Food

What Food Geniuses Eat for Lunch

What Food Geniuses Eat for Lunch

I worked at a tiny Italian restaurant during college, and every Friday, for four years, the owner would make the same lunch: a lightly-dressed spinach salad, with four grilled shrimp and two tomato slices — as long as the tomato was “bright red and soft, not mushy.” And every Friday, for four years, I was puzzled. It wasn’t until after I left that I understood her reasoning: It took 30 seconds to throw together and she never had to devote brainpower to choosing her meal. So, in the spirit of no-brainer lunches, we asked 15 culinary experts to share what they reach for when lunchtime rolls around…

Hearty Snacks

“I am a cheese fan (my nickname in the office is actually ‘Backup Cheese,’ because I always have more than one on hand). Fittingly, one of my go-to meals is bread with cheese (ricotta, mozzarella or something else fresh and soft), prosciutto and arugula.” — Merrill Stubbs, co-founder of Food52

“My favorite lunch is smoked trout (from Trader Joe’s) on Finn Crisps with pickled anything (gherkins, cabbage, whatever is in fridge) and a schmear of mayonnaise. I don’t know how much my new office mates appreciate the stinky trout. — Jenny Rosenstrach, Dinner: A Love Story

“I toast pita, spread with mayo (Hellmann’s) and mustard (Maille Dijon), then drape with turkey and put some olive oil/lemon-ed greens on top.” — Julia Turshen, author of Small Victories

“I graze way too often — sharp cheddar and sometimes roasted almonds, plus raspberries (and then I lie to my kids and tell them I forgot to buy them) — but when I’m actually able to sit down for lunch, I have avocado toast (still make it this way) or a crispy egg with toast. I basically refuse to spend more than five minutes making lunch.” — Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen

Tasty Salads

“I try to always have a jar of homemade vinaigrette on hand, ready to be tossed onto any type of salad greens I have, sliced cucumber or as a dip for carrot sticks. Then I’ll round out the meal with a slice of peanut butter toast. To me, that’s just about perfect.” — Molly Wizenberg, Orangette

“I talk to so many people who hate salads or don’t understand my undying love, but they can be anything! Most days, it’s a bowl of arugula with herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, avocado and whatever cute things I can find in the fridge. I often put soft-boiled eggs or even frittata on my salad as well as any leftover grains, lentils, roasted vegetables, etc. Thinking outside the box is crucial to good salads I don’t resent.” — Julia Garland, Sassy Kitchen

“Cheddar, mozzarella or my favorite manchego, along with a simple arugula salad, crusty bread and cooked apples. Plus, almost always a cookie to follow.” — Suzanne Cupps, chef de cuisine at Untitled

Heroic Leftovers

“I’ll make a big batch of soup or roasted vegetables, which can serve as my lunch for a few days. Then, before eating, I’ll add greens and a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice to perk things up. If I’m feeling extra fancy, I’ll chop some fresh herbs like parsley, chives or cilantro and put those on top. I also like to have a second (or let’s be honest, third) cup of coffee with half-and-half for a little pick-me-up.” — Yossy Arefi, author of Sweeter of the Vine

“Beans! I always have cooked beans on hand (either Marcella or Midnight Black Bean) because they make throwing together a quick meal so easy. They can handle a lot of salt (which is never too much for me), and they’re amenable to so many treatments. I love sautéing them with onions, garlic and cumin, and then scrambling an egg in the same pan, and then tucking it all inside a warm tortilla with cheese, avocado, sour cream and hot sauce. I love beans cooked until they’re stewy and ready to be sopped up with bread. I love beans on toast. I love bean soups. I love bean salads. Beans!” — Alexandra Stafford, Alexandra’s Kitchen

Surprising Combinations

“My lunches are always based on a grain or bean. I love brown and sweet rice, chickpeas and any large heirloom bean. I spoon that into a bowl and top with toasted seeds (sunflower, black sesame or pumpkin or all three!), scallions, tamari (a thicker soy sauce), leftover veggies and sauerkraut. I always add either a crumble of goat cheese or some avocado and a generous drizzle of flax oil.” — Amy Chaplin, author of At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen

“I take full-fat cottage cheese, season it with salt, pepper and lemon and layer it beneath sliced radishes, cucumber, avocado, scallions and a soft-boiled egg. Then lots more lemon and salt and pepper on top. It’s filling, bright, delicious and has great creamy/crunchy contrast.” — Claire Saffitz, senior food editor at Bon Appetit

“My go-to is inspired by a typical Japanese breakfast: canned sardines, short grain brown rice, leftover cooked greens or roasted vegetables, sliced avocado, and sesame seeds. Equal parts soy sauce and lime juice to season. Delicious! And it’s not cupcakes for lunch.” — Shira Bocar, food editor at Martha Stewart

Quick Fixes

“I have three lunch scenarios: if I have five minutes, it’s cottage cheese with olive oil and black pepper; if I have 10 minutes, it’s steak tartare with olive oil and Parmesan; if I have 30 minutes, it’s a frittata with artichokes, spinach or kale.” Jody Williams, chef at Buvette

