While lunchtime has much potential, in reality, it’s far too often a rotation of soggy sandwiches, flat-tasting soups, and wilted salads. But no more! Here are a few tasty, super-easy lunch recipes that are perfect for the ones on the go and the best thing is that they don’t need to be heated. Let’s start with these delicious recipes.
10. Warm Chickpea Salad with Cumin & Garlic
This healthy salad with chickpeas and tiny crunchy cumin seeds, punched up with a pinch of red chili flakes is so refreshing to eat. It is a really fun way to convert chickpeas in a delicious lunch that has the freshness of cucumber which nestles in between the chickpeas, and the sun-dried tomatoes lend a savory note.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
- 3/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only
- Small handful fresh mint leaves
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2-3 English cucumber
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a heavy pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat, add the cumin seeds and the crushed red pepper. Stir constantly, for about one minute or until the seeds are toasted.
- Turn the heat to medium low and add the garlic. Cook for another 3 minutes, until the garlic turns golden (not brown).
- Add the chickpeas and the chopped tomatoes and turn the heat up to medium high.
- Finely mince the parsley and the mint and toss this with the chickpeas. Stir the lemon juice and zest into the chickpeas as well.
- Dice the cucumber into small, 1/2-inch square cubes. Toss the cucumber with the chickpeas.
- Add salt, to taste.
This salad is best after it has had a chance to sit overnight in the fridge, letting its spices and juices soak together.
9. Curried Tofu Salad Sandwich
Mix it up the night before, or even days ahead, and you’ll have a really flavorful salad by the time lunch rolls around. This salad is even more tastier and healthier with tofu and absence of heavy mayo.
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 pound extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring the apple cider vinegar to a boil. In another bowl, mix the raisins and mustard seeds, now pour the boiling mixture over them and leave it for 10 minutes.
- Rinse and gently press the tofu between towels to get rid of excess water. Place it in a large bowl and roughly crumble it using your hands.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, curry powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Add this to the tofu mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired.
Served as a sandwich or on a bed of greens, it makes an easy and healthy lunch.
8. Pineapple Chicken Salad Wraps
This delicious combination of pineapple and Greek yogurt gives the chicken salad a wonderful, irresistible sweetness that will leave you refreshed and satisfied.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 200 grams of can crushed pineapple
- 2 stalks celery, diced (½ cup)
- ½ cut shredded carrots
- 2 green onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 10 lettuce leaves
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- ¼ cup light mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Simmer the chicken broth for 10 minutes and then add the chicken breasts. Let it simmer for another 15 minutes with the lid on.
- Take out the chicken when it is a little cooled down; shred it and keep it aside.
- In a salad bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, pineapple, celery, carrots, almonds, green onions, salt, and pepper.
- Add the dressing to the salad and toss well.
Serve it wrapped in lettuce leaves or you can pack it with white bread or in a tortilla.
7. Asian Quinoa Salad
Avoid midday meal disappointment by preparing a sturdy quinoa salad — many taste nearly as good on the second, or even third day — to bring with you to work, to school, or on a picnic.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped red cabbage
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1/4 cup lite soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro/ asian parsley
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Cook the quinoa as per the directions on the packet.
- Place the quinoa in a large bowl and add the cabbage, red pepper, carrots, and cucumber. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, green onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss nicely to distribute evenly.
This salad is good served at room temperature or chilled.
6. Light Egg Salad
The low fat egg salad is definitely one to try out. It needs no reheating and is super easy to prepare. This recipe uses Greek yogurt, just to cut down on the fats and calories, but you can use mayonnaise.
- 12 eggs (6 whole, and 6 whites only after cooked)
- ¼ cup light mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- ½ tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon Sweet Relish
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
- Boil the eggs and peel. Take 6 whole eggs and discard 6 yolks, we only need the whites. Chop the eggs in a bowl.
- In another bowl, mix mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, relish, salt, black pepper and dill together.
