Easy Lunch Recipes You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

Lunch is sometimes one of those "throw-away" meals. Maybe you grab a frozen dinner to heat up at work, maybe you slap together a peanut butter sandwich in the morning and call it good, or maybe you speed through the drive-thru because you didn't want to think about packing a lunch. Then you resign yourself to eating whatever merely "okay" meal you end up with because you're hungry and it's, well, food. 

But the thing is, you don't have to resign yourself to sad meals. There are lots of quick and easy dishes you can make ahead of time to pack with you and enjoy at mid-day, or which you can throw together in a hurry when you're eating at home. And with a little planning and preparation, you may even end up saving yourself some cash if you spare yourself a daily trip to a local lunch joint. So if you're short on lunch ideas and you're looking to jazz up your daily menu, try your hand at one of the following tasty options. 

Avocado egg salad is a delicious and quick lunch recipe

For a twist and a veggie boost to the traditional egg salad, you'll want to add this avocado egg salad recipe to your weekday menu. The eggs deliver the protein, the avocado delivers healthy fats, and you can choose from an array of carbohydrate options to balance out the meal. Plus, the recipe takes only 25 minutes to make, with most of that time reserved for boiling eggs. This offers a flavor that sits somewhere between traditional egg salad and guacamole.

Quick and easy Cobb salad is packed with veggies and protein

The Cobb salad is the type of salad that lunch dreams are made of. While it certainly delivers its fair share of veggies, it's not just greens piled on a plate and drizzled with dressing.

While this Cobb salad recipe takes 35 minutes to make, if you familiarize yourself with your grocery store deli's prepared foods, you might be able to assemble the salad in minutes flat. Just pick up a rotisserie chicken, pre-packaged hard-boiled eggs, and real bacon crumbles to pull it all off. 

Use leftovers to make a quick and tasty lettuce wrap

To really make the most of your midday meal, you need to think "leftover remix." You see, having parts of your leftovers available to turn into new options, such as this simple lettuce wrap, is the perfect way to keep your tastebuds (and your wallet) happy.  Because really, how hard is it to take a little meat and some veggies, add a little dressing, and scoop them into a lettuce leaf to enjoy for lunch? It's not difficult at all.

A basic tuna salad makes for a classic lunchtime meal

It's easy to forget about tuna salad as an easy and delicious lunch recipe, but it's a great way to take a break from the standard ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Plus, you can use this tuna salad recipe to add protein to a salad, eat with your favorite veggies, or even in a hollowed-out apple. You only need 10 minutes to make the salad, which yields four servings. Keep mixing up your recipes to try different ideas as the week wears on.

You'll want to use this egg salad recipe for the perfect sandwich

When you want the nostalgic flavors of a classic egg salad sandwich that you can serve up in five minutes, it's time to check out this egg salad recipe. The best part is that it calls for pre-boiled eggs that you can purchase at the grocery store, so you don't have to boil water to get this right. Aside from the eggs, you just need mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, and the bread of your choice. Pair with veggies and a piece of fruit and you may just feel like you're back in elementary school again. 

Pigs in a blanket make a super portable lunchtime option

Pigs in a blanket might not be the first thing you think of when you hear the word "lunch," but why not? Especially on the weekend when you're eating with your family, these crescent roll-wrapped hot dogs are guaranteed to be crowd-pleasers. Plus, they only take five minutes to prep and 15 minutes to bake, so you can have a whole panful ready in a flash. Simply serve with your favorite dipping sauces and you're good to go. 

Copycat Trader Joe's chicken salad is perfect on a croissant

If you've fallen in love with Trader Joe's chicken salad, you'll want to try your hand at making this copycat recipe at home. If you already have cooked chicken breasts on hand, the recipe itself only takes 10 minutes to prepare. The main task is to chop and mix the chicken, dried cranberries, celery, and pecans. Once that's done, simply whisk together the dressing, mix the salad together, and add it to your favorite bread, wrap, or pita pocket to create the perfect, portable midday meal. 