“One thing I always have in my kitchen is granola, and in the summer I make bircher muesli every few days. Then I finish the meal with fruit! Sliced apples with Vietnamese cinnamon sprinkled on top, a nice ripe pear or a grapefruit.” — Posie Hardwood, 600 Acres

“When I work from home, I’m guilty of throwing together less-than-ideal lunches. I had to stop keeping cereal around the house because that would end up being my meal. My favorite lunch, though, if I’m being honest, is actually a single serving Amy’s Organic Frozen Pizza, topped with canned pineapple and crushed red pepper. Or, you know, sometimes I’ll just eat the cookies I’m photographing.” — Jennifer Farley, author of The Gourmet Kitchen

Thoughts? Do you have any no-brainer lunches you love?

P.S. Ruth Reichl on her favorite go-to dinner, and 8 common salad mistakes.

(Photo of Julia Child.)

  1. My kind of lunch is leftover food or a quick meal with noodles/pasta/pancakes. I have never thought chefs and food writer also have these “no-brainer lunches” :D Thank you for sharing this interesting post.
    http://www.gotaram.com

  2. Catherine says...

    I love this post and all the comments! Isn’t it funny how a glimpse into little mundane details of each other’s lives can be so fascinating? It would be fun if COJ did a series like the “My Day on a Plate” column from the Daily Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/healthyeating/11552176/My-Day-on-a-Plate-Francesca-Annis.html

    I’m a big leftovers fan for lunch – so easy. When I worked from home a few summers ago, I ate the same thing almost every day: toasted pita topped with hummus, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, toasted pine nuts, olives, and some salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. I never got tired of it and it filled me up until dinner every day!

  3. So many good power-lunch ideas! Love the cottage cheese bowl. We often have brown rice leftovers, so I’ll do brown rice with a 6 1/2 minute boiled egg and slices of avocado, and sometimes strips of nori and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds for crunch. ^__^

  4. My go-to lunch Arugula sprinkled with olive oil S&P topped with fried egg, avocado and salsa.

    If I forget about lunch and just need to graze then its a Babybel cheese, dry roasted almonds, celery sticks, and dry mango.

    Cottage cheese?! I’ve never had it savory. I may try it with S&P…

    Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

  5. Rachel says...

    Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers – if dinner doesn’t make additional lunch sized servings (one for each of us) it rarely stays in the rotation.

    I work from home two days a week, and I second all the avocado toast, good quality cheese with fruit, and quick egg options that can be tossed together if you have access to a kitchen.

    A recent favorite is tuna packed in olive oil, mixed with some capers and some golden raisins, with just a little pasta (usually tiny shells) thrown in hot from the boiling water. I top it with some panko, and it’s quick, delicious, and sticks to the ribs.

    I’ve also gotten hooked on Trader Joes frozen falafel, which cooks up practically instantaneously in the microwave. I “cover” it with a flour tortilla while it cooks (to warm the tortilla too) and spread some hummus on the pita before wrapping it all up up. It’s a perfect lunch when you’ve only got 5 minutes before the next conference call and also have to run to the restroom (assuming you can eat while on the conference call).

    Loved reading all the suggestions!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thank you so much for sharing, Deboleena!

    • Deboleena says...

      Thank you Stella! I adored your beauty uniform profile, especially the part about your fragrance. To me, the name matters almost as much as the scent (long time wearer of Endless Euphoria)

  6. We don’t really make special lunches but rely on leftovers from the night, or even 2 nights before to fill us up. The awesome thing about that? Variety! I hardly repeat meals coz i can’t stand making the same recipe too many times lol

  7. amy says...

    awesome post! great ideas.

  8. Leftovers are the unsung heroes of lunches! They are my number one go-to. Second choice is a deconstructed salad: lettuce with vinaigrette, cucumber spears and a hard-boiled egg.

  9. Dinah says...

    My kids and I are obsessed with Ezekiel Raisin Bread and eat it every day. Everything goes with it! Nut butter, butter, brie, hummus…

    Today I made cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches with it and it was perfect.

  10. M says...

    Cottage cheese with flax oil, salt, pepper, and a poached egg. A smoothie with greens, banana, frozen blueberries, almond-coconut milk, and turmeric.

  11. Emily says...

    I pack lunch for the office every day (going on 5 years.) it’s 75% leftovers, 25% big batch stuff that I freeze in single servings (veggie chili, farro & veggie stir fry, etc.) Alternate title for my lunches: How I Paid Off My Gras School Loans.

  12. Maria says...

    Just made a bowl with cottage cheese (seasoned with salt and pepper and olive oil and lemon), soft-boiled egg, avocado, and scallions — then seasoned the top again with the same stuff and it’s GOOD. New go-to!

  13. evie says...

    do you guys use particular things (e.g. bento boxes) to bring lunch to the office or do you just cover a paper plate with foil?

    • Robin says...

