20 Quick and Easy Lunch Ideas

It Doesn't Have to Feel Like a Chore

Vegetarian Bean and Rice Burrito

The Spruce

Lunch doesn't have to be a chore. Mix things up with these quick and easy recipes instead of ordering out or eating the same dull salad day after day. They star easy-to-find ingredients, and many make good use of leftover beans, rice, meat, or bread. From salads to wraps and sandwiches to speedy takes on favorite foods, you'll look forward to a delicious lunch that doesn't take up too much time.

  • 01 of 20

    Panzanella Salad

    Panzanella Salad

    The Spruce Eats / Anita Schecter

    Panzanella salad is a lunchtime treat made with a tasty combination of fresh tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, and a flavorful homemade vinaigrette. It's an excellent use for day-old French or sourdough bread, and cubed mozzarella is a wonderful addition.

  • 02 of 20

    Classic Wedge Salad

    Wedge Salad

     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    The classic wedge salad is often reserved as a dinner side, but it's equally fantastic for lunch and easily sized down for one or two people. This recipe goes beyond pulling the toppings out of the fridge, opting instead for lightly salted tomatoes, pickled red onions, and homemade blue cheese dressing.

  • 03 of 20

    Toasted Pita Bowl Salad

    Pita Bowl Salad

    The Spruce Eats / Anita Schecter

    Za'atar adds savory, herby flavor to the chickpeas and vinaigrette in this vegetarian toasted pita bowl salad. Toasting the pita to make an edible bowl means that leftover or defrosted frozen pita works well. You can also roast a bunch of chickpeas at once for future lunches and snacks.

  • 04 of 20

    Vegan and Gluten-Free Quinoa Salad

    Quinoa salad

     The Spruce Eats

    Quinoa salad takes no time to make and tastes great leftover. Use your favorite veggies for this recipe, and add black or kidney beans for extra protein if you like. The endless variations make this recipe a lunch staple.

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • 05 of 20

    Egg Roll in a Bowl

    egg roll in a bowl

     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    Egg roll in a bowl has all of the flavors and textures of the classic takeout egg roll without the hassle of a wrapper or deep-frying. Using coleslaw mix, ground pork, and a tasty combination of seasonings, you'll have a warm salad lunch ready in just 15 minutes.

  • 06 of 20

    Garden Pasta Salad With Rotini

    Garden pasta salad with rotini

    The Spruce Eats

    Pasta salads can be a little blah, but this garden rotini salad adds pesto and olives to the mix for a big flavor. Make as much as you like because it tastes great after a day or two. You can also swap the bell pepper, celery, cucumber, red onion, and tomato for whatever fresh veggies you have available.

  • 07 of 20

    Black Bean and Rice Salad

    Rice and Black Bean Salad

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

    It only takes a few moments to cook white rice, chop the veggies, and combine everything in a bowl for this black bean and rice salad. You can also use leftover rice from dinner to save even more time, and add corn kernels or diced avocado for extra color and flavor.

  • 08 of 20

    The Ultimate Avocado Toast

    avocado toasts on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

    With a handful of simple ingredients, anyone can make the ultimate avocado toast. There are several ways to change it up, so you'll never get bored of this simple and satisfying light lunch.

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  • 09 of 20

    Vegan Hummus Avocado Wrap

    Vegan Hummus Avocado Wrap

    The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

    Use tortillas to make a lightning-fast hummus avocado wrap. Start with a flavorful hummus and add fresh veggies like tomato, avocado, and sprouts or lettuce for a tasty meal. If you're not vegan and want more protein, add feta cheese or sliced turkey.

  • 10 of 20

    Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

    Chicken Caesar Wrap

    The Spruce Eats / Elaine Lemm

    Fresher than any premade wrap from the store, it's surprisingly easy to make grilled chicken Caesar salad wraps. Whipping up the homemade dressing in advance and using leftover grilled chicken saves time during the lunch hour. Simply roll them up with lettuce and Parmesan in a wrap, and you're done.

