Easy Lunch Ideas

by Marsha - Budget Bytes
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I know we’ve all been there, that moment when you’re tired of eating expensive and boring takeout for lunch and you want something that’s flavorful, satisfying, and helps you rein in your budget. No worries! You can swap out that overpriced takeout for a homemade lunch with these 22 Easy Lunch Ideas, including no-cook lunch ideas, lunch salads, and vegetarian lunch options. Be sure to bookmark this page so you can reference it the next time you need a simple lunch idea! ;)

Collage of six easy lunch recipes with title text in the center.

Easy Lunch IDeas

We’re starting things off with 5 quick & easy lunch ideas that are not only delicious, but they can also be made in just 15 minutes or less!

Hearty Black Bean QUesadillas

Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

A stack of black bean quesadillas on a serving tray
These Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas are an easy vegetarian snack or light meal that are filling, flavorful, and freezer-friendly!
4.89 from 221 votes
$6.61 recipe / $0.66 each Get the Recipe

Fifteen minutes is all you’ll need to make these Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas. They’re easy, flavorful, and perfect to make ahead and freeze for later!

Scallion Herb Chickpea Salad

Scallion Herb Chickpea Salad

A hand grabbing a stack of two halves of a Scallion Herb Chickpea Salad sandwich on wheat bread.
Light, bright, and full of spring flavors, this Scallion Herb Chickpea Salad will keep you full all afternoon. Serve as a sandwich, wrap, or salad! 
4.84 from 49 votes
$2.46 recipe / $1.23 serving Get the Recipe

This Scallion Herb Chickpea Salad is super easy, creamy, and delicious! It’s made with a mayo-free dressing and can be served as a salad, stuffed into a pita, or piled between two hearty slices of bread.

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen

Close up overhead view of a bowl full of vegan creamy mushroom ramen with chopsticks lifting some noodles
This incredibly simple Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen is a rich and flavorful 15 minute meal that only requires a handful of ingredients! 
4.83 from 137 votes
$2.75 per serving Get the Recipe

Ditch the plain instant ramen…this Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen is rich in flavor, includes a delicious broth and comes together in just 15 minutes!

Classic Tuna Salad

Classic Tuna Salad

Classic tuna salad in a bowl with bread and lettuce on the sides
Say goodbye to gloopy, bland tuna salad and hello to a delicious tuna salad packed with flavor and texture! Perfect for brown bag lunches.
2 from 1 vote
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We’re not making any boring tuna salads over here. Our Classic Tuna Salad is full of flavor, texture, and perfect for a quick lunch meal.

The Best Veggie Sandwich

The Best Veggie Sandwich

A hand holding both halves of a cut open ultimate veggie sandwich
Use what you have on hand to build the best vegetarian sandwich packed with color, flavor, and texture. Eat the rainbow!
4.93 from 13 votes
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We’ve got the formula to help you make the Best Veggie Sandwich ever! And because veggie sandwiches are super flexible, we have tons of ingredient suggestions and flavor combos for you to try!

Lunch Salad Ideas

Salads are an easy go-to meal for lunch, but if you’re going to have a salad then it might as well be one that’s loaded with flavor, texture, and easy to make! Check out our favorite lunch salads below.

Ramen Noodle Salad

Ramen Noodle Salad

Overhead view of ramen noodle salad on an oval serving platter.
This light and fresh ramen noodle salad features crisp cabbage, shredded chicken, crunchy ramen noodles and a simple homemade vinaigrette.
5 from 6 votes
$8.33 recipe / $1.39 serving Get the Recipe

If you love salads with Asian-inspired flavors, then you’ve definitely got to try this Ramen Noodle Salad! It’s made with simple ingredients like shredded cabbage, chicken, carrots, green onions, and uncooked ramen noodles for a little extra CRUNCH!