      I’d love a post, Jo, on lunch containers, especially for little kids. My son starts jk in the fall and I’m going to have to pack lunches for him in one or more containers he can open himself without spilling the food all over the place. And I don’t think there will be a fridge or microwave. I always pack my own lunch in glass containers with locking lids – they’re heavy but they don’t leak and I can put the glass straight in the microwave. But they’d be too tough for my son to open and too heavy anyway. I’ve seen lots of pretty looking bento type boxes but I wonder if they would leak and whether a little kid could manage them.

    • Madie says...

      Robin – search Amazon for “Yumbox” – they’re exactly what you’re looking for. Leakproof, easy for kids to open and close themselves, and come in different configurations. I wanted to like one of the fancy stainless steel bento boxes, but the partitions in those aren’t solid, and allow for leakage from one compartment into another! No good. Yumbox for the win!

    • Kate says...

      I have a set of these (https://www.amazon.com/Pyrex-3-Cup-Rectangle-Storage-Containers/dp/B01HH8WCO4/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1490366449&sr=8-2-fkmr1&keywords=pyrex%2Bglass%2Bstorage%2Bcontainers%2Bwith%2Blight%2Bblue%2Blids&th=1) and love them. They’re sturdy and hold a good amount and I can eat out of them and it doesn’t feel too sad. I’ve also had luck finding super cute bowls with lids (like this: http://www.mrslinskitchen.com/12028.html?gclid=CjwKEAjwh9PGBRCfso2n3ODgvUcSJAAhpW5ol-eDWVfkmRLk-tOzaas_3mCf9gDRErVq7ovrsKOQxBoCSt3w_wcB) for just a few dollars each at TJ Maxx.

    • MCW says...

      Madie- Thanks for the Yumbox recommendation, will be ordering one for my daughter!

    • Oh my gosh, yumbox FTW! I’m totally ordering my 32 year old self one of these!

  14. Katie says...

    My favorite go-to lunch is sharp cheddar cheese, whole grain crackers, and those small Kosher dill pickles. It’s perfect.

  15. AB says...

    My three standards are: 1) Leftovers–if I can swipe them before my husband does! 2) Trader Joe’s Pork Gyoza + frozen edamame + frozen other veg, (usually snap peas) + TJs Gyoza sauce — it all microwaves together perfectly. 3) Trader Joe’s Chicken Tamale + sliced sweet bell pepper + sliced fresh tomato (if good ones can be found).

  16. Sasha says...

    Food posts (& comments!) are always so much fun on CoJ. Thank you especially for the “orangette” link, I just discovered the amazing Molly. She’s a truly beautiful writer.

  17. Mara says...

    My latest go-to quick meal is finely chopped cauliflower and/or broccoli, sauteed, with a couple slices of cheese melted in at the very end. American cheese is my guilty pleasure for this!

    You also can’t go wrong with an apple and smoked gouda! Or an apple and my favorite nut butter, Trader Joe’s salted almond butter.

    • Alix says...

      So many of these ideas sound appealing, but seem to be on the lighter side. Maybe it’s just me, but since I typically only have black coffee for breakfast, I don’t think and apple and cheese would tide me over until dinnertime (usually after 8PM).

  18. I looooove reading articles like this–especially reading all of the comments! I really hate buying lunch but I never want to spend too much time thinking about what to eat midday–it just seems overwhelming sometimes making one.more.decision. ya know? Right now i’ve been on a salad for lunch kick with a light dressing of white balsamic vinegar and good olive oil. Otherwise my go-to is avocado toast with lemon juice, sea salt, and red chili flakes. Feels like a treat but also keeps me full all afternoon!

  19. Kaye Lyssy Berman says...

    I love everything about this post…..including (especially!) the comments! I don’t eat the same thing everyday but do love a good avo toast, eggs any style, salad and cottage cheese. Dying to try the Trader Joe’s smoked trout.

  20. ang says...

    So… lots of food people love to stink up the office with fish, cheeses, and sauerkraut? I think my officemates would get out the pitchforks and torches and run me out if I brought anything that smelly.

  21. Sarah says...

    Fascinating to me that most of these lunches and even most of the comments are vegetarian!

    • Gita says...

      Spot on! Veggies unite, yay!

  22. amanda june says...

    Cottage cheese seems so…vintage to me somehow! ha!

    But I can’t judge anyone. Unless I have really tempting leftovers it’s cereal and/or PB toast all the way.

    I agree with the person who said they love your posts, Stella. :) and you’re from Springfield, yeah? did you go to school there? I find myself wondering which Italian joint…

  23. Lo says...

    My favourite lunches of all time, for when I’m in the office, are:
    * roasted veggies with brown rice and falafel
    * avocado toast with a smushed hard boiled egg, ground black pepper, and chilli flakes
    * wholegrain brown toast with crunchy peanut butter, topped with cacao nibs and banana slices!

