Skip the Microwave: Lunches That Don’t Need Reheating

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The lack of an office microwave (or the questionable state of one) is no reason to give up on a satisfying homemade lunch. There are plenty of ways to use leftovers and fresh ingredients to make a tasty lunch that doesn’t need any reheating. Here are 10.

  1. Sandwiches – This cold lunch staple doesn’t have to be boring. We’ve got lots of ideas to help you mix it up.
  2. Grain salads – Fresh and filling, these salads are especially easy if you have grains and vegetables leftover from dinner. Toss them together, add a dressing and there’s no need to reheat.
  3. Roasted or grilled meats and vegetables – Use these as a base for a quick sandwich or salad. Or eat with a pita and hummus.
  4. Pasta salad – Add plenty of fresh vegetables and some greens.
  5. Lentil salad – If you have cooked lentils on hand (firm ones, not the mushy stuff), you have a great base for a hearty salad. It doesn’t even have to be preassembled. We’ve eaten leftover Beluga lentils cold all by themselves, or with a little feta cheese and black pepper sprinkled on top. A squeeze of lemon or drizzle of olive oil wouldn’t hurt either.
  6. Breakfast for lunch – Instead of hot oatmeal, try some Greek yogurt with chopped nuts, fruit and/or whole grain cereal.
  7. Beans – Like lentils, they are great eaten cold and need very little dressing up. If you’ve got time to chop and prepare, try this Three Bean Salad with Edamame. If not, try this quick alternative – Drain and rinse a can of beans (kidneys, garbanzos, butter beans) pour them right into a to-go container, drizzle on a little olive oil and vinegar and sprinkle with salt, pepper, red chili flakes and some Italian seasonings. Pop on the lid, give it a shake, and by lunchtime, the flavors will have come together nicely and you’ll have a marinated bean salad ready to go. Eat them alone or on top of salad greens.
  8. Hard-boiled eggs – Mix them into an egg salad if you have time. If not, they’re great as part of a deconstructed lunch with some bread or crackers, maybe a little cheese, and some crunchy vegetables.
  9. Spring rolls – Some prep work required, but these fresh, flavorful rolls are worth it if you have the time. Transport them wrapped in damp paper towels to avoid sticking.
  10. Tuna – The humble can of tuna is still a cheap and easy cold lunch staple.

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