Don’t have time to make a grocery run before lunch? You’d be surprised what you can whip up at home with just five ingredients (aside from salt and pepper) or fewer. There are plenty of interesting — yet simple — flavor combinations out there just waiting to be discovered, and why not start simple? Once you realize how few ingredients you need to serve up a five-star meal, you’ll be taking the express lane forevermore.
But don’t take our word for it: See how irresistibly easy it is for yourself by cooking up one of these five recipes.
1. Salmon, Asparagus, and Orzo Salad with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette
This seafood and pasta recipe from Cooking Light makes for a refreshing, nourishing lunchtime dish. The dish takes around 30 minutes to prepare, including cook time, and the recipe serves 6.
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
- 1 (1¼-pound) skinless salmon fillet
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette
- Salt and pepper
Directions: First, preheat broiler. Then bring six cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add asparagus to water; cook three minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove asparagus from water with tongs or a slotted spoon, reserving water in pan. Plunge asparagus into ice water; drain and set aside.
Next, return reserved water to a boil. Add orzo and cook according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. As the orzo cooks, sprinkle fillet evenly with salt and pepper to taste.
Place salmon on a foil-lined broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil five minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Using two forks, break fish into large chunks. Combine fish, orzo, asparagus, onion, and lemon-dill dressing in a large bowl; toss gently to coat.
2. Dad’s Chicken Sandwich
This simple and delicious sandwich concept from Food Network is a unique and filling spin on your typical go-to lunch. Preparation takes approximately ten minutes; the recipe is for 2 full-sized sandwiches.
- 1 citrus-garlic roasted chicken breast or large rotisserie chicken breast
- 4 slices whole-grain seedy bread, toasted
- 1½ tablespoons honey mustard
- 8 thin slices vine-ripened tomato, about 1 large
- 4 endive spears, halved lengthwise
- Salt and pepper
Directions: Remove the skin from the chicken and carve the bone away from the breast meat. Thinly slice the breast crosswise on the diagonal.
Next, spread the honey mustard on one side of each bread slice. Lay three to four slices of tomato on two slices, followed by some endive and half the chicken on each. Season the layers with salt and pepper, to taste, as you build the sandwich. Top each sandwich with the other dressed bread slice. Serve immediately or wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.
3. Steak and Sautéed Kale with Miso Dressing
Nothing like a mid-day protein kick! This dish from Fitness combines the hearty tastiness of steak with the lightness of heart-healthy kale. The recipe takes about 40 minutes to make, including cook time (depending on desired level of doneness for steak).
- 2 (12-ounce) boneless rib eye steaks, about 1 ½ to 2 inches thick, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 1 small bunch kale, ribs and stems removed, torn into bite-sized pieces (about 8 cups)
- 1½ cups cherry, grape, or pear tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
Directions: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Season steaks with salt and pepper to taste. In a small cup, combine miso and two teaspoons balsamic vinegar. Heat ½ teaspoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown steaks, about two minutes on each side. Transfer steaks to a foil-lined baking sheet and roast 15 minutes for medium rare or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from oven and smear each steak with one teaspoon miso mixture. Set aside to rest. Stir two tablespoons cold water into remaining miso mixture.
Next, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to same skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon minced garlic, kale, tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and sauté 30 seconds. Add remaining miso mixture and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, or until kale just starts to wilt. Remove from heat.
Thinly slice steak across the grain. In a large salad bowl, toss together kale mixture, steak and any juices that have accumulated, and onion. Enjoy!
4. Grilled Zucchini Salad with Mozzarella and Dill
As much as we do love steak, sometimes it’s nice to switch up the menu by serving a lighter dish. Freshen up your lunch menu with this light, crisp, and vegetarian-friendly dish from Better Homes and Gardens. The recipe takes about 20 minutes to complete, including grill time, and yields 4 servings.
- 3 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch planks
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 (8 ounce) fresh mozzarella ball, pulled into large pieces
- 2 tablespoons coarsely snipped fresh dill
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Salt and pepper
Directions: On a baking sheet, arrange zucchini in a single layer. Drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
For a charcoal grill, grill zucchini directly over medium coals about 8 minutes or until tender, turning once. For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat. Place zucchini on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as directed.
On a serving platter, arrange warm zucchini and mozzarella. Sprinkle with dill and crushed red pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice to taste.
5. Maple-Balsamic-Glazed Pork Medallions
Add a little sweetness to your day with this deliciously simple take on pork from Cooking Light. This healthful dish melds savory meat flavors with a comforting maple finish. The recipe yields 4 servings and takes about 30 minutes to complete, including cook time.
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Directions: Combine syrup and vinegar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to ⅓ cup (about 3 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in mustard. Cut pork crosswise into eight pieces. Place each pork piece between two sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to ¼-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper to taste. Add pork to pan; cook three minutes on each side. Add vinegar mixture; cook 1 minute or until desired degree of doneness, turning pork to coat. Place two pork medallions on each of four plates; drizzle about 1 tablespoon syrup mixture over each serving.