10 Fast & Practical Hot Lunch Ideas

10 Fast & Practical Hot Lunch Ideas

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Kelli Foster
Aug 14, 2018
(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

When given the choice, I will always choose a hot lunch over a cold one. It's so hard to beat the satisfying, nourishing feeling that takes over your body when you dig into a hot meal in the middle of the day. It might surprise you that making a hot lunch doesn't need to take a lot of time or effort, and the payoff feels like treat — like you're doing something nice for yourself.

Because time is short and our days are busy, here are 10 quick and easy recipes for a hot lunch.

1. Crispy White Beans with Greens and Poached Egg

There's a reason this wholesome, hearty number is a favorite among Kitchn editors — it's a breeze to pull together and makes for a totally nourishing lunch. Keep it a one-pan number by making a fried egg instead.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

2. Gingery Poached Egg Soup

This super-quick lunch starts with store-bought broth and gets a big boost of flavor from garlic, ginger, and tamari. The eggs get poached right in the simmering soup, but if you're getting a head start you can also swap hard- or soft-boiled eggs for poached.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

3. Chickpea and Cheddar Quesadillas

Chickpeas make this handheld lunch filling and budget-friendly. The quesadillas will keep for a few days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer and can be reheated in a regular or toaster oven.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

4. Scrambled Chickpea and Spinach Pitas

Make these during your meal prep session, then stash them in the freezer. Let them defrost during the morning, or pop one into the oven (or toaster oven) straight from the freezer.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

5. Mexican Restaurant-Style Cauliflower Rice

When I'm going for speed I stick with frozen cauliflower rice over the fresh stuff, since it cooks up so fast. Top it with guac, salsa, and some beans or leftover meat for a quick and easy burrito-style bowl.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

6. Red Lentil Soup

Using red lentils (over brown or green) means this hearty soup comes together in under 30 minutes. Go for a double batch so you have extra lunches for later.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

7. 3-Ingredient Pesto Zoodle Bowl

If fried eggs are your default unch, a pile of sautéed zucchini noodles and some hot sauce kick things up in about two minutes.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

8. Ham and Cheddar Lunch Box Muffins

Sure, you could eat these muffins cool from the fridge, but warm them up and you get melty pockets of cheddar throughout each muffin. It's pretty much a no-brainer.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

9. Feta and Tomato Braised Chickpeas

If a chickpea salad is your lunch fallback, let this warm and saucy lunch take its place. Eat it as is, with a piece of crusty bread, or spoon it over a pile of greens.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

10. Sauerkraut and Sausage Roll

Never forget that chicken sausage is already cooked. And it means this super-satisfying lunch will be all yours in about six minutes.

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