    For at home, they are usually leftovers on the weekend, or its skipped altogether and we make up for it with a blow out amazing dinner that probably took 3 hours to make and 3 hours to consume because we’re so leisurely!
    http://www.themixtures.com

  24. Karin says...

    One of my go-to’s is a baked potato topped with baked beans. Fast, filling, cheap.
    I also eat canned tuna seasoned w/lemon and pepper, steamed broccoli and sautéed cauliflower rice. The smelliest lunch ever but it’s OK cuz I work from home.
    For sure gonna try some of these cottage cheese ideas!

  25. B says...

    Okay my go-to lunch for about six years (!!!) has been 4x rye cruskits, topped with smooshed avocado, sliced Lebanese cucumbers and a can of spicy chilli tuna… I’ve had breaks of this lunch each time I’ve been pregnant (not enough carbs/cheese for my pregnant tummy!) but always seem to come back to it eventually…..
    it’s filling, fairly healthy, cheap and easy….
    I’m very very terrible at making up recipes on the fly, so I’m completely impressed by all these people who make up salads as they go – perhaps I need to practise some more….?? (and buy cottage cheese, obvs ?)

  26. Lana says...

    I bring leftovers every single day! I haven’t bought a lunch in three years. :)

    • Deb says...

      Leftovers are the BEST! Literally cannot compute when people say they’re gross. Um, no, they were made by my clean hands in my clean kitchen and I can cook so they’re delicious and they’re economical and they’re (usually) nutritious – so I WIN. As does everyone else who loves leftovers. Or who lives with a partner who eats all the would-be leftovers so there never are any but they still love the concept. Totally understand people not wanting to eat the same meal three times in a row; that’s not the same thing as thinking that leftovers are “cheap” or unhygienic which I think are the usual criticisms.

      Leftovers!!

    • Sasha says...

      Yes, Deb!! We are winners. Do people who don’t like leftovers actually throw away what didn’t get eaten after dinner? Who is rich enough for that??????

      My husband, while downing dinner, will stop and start swooning about how good the leftovers are gonna be the next day. I’m known for eating them for breakfast. We both ALWAYS cook more for dinner, just to be sure there will be enough food for two portions (@least) for lunch. And we’ve both opened the fridge and done a happy dance when we realize there are some hidden leftovers from days ago that can make a perfectly good recycled dinner.

      What do I eat for lunch? Leftovers.

      Who are these crazies who don’t? ;)

    • Deb says...

      Haha I feel like I found some kindred spirits!

      Leftovers ftw!

    • Robin says...

      Leftovers are always the best lunch. I hesitate to make dinners that won’t make leftovers – it’s easy, but is it worth it?!

  27. Vee says...

    I take salads daily with a half lime or lemon and carry around the “taster” sizes of different specialty flavored balsamic vinegar or olive oils. They are pricier than a store bought or homemade salad dressing but it makes my lunch feel extravagant.

  28. ” I lie to my kids and tell them I forgot to buy them” OMG I’m dying!! TOO funny!! There are some great ideas on here, definitely going to have to give them a try, thanks for this unique post!

  29. Lo says...

    Ok brb, running to the store. :) Thanks Stella and all you ladies for great inspiration!

    If I’m being honest, I’ve been horrendous about bringing lunches to work for the past few months – it’s a problem. But this talk is reigniting my passion for leftover veggie and grain mixtures, cottage cheese, and smoked trout (not all together though, that might be overkill). My contribution is this: I’ve recently discovered Trader Joe’s dukkah and IT IS LIFE. I adore it on avocado toast, salads, plain yogurt with olive oil… Also, sauerkraut. It adds just enough crunch and zip to make plain tuna or lentils or eggs really delicious and satisfying.

  30. Shannon says...

    I love this post, and am also glad to have discovered Alexandra’s Kitchen through it! I’m inspired to make something great for dinner tonight.

    • S says...

      Alexandra’s kitchen is the best. My husband and I use it all the time for ideas. If you like ribs, her recipe is the easiest and tastiest. It’s amazing how little you have to do to them.

  31. Lisa says...

    I’m all about Trader Joe’s smoked trout, a la Jenny Rosenstrach, but I have a small portion for breakfast every morning! I complement it with two large dates and an extra (sometimes a cup of yogurt, an apple, a bagel, depending on what’s in the kitchen). I need to find a standard lunch though; the cheddar & apple sounds appealing, as does dressed arugula. Avocado toast is the way to go, but I can’t keep avocados on-hand consistently enough to have them every day.

  32. shannon says...

    Alternate title for this article – Cottage Cheese: The Next Greek Yogurt

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hahahaha

  33. I always have one of two meals for lunch. I love not having to make big decisions midday ;-)

    A sallad: greens, beans or lentils, avokado, feta or chevre, some kind of fruit, toasted pine nuts (or another type of nut), balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon peppar.

    A chia yoghurt bowl: a scoop of quickie chia pudding that I always have in the fridge (just vanilla yoghurt and chia seeds), a scoop of plain yoghurt, a sliced banana, homemade muesli.

