45 Easy Lunch Recipes

Last Update: September 29, 2023

Between breakfast and dinner, lunch is sometimes the most overlooked meal of the day, but we’re putting this unsung meal hero in the spotlight with 45 quick and easy must-try lunch recipes. Grab your brown bag, forget your sorry salad, and leave your hunger pangs at the door. Lunch is served!

Tips for Packing Lunch

Anyone can enjoy the perfect packed lunch with a little planning and handy meal-planning tricks. Bookmark these tips, because we’ve got your guide to avoiding the lunchtime takeout and unhealthy vending machine snack runs for good.

Hello, Bento

Think inside the box! Pack your lunch the night before the work day, and keep things fresh using neat and sleek bento boxes. Not only are these compartmentalized lunch boxes great for helping your meal stay organized, but each box will feel like opening a delicious little gift when lunchtime rolls around.

A Healthy Lunch Is in the Bag

Ditch plastic sandwich bags for reusable bags that put the environment first. Not only will your lunch stay just as fresh, but you can be sure each bag is also PVC-, lead-, and BPA-free. Harsh chemicals just aren’t all that appetizing.

Play Chicken

For healthy lunch makings throughout the week, consider roasting a chicken on Sunday night and storing the carvings in the fridge for salads, wraps, and soups from Monday to Friday.

Keep It Kid-Friendly

Packing for the kiddos can be stressful if you find yourself in a morning time crunch. Pre-pack healthy fresh fruit and veggies at the start of the week for easy grab-and-go action.

Easy Lunch Recipes

If you want to make a nutritious lunch a regular habit, it’s best to keep things simple with quick and easy recipes that are a snap for packing.

Easy Lunch Ideas for Kids

Think your kids won’t go for healthy lunches? These recipes are so full of fun they won’t be the wiser, and we’re willing to bet they’ll become fast family favorites.

Veggie Tots

Tots for the tots are always a winning idea, and these finger-food dippers are loaded with good-for-you veggies like broccoli and cauliflower.

Gluten-Free Fish Sticks

These cod fish sticks make a splash with the kiddos thanks to a brilliant combo of potato chips and gluten-free corn flakes instead of bread crumbs.

Chicken Nuggets

No need to nix nuggets in order to serve the little ones a healthy lunch. This Paleo recipe swaps in coconut flour for a wholesome take on a crispy coating.

Chicken, Cashew, and Lime Stir-Fry

Not only does this healthy stir-fry include a protein punch with chicken and cashews, but it can be thrown together in about 10 minutes, making a perfect pick for impatient tummies.

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work

Ready to make your coworkers jealous? These quick and easy take-to-work lunches are a major upgrade from that sad turkey sandwich. Find more healthy lunch ideas here.

Jackfruit Jambalaya

You’ll jump for joy when you open your lunch to find this jambalaya in the midst of a busy work day, made with BBQ jackfruit, brown rice, veggies, and chickpeas.

Beef and Broccolini Stir Fry

This 30-minute recipe isn’t just the perfect weeknight meal, the leftovers make for a rich and flavorful work lunch thanks to strips of lean flank steak and tender broccolini.

Tomato Chickpea Soup

Believe it or not, you don’t need dairy for a rich and creamy tomato soup. This genius lunchtime recipe uses puréed chickpeas instead of heavy cream.

Zucchini Noodle Cacio e Pepe

Zucchini noodles (or “zoodles”) are a great way to enjoy pasta without an influx of carbs, and this take on the cheese and pepper classic is fork-twirlingly good.

Matcha Soba With Spicy Tofu Nuggets

Comforting and nutrient dense, this lunch in a bowl pairs creamy sweet matcha soba noodles with fiery tofu bites for a truly crave-worthy combo. This is one of those meals you can make week over week and never get tired of eating!

Gluten-Free Lunch Recipes

These simple lunch recipes skip the gluten and layer on the flavor with grain-free, nutrient-packed ingredients. For more gluten-free lunch recipes, click here.

