Pasta and the City is a guide to budget friendly packed lunch ideas for every stressed-out Londoner, whether you’ve just been hired in Canary Wharf or you’re starting your dream masters degree.

Here you can find the perfect packed lunch for you, and much more.

fork holding spaghetti and a cherry tomato
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Why packed lunch?

There are many reasons why you'd want to bring a home-made meal to work or school. Maybe you're trying to save up some money to buy Hamilton tickets. Or you'd like to follow a healthy diet. Or maybe you are simply looking for satisfaction and relax in cooking. But where to find inspiration? How to know which ingredients work well together? This is what P&C is here for.

All the packed lunches you will find in our recipe archive are:

  • Budget friendly, along with each recipe, you will find the average price of a portion, showing you how much money you can save. I say "average" because it's base on my weekly grocery bill at Sainsbury but, depending on which store you like to shop at, you could get the same recipe at an even cheaper price.

  • Simple, four or five ingredients at most, twenty minutes to put them all together and no more than two pots. Because a packed lunch idea shouldn't take much of your time, but rather help you save it. Plus, the secrete of Italian food is to achieve the best flavour with minimum effort.
  • Tasty, because the weather is terrible enough already, so you should at least eat well. And actually, balanced and pleasant meals can help boost your mood and relieve some of your daily stress. Never forget that we are what we eat.

My packed lunches are based on Mediterranean tradition, one of the healthiest in the world, which combines simple ingredients and preparations to bring out the delicious. Vegetables, fruits and fish are the pillars of Mediterranean recipes, so here you will find many ideas based on these ingredients.

In the ingredient list, you will find also some additional suggestions, like spices or dried fruits to improve the presentation and the flavour of your packed lunch. You are welcome to follow them or to try your own version of the recipe and share it in the comments. The Mediterranean region is a melting pot of diverse cultures, so there is always room to experiment.

Just don't put pineapple on pizza. Please.

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I, Pasta

I live in London, but first of all I’m Italian. Pasta is the absolute queen in my kitchen and you’d be surprised to see how many variants this ingredient has. I am not just talking about the different shapes, but also the cooking methods. Pasta can be boiled, baked, you can put it into a frittata and it would still be delicious. 

The other good thing about it is that pasta can satisfy any need you might have. Gluten intolerant? There is a kind of pasta for you, made of lentils instead of wheat but just as tasty. It goes very well with pesto.  Vegetarian or Vegan? Veggie sauces rock! From the classic tomato sauce, to grated zucchini and carrots, veggies and pasta are a match made in Heaven. Or Hell, if you overdo the chilli like I did once. Meat and fish lover? Check out the sausage and mushroom recipe or the salmon and kale.

You will also explore the magical world of panini, plus ideas for easy snacks and dinners, in case you want to invite friends over and show off

Sharpen your knife, wash a tupperware and look inside your fridge.

Your next packed lunch is there waiting

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