26 Hearty, Satisfying Lunches

Fancy Tomato Sandwiches
Photo: GREG DUPREE

Gone are the days of sad desk salads and hastily made sandwiches that leave you ravenous by dinner time. While this gallery includes both of those popular lunch foods, along with soups, wraps, and more, each easy recipe will absolutely elevate your lunch game and manage to keep you full until your next meal.

Instead of a lame mixed greens salad or an overdone turkey sandwich you'll find recipes for dishes like a Nicoise-Inspired Summer Salad, Sheet Pan Cheesesteak Sandwiches, and more. Trust us when we tell you that these dishes will undoubtedly put your previous lunches to shame.

01 of 26

Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo
Caitlin Bensel

Crispy, gooey, creamy, and salty: Is there a more gratifying (and, yes, decadent) sandwich than a Monte Cristo?

02 of 26

Nicoise-Inspired Summer Salad

Nicoise Inspired Summer Salad
Caitlin Bensel

This colorful dish takes its cues from the classic Niçoise salad, which means it's full of satiating protein. In addition to smoked trout and hard-boiled eggs, you'll find chickpeas, sweet cherry tomatoes, and blanched sugar snaps. Serve this salad with some crusty bread so you can sop up the savory garlic and anchovy dressing, and you definitely won't be hungry until dinner.

03 of 26

Fancy Tomato Sandwich

Fancy tomato sandwiches on a wooden board displayed on a table with fruit juice and sunglasses.
Greg DuPree

While a tomato sandwich might not sound like the heartiest meal in the world, we promise this one delivers. You'll start by spreading salted chive butter on both sides of a freshly cut baguette, and then you'll add some thick slices of cheese to the mix—we like Gruyère, Comté, or sharp Cheddar—before bringing in the juicy tomato rounds. A tangle of baby arugula and a sprinkle of fried onions round out this easy-to-make lunch option.

04 of 26

Chicken-Pesto Flatbread Sandwiches

Chicken-Pesto Flatbread Sandwiches
Caitlin Bensel

Pesto adds richness to any dish, and this 30-minute meal is no exception. Here, store-bought pizza dough is used to make a savory sandwich that's filled with fresh mozzarella, baby arugula, and pesto-tossed rotisserie chicken. Serve this sandwich alongside some veggies if you're worried about those mid-afternoon hunger pangs.

05 of 26

Sheet Pan Cheesesteak Sandwiches

SHeet pan cheesesteak sandwiches
Victor Protasio

If you're looking for a meal that's sure to keep you full, these cheesesteak sandwiches will undoubtedly get the job done. Each one is served on a baguette and packed with plenty of marinated steak, bell pepper and onion slices, and Provolone cheese.

06 of 26

Spring Greens Tartine With Prosciutto, Fontina, and a Fried Egg

Spring Greens Tartine with Prosciutto, Fontina, and a Fried Egg
Greg DuPree

This dish, which would also be great for brunch, is an open-faced sandwich topped with crispy prosciutto, melty fontina cheese, and wilted greens cooked with sliced spring onions and garlic. The final topping—a picture-perfect fried egg—adds even more filling protein to the meal.

07 of 26

Zesty Chicken Salad

Zesty Chicken Salad Recipe
Greg DuPree

In this recipe, which can also be made with leftover rotisserie chicken to save time, cubed chicken is combined with just enough mayonnaise to bind, dill pickles for a briny punch, a shallot for kick, lemon juice for a fresh zing, and fresh tarragon for some subtle herbaceousness. Serve it with some crusty bread, homemade potato chips, or a side salad.

08 of 26

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup
Anna Williams

Give basic chicken noodle soup a piquant upgrade with a dash of hot sauce.

09 of 26

French Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Side View of French Ham and Cheese Sandwich, with Layers of Ham, Gruyère Cheese, and a cornichons, butter, Dijon mustard, and tarragon spread
Danny Kim

For an easy lunch with a European twist, give this sandwich a go. Here, you'll find that a mixture of chopped cornichons, butter, Dijon mustard, and fresh tarragon elevates the classic ham and cheese combo in a way you didn't know was possible. Using a rich and nutty cheese, like Comté or Gruyère, makes all the difference.

10 of 26

Open-Faced Croque Monsieur

Open-Faced Croque Monsieur
Marcus Nilsson

The French have done it again! This popular sandwich, which is also made with ham and Gruyère, features a pinch of nutmeg and some grated Parmesan as well. However, what really sets this sandwich apart from the previous one is the fact that it's served warm and cooked in the broiler so the ham and cheese sauce really have the opportunity to meld together.

11 of 26

Crab Roll

Crab Roll
Nogc Minh Ngo

Take a quick trip to the rocky coast with a Maine favorite: a crab roll.

12 of 26

Smashed Cucumber Salad With Spicy Feta and Olives

Smashed Cucumber Salad With Spicy Feta and Olives
Jennifer Causey

Though this salad contains just five ingredients, it will absolutely leave you feeling full. Here, you'll find crunchy cucumbers, chopped olives, and tangy feta that has been marinated in olive oil and spicy red pepper flakes. Grab some toasted pita to help ensure none of the savory feta crumbles go to waste.

