20+ Easy and Inexpensive Work-From-Home Lunch Ideas
Whether working from home is your usual or it's an entirely new situation, taking a break for a nourishing mid-day meal can seem like an imposition—that is, until you have a few solid recipes in your pocket. Our collection of WFH lunches will help you embrace lunchtime as a pleasant daily ritual to incorporate into your routine. From make-ahead favorites to fast and easy recipes you can whip up a la moment (using pantry staples and leftovers), we have a little something for everyone.
Chicken Gyro Bowls
The spice rub for the meat marries just as well with fish fillets, shrimp, or lean ground lamb or beef. Make a few extra batches of the rub and store it in an airtight container to use all summer long.
If you think you're over avocado toast, this topper will change your mind. Make sure to give your tahini a good stir before drizzling. These make for a filling snack, plus they're loaded with protein to help you stay fuller for longer.
Whole-Grain Veggie Burrito Bowl
Whole-Grain Veggie Burrito Bowl Recipe
This is a Tex-Mex riff on the Korean rice dish bibimbap, in which various toppings are arranged over a bed of rice. Here, burrito bowl must-haves such as smoky black beans, fresh pico de gallo, and slaw top brown rice.
Pantry Beans and Greens
Pantry Beans and Greens Recipe
If it's a cold-weather, feel-good meal you want, Pantry Beans and Greens is everything you need. This hearty yet healthy dish is both easy on your wallet and incredibly easy to pull together. But don't be fooled—just because it's easy doesn't mean it's not one of the most satisfying meals you'll eat this year. (It is.)
Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken
Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken Recipe
This colorful orzo and chicken main dish salad is packed with an assortment of chopped fresh vegetables and tossed with a tangy lemon dressing. It's a great use for leftover or rotisserie chicken.
Buffalo Chicken Salad
When you need an instant party, tailgate, or even a basic weekday meal prep winner, this Buffalo Chicken Salad has your back. It couldn't be easier to mix up, and you'll love the bright tang that Buffalo sauce, a squeeze of lemon, and crumbles of blue cheese add to creamy chicken salad. We love serving this Buffalo Chicken Salad on slider buns for easy entertaining, but you could just easily serve as lettuce wraps or with sturdy crackers.
Chicken Alfredo Soup
Inspired by the favorite pasta dish, this creamy Chicken Alfredo Soup comes together in no time with the help of a few store-bought shortcuts. Rotisserie chicken, frozen peas, and a jar of Alfredo sauce, which serves as the backbone of this highly comforting pot of soup, keep your hands-on prep to a minimum.
Kung Pao Chicken Salad
Creamy chicken salad gets a major punch of personality with this wow-worthy, kung pao makeover. Featuring all of the flavors you know and love about kung pao chicken, the incredible savory-sweet dressing only gets tastier as it sits, so feel free to prep your chicken salad in advance and allow it some time to chill in the refrigerator.
BLT Pasta Salad
If you're looking for a foolproof side to take to your next barbecue or potluck, you've come to the right place. This BLT Pasta Salad is essentially a BLT in a bowl, and who could turn that down? It's creamy and crunchy, just like the sandwich, and packs a delicious punch, especially with the use of fresh tomatoes and lettuce.
Bucatini Aglio e Olio
Dinner doesn't get much simpler than this classic, garlicky pasta dish. Especially awesome for those weeks when you just can't seem to make it to the grocery store, aglio e olio is easy to whip up with just a handful of pantry staples. You can definitely use spaghetti noodles instead of bucatini, but consider picking up a box of bucaini to try next time you go shopping. The noodle's hollow shape offers a texture (not to mention, sauce-gripping abilities) that we just love.
Red Beans and Rice with Fried Eggs
Red Beans and Rice with Fried Eggs Recipe
Red beans and rice is a tried and true standby for good reason—at it's simplest, the dish is hearty, tasty, comes together fast, and can be whipped up with ease, even during those hectic weeks you can't seem to make it the grocery store. We amped up this largely pantry staple-based recipe with a runny yolked fried egg and a package of frozen "seasoning blend," which includes chopped bell pepper, onion, and celery.