Salmon Cakes

Want an effortlessly elegant lunch? Open a can of wild Alaskan salmon, and serve up these light and delicate cakes, made extra decadent when paired with a creamy spiced remoulade sauce.

Green Spring Rolls

It’s easy eating green when you’ve got rice paper rolls packed with spinach, avocado, pea shoots, and fresh herbs and served with cilantro dressing.

Spicy Tofu Bowl

Using a sweet and spicy marinade of chili powder, cayenne pepper, orange juice, and maple syrup, this recipe will renew your appreciation for tofu, especially when served atop soba noodles and bok choy.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Tahini Dressing

Let’s face it: Stuffed anything is probably going to be delicious, but this gluten-free sweet potato dish will take your lunch to a new level with sautéed greens tucked into your taters and topped with sliced avocado and a tahini-turmeric dressing.

Gluten-Free Ramen

Working from home? Enjoy a moment of zen with a steaming bowl of wonder noodle ramen simmered in protein-packed chicken bone broth and topped with a hard-boiled egg, green onion, and chili flakes.

Vegan Lunch Recipes

You don’t need animal products for a yummy and filling lunch that will keep you going until dinner. Try one of these vegan meals on for size.

Vegan Spring Rolls

Looking for a finger food with flair? These vegan jackfruit and miracle noodle rolls are ideal for a quick and flavorful bite.

Dairy-Free Kale Caesar Salad

This vegan take on the lunchtime staple swaps in nutritional yeast instead of parmesan for a Paleo-friendly dressing that’s drizzled over massaged kale and savory bacon.

Raw Carrot Pad Thai

Using shaved carrot strips instead of traditional rice noodles, this smart dish is a lighter, brighter take on the Thai favorite, and it’s totally gluten-free.

Vegan Eggplant Tacos

Can we taco bout this clever vegan recipe, which uses sliced eggplant for tortillas and pairs them with a savory, meat-free walnut filling?

Baked Vegan Falafel

This vegan, baked take on everyone’s favorite fried fritters turns up the protein content with almond flour and adds layers of texture and flavor with diced carrots, tahini, coconut aminos and tamari.

Vegetarian Lunch Recipes

Sticking to a vegetarian meal plan? These veggie-tastic recipes make it easy to eat meat-free.

Red Pepper Walnut Dip

Tired of the same old sandwich? Jazz up lunch with a Middle Eastern-inspired spread of pita, hard-boiled egg, veggies, and this zesty dip, made with red peppers, tomato paste, garlic, raw honey, and walnuts.

Carrot Pancakes With Sorrel Pesto

Similar to latkes but slightly sweeter, these carrot pancakes make for the perfect midday meal, especially when topped with sorrel pesto, a rich fried egg, and a sprinkle of Maldon salt.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Looking for a low-cholesterol lunch recipe? This bright and flavorful quinoa salad delivers a dose of healthy protein while cilantro, dried cranberries, almonds and zucchini create lovely layers of texture. Did we mention it’s seriously beautiful, too?

Spring Wellness Bowl

A feast for the eyes and filled with good-for-you ingredients like watercress, avocado, watermelon radish, and sauerkraut, this salad bowl is a clean-eating go-to.

Vegetable Rosti

Eat like the Swiss do with this traditional comfort food casserole, made with potatoes, peppers, ghee, and eggs.

Whole30 Lunch Recipes

You’ll hardly feel limited thanks to these supremely delicious Whole30-approved recipes.

Sheet Pan Shrimp With Sesame Broccoli

One pan, 10 minutes of prep, and a handful of pantry staples like crushed red pepper, coconut aminos, and garlic is all you need to make this Whole30-approved shrimp and broccoli lunch.

Bacon-Laced Chicken Cups With Spicy Marinade

Everything’s better with bacon, including these portable bacon cups that pack in the protein with a scoop of marinated ground chicken.

Ahi Grapefruit Poke

Holy moly, this is good poke! This traditional Hawaiian dish with a citrus twist is a light and bright lunchtime bite with sashimi-grade tuna, creamy avocado, tart grapefruit slices, and ginger powder.