    Reading everyone else’s go-to lunches, a part of me is tempted to mix mine up (and try cottage cheese?). But then I think no. Change is exhausting…

  34. Lol my favorite is the last line – or sometimes I’ll just end up eating the cookies I’m photographing!

    I love roasting sheets of veggies (zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, red pepper, etc) and using them in so many ways. Last night I roasted 2 heads of cauliflower seasoned with olive oil, cumin and chili powder and we had cauliflower tacos. Just added canned black beans, roasted cherry tomatoes, red pepper and some cheese, and voila!

    I also make huge batches of pesto in the summer and freeze it in ice cube trays. An easy go to meal I make for the kids and myself is tortellini with leftover roasted red pepper and broccoli with the pesto as a sauce! SO delicious

    Xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

    • Sasha says...

      Thank you for the tofu recipe!! I’m making it tonight.

  35. Bethann says...

    hah – apparently I’m not the only one who loves cottage cheese. good thing for me that the other members of my household won’t touch it!

  36. Yma says...

    Cottage cheese with rockmelon/cantaloupe is delicious…. cottage cheese is brilliant.

  37. This is so good! Love all these ideas, particularly the canned fish.. smart and easy and quick. Your intro reminded me of the daily lunch of the manager of a burger joint I worked at. Every day, he ate a small baguette with cucumbers, tomatoes, a squeeze of lemon, and feta. No meat, no dressing. I always admired that when there were so many other temptations.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thank you so much, Nina! And yes, that makes me laugh about your manager! When I would see my boss’s salad I was always thinking, “Oh, but a baked ziti would be so much better…”

  38. MBH says...

    I wish I didn’t loathe cottage cheese because I’d be digging these suggestions!
    I don’t eat gluten or dairy anymore, but my dream lunch everyday of my life would be a grilled cheese, please.
    For what I do actually eat – I’m huge on a combo of avocado + roasted veggies/sweet potatoes from the weekend + leftover protein from last nights dinner (often roasted chicken thighs). Lately I’ve been making a lot of curried chicken salad (shred leftover rotisserie, add avocado oil mayo, chopped parsley, raisins, curry powder, dash of cider vinegar, chopped almonds, sometimes sunflower seeds for crunch). Or a handful of arugula/spinach combo with roasted tomatoes, avocado and whatever roasted veggies I have in the house.
    I like a bit of dark chocolate or 1-2 dates for a sweet.
    I eat a big lunch – otherwise I’m raiding the snack drawer at 3pm. I can usually make it til about 6pm when I will nibble green olives or a slice of prosciutto while prepping dinner (and sometimes I cook random stuff for my husband and kids and my own dinner continues to be olives and prosciutto!).

  39. Apparently I need to rethink cottage cheese.

  40. Sarah Marie says...

    Maybe cottage cheese can be the new avocado toast. lol. I love avocado toast but I’m tired of seeing it everywhere on the internet. There are other good and simple things to eat. For my lunch, I like to eat salads with easy toppings from my fridge, like sliced hearts of palm, deli meats, cheese, and homemade dressing (in a leak proof container). I’m actually using this new line of french tupperware and I am LOVING it! It is so french and perfect for my life. Found it on amazon if you search “french tupperware”.

  41. Such a fun article!

    My go-to work lunch is always quinoa with roasted veggies. My husband and I will make a pot of quinoa on Sunday, along with a full pan of roasted sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots. That way, when we’re tired from work, we can easily pack up everything for the next day’s lunch. It’s simple, keeps us full, and so much cheaper than buying our lunches out everyday!

  42. Amber J says...

    Stella, I love all of your posts! That’s all.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Awww, thank you, Amber! That means so much :)

      Stella xoxox

  43. Allison says...

    I love a few small pieces of fried haloumi on a salad (usually some lettuce, red pepper, cucumber, tomato, and a mix of seeds). I might also add in leftovers like roasted veg or a bit of salmon or chicken or toss in some nuts or avocado. The haloumi makes the whole thing feel like a treat, even though most of it is super healthy. I just dress it with a bit of balsamic vinegar or a bit of lemon juice.

    • Anneliese says...

      This sounds delicious!

  44. Love these ideas! I am into salad with roasted sweet potato to help fill it up, plus a chipolte aioli dressing (mayo, white white or apple cider vinegar, and a sprinkle of chipotle powder). I have unrealized aspirations to make the mayo myself :)

    PS The Italian restaurant owner’s lunch, if she is actually Italian, is probably also in the long-line of Italian Fish Fridays. Yes, before meatless Mondays were a thing (LONG BEFORE), everyone in the Catholic world forewent animal flesh on Fridays to honor the day of Jesus’s death. Fish doesn’t count, so the meal might be true vegetarian or pescatarian.

    • Sheila says...

      I agree, AnaMaria. My Irish Catholic parents never ever ate meat on Friday–Lent or no Lent.

  45. jen says...

    if i have any leftover pasta it turns into frittata for lunch. if i have any leftover rice it turns into fried rice for lunch. and then my back up is always avocado toast. i usually have sliced walnut batard in the freezer which i can toast and top with avocado.

