Tess Ward’s ultimate lunchbox recipe

We’re a foodie bunch here at Pai HQ and delight in checking out and being inspired by each other’s lunch options daily.

However, we know we’re not alone in reaching the mid-week point and being unable to think of a single appetising thing for lunch!

So we were pretty pleased when Le Cordon Bleu trained chef, Grazia food writer and blogger, Tess Ward agreed to share her ultimate lunch-box recipe with us.

Over to Tess to help inspire your mid-week lunching!

Houmous is pretty much the king of the dips. Certainly it is the most renowned contribution Middle Eastern cuisine has made to our supermarket shelves.

It’s so versatile, filling and delicious – the perfect thing for easy snacking and light lunching.

Just make a bowl at the beginning of the week and you have the perfect pot of goodness to dunk and dollop on to salads, sandwiches and munch on with crudités.”

Tess Ward’s Humous Recipe

Makes 1 large bowl

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 400g cooked chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander stalks, plus leaves to garnish
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs toasted pine nuts, to serve


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/ gas mark 8.

Place the sweet potatoes in a baking dish and cook in the middle oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

You will be able to tell when they are done -when you squeeze them, they should feel like pulp.

Once cooked, cut them open and leave to steam cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a frying pan over a medium heat.

Toast the cumin seeds in the pan for 2-3 minute or until they smell golden and aromatic.

Then add them to a food processor with the chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, paprika, garlic, lemon (juice and zest),  a big pinch of salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.

Blitz the mixture to a puree, adding a little extra olive oil if needed.

Finally add the sweet potato. Give the mixture a final blitz, season to taste and pour into a bowl.

Top with a drizzle of olive oil, toasted pine nuts and herbs

Serve either chilled, or at room temperature with any dipping and dunking foods you fancy.

Carrot batons, cucumber sticks, rice cakes, toasted chips, you name it – anything dunkable will do.

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