My favourite recipes to make working from home as a freelancer

As part of Stress Awareness Month, IPSE is promoting all the best ways that independent professionals can take actions to alleviate stress, boost their wellbeing and ultimately their business. 

Freelance Marketing Executive Orla Lyons-Hamilton shares her top recipes that she enjoys making from home during the working week.

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Being a freelancer working from home affords me the luxury of being able to escape the perils of a potential tasteless, overpriced lunch in the city. Making quick, efficient and nutritious meals adds a certain je ne sais quoi to my working day. Although I have more flexibility as a freelancer, I really enjoy the challenge of creating quick, efficient and nutritious meals.

I’ll walk you through a few of my favourite recipe staples that help give me the positive boost I need on even the busiest of days. 

Mixed berries smoothie

Although it often feels like I can’t function at full capacity without my obligatory morning coffee, sometimes I like to mix up my morning routine every now and again to get a hit of refreshing antioxidants to help me kick-start my day with a zing. 

This recipe is perfect for that fresh feeling to start your day. You can play around with the ingredients however you like - I personally enjoy using oat milk and putting a healthy bunch of mint and banana in mine for a refreshing touch. The best part is you just whack it all in the blender and all the hard work is done for you. 

1 ripe banana 
1 x 200g frozen berries
100ml Oat milk
Handful of mint, roughly chopped 
1 tablespoon of maple syrup

In a blender, combine roughly chopped bananas, frozen berry mix, oat milk and maple syrup.
Blend until smooth. 


Sometimes when I’m working from home, I just want a versatile healthy dip that I can keep in the fridge and pair with different meals or snacks throughout the day - this recipe is ideal for that. You want to use a really thick, full fat greek yoghurt for this, and fresh dill is non-negotiable - without it, you’ll be disappointed. 

1/2 of a large cucumber - unpeeled
200g plain full-fat Greek yogurt
2 large garlic cloves - finely minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill


Grate the cucumber and drain through a fine mesh sieve.
Combine the yogurt, garlic, oil, vinegar, and salt in a large bowl.
Transfer the grated cucumber and fresh dill to the yogurt mixture and stir to combine. 

Pad Thai with prawns 

What I particularly like about this recipe is that it’s wheat-free, the rice noodles cook in 5-8 minutes, and you can chuck the rest of the ingredients into the pan which sizzle away in no time at all. I like to add sustainably sourced prawns which pack a protein punch to my day, meaning that I feel fuller for longer and I’m much less likely to feel distracted and want to snack in the afternoon. You can always swap the prawns for more vegetables if you’d prefer, and you can play with how much ginger or garlic you’d like to taste.  

80g rice noodles
1 tbsp vegetable or groundnut oil
1 thumb sized amount of ginger, grated 
2 garlic cloves, or to taste,  finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1-2 tsp ancho chilli flakes
1 large free-range egg, beaten
150g raw prawns
Bunch of spring onions, sliced
Handful unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Bunch of fresh coriander or thai basil, leaves roughly chopped
Soy sauce, to taste 
Crispy chilli oil, to taste 
Mirin, to taste 
1 lime, cut into wedges
pad thai


Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and pour over warm water to cover.

Meanwhile, make the soy sauce, mirin and chilli sauce mixture. Mix the soy sauce with the chilli oil and a splash of mirin; mix, taste and adjust to give a nice combination of sweet, salty and spicy. 

Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. When it’s good and hot, fry the garlic and shallots for 30 seconds. Add the ginger and chilli flakes and toss together. Add the drained noodles to the wok and stir-fry for a couple of minutes, then push to one side. Add the eggs and allow to set, then scramble them and mix into the noodles.

Add the soy-chilli-mirin sauce and stir well. Add the prawns, spring onions and half the peanuts. Toss well and cook for a few minutes.

Sprinkle with the coriander/thai basil and remaining peanuts, and serve with the lime wedges, to squeeze over.

Coconut date energy balls 

The blender is really your friend for this one. When I want a sweet treat but would rather not experience the high sugar rush and following sugar crash that I usually experience with milk chocolates or caramel treats, I opt for creating these energy ball snacks. The medjool dates are essential for the uncanny caramel flavour. The slow release of energy with these means that I have more longevity when working from home, and feel more focused on that piece of writing or newsletter that I’m working on. 

10-12 medjool dates
2 cups pecans
Pinch sea salt
¼ cup desiccated coconut
Pit the medjool dates and place them along with the pecans in the bowl of a large food processor. 
Blend on high until a thick “dough” is formed and the mixture feels sticky.
Scoop about 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture and use your hands to roll it into a ball. If you have time you can let them set in the fridge for 5 minutes.
Roll the energy bites into desiccated or shredded coconut pressing gently so they adhere. 
Makes about 12-14 bites.

Caprese Salad  

In the warmer months, this is my favourite salad to make for the working day. It’s refreshing, colourful and ultimately, a classic. It’s also great for making as a lunch to-go if you are heading out for the day to a co-working space for example. Sometimes I like to bulk it up with quinoa if I have a busy schedule and need all the energy I can muster for the work tasks ahead. Even on the most stressful of days, a colourful nutritious salad for lunch can serve as a small pick-me-up. 

1 ball of good-quality mozzarella cheese
100 g ripe cherry tomatoes
1 clove of garlic, grated 
Extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of fresh basil 

Tear the mozzarella balls into chunks.
Halve the tomatoes and scatter over the top.
Add the garlic, season well with sea salt and black pepper and drizzle with olive oil. 
Pick and tear up the basil leaves and sprinkle them over the salad before serving.

Caprese salad


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Meet the author

Orla Lyons-Hamilton.jpg
Orla Lyons-Hamilton

Freelance Marketing Executive