Are you looking for some tasty cold lunch ideas? This compilation of recipes reveals 27 homemade lunches designed to be served cold (or immediately) and enjoyed at work or school.
Preparing for hot lunches is sometimes annoying, especially when you have over-scheduled days and endless commitments. *sigh*
This is why people tend to go out for lunch, which I believe isn’t economical. So what should we do?
Luckily—there are cold meals that you can rely on, and I’ve compiled them all in here—the majority won’t take you hours to prepare.
From Mexican Lettuce Wraps to Chickpea Jar Salad bursting with Asian flavors, here are our epic list of cold lunch ideas that’ll please not only just you but your entire family, as well.
BLT lovers will love delectable #26!
Need more lunch ideas? Try our keto-inspired lunch recipes!
These lettuce wraps are fresh and take only about 15 minutes to put together; they’re one of those great cold food ideas to pack for work or school.
The Mexican-inspired dish packs with earthy spicy flavors and hearty fresh ingredients. Prefer it spicy? Sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes.
This recipe is very different from the classic coleslaw with a homestyle mayonnaise dressing.
It’s sweet, tangy, and has an extra flavor punch of celery seeds!
Cover this easy cold food idea with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to fully meld the flavor.
Looking for cold lunches? If so, prepare your rotisserie chicken, spinach, and cream cheese to create this delicious tortilla wrap!
The cream cheese mixture, featuring sour cream, green onions, and bacon bits, is the highlight of this easy lunch idea.
The combination of black and fresh romaine lettuce in these scrumptious wraps is something you shouldn’t miss.
To make it straightforward, it’s best to use canned black beans. Then consider adding some jalapenos to make them more of a filling meal.
8. Caesar Salad
This Caesar salad requires no anchovies or raw eggs, yet it has the flavor punch from the classic recipe.
The secret? The Worcestershire-based dressing.
To fully enjoy its flavor, it’s advisable to refrigerate the salad before serving it. Make this in advance and leave it in the fridge for a day.
10. Classic Gazpacho
This good cold lunch—classic gazpacho—is easy and full of traditional Spanish flavor. Plus, it’s refreshing, thanks to the cool puree of tomato and cucumber.
To create, throw the ingredients in a blender, then blend until pureed. Chill for a few hours and let the flavors meld. Easy peasy!
This 8-ingredient chicken salad recipe comes together quickly, especially if you use leftover rotisserie chicken.
It’s versatile (and tasty!); you can add or subtract ingredients to your liking. Pecans? Grapes? Sour cream? Toss them all!
These lentil wraps are vegan lovers’ dreams. They’re dairy-free yet incredibly wholesome and filling!
You need tortilla bread to make these delectable wraps, Then place salad, lentils, dressing, or sauce on the bread, and wrap—you’re done.
Now we’re talkin’! What I like about this salad is its simplicity. It only calls for seven basic ingredients to make.
To assemble the salad, cut the veggies and fresh herbs, mix them all in a large bowl, then chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
This recipe is an easy way to give your sandwich a hearty upgrade without adding fancy ingredients—all you need is this powerful combo: ham and cheese.
Add pickled relish to the mix for a hint of tangy sweetness and a nice crunch. Though it’s optional, you can add condensed milk for a quick boost of creaminess.
Put these restaurant-style spring rolls inside your lunch box and watch your officemates’ jaws drop!
The refreshing and vibrant rolls aren’t complete without the peanut sauce, so ensure that you have the ingredients for the dressing on hand.
This classic Bombay vegetable sandwich is filled with flavors: sweet, briny, spicy, and savory—it’s worth trying!
Best paired with tomato ketchup or extra green chutney, feel free to put mozzarella, cheddar, or paneer to the sandwich.
This salad is a great way to use up your excess cucumber. It’s refreshing and overloaded with sour cream, spices, and fresh herbs.
Note: The cucumbers need to be sliced extremely thin, so consider investing in a mandoline slicer or a cheese grater.
Creating these chicken club roll-ups requires minimal effort, and you just need tortillas, chicken, ham, bacon, cheese, tomato, and avocado.
Full of savory and sweet flavor, these rolls are best served along with ranch dressing buffalo chicken sauce or Sriracha sauce.
26. BLT Pasta Salad
In this dish, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, and rotini pasta are tossed in a creamy dressing to make a flavor and texture combo bound to get you hooked!
This salad has endless possibilities. You can toss in a handful of croutons or sourdough in case you’re longing for the bread from your favorite BLT sandwich.
The bottom line
With sudden hectic days and the stress of balancing work, it’s no wonder that sometimes, meal planning may not be the top priority on your list.
And I know—you don’t enjoy foods coming from the drive-thru window or any of those take-out meals.
To solve your dilemma, try a few of these cold lunch ideas! Whether you’re looking for salads, wraps, sandwiches, or rolls, this list has got you covered.
- Mexican Lettuce Wraps
- Yukon Gold Potato Salad
- No-Mayo Carolina Coleslaw
- Creamy Red Potato Salad
- Creamy Pasta Salad
- Chicken, Spinach, And Cream Cheese Tortilla Wrap
- Black Bean Lettuce Wraps
- Caesar Salad
- Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
- Classic Gazpacho
- Rotisserie Chicken Salad
- Turkey Wraps
- Caprese Salad
- Watermelon Feta Salad
- Lentil Vegan Wraps
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Ham and Cheese Sandwich
- Burrito Bowl
- Fresh Spring Rolls
- Bombay Veg Sandwich
- Asian Noodle Salad
- German Cucumber Salad
- Cucumber Sandwich
- Chicken Club Roll-ups
- Egg Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Thai Chickpea Jar Salad
- Choose one or more options from our list of cold lunch ideas here!
- Choose your favorite to recreate.
- Pat yourself on the back for making food at home for you to enjoy!
- Share and comment! Did you make any tweaks, so it’s all your own?