No Sad Desk Lunch Here! 20 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Bring to Work
From inspiring salads to flavorful sandwiches (and even a few desserts!), create a fresh weekday routine with our ideas for delicious make-ahead work lunches.
Lunchtime just got a brand-new bag! We've reimagined basic sandwiches and ho-hum salads into creative meals you'll love taking to work with you—trust us, you'll be happy to break for these winning combos. Best of all, our ideas come together fast when you carve out a little prep time, which means you'll never have to scramble to throw lunch together again.
We recommend taking time on the weekends to prep the most time-consuming parts of these work lunches. This doesn't mean making a big batch of one dish and eating it for five days in a row. Instead, make something you can have for breakfast one day and lunch the next, such as a frittata that becomes a midday sandwich. A dinner that does double duty at lunch also works well. We like pulled pork, which can be eaten as a sandwich the first time then atop a salad the next day at lunchtime.
Leftovers certainly don't have to be lackluster or just heated in the communal microwave (though these make-ahead freezer burritos are created just for that purpose). Instead, slice up Sunday's meatloaf and turn it into a hearty sandwich with mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato come Monday. You could also flake the last piece of salmon from Tuesday's dinner and and turn it into a light salad served on crusty bread for lunch on Wednesday. No meal is complete without something sweet, and we think that goes for lunch, too. Weekends are prime time to bake a batch of cookies that you (and the rest of the family) can enjoy with your midday meals throughout the week.
Cute, creative lunches aren't just for kids either. Prep a fun bento box lunch to bring to work—the bento benefit is that it packs a portioned main, side, and dessert all in the same container. It's also eco-friendly so there's no need to pack snacks in multiple plastic bags. With these smart, easy lunch ideas on hand, there will be no more sad desk lunch.
Italian-Hero Chopped Salad
Tuna-Apple Bento Box
Prep the tuna-apple salad and escarole the night before so that this lunch comes together fast in the morning. Be sure to use good quality jarred tuna, such as Ortiz White Tuna in Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.
Turkey Caesar Sandwiches
Chopped Winter Salad
Potato, Broccoli, and Cheddar Soup
Plum-and-Blackberry Cornmeal-Almond Crumb Bars
Don't forget dessert! These jammy crumble bars are versatile; in addition to making this version with plums and blackberries, try it with apricots, cherries, or peaches.
Spring Chicken Niçoise
Late-Summer Chopped Salad with Cottage Cheese
Spicy-Sweet Maple Snack Mix
Rice Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Feta
Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Chickpeas
Zucchini-Parmesan Bread with Poppy Seeds
Make it over the weekend and enjoy slices for several days. Zucchini not only adds flavor and a bit of color to this quick bread, but it also keeps it super moist. Throw it in the toaster to warm it up quickly or smear on cream cheese. This bread takes such little prep work in the morning (slice and pack) which is great when you're in a rush to get out the door.