Let’s face it — the microwave is kind of a necessary evil in our lives. In most offices, it’s the only option for heating up food. And unfortunately, your food’s texture can completely change after a minute or two in the microwave, potentially ruining your entire lunch experience.
You deserve better. So, instead of bringing lunch that needs to be buzzed, meal prep all kinds of combinations that won’t require reheating at all. Here are eight tasty ideas to get you started.
1. Tomato, Lemon And Feta Pasta
A cold pasta dish doesn’t have to remind you of a weird family barbecue. It can be light, fresh and easy. The Pioneer Woman has a farfalle pasta salad recipe that involves bowtie pasta, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), lemon, salt, pepper, zucchini, tomatoes and feta cheese. The olive oil and lemon juice make a perfectly light dressing, and you’ll easily get your dose of veggies.
2. Quinoa Edamame Salad
Quinoa is one of those foods that’ll taste the same regardless of its temperature. For an easy meal prep idea that can make as much or as little food as you want, try an Asian quinoa salad. For the dressing, you can always rely on a base of a little soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, rice wine vinegar and scallion. Add whatever ingredients you want to bulk up the salad. Quinoa goes a long way and you’ll definitely be getting plenty of protein.
3. Thai Carrot And Cucumber Noodles With Peanut Lime Dressing
Most Chinese food restaurants have cold noodles with peanut sauce on the menu, but you can easily make your own healthier version of the addicting dish at home with carrots and zucchini. This spiralized veggie noodle recipe has a sauce made with peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, honey, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice and red pepper flakes. If you’re already familiar with veggie noodles, you know the drill. If not, here’s what you need to know and spiralizing vegetables.
4. Lettuce Wraps
When you’re looking for a healthy, low-carb recipe, lettuce wraps are always a good choice. The possibilities are endless. You can do anything from Korean chicken lettuce wraps to balsamic lentil and quinoa lettuce cups. Here are 29 lettuce wrap ideas that you can prepare ahead of time.
5. Spicy Lentil Wraps
Lentils are always a good plan if you’re looking for a vegetarian protein source because they can adapt to whatever spices you feel like cooking with. Trader Joe’s makes a spicy lentil wrap that you can easily recreate yourself. Here’s a recipe that uses a combination of lentils and quinoa with a spicy tahini sauce.
6. Avocado Sandwich
When you want to make a sandwich that’ll have a creamy element but melting cheese isn’t an option, avocados are the answer. As long as you have some avocados and a good loaf of bread, you’re golden for lunch. This recipe for a peach, prosciutto and avocado sandwich with lime juice, salt and pepper is awesome. The combination of creamy, salty and sweet will satisfy all of your cravings.
7. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
It’s hard not to be a fan of roasted sweet potatoes. They’re hearty, sweet, creamy and healthy. The best part, though, is that you can roast your sweet potatoes ahead of time so all you have to do is throw everything in a bowl when you’re on your lunch break. Here’s a list of roasted sweet potato salad recipes to inspire you. We’re fans of the spicy roasted sweet potato and kale salad.
8. Citrusy Israeli Couscous Salad
Israeli couscous is a certain type of toasted pasta that’s shaped like little balls, and it’s perfect for your no-heat lunch prep. If you’ve never had an Israeli couscous salad, you’re gonna be hooked. Here’s a recipe with dried cranberries, toasted pecans, scallions and a citrusy vinaigrette.