and a host of wraps and baps, but now that we've reached mid Jan, we need a little more inspiration. Jenna, our cookery intern, has come to the rescue with three simple recipes that you can whip up the night before – guaranteed to make you the envy of your workplace. All recipes serve 2.

What do you make for lunch? Tell us in the comments box below – we're always looking for inspiration!

Take one tin of green lentils and make...

Lentil, chicken and beetroot salad

1. In a bowl, combine 1 x 160g pack chargrilled cooked chicken slices, 1 x 200g pack Taste the Difference beetroot, sliced and quartered, 1 x 410g tin green lentils, drained and rinsed, 1 x 200g pack Italian-style salad and 2 handfuls of flaked almonds. Transfer to a plastic container and chill.

2. In a separate small sealable pot, whisk together 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp mustard (whichever is your favourite), 3 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp crème fraîche; chill. Take to work with the salad to toss together before eating.


Lentils with butternut squash, sweet potato and spinach

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas 7. Toss 1 x 300g pack prepared butternut squash and sweet potato with 1 tbsp oil, ½ tsp of cumin and a generous pinch of salt. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes until tender, turning halfway; cool.

2. Once cooled, combine the roast squash and potato with 1 x 410g tin green lentils, drained, 1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar, 1 x 100g pack young-leaf spinach, 100g crumbled feta, and 4 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds. Season to taste. Tip into a plastic container; chill.


Lentil soup with pancetta

1. Fry 100g cubed pancetta in a medium pan until crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.

2. Add 1 small onion, diced, 1 small carrot, diced, and 1 stick of celery, diced, to the pan and fry for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Add 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped, and fry for a further minute.

4. Pour in 500ml chicken stock, bring to the boil, then simmer gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add 1 x 410g tin green lentils, drained, and simmer for a few minutes more, adding extra stock or water if the soup seems too thick.

5. Return the pancetta to the pan, season the soup with a pinch of dried chilli flakes, salt and pepper, to taste. Cool, then pour the soup into a plastic container; chill. Heat in the office microwave before tucking in. Take a couple of slices of bread with you too if you need extra sustenance.


About the author

Sarah Randell
Sarah has written more than 1000 recipes for the magazine as our Food Director