Just add chicken to turn this Caesar salad recipe into a great lunch

Caesar salad is a popular lunch choice at restaurants, but it's rarely the first choice on the list when you're making lunch at home. This is a shame, as Caesar salad is one of those perfect options for delivering nutrients and flavor at the same time. This Caesar salad recipe requires practically no preparation, other than making homemade croutons if you so choose. You can then add chicken, tuna, and additional veggies to really make it sing. We suggest black olives, cherry tomatoes, and banana peppers for an added kick. 

Use this chicken salad recipe when you need something fast and basic for lunch

Kids may not be up for a more "adventurous" chicken salad recipe with lots of fruits and nuts added, but chances are you can try this standard chicken salad recipe to make sandwiches the whole family will enjoy. It takes just 10 minutes to make four servings, so you can have the whole fam's lunch bags ready to go in a flash. 

All you need is cooked chicken, celery, green onion, mayonnaise, and salt and pepper. If you're looking to cut back on added fats, you can sub plain Greek yogurt for mayonnaise. Just keep in mind that it'll add more tang to the recipe. 

When you're looking to lighten up lunch, try this egg salad recipe

When you're looking for a creamy, comfort food-like lunch recipe that's gone through a healthy makeover, you need to test drive this healthy egg salad recipe. Just remember, healthy doesn't necessarily mean low-calorie or low-fat — it just means the ingredients are better for you. 

For instance, instead of mayonnaise, you'll use Greek yogurt along with mashed avocado to give the salad its creamy, familiar consistency. You'll also add chopped walnuts to give the salad some crunch. Serve on a whole-grain bagel or enjoy on its own. 

Following keto? Try these chicken burger wraps for lunch

If you're currently on the keto diet bandwagon, focusing on high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate food choices, then Costco should be one of your favorite shopping stops to stock up on lunch-friendly items. They offer a cheese wrap that makes it easy to create your favorite meals in wrap form without killing your daily carb count. 

This chicken wrap recipe takes just 20 minutes to make, most of which is the time it takes to cook the chicken, which you can skip altogether if you opt to use leftover chicken or pre-cooked chicken from the deli. 

Lettuce tacos are an easy and tasty lunch option

If you're hosting guests for lunch, lettuce tacos are a light and easy way to offer a meal without spending all of your time in the kitchen and away from your friends. These tacos are ready to go in just 15 minutes, and the only cooking required is to brown the ground turkey or chicken. Then, you simply serve them up with the toppings of your choice and let your family and guests create their own combinations. 

Try a mug pizza for lunch when you're in a hurry

Skip the microwaveable soups for once and try whipping up a mug pizza. If you haven't heard of the concept, think mug cake, but with savory ingredients. You can even mix it in the morning, so when it comes time to cook it in the microwave, you're already ready to go. 

While this mug pizza recipe only calls for the dough, marinara sauce, cheese, and a little basil, there's no reason you can't throw some other ingredients inside — maybe a few pieces of chopped up pepperoni, diced onions, or pre-sliced olives. 

Skip the drive-thru and try this copycat Long John Silver's recipe

Long John Silver's may not be the most popular fast food restaurant around, but they sure have mastered the art of quick and easy battered fish. Consider making this copycat Long John Silver's fish recipe at home. It only takes 20 minutes to make (you would spend at least that much time driving back and forth to the restaurant and sitting in the drive-thru), and the end result is a crunchy, flavorful fish that you can enjoy with pre-made coleslaw, potato salad, or even french fries. 

You don't have to go to Steak 'N Shake to enjoy a Frisco Melt

Sure, you can make a turkey and mayo sandwich like a pro, but when it comes to cooking up more savory melts, your best bet is to mimic the real experts and try your hand at this copycat Steak 'N Shake Frisco Melt. It's the perfect side-sandwich for a cup of tomato soup and it'll make you feel like you're enjoying a real lunch instead of something you grabbed on the run. It'll take about 30 minutes to make, but makes two servings, so you can store one to heat and eat the next day, too. 

