5 Lunches that Aren’t Sandwiches
5 Lunches that Aren’t Sandwiches
Are you tired of the same old boring sandwich every day for lunch? I have never been a huge fan of sandwiches which has definitely led me to be more experimental with lunches. The only sandwiches I really like are tuna salad or grilled cheese and unless you are at home it’s really hard to do a grilled cheese for lunch because let’s be real. As soon as it gets cold and the cheese isn’t melty anymore they kind of get gross. When they get cold you’re just eating bread with a block of cheese between it and you may as well have just made a plain cheese sandwich.
When it comes to easy on the go lunches mason jars are one of your best friends. They are super versatile and can be used to hold almost any lunch. This soba noodle salad is a great one to make ahead of time and transport in a mason jar.
Soba noodle salad with peanut satay sauce
- 3 oz soba noodles (half box)
- 3 carrots, grated
- ¼ red cabbage, thinly chopped
- ¼ cup green onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp Sesame seeds
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter, natural
- ¼ cup soy sauce, low sodium
- 1 tsp red curry paste
- 1 tsp water
Cutting the carrots, cabbage, green onion and bell pepper. Take the soba noodles and add them to a pot of boiling water on the stove. While the noodles are cooking, in a small bowl combine maple syrup, peanut butter, soy sauce, curry paste, and water. Whisk the sauce together. Drain the noodles and run under cold water to cool down. Add a few tablespoons of the sauce into each of the mason jars, top with the veggies and add the noodles on top (you want to make sure to have the noodles on top if you’re assembling them ahead of time otherwise they will soak up all the sauce and get soggy). Top with sesame seeds and enjoy now or later.
Salads are one of my go-to lunches but if you’re looking for something with more substance than just leafy greens a quinoa salad is a great way to go! Quinoa is packed with protein, fiber and is considered to be a superfood. Quinoa salad is a great lunch to make in bulk and keep in the fridge for the week. You can also just cook up a big batch of quinoa and use it for a variety of meals.
Greek quinoa bowl
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 can chickpeas (you could also use chicken or another protein)
- 4 cups spinach, chopped
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- ¼ cup green onions, finely chopped
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- Greek dressing
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried oregano leaves
- Salt and Pepper to taste
In a medium pot over high heat, add quinoa and water. Bring to a boil. Cover, let simmer 13-15 minutes. Chop tomato, cucumber, green onions, avocado. In a bowl, add 1 cup spinach, ¼ cup quinoa, ¼ cup chickpeas (or other protein), ¼ tomato, ¼ cucumber, 1 tbsp green onion, ¼ avocado. Top with greek dressing, salt, and pepper to taste.
Soup is a great lunch because you can make a big batch of it on Sunday and then take it to work every day either in a thermos or a microwavable container and you just need to add some snacks. No rushing to put together a meal before leaving the house or making sure you get it all together before going to bed. I like to portion my soup into mason jars after I make it so that I can just grab the jar in the morning and go. It also makes reheating the soup easy and you don’t need a bowl! Just take the lid off and pop the jar in the microwave and eat it straight out of the jar! This roasted red pepper and sweet potato soup is one that I love to make!
Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup
- 2 red peppers
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 stocks of celery, chopped
- 4-5 carrot, peeled and chopped
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can coconut milk
- 5 cups vegetable stock
Preheat the oven to 425. Chop your red pepper and sweet potato so that they’re about the same size. Place on a baking tray and coat with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. Chop garlic, onion, celery, and carrots. Add the remaining oil to a pot. To the pot, add chopped celery, onion, and carrots, cook 5 minutes. Add garlic, red peppers, sweet potato and cook another 5 minutes. Add broth, spices and coconut milk, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook another 15-20 minutes. Remove from burner and puree with an immersion blender (you can also use a regular blender. If you do, let the soup cool slightly and blend in small batches). Add salt and pepper if needed. Let the soup cool then portion into mason jars or leave in a large container.
Taco or Fajita Bowls
Taco or fajita bowls are another tasty lunch that I enjoy. They also work really well as leftovers if you have tacos during the week. The way I normally assemble a taco bowl is in a container with some rice, corn, black beans, grilled peppers and onion and then either spinach or lettuce. If you’re going to heat it up I suggest bringing the spinach/lettuce on the side and adding it afterwards because they don’t normally heat up very well in a microwave. I also bring a little container with salsa to pour on top before eating it. The same thing could be done with sour cream and guacamole if you typically add those too. For the taco bowl I don’t really have a recipe that I use, I just kind of throw it together with whatever taco meat I used that week or you can add some grilled steak or chicken if you have that.
If you’re ever stuck and not sure what to make remember that leftovers can be your best friend. Leftover pasta can be reheated to make a quick and filling lunch. Almost anything that you would have eaten for dinner the night before can be as easy lunch the next day. If you have extra meat then throw it over a salad and bring your favorite dressing to give you a protein filled salad to keep you going. Whatever you bring for lunch always throw in some healthy snacks to help fuel you between meals because if you’re anything like me snacking is key so I always make sure I bring some so that I don’t get distracted while working or start wandering to find a snack when I get hungry an hour after lunch.