While we would all love to take an hour off for lunch, it’s not always possible. We may run our own business and have to get back to the slog of day-to-day operations. In other cases, we have lunch meetings, or our bosses just won’t let us have a full hour.
But while we don’t have much time, we want more than a quick sandwich. We need sustenance and food that we enjoy. Lunchtime is often the only time we get to ourselves during the work day, and we want to make the most of it.
It’s time to try out these delicious but quick lunch recipes. They’re easy to throw together whether you plan, or you must do it all during lunch.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
Let’s start simple, seasonal, and delicious. Sun-dried tomatoes can be a required taste, but you will get used to them. They offer a Mediterranean taste to your meals, especially when mixed with pasta.
Choose whole grain pasta for the best filling results. You’ll get complex carbs and plenty of fiber for slow and supported digestion. The energy will be released slowly throughout the afternoon, so you don’t get the 3pm slump.
- 12 sun-dried tomatoes, drained and divided
- 2tbsp red wine vinegar
- 6tbsp oil of choice
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1tsp capers, drained
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1/2lb of whole grain pasta
- 1/2lb of cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2lb of mozzarella, diced
- ¾ cup of black olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 cup of parmesan, grated
- 1 cup of basil leaves, chopped
- Place half the tomatoes, all the vinegar, garlic, oil, capers, and some salt and black pepper into a food processor and blend until smooth
- Cook the pasta as the instructions state with some salted water, until al dente
- Drain the pasta and place in a mixing bowl
- Chop the rest of the tomatoes finely and add to the pasta with the tomato sauce, cheeses, olives, and basil
This is a dish that you’ll need to make ahead. The great thing is that you can make 6-8 portions of it and can store it in tubs in the fridge. You have lunch and a quick dinner for some nights of the week.
Cabbage and Tuna Salad
This doesn’t sound initially appealing. We tend to have bad memories of eating cabbage as children. Well, we have bad memories of our parents and grandparents forcing us to eat poorly cooked cabbage. When cooked well, you can get a delicious meal with some tuna and salad ingredients.
This is an excellent lunch to make at lunch time if you want. You can also make it ahead of time and store it in a tub throughout the day. Try to store it in the fridge if you can.
You’ll only get two servings from the recipe. It will last a couple of days in the fridge, so if you’re on your plan carefully when you have the second half.
- 5oz of tuna flakes, drained
- 2 cups of red or green cabbage, chopped
- ¼ cup of chives, chopped finely
- 1tbsp mayonnaise of choice
- 3tbsp Greek yogurt, plain
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Use a fork to shred the tuna out of the can
- In a bowl, mix the tuna and cabbage
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients and then serve on a plate
It is best eaten immediately, so it’s worth looking at creating the salad on your lunch break. It only takes a few minutes.
Three Bean Pasta Salad
This next recipe is excellent for those who want to add more fiber to the day. The beans will also add extra protein. Both these nutrients work together to keep you feeling fuller for longer throughout the day, so there’s less chance of suffering from the 3pm slump.
The pasta can be cooked ahead of time. You can then put everything together when you get to work. Alternatively, the recipe tastes good if combined in the morning and stored in a tub until lunch time.
- 6oz of whole grain pasta, cooked according to the package instructions until al dente
- 3/4lb of green beans, trimmed and chopped into thirds
- 2tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar
- 2tbsp honey
- ½ cup of olive oil
- 1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 green onions, whites only, sliced
- 5 celery stalks, sliced thinly
- Don’t drain the water from the pasta after cooking; instead, add the green beans for the last three minutes of cooking
- Then drain the water and rinse everything through with cold water
- Combine the mustard, honey, vinegar, and oil in a bowl, stirring
- Add the pasta and green beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, celery, and scallions into the sauce and combine everything
- Season to taste with some salt and pepper if you want
You can add some salad leaves to this recipe if you want. Opt for dark leafy greens to add more nutrients to your day with ease.
Fruity Chicken Sandwich
While you don’t always want to opt for a sandwich, there are times that you have to. Sandwiches don’t have to be boring or unhealthy. This option will give you the perfect mixture of sweet, savory, and filling. You’ll get a mixture of nutrients with the fruits and nuts while getting plenty of protein with the chicken and Greek yogurt.
Always opt for whole grain bread. It’s packed with fiber, helping to avoid sugar rushes with the carbs.
- 6oz boneless and skinless chicken breast
- 1/3 cup of Greek yogurt
- 1tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1tbsp chives, chopped finely
- 2tbsp dried apricots
- 2tbsp almonds, chopped and toasted
- 4 slices of bread, toasted
- 4 lettuce leaves
- Bring a saucepan of water to boil, meanwhile seasoning the chicken with some salt and pepper
- Reduce the heat on the water and add the chicken, simmering until the chicken is cooked through
- Remove the chicken and allow to cool, before chopping into pieces
- Combine the yogurt, mustard, apricots, almonds, and chives in a bowl and then stir in the chicken with some more salt and pepper to taste
- Divide the lettuce and chicken between two of the slices of bread and top with the remaining slices
The chicken will take about 10 minutes to cook, so this is something you can make on your lunch break. If you don’t have access to cooking utensils, you can make everything the night before and store wrapped in some cling film. Try to store the chicken and yogurt mixture in a tub and put the sandwich together on your lunch break.
Sweet Potato and Chorizo Tacos
Sometimes you want a taste of the world on your lunch break. These tacos are traditionally for breakfast, but they can also make excellent lunch meals. The bring a taste of Mexico to your workplace.
