46 Recipes for Hearty, Satisfying Lunches

Spring greens tartine with prosciutto, fontina, and a fried egg? Yes, that's on the menu.

Fancy Tomato Sandwiches

Move over sad desk salads and hastily made sandwiches. Here come hearty, satisfying lunches that keep you full (and away from the office vending machine) all afternoon. Each easy recipe in this gallery of salads, sandwiches, soups, wraps, bowls, and more is guaranteed to elevate your lunch game.

You'll find recipes from a Niçoise-inspired summer salad to a sheet pan cheesesteak and everything in between, and almost all are ready in 30 minutes or less. Trust us: These dishes will put your previous lunches to shame.

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Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo
Caitlin Bensel

Crispy, gooey, creamy, and salty: This ham-and-Swiss sandwich is fried in butter, dusted in powdered sugar, and dipped in jam. Is there a more gratifying (and, yes, decadent) sandwich than a Monte Cristo?

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Niçoise-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 with crusty bread to sop up the savory garlic-and-anchovy dressing.

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Fancy Tomato Sandwich

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

A tomato sandwich isn't the heartiest meal in the world, but we promise this one delivers. Start by spreading salted chive butter on a freshly cut baguette, add thick slices of cheese—Gruyère, Comté, or sharp Cheddar—and then juicy tomato rounds. A tangle of baby arugula and sprinkle of fried onions round out this easy-to-make lunch option.

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Chicken-Pesto Flatbread Sandwiches

Chicken-Pesto Flatbread Sandwiches
Caitlin Bensel

Pesto adds richness to any dish, and this 30-minute meal is no exception. It uses store-bought pizza dough to make a savory sandwich that's filled with fresh mozzarella, baby arugula, and pesto-tossed rotisserie chicken. Kiss your mid-afternoon hunger pangs goodbye.

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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 get the job done. Each is served on a baguette and packed with plenty of marinated steak, bell pepper and onion slices, and provolone.

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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 is also 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 more filling protein.

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Zesty Chicken Salad

Zesty Chicken Salad Recipe
Greg DuPree

In this recipe, cooked chicken combines with just enough mayonnaise to bind, dill pickles for a briny punch, a shallot for kick, lemon juice for fresh zing, and fresh tarragon for subtle herbaceousness. Serve with crusty bread, homemade potato chips, or a side salad.

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Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup
Anna Williams

This recipe gives canned chicken noodle soup a piquant upgrade with a dash of hot sauce. Add frozen corn kernels, top with crunchy tortilla chips and creamy avocado slices, and you have a 10-minute lunch that looks and tastes homemade.

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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. A mixture of chopped cornichons (pickles, AKA gherkins), 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 type of cheese, like Comté or Gruyère, makes all the difference.

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Crab Roll

Crab Roll
Nogc Minh Ngo

Take a quick trip to the rocky coast with this New England favorite. The crab meat-and-mayo salad is accented with crisp radishes, celery, and apples for extra sweetness and crunch. Serve on a hot dog roll, sit back, and listen for seagulls and crashing waves.

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Smashed Cucumber Salad With Spicy Feta and Olives

Smashed Cucumber Salad With Spicy Feta and Olives
Jennifer Causey

Despite just five ingredients, this meatless salad manages to leave you feeling full. It features crunchy cucumbers, chopped olives, and tangy feta 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.

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Open-Faced Croque Monsieur

Open-Faced Croque Monsieur
Marcus Nilsson

This popular French sandwich made with ham and Gruyère features a pinch of nutmeg and grated Parmesan. What really sets this sandwich apart is that it's cooked in the broiler—which allows the ham and cheese sauce to meld together—and served warm.

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Crispy Chickpea Pita

Crispy Chickpea Pita
Quentin Bacon

This meatless lunch option loads a pita crisped in a pan with flavors of the Middle East—chickpeas, hummus, and olive oil. Make it vegan by swapping the yogurt garnish with a dairy-free brand.

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Butternut Squash Soup With Sage and Parmesan Croutons

Butternut Squash Soup With Sage and Parmesan Croutons
Jim Franco

To trim down the 2 hours it takes to make this recipe, start with store-bought squash cubes (fresh or frozen) and/or cook them in the microwave instead of roasting them in the oven. Don't skimp on the croutons, though! They make the soup more filling and add a satisfying crunch.

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Parm-Crusted Grilled Cheese

Parm Grilled Cheese
Jennifer Causey

A crispy exterior layer of Parmigiano-Reggiano sets this apart from other grilled cheese sandwiches. Tucked inside are Gruyère cheese for a nutty flavor and superior melting, thin slices of Gala apple for a note of sweetness, and a slather of sharp Dijon mustard to balance the two.

