There’s no need to dread the idea of a couple of slices of flaccid bread and a lackluster filling every day because if you use your imagination, you can create some delicious non-sandwich lunches. If you invest a little time each day in making your lunch, you can reap plenty of benefits, including good nutrition, saving money and eating delicious food that really delights your taste buds. You also don’t have to fall into the trap of thinking that non-sandwich lunches are salads, rice and pasta dishes or leftovers. I’ve got some of my favorite non-sandwich lunches here and I hope they will inspire you to create your own (or just feel free to copy these).
Wraps are really trendy non-sandwich lunches right now. You can go traditional with a tortilla or flat bread, or you can change it up and use lettuce leaves as the wrap. Soft butter lettuce leaves are perfect, but use iceberg if you want some crunch. My favorite filling is grilled chicken breast, slices of apple, some grape halves, peanut butter, some bean sprouts, some runny honey and reduced-fat mayo.
Cucumbers are really juicy so they make a lunch that doesn’t dry out. To make a cucumber cup, cut a cucumber into 2 inch lengths. Scoop out the seeds but leave enough flesh as a bottom layer to act as support for the filling. The filling? Anything you like. A chicken mayo salad, a rice pilaf, quinoa or couscous salad, cottage cheese … the list is endless.
Just like cucumber, celery is the perfect ingredient for non-sandwich lunches. Simply cut your celery sticks into 2 inch lengths and fill them with whatever you want. Any of the items I mentioned for the cucumber cups will work. One of my favorites is cheese and pickle. I don’t know if you have anything like Branston Pickle in the US, but all I do is grate sharp cheddar, mix it with pickle and squash it into my celery boats.
I found this recipe years ago when I was still working in an office and it became one of my favorite snacks. Make a few of them and they provide a fairly healthy lunch. Cut some thick slices of your favorite apple and smear with peanut butter. Sprinkle your favorite granola mixed with some chocolate chips on top and devour – greedily, because they are irresistible.
Do you love the combination of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil? A regular caprese salad is not the most portable of meals but this recipe can be carried to work in a Tupperware box. Grate or chop up some mozzarella. Chop up some basil. Mince some garlic. Mix the cheese, basil and garlic together with some heavy cream. (Throw it all in a food processor if you want to make a family-sized batch.) Take the top off some large cherry tomatoes and scoop out the flesh. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and fill with the mozzarella mix. This recipe is a bit calorie laden but it doesn’t taste the same if you swap out the cream – although it might be to your taste – give light cream or Greek yogurt a try instead.
Soup is commonly cited as one idea for non-sandwich lunches. In the summer, not everyone wants a bowl of steaming soup. Ta da - enter gazpacho to the rescue. Gazpacho is a chilled tomato soup. It is very flavorsome and nutritious. Find an easy recipe on Google and tweak it to your taste. Take it to work in a thermos to keep it cool.
Hands up if you are one of those that doesn’t like to take to lunch to work because what you have is never what you fancy at lunch time. This is me. One great way to combat this is to create your own bento box. You don’t have to be traditional – it’s more a case of applying the theory, which is to create a mini buffet of small amounts of various ingredients. You can use all kinds of tasty tidbits and your favorite nibbles to create your spread. Make sure to include protein, carbs and veggies.
There’s no more effort involved in many non-sandwich lunches than in trying to think up new sandwich fillings every day. Let your creative juices flow and your saliva glands will follow. What are your favorite non-sandwich lunches?