While sandwiches are perfect for days when we’re running late or have a hankering for a kid-like lunch again, take a step outside the (lunch) box and try a few non-sandwich lunch recipes once and awhile. You can create a more exciting, more satiating, and possibly healthier lunch with just a few tweaks here and there.
You’ll want to select a nice mix of easy-to-digest protein, some healthy fats, and some fiber when you create your lunch. This combination will ensure that your lunch fills you up without weighing you down. Start with some of the options below and turn lunch into a more exciting part of your day with these non-sandwich lunch recipes. Don’t worry, they’re still very easy to make, and many of these options can be made ahead of time just like sandwiches. You never know—you might just find a new favorite lunch recipe!
Don’t limit your egg salad to mayo alone—opt for something just as filling but a little lighter with the almighty avocado. Packed with healthy fats, fiber and even a little protein, avocado can be a great addition to any lunch of your choice. Its creamy nature creates a delectable egg salad in this recipe by The Roasted Root. Enjoy it plain, top a bed of greens with it, or slather it on some toast or crackers for an easy meal in minutes.
Wraps may be similar to sandwiches, but they have the benefit of being able to be created out of any type of wrap you wish. There’s now whole grain, coconut, and even veggie-based wraps you can choose from. This Healthy Buffalo Chicken Wrap happens to use a whole grain wrap and is a healthier version of traditional Buffalo wraps you might be used to. Get the easy recipe from The Creative Bite and see what you think!
Perhaps you just can’t give up all the carbs at lunch. Now you don’t have to since this recipe by Natasha’s Kitchen uses pasta for a quick and easy lunch salad recipe that’s filling yet still light too. Make it ahead, and whip it out when hunger strikes!
Salad should not be boring, especially at lunch where it’s the main meal of your mid-day eats. So take your salad up a few notches and add some light protein along with a fabulous salad dressing recipe. This Superfood Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette by Iowa Girl Eats has you covered.
Bowls are all the rage right now, and the possibilities for quick combinations are limitless. Prepare a batch of chicken and quinoa ahead of time, along with the salsa, and use them in a variety of your meals throughout the week for quick and easy meals that contain healthy ingredients. These Quinoa Chicken Bowls With a Mango Salsa are the perfect option to start with!
Just like egg salad can be made with avocados, so can tuna salad. In fact, tuna salad made with avocado isn’t only nice and colorful, but it’s also more filling thanks to the extra fiber found in avocados. Here’s a fun fact: Both tuna and avocados pack heart-healthy fats, so you can feel especially good about noshing on this lunch recipe by Cook Eat Paleo each day!
Pinwheels are a more exciting form of wraps in a way. They’re also a bit easier to eat and can be dipped into any sauce of your choice. These Creamy Turkey Pinwheels by Yummy Healthy Easy are easy to make, and they will keep you filled up all afternoon long thanks to the lean protein found in turkey and the fiber found in the other ingredients.
Topped toast is also nice to enjoy at lunch, and it can be a little lighter than bread-heavy sandwiches. Use a whole grain or gluten-free toast of choice and top it with this protein-rich topping using eggs, spinach, and avocados created by Two Peas & Their Pod. Or, if you’re not into bread at all for lunch, just enjoy it without toast—it will still keep you full and taste just as great!
Pizza is a favorite of many for lunch, but you can lighten up your pizza and lunch with this Pizza Pasta Salad by Spend With Pennies. Plus, who wouldn’t love to dive into this recipe for lunch and not need a nap right after?
Light, filling, and totally satisfying, this Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper, and Feta Turkey Wrap by NeighborFood makes for an easy lunch recipe that you can make ahead just like sandwiches. If you choose a whole grain wrap, you’ll even pack in some extra fiber too!
Maybe you’re feeling under the weather, craving something cozy, or you just happen to love soup. Whatever the case, soup can serve as the perfect make-ahead lunch that happens to taste even better a few days later after it sits in the fridge. Or, make a batch of this Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Soup by DAMN delicious in the slow-cooker during the night, and carry it the next day to work to share with your co-workers. Just be warned, you might have them asking you to make it again and again!
Salad can be a nice lunch option for those that prefer something light and filling. It can also be enjoyable to look at and makes a lovely canvas for limitless amounts of ingredients. This Balsamic Chicken Salad With Lemon Quinoa by Cafe Delights is the perfect combination of lean protein, fiber from greens and veggies, and fiber from the almighty quinoa grain-like seed. You won’t be hungry all day after this lunch!
Paleo recipes eliminate grains and legumes, so lunch options that cater to Paleo devotees make great non-sandwich lunch recipes to turn to when you want something without bread for your mid-day meal. Don’t let the bread-free part fool you, though; Paleo Lemon Tahini Tuna Salad by Stupid Easy Paleo still pack satiety thanks to the high amounts of protein, fiber, and healthy fats so you’ll feel great all day long!
Take a vacation with your lunch every once and awhile and try some exotic flavor at lunch. Tropical lentil Lunch Bowls With Coconut Lime Dressing is a fun one to start with, and it’s a great source of meatless protein and fiber thanks to the use of lentils. The dressing alone is worth giving this recipe by Sweet Peas AND Saffron a shot—you won’t regret it!
Love sushi? Then you need this California Roll Sushi Bowl recipe by Wonky Wonderful in your lunch routine (and life). It isn’t only filled with traditional sushi ingredients, but it’s also quick to throw together and there’s no need for time-consuming sushi rolling here!
Eggs make a great lunch option because they’re packed with protein, lighter than meat, and they even have some heart-healthy fats. While hard-boiled eggs are nice, fried eggs can have some major appeal to those that prefer a warm option. Plus, this Rice Bowl With Fried Egg and Avocado by bon appétit can be thrown together in less than five minutes if you have your rice made ahead of time. Choose whatever rice you want, grab a skillet, and go!
Tuna patties are loved by both children and adults, so enjoy some tuna patties for lunch a little more often. You can turn this recipe from Simple Recipes into your own lunch creation by either pairing it with a salad, some veggies, your favorite dip, and even serve them with lettuce and a whole grain bun just like a beef burger. Make these ahead and enjoy all week long!
Vegans rejoice! This Peanut Tofu Buddha Bowl packs meatless protein that’s still hearty, and it has a tangy, Thai flavor thanks to the peanut sauce that can be made ahead and used on salads, bowls, and wraps throughout the week. This recipe by delish knowledge would even make for the perfect meatless dinner on another note. Don’t let tofu scare you if you’ve never had it—you just might love it!
Speaking of exotic flavors, why not use the humble pineapple in your lunch every once and awhile to give you a tropical treat? Here’s a nutrition secret you might like to know too: Pineapple contains a special enzyme called bromelain that helps break down proteins making the protein easier to digest. This means you can get the most ‘bang for your buck’ from whatever protein you pair with pineapple, plus the bright yellow fruit even offers vitamin C too. Get the recipe for Grilled Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Wraps by CREME de la CRUMB and give it a try this week!
Finally, for a healthy, filling and still light salad, this amazing creation by Culinary Hill is one of the best non-sandwich lunch recipes you can try during spring and summer. Feel free to add whatever lean protein you want for a more filling option, rotate the nuts if you prefer to, and enjoy the sweet and savory flavors that this salad offers—it’s a winner for sure!
Want more creative and easy lunch ideas? These other 20 sandwich-free ideas have you covered!
Featured photo credit: bon appétit via bonappetit.com
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