If you can't bear the thought of another PB&J sandwich for lunch, try one of these solutions for a delicious mid-day meal you can pack in a flash
Credit: Flickr/cookbookman17

If you can't bear the thought of another PB&J sandwich for lunch, try one of these solutions for a delicious mid-day meal you can pack in a flash

Making your lunch every day doesn't have to be tedious or repetitive. These recipes are simple and delicious, and they also work well for dinner or a side dish, so you can simply make extra the night before and have lunch ready for the next day.

From chili to traditional Italian sandwiches to salads that stay fresh, these packable lunches are simply satisfying.

Couscous Salad
Credit: Flickr/Taryn Domingos

Couscous Salad

Make this refreshing salad the night before to give the flavours a chance to soak in.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup couscous
  • ½ red pepper chopped
  • ½ cup olives (black or green) cut in halves
  • ½ cup red onion chopped
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes cut in halves
  • ½ cup chickpeas (optional)
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • ¼ cup cilantro chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil the water and olive oil in a pot. When water comes to a boil, remove from heat completely and add the couscous. Cover for 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the couscous into large bowl and fluff it with a fork. Refrigerate until couscous is cool.
  3. Once couscous is cool, add the red pepper, olives, red onion, cherry tomatos, chickpeas, feta and cilantro. Mix together.
  4. Combine lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper, stir, then mix well into the salad. Refrigerate.
  5. Serve cold and enjoy.

To make this a heavier lunch, lay the couscous on a bed of lettuce and add any protein you have left over from the night before.

Turkey Chili
Credit: Flickr/mike

Turkey Chili

A steaming bowl of chili is perfect for colder days. You can make a big pot of this chili and freeze individual portions for lunches as needed. Add a slice of melba toast for crunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 large can whole tomatoes
  • 2 cans large kidney beans drained and rinsed (may substitute for chick peas)
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 whole carrots, chopped
  • 1 ½ cup mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot on medium high heat, add your ground turkey, onion and garlic. Sauté until the meat is brown.
  2. Add all your vegetables to the pot and preferred spices and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add your washed beans, tomato paste and whole tomatoes, stir and let cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add 4-6 cups of water and turn down to medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Leave chili for 2-2 ½ hours on medium heat or until the water is absorbed.
  6. Place in a serving bowl and add some shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Chicken Salad Sandwich
Credit: Flickr/Yuichi Sakuraba

Chicken Salad Sandwich

If you've got chicken leftovers, turn them into a simple, delicious sandwich for lunch the next day. A source of protein will energize you all afternoon.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cubed chicken or salmon
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Choice of thinly sliced celery, peppers or red onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 slices of bread or crackers

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined
  2. Add this to bread with lettuce and tomato or pile it into crackers.

Yam and Black Bean Salad
Credit: Flickr/cookbookman17

Yam and Black Bean Salad

This simple salad is best made the day before so cilantro, lemon juice and olive oil have time to blend. It takes about 15 minutes to bake the yam, but it's well worth the wait. This recipe serves about 4-6 and lasts up to a week refrigerated.

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 medium peeled and cubed sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ jalapeno
  • Half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Peel and cut the sweet potato into small cubes, place onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes. When a fork pokes softly into a piece then yams are ready.
  3. Let the yams cool completely while mixing the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Drain and rinse off the can of black beans and place in bowl.
  5. Roughly chop the cilantro and cube the jalapeno and add to the black beans.
  6. By this time the yams will be cooled enough to add to the beans, jalapeno and cilantro.
  7. Add the olive oil, juice of half a lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Deli Sandwich
Credit: Flickr/Alexis Lamster

Deli Sandwich

Spice up your plain old deli sandwich with a jar of Italian vegetables - artichoke hearts, spicy eggplants or ricotta cheese filled peppers.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices bread or Italian sandwich bun
  • Your favourite deli turkey
  • Your favourite cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Mayo
  • Mustard
  • Jarred eggplants, peppers or artichokes

Instructions

  1. Add condiments to your preferred bread - mayo, mustard or even pesto.
  2. Add your turkey and cheese.
  3. Add your desired vegetable to the bun; be sure to drain any excess oil from the vegetable into the original jar.
  4. Wrap and add a few other snacks for a perfect Italian lunch.

White Wine Vinegar Salad
Credit: Flickr/tulumba

White Wine Vinegar Salad

Regular spring mixed greens or romaine lettuce can be dressed up with protein and dried fruit for an easy-to-assemble lunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups washed and chopped romaine lettuce
  • ¼ cup of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • ½ avocado, peeled
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix your lettuce, feta, cranberries, sunflower seeds and avocado.
  2. In a separate container combine the olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.