    • Jen, you are my twin. Ditto to everything except the batard.

  46. Maire says...

    I’m also here with the pan of roasted veggies that I then top with two salted fried eggs. In the winter time, some sort of soup that has lentils or cannelini beans in it. In the summer, Greek Salads. I eat PB&J almost every day for breakfast.

  47. Tshego says...

    Hhmm…I had NOOO idea that half the world is eating cottage cheese for lunch!!!! My quick meal is tuna fish cakes, lemon wedge, hot sauce and whatever salad leaves we have in the fridge. I could seriously eat this every single day and still enjoy it :P

    • Anneliese says...

      How do you make your tuna fish cakes?

  48. Love the frittata on salad idea. I always serve frittatas with a side salad, but having smaller pieces of a simple egg + parm frittata as part of a more elaborate salad might just be the inspo for my next paleo/low-carb dinner recipe post!

    http://www.ausplendor.cc

  49. Lisa says...

    Today I had sourdough toast with butter, avocado and a slice of cheese. It was heaven! But unfortunately I’m normally at work so it’s whatever I can find at Pret. It depresses me and I wish I could get it more together to make lunches to bring in

  50. Daniela says...

    When I am home, avocado and sweet potatoes are my go-to. Usually avocado toast along with some roasted sweet potatoes; sometimes I will boil or fry up an egg as well. I also like to spread burrata on pugliese and then add some oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Or just chop up mozzarella and add the above seasonings!

    At work, it’s usually a Trader Joe’s frozen meal or a salad with a bunch of toppings and protein.

  51. Caitlin says...

    I love these ideas!

    Couscous made with olive oil, chicken broth, and sea salt. Chop up a tomato and add it to the couscous. One of my favorite lunches ever! :)

  52. Kelly Beecher says...

    I mix cottage cheese, unsweetened coconut, raisins and ranch dressing powder. Heaven!

  53. Yes! It’s funny to see all of these. We rarely had snack food in the house when I was growing up but we always had cottage cheese. So good on a baked potato. My go-to was with lots of pepper, but I also liked french dressing with some chopped veggies. @Alisha I had no idea someone else in the world ate that combo! It’s pretty great with basically any type of chips-but probably shines the most with Doritos, hahaha.

    On the flip side, my dad always ate it sweet with fruit or brown sugar.

  54. Diana says...

    lol, that one chef’s love of beans. i get it, sister! i love beans, too!

    • Charli says...

      Me too. Beans forever.

  55. Marla Stills says...

    I love to throw together a Southwest Sweet Potato – 1/3 of a roasted sweet potato mashed topped with spicy black beans and a little melted cheese, some lettuce or cabbage, a single serving guac or salsa verde, other veggies I might have on hand. Tortilla chips for some crunch. Salad like but warming with those warm potatoes on the bottom!

  56. Tari says...

    Cottage cheese is great on a baked potato!

    Or with a bunch of halved cherry tomatoes and sliced onion with salt and pepper.

  57. Amy says...

    Leftovers! Today was southwestern quinoa salad with rotisserie chicken and extra cilantro, and for second lunch (nursing mama) it’ll be pulled pork; on a bun, and maybe with a fried egg?

    If I don’t have leftovers, I always keep homemade burritos in the freezer. Currently I have over a dozen chicken + refried bean + cheese + corn burritos and a few bbq chicken + pineapple + bell pepper + cheese wraps. Sometimes I get creative and make something fun, but at least I’ve always got something filling that isn’t crackers or chips.

    • Courtney M says...

      Amy, the burrito & wrap sounds delicious! Do you have recipes for these? Or just basic instructions on how you make them?

    • Can I just second the nursing mama second lunch? I eat CONSTANTLY, even at 8.5 months post birth.

  58. Denise says...

    In the Fall/Winter I love a box of Pacific Split Pea & Uncured Ham soup with a grapefruit for dessert. YUM.

  59. Jules D says...

    I don’t know how people can eat so little for lunch! I’ve been in the US over 8 years and I still don’t get it. In France lunch is treated just like dinner.

    • Shelly says...

      right? Even as an American, I like to have a nice, hearty lunch. I was feeling hungry for these people just reading their descriptions.

    • I agree! I prefer a larger breakfast and lunch and smaller dinner. I’m hungry during the day!

  60. Lauren says...

    Lately my go-to lunch has been a greek farro and chickpea chopped salad that I will make for dinner and then enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next few days. I chop up a red onion, cucumber, red pepper, some kalamta olives and sundried tomatoes, and mix in a cup of cooked farro, a can of chickpeas, and some feta, and then toss it all together with a yummy lemon greek vinaigrette! For dinner, I serve it over lightly dressed chopped spinach. If I have herbs on hand, I will throw some in as well. It’s really flavorful and filling and makes for an easy and delicious lunch to bring to work and eat right of the office fridge from your tupperware :)

  61. This reminds me of a lot of successful individuals who wear the same thing every day because it’s one less decision to make (Steve Jobs for example). Us humans have decision fatigue (totally makes sense! When you make so many decisions in a day that it makes you tired) so figuring out what to eat 3x a day is super annoying. I always have oatmeal for breakfast… one less thought!

    http://thedianaedition.com

  62. jaclyn says...