13 of 26

Crispy Chickpea Pita

Crispy Chickpea Pita
Quentin Bacon

Another option: Load a pita crisped in a pan with the tastes of the Middle East.

14 of 26

Butternut Squash Soup With Sage and Parmesan Croutons

Butternut Squash Soup With Sage and Parmesan Croutons
Jim Franco

Sprinkle rosemary and toasted pumpkin seeds over butternut squash soup for a savory meal. Here, the croutons make the soup a bit more filling and add a satisfying crunch.

15 of 26

Parm-Crusted Grilled Cheese

Parm Grilled Cheese
Jennifer Causey

This dish has a crispy exterior layer of Parmigiano-Reggiano that sets it apart from other grilled cheese sandwiches. Tucked inside you'll find Gruyère cheese, which offers nutty flavors and superior melting, thin slices of Gala apple that add a note of sweetness, and a slather of sharp Dijon mustard to balance the two.

16 of 26

Quick Nutty Noodles

Vegetable and Noodles Dish in a bowl
Greg DuPree

These nutty noodles come together in just 20 minutes courtesy of a handful of pantry staples. First, the soba noodles are slicked with a decadent almond butter dressing and then joined by crunchy salt-marinated cucumber, peppery watercress, and quick-pickled radishes. To make this easy meal even more filling, feel free to add sliced avocado or pan-seared tofu to the mix.

17 of 26

Heirloom Tomato & Herb BLTs

Heirloom Tomato & Herb BLT
Heami Lee

Juicy heirloom tomatoes shine in this irresistible sandwich, which is satisfying enough for lunch or dinner. Here, thick tomato slices are joined by a homemade herby mayo, bacon, mixed greens, basil, and dill. After sampling this sandwich, you'll never need another BLT recipe.

18 of 26

Japanese-Style Shrimp Salad

Japanese-Style Shrimp Salad Recipe
Greg DuPree

This salad is perfect for hot days, and is packed with plenty of healthy ingredients such as romaine lettuce hearts, avocado chunks, and Persian cucumber slices. Use pre-cooked shrimp to cut down on prep time.

19 of 26

Ham-and-Egg Croissant Sandwiches

ham and Egg Croissant Sandwqiches
Victor Protasio

Sure, this might sound like a breakfast sandwich, and there's certainly nothing wrong with enjoying this meal in the morning. Still, we're here to tell you that this dish, which contains ham, arugula, and baked eggs, is just as enjoyable as a mid-day treat. Serve it with a side salad or French fries to really solidify its lunchtime status.

20 of 26

Turkey Taco Salad

Turkey Taco Salad
Alexandra Grablewski

With ground turkey, pinto beans, and avocado, this salad is packed with protein and fiber.

21 of 26

Summery Corn Soup

Summery Corn Soup Recipe
Tara Donne

In addition to corn, this savory soup has a two-allium base of leeks and scallions, aromatic thyme, and enough white wine to add balancing tang to each bite. Plus, gut-friendly miso acts as a thickener for this flavorful meal, and provides a boost of umami. The corn pulls double duty, as the cobs are used to infuse the broth with their sweet flavor, while the kernels add body.

22 of 26

Chickpea-Tuna Salad

Chickpea-Tuna Salad with greens on a plate
Photo by: Victor Protasio

Not a mayonnaise fan? We got you. This vinegar-based tuna salad is made with marinated chickpeas, oil-packed tuna, radicchio, and red onion, as well as briny kalamata olives and capers. We promise you won't miss the mayo one bit.

23 of 26

Crispy Chicken-And-Cheddar Sandwich With Pickle Dijon

Crispy Chicken-And-Cheddar Sandwich With Pickle Dijon
Jennifer Causey

While there are plenty of fast-food chicken sandwiches to choose from, this homemade version takes the cake. In this recipe, crispy, breaded chicken cutlets are joined by grated Cheddar, romaine lettuce leaves, and a tangy pickle relish-based spread. The whole thing is served on a hoagie roll, which helps ensure that you'll stay full until it's time for dinner.

24 of 26

Broccoli-Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Broccoli Cheddar Grilled Cheese
Caitlin Bensel

Amp up the protein in a standard grilled cheese sandwich by adding broccoli to the mix. In this case, the protein-rich veggie is cooked with lemon zest and garlic powder, which makes it even more flavorful than usual. Plus, the sautéed broccoli is a perfect match for a combination of two cheeses—creamy fontina and sharp Cheddar.

25 of 26

Tuna Provencal

Tuna Provencal
Anna Williams

A minimalist meal that calls for common ingredients you likely have in your pantry.

26 of 26

Cool and Crunchy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Cool and Crunchy Lettuce Wraps
Greg DuPree

For a bread-free-yet-filling lunch, give these hearty lettuce wraps a try. Nestled inside each leaf you'll find vermicelli rice noodles, grilled chicken that's been marinated in a spicy nuoc cham sauce, shaved rainbow carrots, and cucumber matchsticks.

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