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad

Close up side view of a bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad
This chunky chopped Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad is a great fresh salad that can be eaten on its own or turned into several different easy lunch ideas!
4.90 from 29 votes
$4.84 recipe / $1.61 serving Get the Recipe

If you want to mix things up for lunch, then save the recipe for this Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad. You can serve it as is or with a tortilla as a wrap sandwich, or mix it with cooked pasta for a really good pasta salad.

Crunchy Kale Chicken Salad

Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad

dressing being poured over kale and chicken salad
This Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad is full of flavor, texture, and a tangy-sweet homemade dressing. It's perfect for your weekly meal prep!
4.95 from 18 votes
$6.19 recipe / $1.55 serving Get the Recipe

This Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad is full of juicy chicken breast, almonds, lots of kale and the best homemade honey Dijon dressing!

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Close up side view of Mediterranean Tuna Salad in a bowl
This simple, fresh, and filling Mediterranean Tuna Salad makes an easy protein-packed make-ahead lunch for your workweek.
4.78 from 27 votes
$7.89 recipe / $1.32 serving Get the Recipe

Mediterranean Tuna Salad is another salad that holds up great in the fridge, making it perfect for lunch and meal prep! It includes tuna, fresh vegetables, white beans, a little feta cheese, and a tangy homemade vinaigrette.

Cold Peanut Noodle Salad

Cold Peanut Noodle Salad

Peanut Lime Dressing being poured onto a bowl of Cold Peanut Noodle Salad
This Cold Peanut Noodle Salad with homemade peanut lime dressing is the perfect meal prep for summer! No reheating necessary.
4.90 from 97 votes
$5.30 recipe / $1.33 serving Get the Recipe

Our popular Cold Peanut Noodle Salad is a super simple salad recipe that comes together with just a few ingredients and is topped with a creamy, tangy, peanut-lime dressing.

Chicken Salad With Apples

Chicken Salad with Apples

Side view of a bowl of chicken salad with apples, croissants in the background
This chicken salad is packed with sweet and crunchy apples, tart dried cranberries, and a light and creamy homemade dressing.
4.87 from 22 votes
$10.35 recipe / $2.59 serving Get the Recipe

Chicken Salad with Apples is another Budget Bytes favorite! It’s filling, easy to prepare, and easy to customize. Serve it for lunch with a croissant, your favorite bread, with crackers, or as a topper for a green salad.

No Cook Lunch Ideas

If you’re looking for quick lunch ideas that require very little prep, we’ve got you covered! These no-cook lunch boxes and recipes are easy to meal prep and place in the fridge, so you can just grab your lunch and go!

The Hummus Lunch Box

The Hummus Lunch Box

Three glass containers filled with hummus lunch box ingredients
This Hummus Lunch Box is a cold lunch classic. With almost zero prep work, this is the fastest, easiest no-cook lunch around.
5 from 3 votes
$8.04 recipe / $2.01 serving Get the Recipe

This Hummus Lunch Box is a great no-cook lunch option to have as a meal or snack. You can mix and match the ingredients to find a combination you love, then enjoy it as is, as a pita sandwich, or with a salad.

Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl

Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl

Overhead view of a Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl with a black fork in the side
This Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl is the perfect light, fresh, and filling lunch for summer. It also meal preps well, so pack a few to take to work for lunch! 
4.96 from 21 votes
$1.21 each Get the Recipe

This Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl is light and fresh, but still filling enough to serve as a whole meal!

The Cheese Board Lunch Box

The Cheese Board Lunch Box

Four cheese board lunch boxes lined up in a row
This easy no-cook lunch idea is perfect for the cheese lovers of the world! The Cheese Board Lunch Box makes a meal out of savory nibbles.
4.93 from 13 votes
$7.45 recipe / $1.86 per box Get the Recipe

Another great lunch box option is The Cheese Board Lunch Box. It’s like your own personal charcuterie board for lunch! ;)

Turkey Pinwheels

Turkey Pinwheels

A close up of three rows of turkey pinwheels on a wooden cutting board.
Turkey Pinwheels are a fun and easy spin on simple sandwiches, and the perfect recipe to make ahead for lunch meal prep or take to a party or potluck.
5 from 3 votes
$9.91 RECIPE / $2.48 SERVING Get the Recipe

Turkey Pinwheels are always a fun and simple way to make lunch for work or school. They’re also super versatile. Grab the basic formula in our recipe, then feel free to switch up the ingredient combinations!

