4 Refreshing summer recipe ideas for your work lunch

With soaring temperatures, its important to tweak your summer lunches to help you stay cool. Nutritionists recommend adding electrolyte-rich drinks and ingredients like basil seeds, coconut, and raw mango to meals for a refreshing summer diet.

Arzoo Dina
First Published17 Jun 2024, 03:00 PM IST
Swap spice heavy lunches for summer friendly recipes
Swap spice heavy lunches for summer friendly recipes (iStock)

If, like many other office-goers, you’ve been wondering what to carry in your lunch tiffin in this unbearable heat, you’re not alone. With temperatures soaring well above the normal in several parts of the country, the idea of consuming foods that are high on spices or overly rich can feel a bit too much. Salads might seem like a great swap for your regular dal or rajma and rice, but they aren’t often satiating enough. Worse, you might find yourself reaching out for that piece of brownie in the office canteen or a plate of samosa after the meal.

Besides keeping the meals fun, tasty, full of variety and, most importantly, healthy in this hot weather, it’s also important to keep replenishing those electrolytes while you try to juggle between meetings and completing the to-do list.

Also read: Try these sweet and savoury raw mango recipes from Lucknow

Just chugging water isn’t enough, says Delhi-based clinical nutritionist Lovneet Batra. “Add soaked chia or basil seeds to your liquids. Drinks like buttermilk, shikanji, aam panna and bael juice are great for the summer.”

And if you start getting bored of the drinks, add ingredients like coconut, raw mango, ginger, rice and curry leaves to your food. Using raw mango, mint or coconut chutney as accompaniments to your lunch meal can also be beneficial.

A simple rule to follow for a healthy tiffin is simple: Just load it up with vegetables, lean proteins and brown or red rice.

“You can even make wholegrain wraps filled with turkey, hummus, veggies and pesto. Even a simple dish of curd rice will do the trick of keeping you cool and full,” suggests Riddhi Jadwani, nutritionist and founder of Mumbai-based PositivEats clinic. Drinks with soaked gond katira, also known as tragacanth gum, will help in boosting hydration, she adds.

Here are some easy lunch recipes that are tasty, healthy and summer friendly.

Raw Mango Curry and Konkan Rice Bowl

Serves 1

(Recipe courtesy: Lovneet Batra)


2 raw mangoes, peeled and grated

1 cup grated coconut

2-3 green chillies, chopped

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp chana dal

1 tbsp urad dal

1 sprig curry leaves

1 tbsp fresh ginger juice

1 tbsp coconut oil

Salt to taste

Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

A bowl of cooked Konkan red rice


Peel and grate the raw mangoes. Set them aside. In a blender, add grated coconut, green chillies and turmeric powder. Blend to a coarse paste without adding water. Set aside. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.

Add cumin seeds, chana and urad dals. Fry until the dals turn golden brown. Add curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds.

Add the grated raw mango to the pan and sauté for a few minutes until the mango softens slightly.

Add the coconut paste to the pan and mix well. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, allowing the flavours to blend together. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Add cooked rice to the curry.

Now add the fresh ginger juice to the mixture. Mix well and cook together. Remove the pan from heat and garnish with fresh coriander.

Zucchini Lemon Pasta

Serves 1

(Recipe courtesy: Raveena Taurani, chef and founder of Mumbai-based Yogisattva café)


For boiling the pasta

1 tsp salt

300g brown rice spaghetti

For pan-fried zucchini mixture

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp minced garlic

2 green zucchinis, chopped

1 tsp salt

2 tsp smoked paprika

Pinch of black pepper

For pasta sauce

Pan fried zucchini

200g tofu

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp salt

Pinch of black pepper


In a pot add water and once it reaches boiling consistency, add your pasta along with 1 tsp salt and let it cook.

In the meantime, in a pan, add olive oil, minced garlic, 2 chopped zucchinis and saute with some salt, smoked paprika and a pinch of black pepper. Once your zucchini is soft enough and can easily be sliced using your spatula, switch off the gas and allow this mixture to cool. In a blender, add the pan fried zucchini, tofu, juice of 1/2 a lemon, zest of 1/2 a lemon, salt and pinch of black pepper and blend.

In the same pan that you pan fried your zucchini in, add the zucchini lemon sauce to thicken on low to medium heat. Mix in your cooked pasta once the sauce is thick enough. Garnish with roasted almonds.


Zucchini Lemon Pasta

Grilled Fish with Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower Rice

Serves 1

(Recipe courtesy: Riddhi Jadwani)


1 small fillet of salmon or any other fish

200ml cauliflower rice

1 small sweet potato

Chopped herbs

Salt and pepper to taste

Seasoning of your choice


Grill the fish in a dressing or seasoning of your choice. Make the cauliflower rice. Chop up the sweet potato, seasoned with salt, pepper and any other spice blend that you prefer. Roast in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil. Assemble all your ingredients together and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Garnish with chopped herbs.


Grilled salmon with salad

Thayir Sadam (Curd rice) with Pan Fried Chicken

Serves 1

(Recipe courtesy: Ebaani Tewari and Mathew Varghese, chefs and co-founders of Mumbai-based eatery Kari Apla)


For curd rice

1 cup boiled rice

1 cup curd

Salt to taste

Sunflower oil for tempering

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1 sprig curry leaves

1 chopped green chilli

1/2 inch chopped fresh ginger

For pan fried chicken

1 kg boneless chicken cut into pieces

1 cup rice flour

1 tbsp coriander powder

2 tbsp red chilli powder

1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

1 sprig curry leaves (chopped)

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp black pepper powder

Salt to taste

Oil to pan fry


Mix the rice and curd together in a bowl, ensuring there are no lumps. For tempering, heat sunflower oil. Add in the mustard seeds first, followed by curry leaves, ginger and chilli. Add the tempering over the curd rice and season with salt.

For the chicken, marinate it with all the ingredients. Let it sit overnight. This can be frozen in batches for later use. Pan fry the chicken with 2-3 tablespoons of oil (or as needed) for a few minutes, until golden-brown. Place it atop the curd rice or have it on the side.

Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com

Also read: Give your recipes a summer update with homegrown dill 

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First Published:17 Jun 2024, 03:00 PM IST
HomeLoungefood4 Refreshing summer recipe ideas for your work lunch

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