  • 11 of 20

    Vegetarian Bean and Rice Burrito

    Vegetarian Bean and Rice Burrito

    The Spruce Eats

    Not too heavy, this vegetarian bean and rice burrito makes a simple but tasty lunch. Whether black, pinto, or kidney, the beans are flavored with spices, garlic, and hot sauce while the rice gets a dressing of lime juice and cilantro to cool things down. Add additional fillings to the burrito if you like and serve with salsa.

  • 12 of 20

    Classic Chicken Salad Sandwiches

    Chicken salad sandwich

    The Spruce Eats

    Chicken salad sandwiches are a delicious use of leftover roasted or poached chicken. You can whip up this lunch in about 10 minutes flat, and it's a great make-ahead option that just needs to be assembled. It's also fun to add your favorite flavors like fresh herbs, diced apples, walnuts, or grapes.

    Continue to 13 of 20 below.
  • 13 of 20

    Cemita Mexican Pulled Pork Sandwich

    Cemita Mexican pulled pork sandwich recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Leftover pulled pork is the ideal foundation for a filling Mexican cemita (sandwich). The chipotle peppers and adobo sauce provide lots of flavors, while the avocado and tomato add fresh deliciousness to each bite. If you can't get your hands on cemita rolls, hamburger or brioche buns also work.

  • 14 of 20

    Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Sandwich

    Turkey cranberry brie sandwich recipe

    The Spruce Eats

    Dress up your turkey sandwich with creamy brie, sweet and sour cranberry, and fresh spinach. It's one that you won't want to reserve for Thanksgiving leftovers, either. Thick-sliced turkey and good bread make this an enjoyable lunch year-round.

  • 15 of 20

    Grilled Chicken and Mozzarella Panini

    Grilled Chicken and Mozzarella Panini Recipe

     The Spruce Eats

    Paninis are an excellent way to level up a plain old sandwich. Use leftover grilled or roasted chicken breasts to save time; it will get warm and juicy again in the panini press along with melty cheese and sliced tomato. If you don't have a grill press, set a heavy cast-iron pan on top of the chicken panini instead.

  • 16 of 20

    French Bread Pizza

    french bread pizza on a sheet tray

     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    Sometimes you simply can't wait for dinner to satiate your pizza craving. Fortunately, this French bread pizza is as adaptable as any other—use your favorite toppings—and comes out of the oven piping hot in just 20 minutes.

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • 17 of 20

    Quick and Easy Canned Tuna Fish Tacos

    Quick tuna taco recipe

    The Spruce Eats

    Mix up a quick sauce, briefly heat the tuna in a pan, crisp the taco shells, and boom: you have lunch. Tuna fish tacos are a nice change of pace from your standard tuna salad, and they take only minutes to make. You can swap the canned tuna for leftover flaked tuna fish.

  • 18 of 20

    Cold Soba Noodle Salad

    Cold soba noddle recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Andrew Bui

    Cooked soba noodles combined with veggies and cilantro topped with a spicy sweet and sour sauce make a delightful lunch. The cold soba noodle salad requires nothing more than prepping the fresh ingredients and cooking the noodles, and it's even better when made a day ahead.

  • 19 of 20

    Quick Shoyu Ramen

    Quick Shoyu Ramen

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Forget the packaged variety and make ramen from scratch. This shoyu ramen recipe shows just how easy it is. Though the list is a bit lengthy, most of the ingredients are kitchen staples, especially if you regularly cook Asian dishes.

  • 20 of 20

    Fried Rice From Leftovers

    Leftovers night fried rice recipe

    ​The Spruce Eats / Ahlam Raffii

    This fried rice recipe was explicitly designed to use leftover rice. A little extra soy sauce guarantees that the rice is as moist as the first day. Frozen stir-fry vegetables make prep a breeze when you need a speedy lunch.