15 Make-Ahead Recipes for Easy Packed Lunches

on September 17, 2015


Brown Baggin' It

We all know that packing a lunch is less expensive and often more efficient than going out for lunch-that's old news. But that doesn't mean that you have to stick to a PB&J every single day or, Heaven forbid, frozen food for lunch every weekday. Perish the thought. Advanced meal prep is the way to go, folks. Master your lunch hour with these delicious make-ahead recipes for easy packed lunches.

Rosie | The Londoner

Veggie Noodle Soup Pot

Skip the depressing dried noodle cup, and opt for an easy DIY noodle pot. This recipe calls for cooked noodles, Asian veggies, pre-cooked chicken (or shrimp, or beef, or tofu...), crunchy bean sprouts and an easy sauce-all super easy to throw together the night before. Simply add hot water, and enjoy!

Get the recipe here.

Linda Wagner

Spicy Asian Chicken Salad

This simple, healthy salad is paleo-friendly, not to mention insanely colorful and delicious. Start with shredded carrots, crunchy slaw mix, kale, shredded rotisserie chicken, lime juice, and jalapeu00f1o slices. Then mix in Sriracha, soy sauce, and a light drizzle of honey (or sugar free stevia)-or opt to use your own store-bought dressing instead.

Get the recipe here.

Good Cheap Eats

Chicken Curry Lettuce Wraps

Chicken salad is another go-to lunch that is perfect to make ahead and eat all week long. This variation calls for curry powder for an extra kick! With apples, chicken, celery, and golden raisins, this chicken salad fulfills all the major food groups and tastes great. Enjoy on crusty bread or crackers-or opt for crunchy lettuce wraps for an even healthier take.

Get the recipe here.

Wendy Polisi

Black Bean, Feta & Avocado Quinoa Wrap with Avocado Tahini Dip

Wraps are one of the easiest ways to amp up your sandwich game during lunchtime. Protein-packed quinoa and black beans perfectly complement creamy avocado and salty, crumbly feta cheese. This wrap is an easy go-to lunch that you can make the night before and enjoy just as much the following day.

Get the recipe here.

Foxes Love Lemons

Greek Quinoa Salad

If a regular salad doesn't fill you up or leaves you hungry in two hours, try mixing in a healthy grain or pasta like quinoa, brown rice, or couscous that will give you extra energy and keep you satisfied. This recipe harnesses all the flavors of classic Greek salad, with a few surprise additions.

Get the recipe here.

Deliciously Ella

Sweet & Savory Bento Box

This on-the-go box starts off with a spiced, roasted mixture of sweet potatoes, carrots and butternut squash. Add plump olives, arugula, homemade hummus, and tri-colored quinoa, and this salad-like smorgasbord becomes a vibrant, sweet and savory meal. Serve with a side of fresh fruit to complete your packed feast.

Get the recipe here.

Food by Mars

Massaged Kale and Buckwheat Bowl

Massaged kale, in case you didn't know, is exactly what it sounds like: it's simply rubbed down with olive oil. Start off with the kale and cooked buckwheat, add a sliced boiled egg and half of an avocado, and top with hemp seeds, tahini, and salt & pepper to taste. Packed with vitamins and protein!

Get the recipe here.

Just Bento

Sesame Beef and Vegetable Bento

Keep a close eye on leftovers, and you can throw together an easy bento box in under five minutes! This version is packed with steamed rice, savory sesame beef and plenty of veggies.

Get the recipe here.

Hip Foodie Mom

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is the ultimate in make-ahead lunch recipes. This version was designed with kiddos in mind, but that's not stopping us-two birds, one stone. This version is a vibrant combo of pasta, pesto and fresh veggies. Easy to store and travels beautifully!

Get the recipe here.

Ambitious Kitchen

Healthy Chickpea Chopped Salad

Chopped salads like this one are a fun way to mix up your run-of-the-mill lunch salad. Fresh roasted corn, pulled chicken breast, goat cheese, avocado, tomatoes, and chick peas mingle atop romaine lettuce for a crunchy, southwestern-style salad that beats boring old lettuce-and-cucumbers any day.

Get the recipe here.

Lair Cake

"The California Louie"

Lemon-soaked cooked salmon is a wonderful source of protein to add to your salad, wrap or bento lunch box. Top fresh lettuce with your favorite veggies-fresh or lightly steamed or blanched-and this creamy avocado dressing.

Get the recipe here.

Faith Durand | The Kitchn

"The Frenchie Lentil" Salad

Don't forget about lentils, guys! They're small, but they're packed with protein. Spruce up your salad game even further with this sweet-and-savory combo.

Get the recipe here.

A Couple Cooks

Greek Pita Sandwiches

Here's another Mediterranean-style lunch to add to your list of go-to recipes. Prepare a Greek salad mixture the night before along with a quick homemade tzatziki sauce. Pack these, plus a fresh whole wheat pita pocket-and assemble right before you're ready to eat for optimum crunch. You could even throw in some chicken if you prefer that to chickpeas.

Get the recipe here.

Chungah | Damn Delicious

Taco Lettuce Wraps

Brown turkey, chicken or beef with veggies, beans and seasonings the night before, and all you have to do is reheat for lunch the next day! Prepare your lunchbox with the cooked mixture and all of your favorite taco toppings to assemble when you're ready to eat. For extra crunch, opt for lettuce wraps, or layer over chopped greens for a taco salad.

Get the recipe here.

Sally's Baking Addiction

Homemade Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

For spring rolls like these, slice vegetables vertically so you have long stalks of veggies to roll neatly into rice paper. Throw in some shrimp and avocado to fuel the rest of your day, and roll 'em up! Don't forget to make some peanut dipping sauce to add a boost of flavor. Trust us. These babies are much easier than they look.

Get the recipe here.