There are many benefits of bringing lunch to work with you, and cost savings is only one of them. When you bring your own lunch, you’re also in charge of the quality of ingredients that go into meal preparation so you can better manage portion control. Your first thought of “packed lunch” might be the soggy sandwiches and boring baby carrots of your youth, but adulthood brings so much more to the meal. Here are 23 delicious lunches you can be happy about bringing to work.
1. Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon Wraps
Wraps are great option for an on-the-go lunch, and grilled salmon kicks the entire concept up a notch. Make cedar plank grilled salmon for dinner and turn the leftovers into a lunch wrap.
2. Spinach and Tomato Frittata
Having breakfast for dinner is one way to break out of a cooking rut, so why not try breakfast for lunch? These super portable spinach and tomato frittatas, also known as egg muffins, are packed with protein to fuel the second half of your work day.
3. Sweet Potato Chipotle Quinoa Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema
Quinoa packs way more nutritional value than traditional white rice and pairs well with both sweet and savory flavors. A sweet potato quinoa cake makes for a hearty vegetarian lunch option.
4. Quinoa and Pesto Shrimp-Stuffed Pasillas
A pasilla is a type of chile that is absolutely delicious when roasted and stuffed. They make an ideal vessel for quinoa and pesto shrimp. These easy-to-pack boats will spice up your lunch in a perfectly portable way.
5. Cold Sesame Soba Noodle Salad
This lunch is perfect for when you don’t have access to a microwave or stove. The cold sesame soba noodle salad will leave you feeling satisfied without the need for meat or heat.
6. Chipotle Cilantro Pesto Pasta
Another great lunch option that can be eaten cold or warm is chipotle cilantro pesto pasta. Make extra pesto and you can have multiple flavorful meals, as the pesto doubles as a spread for sandwiches or dip for veggies.
7. Kale Fried Rice
Kale fried rice is a quick and easy dinner side dish than can be a hearty and filling lunch the following day. Protein from the black beans and iron from the kale makes this dish nutritious and delicious.
8. Kale and Sausage Galette
Don’t let the fancy French term “galette” scare you. A galette is simply a round free-form pastry, which in this case is stuffed with kale and sausage goodness. It’s a little slice of heaven for lunch.
9. Roasted Cauliflower Pita Pockets
Pita pockets stuffed with roasted cauliflower make for a light yet flavorful portable lunch. Add a schmear of hummus for a protein-packed pick-me-up.
10. Grilled Eggplant Salad with Lemony Chickpeas
Another dinner side that can be turned into a delicious lunch dish is grilled eggplant with chickpeas. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are chock full of fiber.
11. Charred Corn with Chicken and Cheese Salad
For some comfort food with a twist, take your leftover chicken from dinner and create a charred corn salad. Light and fresh yet hardy, this dish deserves a sit-down lunch for full appreciation.
12. Five-Ingredient Spicy Tomato Tart
Like a delicious mini-pizza without all the grease and cheese, this five-ingredient spicy tomato tart will curb your craving for pizza minus the guilt.
13. Coconut Chicken Curry
This take on traditional coconut chicken curry lightens up the calorie load by using “lite” coconut milk. Because it’s high in protein and low in fat, you’ll want to make extra for dinner so you’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunch.
14. Spinach Farro Salad with Orange and Toasted Coriander Vinaigrette
Eating salad every day for lunch can become boring and monotonous, so kick it up a notch with this spinach farro salad with orange and toasted coriander vinaigrette. Farro is an ancient, gluten-free grain everyone should be incorporating into their diet for optimal health.
15. Spicy White Bean and Zucchini Spaghetti
Speaking of gluten free, this spicy white bean and zucchini spaghetti will keep you feeling full without weighing you down. Say goodbye to that 3 PM carb crash!
16. Grilled Chopped Salad with Sesame Lime Vinaigrette
Chopped salads are fun and easy to make, and this version made with grilled veggies is no exception. A great side dish for your dinner, this grilled chopped salad with sesame lime vinaigrette makes for a light and delicious lunch.
17. Indian Lentils with Collard Greens
This dish gives you a glimpse into traditional Indian cuisine. Warm and filling with spices such as turmeric and cayenne, Indian lentils with collard greens make the perfect lunch for a cold winter’s day.
18. Chicken Souvlaki
Souvlaki is the Greek word for skewer, so chicken souvlaki is basically chicken kabobs. Freshen them up with a Greek twist and you’ve got a quick-and-easy, on-the-go lunch.
19. Cabbage Salad with Roasted Cashews and Sesame Maple Dressing
This sweet and crunchy side dish doubles as a mouth-watering main meal at lunchtime. Fresh cabbage and cashews give it the crunch while maple sesame dressing gives it a sweet side.
20. Spaghetti Squash Pasta
Spaghetti squash is a fantastic alternative to dough pastas. When roasted or baked, the meat of the squash can be shredded into strands that closely resemble cooked pasta. Top with your favorite pasta sauce, and you’ve got a low-carb lunch that satisfies.
21. Cold Peanut Noodle Salad
Cold peanut noodle salad makes for a great summertime lunch. It’s light — the peanuts add protein that'll help you get through your day and fresh veggies add a satisfying crunch.
22. Miso Noodle Soup with Vegetables and Tofu
This dish can be thrown together with some left over veggies and your choice of protein. Miso adds a salty flavor, and the noodles make it a filling soup.
23. Chilled Avocado Buttermilk Soup
This fresh, summer-ready soup is easy to make and easy to take to work. Thick and rich yet light, avocado buttermilk soup will become a staple in your warm-weather lunch rotation.