    BAKED. POTATO. With a lethal amount of butter, salt, and pepper. It requires no effort. You can even cook it the night before. If I am feeling fancy I will put one of the following on top- fried egg, scallions, salsa, sour cream, seitan, leftover steak, cheese sauce, bacon, sauteed mushrooms, herbs, lemon dressed arugula, broccoli… you get the idea. If it’s hot out, I’ll slice it up and put tzakiki and tomato on it. I also make a fresh french press and listen to the radio because why not.

    • Jami-Lin says...

      YES! Lunch, dinner, breakfast. Potatoes for the win!

  63. Simone says...

    Every Sunday evening I take an hour and cook a batch of grains or quinoa, then prep protein (tofu, chicken, roasted chickpeas, or boiled eggs), and chop an assortment of veggies/herbs (think carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, radish, cilantro). I put them all in containers, mix up a vinaigrette, and makes sure to have some fresh greens like arugula or spinach on hand. Then when it’s lunch, everyone can assemble and customize their own bowl!

    A little prep work and lunch takes less than 5 minutes each day, it’s never boring, AND it’s healthy-ish!

    • Miruska says...

      I am going to try that. Sounds great.

  64. Blythe says...

    I have a few go-to’s:
    – slices of apple with cheddar
    – roasted beets with a little vinaigrette and a sprinkling of goat cheese
    – a toasted English muffin with 1/2 an avocado smeared on top and a little salt, pepper and (again) goat cheese
    All simple and healthy!

    • Robin says...

      YUM. Goat cheese for lunch sounds like a treat in the middle of the day (when we need it the most!). Love it!

  65. Delphine says...

    To me lunch needs to be savoury, extremely quick to make, creating minimal dirty dishes, and based around grains (to keep me full), veg (to keep me healthy) and some sort of protein (to keep things interesting!)
    So I’ll do either couscous (throw it in the bottom of a bowl+hot water, it gets ready while you prep the other elements and does not create an extra dirty dish) or any leftover rice or quinoa. Then top that with a no cook, no peel veg (most often avocado of cherry tomatoes cause I don’t even need s cutting board to prep them!), and either a good can of tuna in olive oil or an egg (soft boil or fried, eggs are a glorious lunch item cause they go with anything). Then olive oil, Viandox (it’s a French condiment that is like soy sauce but more umami, look it up!), and whatever I feel like on top –> hot sauce, cilantro, lime juice, coriander… and dark chocolate for dessert!

  66. SN says...

    On the cottage cheese point… I got this recipe from my grandma: cottage cheese and a can of tuna. Mix together, salt, pepper, lemon, a bit of olive oil. Voila.

    Some people are grossed — including my husband! — but I love it.

    • Maire says...

      This actually sounds delicious! I am going to try it out!

    • Twyla says...

      Tuna and avocado is equally delicious. I eat it on Ryvita Sourdough crackers.

  67. I’m definitely trying the layered cottage cheese. Agree about the need to season and I would add – has to be really, really cold. Much maligned but absolutely delicious.

  68. These selections are going to be so useful for me once I start working from home in June. My mouth is watering already just thinking about the delicious mid-day meals in my future!

  69. Loribeth says...

    All these are such great ideas! I consider myself a leftovers queen and usually take pretty long lunch breaks and try to whip up something creative with what I have in the fridge from dinner the night before.

  70. Emma says...

    I make this every time I get home from the airport and either don’t have anything decent in the fridge or am too tired to actually cook: kimchi and two runny eggs fried in sesame oil eaten on top of tortilla chips with shredded parmesan and mozzarella melted on everything. If I have green onion, then I fry that with the kimchi and eggs.

  71. Sarah says...

    I relate to deb Perelman. It is a fight over who gets the raspberries (or bananas, or strawberries, or blueberries) in my house. Of course, it’s a fight I always win bc I’m the one cooking. I sometimes feel so generous and wonderful as a mother when I save some for my daughter. When there are none left, I tell her daddy will get some more tomorrow at the store.

  72. Meghan says...

    I have said it before and I will say it again: couscous. I brown bag it and having couscous on hand is the best way to make any weird leftover into a meal, as I can make it in ~5 minutes and it bulks up anything: hardboiled eggs and greens, leftover soup, random roasted vegetables and salad dressing. Couscous, everyone! Couscous!

  73. Jo says...

    I’m vegan so I eat a lot of varieties on the grain & bean combo (a perfect protein!) for lunch… chickpea salad on whole grain toast with lots of fresh dill and pickles. Yellow lentil dahl with wild rice and a sqeeze of lemon juice. Black beans on a tortilla with sliced radishes, tomatoes, and cilantro. I usually make big batches of two different types of beans and some grains on Sunday and it lasts me and my husband through most of the week!

