Our Readers’ Favorite Summer Lunches for Workdays

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

When it’s sticky and hot outside, and the AC is often blasting inside, it’s hard to figure out what to eat for lunch. Do you plan to eat outside? Or warm something up in the microwave indoors? That’s why we asked our readers to weigh in on the best summer lunches. Here are a few of the very smart ideas they shared.

Summer Pizza

Hummus “pizza”: Toast a tortilla, spread the hummus on, and top with veggies! Filling and delicious. – Krysten Gossard

Simple Vegetable Salads

Some variation of tomato + cucumber + onion salad … usually either with parsley + feta for a Mediterranean flare, or dressed up with some basil + croutons a la panzanella. – Holly Griffin

I love lunch in the summer because we have a picnic in the park across the street from our office almost every day, and everything tastes better al fresco! Tabbouleh (couscous or bulgur with parsley and mint) does the heavy lifting in my lunch box in the summer. I keep it interesting by mixing in summer fruit like watermelon, tomatoes, or nectarines. Since most of us pass a couple of roadside stands on our way to work, we’re going through four pounds of strawberries per day in the office as well. Perfect. – urbanstoop

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Summer Soups

A batch of chilled cucumber-yogurt soup (from the Moosewood cookbook; sometimes I switch out the mint for basil or dill) will last for several lunches or light dinners. Works for both in-office and in-car lunches because I can drink it out of a cup. That and some crackers or bread will do it. – Aniaj

I work in an office with a bunch of guys in suits, so the AC is blasting. I make a lot of soup in the summer and eat half a batch each week/freeze half for another week. It helps keep it interesting as you build an inventory. – StringCheese00

Easy Leftovers

My packed lunches are always just bits of this and that. Summer makes it a bit easier for the many options. Today, for example, I had some leftover sirloin, snap peas and tomatoes with yogurt dressing, peaches, and watermelon. – VictoriaMC

Bean Salads

I love bean salads, like this curried chickpea salad. Things that are easy, can be eaten at any temperature, and can be tossed on top of a salad are my favorite summer meals. – Seat at the Table

Ditto on the bean + fresh veggies salads — just made the chickpea, feta, and zucchini one from The Kitchn (minus the barley), and my other go-to summer salad is this chopped Mexican salad, that will last a few days in the fridge without adding the avocado until the day of (and using cherry tomatoes). – Nicolemarian