Tandoori Tuna Salad

Tootles, bland tuna salad! This Indian-inspired upgrade uses tandoori flavor wild tuna along with golden raisins, curry powder, and chopped almonds. Yum!

Paleo Lunch Recipes

Eat like a caveman throughout the day with Paleo-friendly lunches you’ll want to sink your teeth into.

Chicken Wrap With Veggies and Turmeric Sauce

It’s a wrap on boring lunches thanks to this Paleo-approved, on-the-go lunch, which fills a tapioca flour wrap with tender chicken breast, bell peppers, onion, and a savory ground turmeric sauce.

Paleo Primavera Quiche

Not only is this stunning quiche gluten- and dairy-free, but the savory filling is overflowing with a bounty of green veggies like zucchini, asparagus, and peas that hold together perfectly in an almond-thyme crust.

Kabocha Squash Soup With Pancetta

This Paleo soup recipe squashes the competition using buttery kabocha squash, ginger, nutmeg, fresh sage, and rich chopped pancetta.

Tuna Hand Rolls

Raise your hand if you love hand rolls! This make-your-own sushi idea pairs water-packed tuna with Paleo mayo, coconut aminos, wasabi paste, and rolls it up in nori sheets.

Curried Chicken Salad

Give your chicken salad a kick by adding lots of curry powder along with chopped apple, walnuts, Paleo mayo, and celery.

Sandwich Recipes

Who said bread is dead? Give your sandwich a gourmet spin with these packable favorites.

PB&J Grilled Cheese

Peanut butter and jelly on a grilled cheese?! Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. The delicious outcome will make you rethink everything.

Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese

Take your average grilled cheese to the next level by spreading on truffle salt ghee and throwing in Dijon mustard and caramelized onions.

Vegan Chickpea Patties

You might want to nosh on these patties all on their own or include as the star of the show in a pita sandwich stuffed with parsley, cucumbers, cabbage, and yogurt sauce.

Avocado Lunch Recipes

With so many ways to enjoy them, avocados are always a lunchtime must.

Kelp Noodles With Avocado Cream

No need to send kelp! Gluten-free kelp noodles are surprisingly filling when topped with rich avocado sauce, made extra creamy with nutritional yeast.

Salmon Burger With Avocado Salsa

Made with a base of non-GMO wild pink salmon, these fish patties also include almond flour, chopped green onions, and a handful of spices—only to be piled high with avocado salsa for the ultimate burger bite.

Japanese-Inspired Avocado Toast

It’s tough to improve this popular recipe, but adding a Japanese influence is a good way to go. Brush toast with coconut aminos and sprinkle avocado slices with toasted nori and sesame seeds.

Japanese-inspired avocado toast

Avocado Dip

Not to be confused with guac, this creamy dish uses ripe avocados, lime juice, unsweetened almond milk, and chopped jalapeño for a vegan dip that goes great with veggies, bean chips, or wraps.

Salad Recipes for Lunch

There’s nothing boring about these satisfying salad lunches that will have you gobbling up your greens. Find even more superfood salad recipes here.

Nutty Sesame Carrot Noodles

This recipe might sound nutty, but it’s downright addictive thanks to ribbons of spiralized carrots, crispy Persian cucumber, and a sweet and creamy peanut dressing.

Watercress Grapefruit Salad

Light and refreshing, this bed of leafy greens is the perfect foundation for adding white beans, grilled shrimp, or tofu.

Brown Rice and Lentil Salad

Looking for a hearty salad recipe? This dish pairs nutty sprouted brown rice with French green lentils with sweet dried cranberries and apricots, crunchy pistachios, and tons of fresh green herbs.

Tahini Egg Salad

Skip the mayo and spruce up this classic recipe with a tahini dressing instead. The sesame flavor pairs beautifully with creamy eggs, and a rainbow mix of tomatoes, avocado, and crunchy radishes.


Salmon Nicoise

This yummy update on a timeless classic swaps in salmon for tuna and includes a colorful array of fresh ingredients like haricots verts, asparagus, sliced heirloom tomatoes, peeled baby beets, butter lettuce, and salty capers.

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Nicole Gulotta

Nicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

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