    I’m also partial to an arugula salad with sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, quinoa, artichoke hearts… it tastes like pizza :)

  74. Amanda says...

    I roast a bunch of vegetables every Sunday, sweet potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, whatever looks good at the store, and grill chicken breasts seasoned with garlic and paprika. Then split it into containers for the week. The same lunch, every single day. I am a routine enthusiast. Sounds boring, but it works!

    • Loribeth says...

      I roast a bunch of veggies too! But do different things with them every day. My current go-to is broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, shallots, garlic and bell peppers. Tried sprinkling soy sauce, honey, and ground ginger with the usual olive oil last time and it was divine!

    • Becca says...

      Right there with you! A huge pan of roasted veggies on Sunday gets me through the week.

    • Tara says...

      Yes! Roasted veggies on Sunday and a bunch of quinoa, rice or cous cous. Then each day, I make a bowl with the veggies, grains, goat or feta cheese, slivered almonds or pine nuts and balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I toss some greens in too if I have them. So good!

    • Loribeth says...

      Do y’all ever cook up some polenta for the week and have that with the roasted veggies? Not quite as healthy as quinoa or brown rice, but damn it’s good and multi-tasks just like the veggies. I grew up on stone ground corn grits that were fairly runny, so polenta is the most decadent thing to me!

  75. Elisabeth says...

    Last night’s leftovers, pretty much always. Unless I happen to be home and then I’ll usually make something with eggs (egg salad, fried eggs with leftover pasta, last night’s leftovers with egg on top). But now I want to be a bit more creative!

  76. Amena says...

    My lunch and snack is always the same and I can never get bored of it since it used to be in my school lunch box from primary school. A slice of sourdough bread or flat bread with a generous spread of turkish labneh cheese.

  77. Lauren E. says...

    Ha! Beans! I resolved to bring my lunch to work more this year and canned beans have saved my life. Whatever the leftover, throw some black beans/chickpeas/cannellini beans and Frank’s Red Hot on it, and it’s lunch.

  78. molly says...

    Love this post!

  79. Noelle says...

    So many great ideas to help me blast out of my frozen Amy’s lunch entree rut! (Though if you have to go that way, I vote Amy’s as “most likely to look like what’s on the box”.) Loving all the fruit/cheese/bread combinations :)

  80. Anneliese says...

    My no-brainer lunch changes with the season but currently its spicy refried beans layered with cheese and anything else that I can quickly throw in a container. Heat and serve with tortilla chips.

  81. Janine says...

    Alexandra Stafford’s enthusiasm for beans has me in tears laughing.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hahaha, me, too, Janine!

  82. asia says...

    Weirdly, I usually have better lunches when I make them to bring to work than I do when I’m at home on weekends. I almost always bring some kind of salad, with vegetables, chickpeas, some type of nut and sometimes a little fruit for sweetness. I might vary the dressing depending on my mood (oil, apple cider vinegar and mustard or oil, rice vinegar, tamari and sesame oil). If I’m home I eat leftover pizza or cereal. Or I forget completely.

  83. Lois says...

    Mary’s crackers and Sabra Supremely Spicy hummus. Always eaten standing up.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hahaha @ standing up, Lois. That is me, every. single. day.

    • Kat says...

      supremely spicy is the BEST hummus!

  84. Quarter an apple, smear each piece with peanut butter, and top with a cube of cheddar cheese.

    • How is it possible that that combination sounds at once delicious and disgusting? My brain and my tastebuds are so confused! Guess there’s no other option but to just give it a try and see for myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Karina says...

      Perfect! And pepper on top.

    • Lora says...

      Yes @Karina! So weird how black pepper works with apples, but it totally does! I love the black pepper Triscuits with apples and cheese. Good stuff!

    • Dee says...

      Or better yet, cottage cheese! LOL

  85. Jami-Lin says...

    Yum! Excited to mix up my throw-leftovers-in-tupperware routine and try some of these easy lunches. Loving the cheese enthusiasm ;)

  86. Charlotte K says...

    If I had my druthers I’d eat my big meal in the middle of the day but it’s not practical. Instead I make soup and yogurt on the weekends to bring to work; add an apple and I’m done.

    4 shrimp and a spinach salad would not keep me going all afternoon! But I’m liking the sound of the smoked fish on crackers. That would be a good supplement to my current lunch.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      I was just chatting with Lexi about this, too, Belle. I guess I’ve been missing out!

      Stella xoxox

    • Yep. That was my take-away too. Clearly I am missing out.

    • Lucia says...

      My husband and I were just talking about his coworker who eats oatmeal with cottage cheese and salsa for breakfast. I guess cottage cheese really is on the come up.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Woah, that is next level. Making me laugh!

    • Mariana says...

      Cottage cheese with salt and pepper on a cracker is divine! But you have to season with salt and pepper, it makes all the difference :)

    • heather says...

      Now Trending: cottage cheese!

    • My husband does cottage cheese, French dressing and a whole diced tomato. Still not into that combo, but he swears by it.