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Lunch is the one meal a day that’s easy to brush off. During the week, it can be forgotten because of a meeting that ran late or a project that’s on deadline. On the weekends, it can be passed over for the feasts of an earlier brunch or a later dinner. So what do we usually do to tide us over? We fuel up on snacks—lots of them.
But lunch shouldn’t be squeezed out of our schedule or substituted with a bevy of sweets. Instead, we found seven healthy recipes that will help you give this meal its proper place in your routine, thanks to bold flavors, easy combinations, and invite-ready presentations. In other words, this list will make you want to take this noontime break any day of the week. Lunch may soon become your new favorite meal.
Summer Maple Lime Watermelon Zoodle Bowl
Seeing as carefree summers are (for the most part) a childhood memory, we can at least have a lunch break filled with all the fresh flavors of the season, thanks to this recipe from Food Faith Fitness. Shucked corn, spiralized zucchini, fresh basil, crumbled feta, and cubed watermelon comprise this colorful salad, making for a meal that’s begging for you to eat it outside.
Caribbean Shrimp Tacos With Roasted Jalapeño Pineapple Salsa
For those long weekend lunches, this recipe from Half Baked Harvest should make you—and a few lucky guests—look forward to the afternoon. Tieghan Gerard prepares this meal by roasting large shrimp in chili powder, ginger, and thyme, and then layering them in taco shells. She tops it all with a jalapeño pineapple salsa verde, which can be made as spicy or as mild as you please.
Those who crave a classic tuna melt at lunchtime should love this option from How Sweet Eats, which flavors the tuna with fresh herbs and then combines it with a sun-dried tomato spread, pickled onions, arugula, cheese, and toasted bread. Serve it open-face or as a sandwich, and dig in.
Vegan Asian Lettice Wraps
For a lunch that’s as tasty as it is visually appealing, try this recipe from Crowded Kitchen. It’s made of quinoa, scallions, walnuts, and lentils, which are combined with sesame oil, coconut sugar, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds. The mixture is scooped into butter lettuce leaves, topped with purple cabbage and carrots, and then layered in a peanut sauce.
Chicken Teriyaki Sushi Bowl
Lunch hours that can be enjoyed leisurely are best for this recipe from The Modern Proper, since you’ll likely want to savor every bite. Seasoned rice forms a base under teriyaki chicken, English cucumber, sliced avocado, and nori, which are all covered in a sriracha mayo sauce. Of course, you could eat this at your desk, too, but prepare to get plenty of questions about where you got it.
Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
Sometimes the perfect lunch is a bowl of soup. If that’s what you’re craving, try this recipe from The Modern Proper. The coconut curry lentil soup is made from dried brown lentils, coconut milk, minced onion, kale, sweet potatoes, chicken stock, and spices, all of which come together in a vibrant and colorful broth. Add a slice of bread, and it will be a hearty, delicious meal.
Tomato Caprese Pasta
For a light lunch option that can serve a crowd, turn to this recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats. It’s comprised of cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, fresh basil, rigate pasta, and smashed garlic tossed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. The best part? It can be prepped in all of five minutes.