You’ll usually find Mexico chorizo in your butchers. If not, then you can opt for other similar meats for this meal.
Ingredients for the Lime Crema:
- 1/3 cup of sour cream
- 2tbsp fresh lime juice
Ingredients for the Tacos:
- 2tbsp oil of choice
- 2 chorizo sausages, casings removed
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- 1/2tsp chili powder
- 1/4tsp cayenne pepper
- Salt, to taste
- 8 eggs
- 2tbsp butter
- 8 tortilla wraps, warmed
- Tomato salsa (optional)
- Picked onions (optional)
- Cilantro leaves (optional)
- Start with the lime crema by combining the sour cream and lime juice in a bowl; cover and put aside
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet and add the chorizo, breaking up the meat as it cooks for 6-8 minutes
- Place the chorizo on paper towels to drain
- Place the sweet potatoes in the same skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes
- Add the chili powder and cayenne pepper and cook for another 30 seconds
- Place everything onto paper towels and allow to drain, seasoning with some salt
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl in a bowl
- Heat the butter in a separate skillet over medium heat and add the eggs to scramble them gently
- Remove from the heat and mix with the chorizo
- Fill the tortilla wraps with the eggs, chorizo, and sweet potatoes
- Top with the lime crema and the option toppings
Wrap the tacos in some tin foil so you can take your tacos on the go with you. If you can, reheat when you’re ready to eat, but it will taste good cold.
All the meals above have had something that isn’t suitable for vegetarians. It’s time to get a meal just for you, right? This is a messy lunch, despite being quick. You’ll want to be ready for the juices that run.
You can make your pickle. But you can also buy pickle from the store to make this a quick lunch. Choose your favorite for this recipe.
- ¼ cup of buttermilk
- ¼ cup of Greek yogurt, plain
- 1tbsp lemon juice, fresh
- 6tbsp oil of choice, divided
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 avocados, halved and pitted
- 6oz goat cheese
- 6cps of lettuce leaves, ribs removed
- 8slices of bread, toasted
- ½ English cucumber, sliced
- 2 cups of sprouts
- Whisk the buttermilk with the lemon juice, half the oil, and yogurt in a bowl until smooth, seasoning with some salt and pepper; put aside
- Scoop the avocado halves into a bowl and add 1tbsp oil to mash, seasoning with some salt and pepper
- Mash the goat cheese and rest of oil in another bowl, until soft and spreadable
- Add the lettuce to the dressing and coat well
- Spread the avocado over 4 slices of bread and arrange the lettuce, cucumber, and sprouts over the top
- Drain the pickles and add to the top of your sandwich
- Spread the other slices of bread with the goat cheese and complete your sandwich
If you don’t like pickles, you can avoid them completely. When you make your own, you can store the pickles for up to two weeks.
Make the sandwich fully ahead of time and transport in an airtight container or cling film.
Potato and Bacon Breakfast Tacos
This is another breakfast meal that works for your lunch. Like with the previous one, you can bring this in some foil and reheat if you can get at work. This is also a quick meal to make if you work at home or have a day off where you need a quick bite to eat.
- 4oz bacon, chopped
- 1 russet potato, peeled and chopped
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 8 tortilla wraps
- 2tbsp butter
- Monterey Jack cheese, grated for serving
- 1 avocado to serve
- Hot sauce, to taste
- Cook the bacon until crisp and then drain on paper towels
- Add the potatoes to the same skillet used for the bacon and cook for 10-12 minutes, transferring to paper towels when finished and seasoning with salt and pepper
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl and heat the butter in a second skillet
- Cook the eggs, scrambling them gently for about 3 minutes
- Mix the eggs and bacon and then fill the tortilla wraps with the eggs and potatoes
- Top with the cheese, hot sauce, and avocado if you choose
You’ll get two tacos per serving with this recipe. You can store the others in the freezer, so you have something for later in the month. Make sure your tacos completely defrost before eating if you are going to freeze.
Chicken and Chilli Noodle Salad
Finally, it’s time to get a taste of the orients for your lunch. This chicken and chili noodle salad is enough to get your metabolism going. You’ll feel full sooner than with any other meal.
- 4 green onions, sliced, divided
- 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 2-star anise pods
- 2tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1tbsp ginger, chopped
- 1tsp Sichuan peppercorns
- ½ cup of oil of choice
- 6oz ramen noodles
- 2tbsp soy sauce
- 2tbsp rice vinegar
- 2tsp sesame oil
- 2tsp sugar
- 2 cups of chicken, cooked and shredded
- ½ English cucumber, sliced and halved
- 4 radishes, trimmed and chopped
- 1 cup of cilantro leaves
- Cook two green onions and all the ingredients up to the noodles in a saucepan over medium heat for about 3 minutes
- Allow to cool and then place into a jar, storing for up to 4 days
- Cook the noodles according to the package instructions and rinse with cold water when done; shake as much water off as possible
- Put the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and oil together in a bowl and whisk until the sugar completely dissolves
- Add the noodles, chicken, and rest of the green onions to the sauce and combine fully
- Place everything in a bowl with the cucumber, radishes, and the cilantro
Drizzle the oil over the top just before you serve. If you take to work, keep the oil in a separate tub for drizzling when you’re ready to eat.
Quick lunches certainly don’t need to be boring. It’s time to get everything together and create a meal plan that you look forward. The lunches above can be used for those at work and those staying at home. You can make extra portions for the kids, giving them something to look forward to when they’re on their lunch break at school.
Now all you need to do is decide on the lunch that you want to start with. There are just so many options!