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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. It features soba noodles slicked with a decadent almond butter dressing, joined by crunchy salt-marinated cucumber, peppery watercress, and quick-pickled radishes. To make this easy meal more filling, add sliced avocado or pan-seared tofu.

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Heirloom Tomato & Herb BLTs

Heirloom Tomato & Herb BLT
Heami Lee

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

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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.

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Ham and Egg Croissant Sandwiches

ham and Egg Croissant Sandwqiches
Victor Protasio

It sounds like a breakfast sandwich—and there's nothing wrong with enjoying it in the morning—but we're here to tell you: It's just as enjoyable as a mid-day treat. Serve with a side salad or French fries to solidify its lunchtime status.

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Turkey Taco Salad

Turkey Taco Salad
Alexandra Grablewski

With ground turkey, pinto beans, and avocado, this salad is packed with protein and fiber. Half of the store-bought (or your homemade) salsa blends in with the turkey, and the other half with sour cream for a creamy, spicy dressing.

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Summery Corn Soup

Summery Corn Soup Recipe
Tara Donne

In addition to corn, this savory soup boasts leeks and scallions, aromatic thyme, and enough white wine to add a balancing tang to each bite. Gut-friendly miso acts as a thickener and provides a boost of umami while the corn pulls double duty: Cobs infuse the broth with their sweet flavor and kernels add body.

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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. Even if you are a fan, you won't miss the mayo one bit.

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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. This recipe layers crispy, breaded chicken cutlets with grated Cheddar, romaine lettuce, and a tangy, pickle relish-based spread. Served on a hoagie roll, it ensures you'll stay full until dinner.

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Broccoli-Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Broccoli Cheddar Grilled Cheese
Caitlin Bensel

Amp up the nutrition in a standard grilled cheese by adding broccoli to the mix. In this case, broccoli is sautéed with lemon zest and garlic powder, making it a perfect match for the two-cheese combo—creamy fontina and sharp Cheddar—sandwiched between slices of rustic bread.

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Tuna Provençal

Tuna Provencal
Anna Williams

Provençal is the French take on Mediterranean cuisine. This classic sandwich features an olive oil- (not mayo-) based tuna salad on a sliced baguette spread with a store-bought tapenade—a Provençal condiment of puréed or finely chopped olives, capers or anchovies, and olive oil.

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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 in each are vermicelli rice noodles, grilled chicken marinated in a spicy nuoc cham sauce (Vietnamese fish sauce), shaved rainbow carrots, and cucumber matchsticks.

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Chicken Tortilla Crunch Salad

chicken tortilla crunch salad
Victor Protasio

Cut prep time to almost nothing by starting with rotisserie or other cooked chicken and, instead of shredding cabbage, buy a bag of coleslaw mix. All that's left is to mix a mayo-sour cream-salsa dressing. And don't forget crushed tortilla chips on top—they're the best part!

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Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata

Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata
Marcus Nilsson

Healthy spinach, protein-rich eggs, and tangy goat cheese star in this dish that's ready in just 20 minutes. Add a tossed green salad and a loaf of country bread to make it a meal.

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Spicy Crab Tostadas

Jennifer Causey

This recipe puts a seafood spin on a Mexican favorite. A pile of luscious crabmeat mixed with celery, shallots, and lime juice sits atop a layer of jalapeno mayo. Spicy, fresh, and substantial, it's topped with celery leaves and thin radish slices.

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Pork and Peanut Lettuce Wraps

pork and peanut lettuce wraps
Antonis Achilleos

Can a lunch option be light and refreshing yet hearty and satisfying? Yes! This one wraps an Asian-inspired ground pork mixture with Boston, Bibb, or butter lettuce, and comes together in just 20 minutes.

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Salmorejo with Prosciutto and Hard-Boiled Egg

Salmorejo With Prosciutto and Hard-Boiled Egg
Jen Causey

To answer your question, salmorejo is a cold tomato dish famous in southern Spain. This no-cook soup is like gazpacho but thicker, creamier, and heartier, thanks to torn pieces of sourdough bread that are whirled into the fresh tomato base. It's especially refreshing on a hot summer day.

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Tofu Scramble Wraps With Spinach and Spiced Sunflower Seeds

tofu-scramble-wraps-recipe Jane Goodall
Erin Scott

If you're looking for a lunch with high protein and a low carbon footprint, you've found it. This egg-free scramble features sustainable tofu, chickpea flour, and turmeric to give it an eggy texture and color. Wrap in a flour tortilla with fresh spinach and sunflower seeds, and you can enjoy a nutritious vegan lunch and save the planet.