Greek-Style Chicken Wraps
Greek-Style Chicken Wraps Recipe
Look for plain rotisserie chicken in the deli section of your supermarket. Use the lean, mild breast meat for pastas and sandwiches, and the leg and thigh meat for more robust salads, soups, or tacos.
Satay Soba Noodle Bowl
It's amazing how many delicious meals can come from a can of coconut milk, and little nut butter, and a handful of other pantry staples. Here, with a rich and creamy shortcut satay sauce, soba noodles and frozen edamame are transformed into a scrumptious vegetarian main within a matter of minutes.
Vegetable Soup with Beer Bread
Vegetable Soup with Beer Bread Recipe
Wanna know what the best thing about this dinner is (besides the fact that it's highly comforting and delicious)? You likely already have everything you need to make it on hand. An incredibly simple, 4-ingredient savory beer bread is the perfect fluffy and buttery companion to a bowl of vegetable soup.
Coming up with a healthy and creative brown bag lunch for a busy workday can feel like…work. So we came up with a few new options that are so easy you can make them in the morning before work, or you can prep them the night before and grab on your way out the door in the morning.
Three-Bean Pasta Salad
We combined two potluck classics—pasta salad and three-bean salad—to make one tasty new side dish. Blanched celery is the unexpected star in this side dish; it has a tender-crisp texture and bright green color. Swap out the canned beans for your favorite cooked field peas.
Millet Amaranth Buddha Bowls
Millet Amaranth Buddha Bowls Recipe
Imagine a classic Asian-style rice bowl, but with a risotto-like blend of millet and amaranth as the base. At Vital Root in Denver, chef-owner Justin Cucci tops the grains with loads of vegetables and tofu, then drizzles on a silky tahini sauce.
Wine Pairing: A dry but aromatic white like VML 2014 Gewürztraminer (Russian River Valley; $24). The perfume of the sesame and tahini match the wine's floral and spicy aromas; the haunting minerally character and mouth-filling weight of Gewürz work well with tofu. --Sara Schneider
Fiesta Rice Salad
This colorful, south-of-the-border rice salad comes together quickly and features rice tossed with salsa, fresh veggies, lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro.
Grown-Up Pasta Salad
You know that pasta salad from childhood (you know the one—rotini, canned olives, underripe grape tomatoes, cubed cheese)? It showed up at cookouts, sleepovers and every occasion in between, and it holds a special place in hearts a plenty—or at least it does around our office.
Veggie Eggy Scramble
Katie admits that she and her family "aren't big morning people." They rush through and typically grab what's convenient. We like the idea of getting them to incorporate veggies into the morning meal, and it's not hard or time-consuming to do.
Instant Pot Keto Chicken Fajita Bowls
Instant Pot Keto Chicken Fajita Bowls Recipe
This keto-approved take on fajitas is a super satisfying low-carb meal. The chicken shreds off the bone easily, while the veggies have a slight crunch and the broth is light and flavorful. It feels indulgent, but you're not breaking any rules.
Homemade Sloppy Joes
Once you try these homemade sloppy Joe's, there's no going back to the can. Sloppy Joe's have secured their place as a tried-and-true family favorite for good reason—they're quick, they're easy, and they're a weeknight dinner the whole family can get behind. Our homemade version is simply a wholesome, full-flavored rendition of the savory-sweet sandwich you know and love from childhood.
Egg and Tomato Open-Faced Sandwiches
Egg and Tomato Open-Faced Sandwiches Recipe
Meaty, briny kalamata olives and a splash of vinegar punch up a quick red pepper sauce for these vegetarian sandwiches. Use slightly thicker (about 1 1/2-oz.) bread slices to build a sturdy sandwich base. You can slice your own, or ask to have it sliced on the thicker side.
Sausage-Spinach Rice Bowl
Sausage-Spinach Rice Bowl Recipe
This quick and easy sausage and spinach rice bowl recipe is a one-dish meal that can be ready in 10 minutes flat.