The Peanut Butter Lunch Box

The Peanut Butter Lunch Box

Three glass containers of the peanut butter lunch box lined up in a row
This peanut butter lunch box is an easy no-cook lunch idea for school, work, picnics, or road trips! No reheating needed!
5 from 4 votes
$4.57 recipe / $1.14 per serving Get the Recipe

The Peanut Butter Lunch Box includes both sweet and savory side items that are all delicious dipped into the creamy peanut butter.

Antipasto Salad

Antipasto Salad

dressing being poured over the antipasto salad
This super hearty antipasto salad is full of cured meats, cheeses, and pickled vegetables for an extra flavorful and filling salad.
5 from 4 votes
$16.92 recipe / $2.12 serving Get the Recipe

This Antipasto Salad is another great lunch option. All of the toppings stay pretty fresh when stored separately, so you can make half batches, ¼ batches, or even one salad at a time!

Vegetarian Lunch Recipes

If you’re looking for some good vegetarian lunch options, we’ve got a few that we think you’ll love!

Spinach And Feta Grilled Cheese

Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese

A stack of spinach and feta grilled cheese sandwiches
Take your grilled cheese sandwich to the next level with this gourmet Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese! An easy and flavorful lunch idea.
5 from 39 votes
$3.40 recipe / $1.70 serving Get the Recipe

Seriously, who can resist a cheesy, gooey grilled cheese sandwich for lunch? Take it up a notch with this Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese sandwich!

Creamy White Bean And Spinach Quesadillas

Creamy White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas

Close up of a plate full of creamy white bean and spinach quesadillas with a dish of red salsa
Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, these insanely delicious Creamy White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas make an awesomely fast weeknight dinner. 
4.94 from 94 votes
$3.99 recipe / $1.00 per quesadilla Get the Recipe

Switch things up for lunch with these Creamy White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas. They’re crispy on the outside, rich in flavor, and can be made in just 20 minutes.

Autumn Kale And Sweet Potato Salad

Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

dressing being poured over the autumn kale and sweet potato salad in a bowl
This fresh and crisp Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad is chock full of fresh produce, but still has all those cozy fall flavors!
4.96 from 23 votes
$6.67 recipe / $1.67 serving Get the Recipe

This Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad is a great vegetarian salad option. It has incredible flavor and texture combinations including fresh apple and kale, roasted sweet potatoes, and a maple tahini dressing.

Roasted Cauliflower Taco Bowls

Roasted Cauliflower Taco Bowls with Cilantro Lime Ranch

Close up overhead view of a roasted cauliflower taco bowl topped with cilantro lime ranch and a black fork in the middle
These light and flavorful Roasted Cauliflower Taco Bowls have tons of color, flavor, and texture to keep you coming back for more! Great for meal prep!
4.95 from 51 votes
$8.31 recipe / $2.08 serving Get the Recipe

I mean who doesn’t love a good taco bowl? Roasted Cauliflower Taco Bowls with Cilantro Lime Ranch are super yummy, easy to customize, and great for meal prep!

Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep

Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep

Four glass containers with Roasted Vegetable Salad and three dressing containers
These Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep boxes are an easy, no-reheat, plan-ahead lunch option that will help you get your daily vegetables!
4.96 from 22 votes
$11.62 recipe / $2.91 serving Get the Recipe

In the mood for more veggies? These Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep boxes are delicious and another great option that’s easy to make and customize with your favorite veggies and dressing.

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  1. Thank you Marsha for these lunch ideas. So doable so diverse in eating styles so healthy U have inspired the start of my families school year