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Black Bean and Avocado Bowl

Black Bean and Avocado Bowl recipe
Emma Darvick

Four ingredients, 10 minutes, nutritious, and delicious: Are you sold? Warm up some cooked black beans and top them with cubed avocado cubes, crumbled goat cheese, and your favorite salsa (store-bought or homemade) for this easy, hearty lunch.

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Pork Ramen Soup

Pork Ramen Soup
José Picayo

This 30-minute recipe starts with boneless pork and a package of ramen noodles, and ends as a meaty soup with an Asian accent. Carrots, radishes, and fresh cilantro leaves add color and crunch for a balanced filling lunch.

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Muffuletta-Style Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Muffaletta-Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Romaine Salad

Fred Hardy

What transforms a standard grilled cheese sandwich into a New Orleans-style muffuletta? Just about everything except the "grilled" part. This one uses buttered Italian bread slices smeared with jarred olive salad and stuffed with provolone, salami, and ham.

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Rice Bowl with Chipotle Black Beans

Mexican Black Bean and Rice Bowl
Gentl & Hyers

This lunch is perfect for prepping on Sunday and enjoying through the week. Start with cooked white rice, and then load up with black beans, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and canned chipotle peppers. Finish with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt. 

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Chicken and Avocado Rice Bowl

Chicken and Avocado Rice Bowl Recipe
Greg DuPree

This recipe takes your standard bowl formula—a grain, colorful veggies, and protein—and gives it a fresh, interesting twist with radishes and lemon juice. Top with hot sauce for a little kick.

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Brussels Sprouts Salad

Brussels Sprouts Salad
Heami Lee

This make-ahead meatless salad is perfect for a busy weekday lunch. Thinly sliced Brussels team with radicchio while pecans, dried cranberries, and cheese add heft.

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Thai Peanut Butter Ramen

Peanut Butter Ramen Recipe
Antonis Achilleos

You have to try this 10-minute recipe that turns peanut butter and a package of ramen noodles into a warm, satisfying lunch. Gochujang or Sriracha sauce adds a Thai kick to this hearty option.

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Tomato, Bacon, and Garlic Mayo Sandwich

Tomato, Bacon, and Garlic Mayo Sandwich
Danny Kim

Well, we lied a little bit in that title, because this BLT is mayo-free. Instead, it boasts an oregano-garlic-yogurt dressing (which we call "mayo") that you'll want to make a jar of to use in all your sandwiches. Another upgrade is avocado slices, which technically makes this a BLTA.

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Cheesy Chive Waffles With Fried Eggs

Cheesy Chive Waffles with Eggs
Greg DuPree

Don't think your waffle iron can't come out after 11 AM. With a batter fortified with nutty gruyere cheese or cheddar, this savory waffle-and-eggs recipe makes the perfect lunchtime respite. Add peppery watercress or arugula and, instead of sugary syrup, top with a lemony mayo that brings a bright richness to every bite.

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Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Chickpea salad sandwich on a plate
Alison Miksch

Move over tuna, chicken, and shrimp salad. Chickpeas are a versatile, high-protein vegan alternative that are making their way to superfood status. This mayo-based salad also has celery, parsley, shallots, lemon juice, and Dijon for a bright, herbaceous bite.

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Chicken, Sprouts, and Provolone Sandwich

Chicken, Sprouts, and Provolone Sandwich
Danny Kim

Bagels are great for lunch, too! This recipe features a toasted one, the bottom half shmeared with Dijon and then layered with a cooked chicken breast and slice of provolone. After a 5-minute stint in the oven, it gets topped with any kind of sprouts and the bagel's other half for a quick, warm, satisfying sandwich.

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Chicken Paprikash Soup

Chicken Paprikash Soup
Antonis Achilleos

This recipe transforms Hungary's national dish into a quick-and-easy soup that warms your soul. Cooked chicken, egg noodles, and its namesake paprika star in this dish, with red bell pepper, onion, and tomatoes playing supporting roles in a nourishing broth.

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Matt Romero’s Eggplant “Sandwiches”

Matt Romero's Eggplant Sandwiches
Katherine Wolkoff

If there's no bread, is it still a sandwich? We say, "Yes," and here's Exhibit A. We replaced bread with fried eggplant slices and then filled our "sandwich" with lettuce, tomato, basil leaves, and crumbled goat cheese.

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Southwestern Chicken Soup

Southwestern Chicken Soup
Alexandra Rowley

You'd never expect this flavorful soup could be ready in 15 minutes. It takes cooked chicken and a can of cannellini beans to the Southwest with a dose of cumin, sour cream, tortilla chips, and your favorite salsa.

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