6 Healthier Lunches: Recipes for the Workweek

Bringing a quick, tasty, homemade dish into work for lunch is a great way to save both time and money. Fortunately, it’s also a surprisingly hassle-free process using basic tools and ingredients in your own kitchen. Whip up some food the previous night or in the morning, toss it into your briefcase, and enjoy a midday to break up your a long day of work.

These 6 lunch recipes are portable, piquant, and cost-efficient choices to indulge in at work.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Miso, Sweet Potato, and Broccoli Bowl

Here’s an Asian-inspired lunchtime dish from Smitten Kitchen, combining mild white miso with sesame and ginger to top rice, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. It’s healthy, vegetarian-friendly, and not without its share of flavorful surprises. Best of all, you’ll be welcoming in fall with sweet potatoes at their peak. As written, the recipe serves 4 people (rice will tend to triple in size while cooking; an individual serving is equal to about ¼ cup dried grains). Dish takes 40 minutes to complete and can be eaten hot or cold, so try making it ahead of time for an easy, packable lunchtime meal.

Ingredients:

Bowl

  • 1 cup dried rice or another cooking grain of your choice
  • 1 to 2 sweet potatoes (about 1½ pounds)
  • 1 large bundle broccoli (about 1 pound)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

Miso-Sesame Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions: Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place rice or grain and cooking liquid in a rice cooker or on the stove. Cook according to package directions. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Cut tops off broccoli and separate into bite-sized florets.

Coat one large or two smaller trays with a thin slick of olive oil. Layer sweet potatoes on tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, until browning underneath. Flip and toss chunks around, then add broccoli to the tray, season again with salt and pepper, and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, until broccoli is lightly charred at edges and sweet potato is bronzed and tender.

In a small skillet, toast black and white sesame seeds until fragrant. Let cool. While vegetables roast, prepare sesame-miso dressing by combining everything in a blender and running until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.

To assemble bowls, scoop some rice/grains into each, then pile on the roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli. Coat lightly with sesame-miso dressing and finish with toasted sesame seed duo. Serve with extra dressing on the side.

Salad, chicken, raspberries

Source: iStock

2. Grilled Chicken Salad With Raspberries, Walnuts, and Artichoke Hearts

Lunchtime prep doesn’t get much easier than this recipe from A Pinch of Healthy. The salad can be made with leftover grilled or roasted chicken — or even a store-bought rotisserie chicken — to save time. Combining crumbled goat cheese, artichokes, and greens with fresh raspberries creates an exciting and flavorful contrast, while chopped walnuts offer a mouthwatering crunch with eat bite. The recipe takes 12 minutes to complete and yields 1 hearty lunch serving.

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces of cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 3 cups of mixed baby greens
  • ⅔ ounce goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 artichoke hearts (in water), quartered
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 1 serving balsamic vinaigrette

Directions: Make a base with a bed of greens. Slice up chicken and put on top. Add raspberries and artichoke hearts. Top with goat cheese, walnuts, and dressing. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Mashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich

The Simple Veganista shares this simple, go-to lunch option — its chickpea base is reminiscent of a potato or egg salad. Low in calories, the dish is a lean and filling way to get much of your daily fiber and protein. Adding pepitos (pumpkin seeds) will give it a wonderful, crunchy finish, while paprika and garlic are the perfect ways to top off the mix. Sandwich your chickpea salad between two pieces of whole-grain bread for a wonderful, flavor-packed lunch. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for about one week.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-ounce) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup celery, sliced
  • ½ cup carrots, diced
  • ¼ cup scallions, sliced
  • ¼ cup or so hummus or tahini
  • 1-2 tablespoons mustard (stoneground or dijon)
  • Sea salt & cracked pepper, to taste
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon, optional
  • Small handful pepitos (pumpkin seeds), optional
  • Paprika/smoked paprika, garnish
  • 2 slices whole-grain bread

Directions: Drain and rinse your chickpeas, place in medium size bowl, and roughly mash with a fork, potato masher, or pastry blender. Add the remaining ingredients and combine. Add more hummus if you like it creamier and taste for seasoning. Serve between two pieces of whole-grain bread.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

4. Kale and Farro Salad With Feta, Mint, and Lemon Dressing

So Hungry I Could Blog presents a protein- and fiber-rich kale salad base with a refreshing mint and lemon finish in this dish. Zesty dressing softens the greens to an enjoyable, plump consistency. This texture contrasts beautifully with creamy feta, crunchy almonds, crispy onions, and robust farro. The recipe takes 15 minutes to complete and yields 3 lunch-sized servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked farro
  • 3 cups packed torn kale
  • ¼ small red onion, sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup torn mint leaves
  • Finely grated zest from 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
  • ½ cup toasted slivered almonds

Directions: Combine the farro, kale, onion, and mint in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the kale mixture, and toss thoroughly to coat. Sprinkle with feta and almonds. Serve at room temperature.

Wraps, vegetables

Source: iStock

5. Turkey-Meunster Wrap

Lean turkey combines with mild Meunster cheese in this delightful lunch wrap from Taste of Home. You’ll also get your fill of vegetables with healthy portions of spinach, carrot, cucumber, and vegetables in the mix. Each wrap contains 345 calories, 27 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber, making the dish a great way to fuel up for the rest of the work day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole wheat tortillas (8 inches), room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons honey mustard
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced deli turkey
  • 2 thin slices Muenster cheese
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1 bacon strip, cooked and crumbled
  • ¼ cup chopped seeded cucumber
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted sweet red pepper

Directions: Spread tortillas with mustard. Layer each with turkey, cheese, spinach, carrot, bacon, cucumber, and red pepper; roll up tightly.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

6. Quinoa Salad With Cherries and Feta

Quinoa has many nutritional benefits: The grain offers high amounts of protein and fiber, with a versatile texture and taste that make it the ideal base for a salad. The juicy, ripe cherries in this quinoa salad play excellently off the powerful flavors of the feta cheese. Toasted almonds give the dish a final crunch that makes it an all-around hearty and satisfying option to enjoy on your lunch break. PopSugar’s recipe makes 4-6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cherries
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

Directions: Pit the cherries into a small mixing bowl, and let sit while you make the quinoa. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, add the quinoa to a fine-mesh strainer, and rinse thoroughly under cool water. Add the quinoa to the boiling water, and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the quinoa is just barely al dente. Strain it using a fine-mesh strainer.

Add an inch of water to the quinoa pot, set the fine-mesh strainer inside the pot; make sure the quinoa doesn’t touch the water. Cover with a dish towel and the pot’s lid, turn the heat up to high, and steam for 3-5 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and no longer waterlogged. Turn the quinoa out into a large mixing bowl, and fluff it up with a fork.

Slice the pitted cherries into thin rounds, and set aside in another small bowl. Add the minced shallot, red-wine vinegar, olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the bowl that the cherries were pitted into (to make use of the cherry juices). Whisk to combine.

Drizzle the dressing over the warm quinoa; add the parsley, feta, and almonds; and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt. Serve at room temperature.

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