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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If fried eggs are your default unch, a pile of sautéed zucchini noodles and some hot sauce kick things up in about two minutes.
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.
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.
Never forget that chicken sausage is already cooked. And it means this super-satisfying lunch will be all yours in about six minutes.