Vegan lunch box recipes with a South African twist

If you’re a sensitive person and you’ve become aware of the huge cost of factory farming, to both your health and the planet, changing to a vegetarian diet will be one the most responsible decisions that you will ever make. You will certainly be healthier, as long as you eat consciously and ensure that you’re ticking all the essential nutrient boxes at every meal. Remember- more responsibility equals more freedom, so you won’t regret it.

As your body, re-sensitises to this new diet, you’re likely to find yourself moving progressively further and further away from mass produced, fast, food-like products. These nutrient lacking excuses for sustenance tend to lose appeal as you become increasingly more aware of what you’re eating and the effects that the different kinds of foods have on your mind, body and the way that you feel. This is great, however if you want to avoid rushing down to the food cart at lunch time, it will mean that you will have to spend a little more time and effort in the kitchen, preparing healthy lunch boxes to take to the office. A small price to pay for a new lease on life!

Today I’ll give you a great, vegan lunch box idea. I’m going to share two traditional South African favourites, which originate from very different parts of the cultural mix in my country, yet complement each other beautifully. These are Vetkoek (literally means ‘fat cake’), a delicious, filling old Afrikaner traditional dish, which is usually served with either jam, or curried mince (hamburger), however, today we’re going to pair them with Chakalaka, a zesty, spicy dish, born in the rural, tribal areas of South Africa. A nourishing and tasty mix, the epitome of cultural diversity in South Africa!


Vetkoek recipe: Enough for at least 4 generous servings)

4 cups flour (You can substitute half for oat flour if you’d like)
5g instant yeast
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp. coconut oil
5ml salt
250-300 ml warm water

Enough oil to deep fry.



Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Add oil and mix with your fingertips.

Add enough water to make a bread-like dough and knead well.

Cover bowl with a cloth and leave until doubled in size.

Knead again and roll dough into golf ball size balls.

Heat oil till hot enough to brown a cube of bread in about a minute.

Fry vetkoek till golden brown and drain on a paper towel.

*Note: If you slide the vetkoek into the oil very slowly, they will have a nice hollow inside- you can then make a slit in each one and fill them with the Chakalaka, just before eating them.


Chakalaka recipe:

3 tbsp. oil (sunflower or coconut)

2 onions, chopped

1 medium carrot, grated

1 bell pepper, chopped

3 tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp minced garlic

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp salt

1 chopped chilli (to your taste)

1 can of baked beans in tomato sauce (Or any canned beans of your choice)


Fry onion, carrot, pepper, garlic and curry powder in oil, until the onion is soft.

Add tomatoes and simmer for about five minutes.

Add baked beans and salt and mix through.

This is delicious hot, or cold and is scrummy when served with vetkoek, making an easy to eat, well balanced meal.


Remember to always include some fruit or raw salad ingredients to your lunch and ALWAYS drink at least 2 litres of fresh water daily.

Your taste buds will have become dulled from a lifetime of eating refined sugar, so do yourself a favour and (slowly if it’s easier) reduce the amount you use every day. If you are able to cut it out completely, you will begin to experience a subtler awareness to tastes.