- Add the eggs and toss well.
Pack it with a whole-wheat white toast or a sandwich thin with fresh lettuce.
5. Cold Peach Soup
This classic chilling soup is based with canned peaches and spiced with ginger. It can easily be packed in a plastic container for work. You don’t need a microwave to savor this soup.
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 quarter inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp. half & half ( You can make it by mixing 1/2 cup whole milk + 1/2 cup light cream)
- 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 jar canned peaches in syrup
- 1⁄4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted, for garnish
- Salt to taste
- Simmer the carrots and ginger in one and a half cup of water over medium heat, for about 5 minutes or until they become tender.
- Now, let them cool for about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the carrots and the ginger in the blender and pour in 3/4th of the cooking liquid. Blend until smooth.
- Add the yogurt, half & half, lime juice, peaches, and salt; purée until smooth.
- Garnish with almonds.
When served at home, chill it one hour before serving.
4. Roasted Garlic, Olive and Tomato Pasta Salad
With the dairy, the roasted garlic is surprisingly mellow; it doesn’t overpower this salad at all. This is a good pasta salad to make a night ahead. The garlic’s best aromas come out overnight, and the chunks of tomatoes and olives tuck themselves into the pasta shells.
- 3 small heads garlic
- Olive oil
- 1 pound medium pasta shells
- 15 ounces whole or skim milk ricotta
- 3/4 cup whole milk yogurt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 small tomatoes, roughly diced
- 1 cup black or green olives, sliced
- 1/3 cup firmly packed cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- Slice off the garlic heads and wrap them in an oiled (olive oil) foil. Place this in the center of the preheated pan and roast until the garlic is very soft. Remove, and let cool.
- Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and remove to a large bowl.
- Drizzle some olive oil on the pasta, toss it and keep it aside to cool while you prepare the dressing.
- Whisk the ricotta and yogurt together until light and creamy.
- Squeeze the soft garlic and add them to the yogurt and ricotta mixture.
- Whisk vigorously, until the garlic is well-incorporated. Add salt and pepper as per taste.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta, add the tomatoes, olives and the basil. Toss nicely to mix everything together.
Can be served slightly warm or chilled.
3. Crispy Chicken Wraps
These delicious yummies don’t need any heating in the oven and are an idea cook for work, school and picnics.
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
- 2 tablespoons sour cream, light or regular
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- Shredded meat of 1 rotisserie chicken (3 cups)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 flour tortillas
- Whisk the mayonnaise, cilantro, sour cream and hot sauce in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to combine.
- On the tortillas, shred some cheese and then arrange chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open.
- Spray some cooking spray over the tortillas.
- In a skillet over medium heat, cook each wrap until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Pack with a light green salad and some fresh fruit and veggies.
2. Raw Broccoli Salad
This mix is a nutritional powerhouse—and a time saver. Because the broccoli is raw, you save on cooking time and clean up. Five ingredients and five minutes will have you out the door, healthy lunch in hand.
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 head broccoli
- 1 avocado
- A handful roasted almonds
- In a salad bowl, combines, mustard, vinegar and 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
- Chop broccoli and avocados into the dressing. You can size them according to your preference.
- Toss salad to distribute the dressing.
1. Zucchini Noodles with Pesto (Spiralizer required)
For the Pesto:
- 1 cup packed fresh basil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the Zucchini noodles:
- 3 medium or 4 small zucchinis
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- Salt and black pepper to taste
To make the Zucchini noodles, you will need a spiralizer. Spiralize the zucchini, cut it into smaller strands if they are too long and place them in a work bowl.
- To make the pesto, pulse basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until smooth, in a blender. Add olive oil slowly, while pulsing.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss with the Zucchini noodles and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper as needed.
It’s better to carry the noodles and the pesto separately and mix them just before you eat to avoid sogginess.
All these recipes take at most 30 minutes to prepare. These easy dump-and-go lunches and dinners are perfect meals for busy office and school days.