No nearby Chick-Fil-A? Make your own grilled chicken sandwich

When you're craving Chick-Fil-A, but you're just not up for getting in the car and driving to the restaurant, you can easily make a copycat of the brand's grilled chicken sandwich at home. The trick here is anticipating your craving before it happens, as you do need to marinate the chicken breasts for at least four hours. But if you're like most people, you know you'll crave a sandwich on the regular, so you might as well plan ahead. Then, it's just a matter of cooking and assembling your sandwich which takes just 11 minutes to do.

Try this simple Mexican pizza recipe for a fast lunch favorite

Skip the microwaveable frozen pizza for lunch and try your hand at making a copycat Taco Bell Mexican pizza. It only takes 10 minutes to make, and it won't leave you with the chewy, weird-textured crust that's so ubiquitous for lunch pizzas. In fact, this recipe uses flour tortillas in place of bready crusts, so you're going to end up with a crunchy, satisfying sensation, topped off with the flavor combination of ground beef, cheese, refried beans, and enchilada sauce. 

Skip Taco Bell and build your own bean burrito

Looking for another satisfying Taco Bell copycat recipe that will keep lunch time hunger at bay, consider this recipe for a five-ingredient bean burrito. All you need is tortillas, refried beans, taco sauce, a yellow onion, and shredded cheddar cheese. You'll have four burritos ready to eat or store for later. In fact, you can double or triple the recipe and freeze them for later, for up to three months.

Make this ceviche the night before for a lunch you'll feel good about

When you make ceviche at home in advance, you're more likely to be able to enjoy this easy, protein- and veggie-packed meal without a complaint from your co-workers. This is because the fish in ceviche isn't cooked — it cures in citrus juices and seasonings. If you prep it the night before and store it in a well-sealed container, any fish smells are likely to be modest, giving you the chance to enjoy a healthy, fast, and cool lunch that's perfect for warmer summer months. 

Try a healthy lunchtime dish with a homemade poke bowl

Poke bowls are another one of those recipes that seem best left to chefs at restaurants, but the reality is they're surprisingly easy to make. When you're looking to level-up your at-home lunches, pick up sushi-grade tuna from your grocery store, along with Japanese cucumber, watermelon radishes, and a few other ingredients, then try your hand at making this poke bowl recipe. It takes just 30 minutes, and the end result is a flavor sensation you'll want to make over and over again. 

Homemade turkey burgers are easy to make and make a great lunch

Turkey burgers are another easy recipe to whip up for the family when everyone's at home for lunch. They're a little lighter than beef burgers and you can serve them with a side salad to bump up your veggie intake. This recipe makes eight burgers in just 30 minutes, so not only can you feed a crowd, but you just might have leftovers, too. The key to a crave-worthy burger comes down to the seasonings, so make sure you have garlic, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce on hand before firing up the stove.

This taco salad recipe will become a lunchtime staple

You'll never think of lunchtime salads as boring or "meh" again once you try this taco salad recipe. It'll take 30 minutes to make but serves four, so you can either set the leftovers aside to enjoy for dinner or lunch the next day, or you can feed the whole family. The key is in the toppings, which feature a little bit of everything, including beans, ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, tortilla strips, olives, pickled jalapenos, shredded cheese, onions, avocado, and pico de gallo. 

These handheld calzones will replace your daily Hot Pockets

When you want a handheld lunch that's akin to a Hot Pocket, but tastes a lot better, make a batch of these calzones that feature turkey sausage and spinach. They're the perfect thing to make on a Sunday afternoon and keep in the fridge for a quick grab in the morning as you're heading out the door. Make the sauce that's included with the recipe or keep a bottle of pre-made marinara in the fridge at work. Simply heat up your calzone in the microwave and enjoy!

A TikTok hack makes this tortilla wrap a simple lunch option

If you haven't tried this TikTok tortilla wrap to make a quesadilla-style lunch, then you're in for a treat. By simply making a slice along the radius of a flour tortilla, you can easily fill and fold your wrap to make a genuinely easy handheld quesadilla. And once you've mastered this recipe, which includes very quesadilla-like ingredients, you can use the same hack to try your hand at other fillings and flavors.