Here are the top lunch ideas that are healthy, easy, and non-boring! You’ll look forward to these lunch recipes all day.
Need midday inspiration? Us too. Even as cookbook authors and recipe writers, sometimes lunchtime gets the better of us. But guess what? There are lots of ways to make lunch-time exciting! We’ve combed through our archives in search of all the best lunch ideas…and re-discovered a few great recipes of our own to put into the rotation.
That said, here are all the best healthy and easy lunch recipes for midday inspiration! These recipes are one of two things: either easy to put together on the spot, or easy to meal prep and do well in the fridge over a few days. Here are the categories of recipes you’ll see below:
Roll ups and wraps
Make ahead salads
Make ahead soups
And now…easy lunch ideas that are healthy & non boring!
First up in these best lunch ideas: we'll start with Easy Sandwiches! Here’s a healthy lunch to spice up your routine: avocado tuna salad! This spin swaps out the classic mayonnaise for nutrient-rich avocado. The flavor is so fresh and delicious, you may give up the mayo version altogether.
More serving suggestions: Eat with crackers or make into lettuce wraps
That’s right: hummus on a sandwich. You don’t have to reserve hummus just for carrots and pita triangles! It works as a sandwich spread that’s full of plant-based protein to keep you full for hours. Throw it on bread with all your favorite crunchy veggies and it’s a lunch idea that couldn’t be easier to whip up.
Here's how to make the perfect Egg Salad Sandwich! It’s the best kind of basic. This is a sandwich you can sink your teeth into, that tastes like an elevated version of what you’re used to. It’s fresh and healthy, not the mayo-laden kind you can find at the store. Another secret? It’s stuffed with fresh herbs, to give you a beautiful pop of flavor.
Another great lunch recipe? The Avocado Club! It's full of umami flavor and so satisfying that it will surprise you. The combination of smoky, rich, hearty, crunchy and savory is so irresistible…you’ll want to eat it all over again once it’s gone.
Here's the best tuna salad sandwich on the internet! It’s perfectly creamy, bright and tangy, with just the right crunch from the vegetables. Make your sandwich dreams come true with this recipe! You can also serve it as a lettuce wrap or with crackers.
Here's one of our favorite easy lunch ideas...ever: the chickpea salad sandwich! It’s basically a vegetarian chicken salad sandwich, but uses chickpeas instead of chicken. It’s so tasty, it’s become one of our most popular recipes with readers. You can also serve it with crackers or as a lettuce wrap: or stuff it inside an avocado.
Let's move on to Pinwheels and Roll ups, a great way to make lunch more interesting! These Mexican-style pinwheels are stuffed with black beans and crunchy veggies, and seasoned with cumin and chili powder. They take no time to put together!
Another great lunch recipe is hummus roll ups! It couldn't be simpler: just spread a tortilla with hummus, cover in veggies, and roll it up! To add more protein, add some seasoned white beans or some tuna or chicken.
Burritos are perfect for lunch! You can easily prep the ingredients in advance and then roll them up for lunch. Make your burrito the night before and refrigerate until serving. This one is filled with Spanish rice and seasoned black beans and veggies. As a time saver, try Instant Pot Spanish Rice or just whip up a pot of white rice and mix it with salsa.
Some of the best lunch recipes are Make-Ahead Salads, our next category! Don't forget about straight up egg or tuna salad! It's a great way to make a simple lunch without having to think much. Refrigerate for 3 to 5 days, refreshing the flavors as needed. Serve with pita bread, carrots and bell peppers for a simple no-think lunch idea!
Taco salad works to make ahead for lunches! Make up a batch of Vegan Walnut Taco Meat (or standard ground beef) and reheat it prior to serving. The Taco Salad Dressing takes just 2 minutes to stir together, and refrigerate it until serving. Add lettuce, a few crunchy veggies, and crushed tortilla chips, and you're set!
This kale quinoa salad is designed as a lunch idea that saves well! It's full of healthy ingredients: quinoa, kale, peppers, carrots: and then covered in a delicious, ultra tangy dressing! It’s so flavorful and keeps that flavor 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Our lunches just got way more exciting!
This fresh and healthy lentil salad is Mediterranean-style, mixed with fresh veggies, feta cheese and pistachios. It’s a deliciously protein-packed and it just gets better in the fridge. Make a big batch to eat off of for healthy and easy lunch recipes all week.
Here's an easy, healthy lunch idea that you can make in 5 minutes! It's plant based and starts with a can of chickpeas. Throw these chickpeas together with cucumber and red pepper, stir with olive oil and red wine vinegar, and you've got an incredible Mediterranean-style salad that tastes like it took all day. Serve with pita triangles or crackers.
