If you’re tired of shelling out money for mediocre food that costs way too much, try out some of these simple lunch ideas you can easily make at home! I know you’re pressed for time in the morning. But you can whip up these lunches the night before and look forward to enjoying a yummy, affordable homemade lunch the next day! Here are seven simple lunch ideas that’ll put fast food lunches to shame!
1. Chard, Avocado and Asparagus Quinoa
Simple lunch ideas can be healthy and delicious! This quinoa recipe is for all the vegans out there or anyone who wants to try a meatless meal for a change! Quinoa is super healthy and easy to make. And you can enjoy this hearty dish warm or cold, so it’s perfect to make the night before for dinner and lunch the next day!
1 cup of quinoa
1 bunch of rainbow chard, roughly chopped
1 bunch of asparagus, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon quality olive oil
1 ripe avocado, sliced into bite size pieces
1/8 cup quality olive oil, I used orange infused
1-2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar, any vinegar would work
Cook the quinoa according to directions. Sautee the asparagus and rainbow chard in one tablespoon olive oil until cooked. In a small glass or jar mix the olive oil and vinegar together. Once everything is ready mix the quinoa, asparagus, chard, and vinaigrette in a large bowl with the avocado. Season with salt and enjoy!
2. Roast Beef and Cheddar Roll-Ups
This next lunch idea for work is perfect for the sandwich lover who wants to take things up a notch! These super quick roll-ups have tangy horseradish, dreamy cream cheese, crisp lettuce, sharp cheddar cheese and tender roast beef all rolled up in a portable tortilla that you can easily eat when you’re pressed for time!
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
4 large flour tortillas
1 head romaine lettuce, tough ribs removed
8 ounces thinly sliced deli roast beef
4 ounces Cheddar, thinly sliced
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and horseradish. Spread evenly over each tortilla.
Layer the tortillas with the lettuce, roast beef, and cheese and roll up.
3. Salmon Salad with Dill Vinaigrette
Salmon salad is not only a fab lunch idea to break up the monotony of eating boring chicken salads, but it also provides you with healthy omega-3 fatty acids! Omega-3s provide tons of skin and hair benefits as well as helping with cognitive function. This salad only takes ten minutes to prepare and will be a nice change of pace for your taste buds!
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (6 ounce) cans boneless skinless pink salmon
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (1-ounce) slices French bread
For the vinaigrette, combine first 5 vinaigrette ingredients (through black pepper) in a medium bowl. Add oil and stir well with a whisk. Set aside.
For the salad, flake salmon with a fork into a large bowl. Add the next 6 ingredients (through black pepper) and stir gently to combine.
Toss salad with the vinaigrette immediately before serving. Use a slotted spoon to serve.
4. Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup
Another super easy lunch idea that you can easily make and take to work is this creamy chicken and rice soup! Make this as your main dish or have it as a tasty side dish for any of the other lunch options on this list. To speed things up a bit, you can swap fresh veggies for frozen ones and use a rotisserie chicken and skip step 1 altogether!
2 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 medium carrot, grated (about 1 cup)
2 stalks celery, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup long grain white rice
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon rind
Season chicken with salt and pepper. In large pot on medium high heat, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil until it shimmers. Add chicken to pot and cook about 9 minutes, turning once, or until cooked through; remove and chop
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil until it shimmers; add carrot, celery and onion; cook, stirring, about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.
Add broth, rice and evaporated milk; bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cook about 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Add chicken cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until chicken is heated through. Skim off fat. Stir in parsley and lemon rind.
5. Barley and Black Bean Salad
Here’s another quick and healthy lunch idea that’ll keep you full and fueled all day. Black beans are full of protein and antioxidants and barley lowers cholesterol, slows starch digestion and provides a high concentration of tocotrienols, which is a concentrated form of vitamin E! This quick and zesty salad is sure to help you beat the midday slump!
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking pearl barley
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
Cook barley according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain barley in a colander, and rinse with cold water until completely cooled.
Combine black beans, next 6 ingredients, and, if desired, cilantro and red pepper in a medium bowl. Add barley to black bean mixture; toss gently.
6. Anytime Burrito
This next lunch idea for work can be enjoyed as breakfast or lunch. The Anytime Burrito is so easy to make because although there’s a formal recipe, you can combine leftovers or anything appetizing you have in your fridge and wrap it up! In just 15 short minutes, you can go from starving to satisfied with plenty of energy to get you through the day!
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup frozen shredded potatoes
1 tablespoon chopped onions
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chorizo
1/4 cup grated Mexican blend or cheddar cheese
2 (10-inch) burrito-size tortillas
Sour cream, optional
In a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat heat oil until shimmers. Spread potatoes evenly over pan and cook 5 minutes. Add onions, flip over potatoes and cook 1-2 minutes, or until potatoes are golden.
In small bowl whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper to combine; add chorizo. Turn heat to medium-low. Pour egg mixture over potatoes, lifting edge of eggs and tilting pan to get uncooked egg to edges. Cook less than 1 minute or until eggs are almost completely cooked. Remove from heat, sprinkle eggs with cheese, cover to melt.
Place half egg mixture in each tortilla and add guacamole, sour cream and salsa if using. To make it faster, use frozen shredded potatoes instead of fresh.
7. Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps with Capers and Tomatoes
Tuna salad lettuce wraps are a filling and protein-packed lunch that’ll fill you up without weighing you down. Flavorful capers always make dishes a little more interesting and tomatoes are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber! Lettuce wraps are a fun alternative to traditional wraps and provide a nice crunch!
10-12 oz. good quality canned tuna (I used Tonno Genova Tuna Packed in Olive Oil.)
1/4 cup mayo or light mayo
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 T lemon juice
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. Vege-Sal (or a slightly smaller amount of salt)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 T capers, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
8 large lettuce leaves, washed and dried (romaine, iceberg or butter lettuce will work for this)
1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes (optional)
Drain tuna into a fine-mesh strainer and press down to drain out the oil (or water if you use water-packed tuna.) While tuna drains stir together the mayo, Dijon, lemon juice, celery seed, and Vege-Sal or salt.
Cut lettuce apart and pick out 8 large leaves. (I used two heads of romaine and kept the smaller inner leaves for salad greens.) Wash lettuce and spin dry in a salad spinner or dry with paper towels. Chop the celery and capers and thinly slice the green onions. Chop tomatoes if using.
When the tuna has drained, put it in a bowl (with a snap-tight lid if you won't be eating it all at once.) Stir in the dressing until it's well-distributed in the tuna, then mix in the celery, capers, and green onions.
Fill lettuce leaves with the tuna mixture, garnish with cherry tomatoes, and eat with your hands. This kept well in the fridge for several days.
Give your wallet and taste buds something to cheer for with these simple lunch ideas! Any of these quick recipes would make a fabulous lunch idea for work any day of the week! These lunch ideas are fast, simple and very different from your average sandwich or frozen entrée. What do you normally eat at work?