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Work Lunch Recipes You Can Actually Get Excited About

There are a lot of great things about working in an office, but the desk lunch isn't one of them. It's easy to get into the often unhealthy and wasteful routine of restaurants and office cafeterias, so I've been making a concerted effort to put more thought into my midday meals so I'm not even tempted to go for mid-day fries. My idea of a solid work lunch recipe centers on three things: freshness, taste and ease. I think salads can be a perfect solution, given that they're light enough to not send me into a food coma, but hefty enough to stave off late afternoon cravings. Today I'm sharing three recipes I've taken for lunch in as many weeks. Each is delicious and can be made ahead, in a large batch, and taken to work in a reusable lunch box. Here's the one I use. 

Roasted chickpea and tomato salad


Serves 2


  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon


Combine the canned chickpeas in a saucepan with the garlic, pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and 1/4 cup of water. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven* to 400ºF.

Add cumin to chickpeas and stir to combine. Transfer contents of saucepan to a baking dish and add tomatoes. Mix everything with your hands. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over everything. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer to glass storage container. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and stir to combine. Cool, then refrigerate.

Note: Your countertop convection oven works great for this recipe since you're not cooking anything big. Give it a shot!

Adapted from Epicurious 


Serves 4


  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 12 oz. bag broccoli slaw
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • Optional
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Shredded rotisserie chicken (optional)


In a small jar, mix olive oil with balsamic vinegar. Seal jar and shake until dressing is well incorporated.

In a large bowl, toss the broccoli slaw, kale, red onions, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds with entire jar of dressing until well combined. Store in fridge until ready to package for lunch.

Before work, fill lunchbox with salad ingredients and top with sliced hard-boiled egg or chicken.

Southwest Kale Salad


Serves 4


For the dressing

  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste
  • leaves from several fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the salad

  • chopped kale (as much as you like)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn, cooked
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3 stalks green onion, chopped
  • hard-boiled eggs


For the dressing

In a small pot, heat 2 tablespoons of live oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic, ginger, and thyme. Cook 2 minutes then add the ground cumin. Sauté until very fragrant, another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the cooked mixture to a blender with the remaining dressing ingredients and blend until completely smooth.

Refrigerate until cold before serving.

For the salad

In a large glass storage container, mix all salad ingredients except eggs. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For work, fill lunchbox with salad ingredients, pour over dressing, close lid and shake until contents are coated. Open and top with sliced hard-boiled egg, if desired.

I love that these recipes can be made on Sunday night and enjoyed throughout the week. They don't absolutely need to be refrigerated and can be eaten at room temperature, so they're super convenient. Plus, they're healthy and delicious!

What are some work lunch recipes you recommend I try next?

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At The Table With...Sarah Kieffer of The Vanilla Bean Blog