This antipasto salad works great as a make ahead salad for lunch! This combo between a pasta salad and Italian antipasti is loaded with zingy flavor: briny olives, tangy artichokes, and roasted peppers, contrasted with crunchy veggies and chewy pasta. Load it with fresh basil and there’s so much going on, you might not be able to stop eating it!
Bean salads are great for lunch: especially ones that improve over time! This one has a zingy dressing made with a little ketchup and apple cider vinegar, which covers all the beans in tangy goodness. Add chives and a few feta crumbles, and it's an unexpectedly delicious lunch recipe.
Here's another great make ahead lunch salad recipe: black bean salad! It’s tangy and delicious, perfectly seasoned with cumin, garlic, and apple cider vinegar, and mixed with colored bell peppers, green onions and rice.
It looks a little like rice, but orzo is actually a small pasta! It’s often used in Mediterranean diet recipes like Italian and Greek cuisine. All the flavors of Greece are in this orzo salad: salty feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and of course, powerhouse herbs like mint and dill! Leftovers save well and it's perfect for lunch ideas.
Another easy make-ahead lunch recipe: mini frittatas! Basically a muffin made of egg, they’re easy to meal prep and grab as you’re headed out the door. Refrigerate or freeze ’em, and you can eat off them all week. You don't even need to reheat them before serving. The best part: they’re so tasty! They’re filled with colorful veggies and crunchy pecans for added protein and nutrients.
Of course, if you want to be really lazy: just grab a container of hummus as a lunch idea! Whip up a hummus bowl with pita triangles, cheese, and fresh veggies. It's so easy and so quick! If you have time to meal prep, here are a few homemade hummus recipes:
Let's move on to Make Ahead Soups as lunch recipes! Here are a few of our favorite soups that last well in the fridge for lunchtime all week long. Split pea soup is not only hearty and delicious, but it’s also incredibly easy to make. Here we’ve used a trick to substitute for the traditional ham hock, leaving a smoky nuance to this healthy vegetarian soup.
This curry lentil soup takes a bit of prep time, but it's worth every second to meal prep this one! It’s full of hearty red lentils and root vegetables, and the broth is swirled with red curry paste and coconut milk. With all the texture and flavor going on, it feels rich and luxurious. But at the same time it’s a healthy, plant based meal!
This Italian soup recipe we've lovingly dubbed “pizza soup” because it tastes like liquid pizza! Saute fire roasted tomatoes with garlic, fennel, and smoked paprika, which bring a meaty and savory undertone. Throw in some Tuscan kale to the mix, and you won’t even tell it’s there: all you'll be able to taste is pizza.
This wild rice soup takes a bit of time to meal prep, but WOW does it deliver! This one might be our top rated fan favorite recipe and it's perfect as a lunch idea. It's hearty and creamy, featuring pureed cashews and white beans for loads of plant-based protein. It holds up well as leftovers: simply warm it in the microwave or stovetop for a seriously cozy meal!
What's cozier for lunchtime than a great tomato soup? The puree of tomatoes and tangy artichokes is based on a soup from one of our favorite local restaurants, and it's become a reader favorite. Garnish with homemade croutons and Parmesan cheese.
What makes this the best lentil soup? Let’s just say that everyone we’ve served it to immediately asks for the recipe…and seconds. This one is so full of hearty flavor, you’ll feel like you’re wrapped in a cozy hug. It saves well for lunch recipes and tastes even better reheated on day 2 or 3.
Last up in our best lunch ideas: Make Ahead Lunch Bowls! This tasty bowl features easy black beans, a trick to make a bland can of beans taste amazing in 5 minutes. Pair it with rice (or any whole grain) and colorful veggies. The kicker? A zingy cilantro lime ranch that you’ll want to bathe in.
These seasoned lentils come out perfectly spiced and very moist, cooked with veggie broth, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, and oregano. They're so tasty, and filling with all the plant based protein! Make a big pot and eat off of them all week! Serve them with pita wedges, sliced tomatoes, and a dollop of Greek yogurt, and they're divine.
This quinoa bowl is one of our fan favorite recipes Why? This fresh bowl of delicious vegetables and easy chickpeas is smothered in a tangy lemon tahini sauce that's darn delicious. It's easy to make ahead and totally customizable to whatever veggies you have on hand!
Last up in our lunch recipes: the Salmon Bowl! Here tender, seasoned fish is offset with rice, crisp tender broccoli, and covered in an easy, creamy flavor popping sauce. Use smoked salmon for super simple prep! Try the Tahini Dressing or Miso Dressing, and prepare to be amazed.
We’ve got lots more lunch recipes where those come from! Here are a few more recipe collections to browse:
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.