21 Meal Prep Lunch Recipes That Are Better Than an Expensive Salad

teriyaki chicken stir fry meal prep lunch box recipe
My Food Story

We love a kale Caesar for lunch as much as the next person...until it rings up to a cool 15 bucks. Yep, your bank account is basically begging you to bring your own lunch. But we're not talking peanut butter and jelly. All it takes to make fabulous weekly lunches is a little planning and some Sunday cooking to become your office’s brown bag queen. Here, 21 easy meal-prep lunch recipes to get you started.

greek kale and quinoa salad bowls recipe
Abra’s Kitchen


Greek Kale and Quinoa Salad Bowls

Salty feta and creamy hummus make it so satisfying.

radish barbecue bowls with honey mustard dressing recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell


Radish Barbecue Bowls with Tangy Honey-Mustard Dressing

Brined, charred veggies are so much tastier than a slab of grilled chicken.

honey sriracha glazed meatballs recipe
Eat Yourself Skinny


Honey Sriracha Glazed Meatballs

This takes only 30 minutes of prep time.

avocado tuna chickpea salad recipe
Cafe Delites


Avocado Chickpea Tuna Salad

Remember when you hid your salad leftovers in the back of the communal fridge?

meal prep southwest chicken burrito bowl recipe
Jar of Lemons


Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls

Avocado lime dressing? Don’t mind if we do.

kale salad with pomegranate and pecans recipe
Well Plated


Kale Salad with Pomegranate

Hefty greens are perfect for meal prep: The longer they sit, the better they get.

loaded lentil salad recipe


Loaded Lentil Salad

Bonus points if you soak your lentils ahead of time.

quinoa bowl with kale shrimp and avocado recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell


The Ultimate Quinoa-Avocado Bowl

We just found your new favorite lunch recipe.

grilled veggie and black bean meal prep bowl recipe
Sweet Peas and Saffron


Grilled Veggie and Black Bean Meal Prep Bowls

Does the salad bar down the street have barbecue vinaigrette?

healthy chicken shawarma bowl recipe
Gimme Delicious Food


Healthy Chicken Shawarma Bowls

Nope, you don’t have to share.

ketogenic sheet pan chicken and rainbow veggies recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell


Keto Sheet-Pan Chicken and Rainbow Veggies

The healthiest, easiest make-ahead meal.

loaded kale caesar salad recipe
She Likes Food


Loaded Kale Caesar Salad

And the award for prettiest lunch goes to…

brown rice salad with kale and sesame seeds recipe
Well and Full


Brown Rice Salad with Kale and Sesame Seeds

The roasted pepita topping is everything.

avocado chickpea pasta salad recipe
Ambitious Kitchen


Mediterranean Avocado Chickpea Pasta Salad

With a delicious lemon-basil dressing, courtesy of PureWow Coterie member Monique Volz.

spicy chicken and sweet potato meal prep recipe
Pinch of Yum


Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Meal Prep Magic

All you need are a few sheet pans and 45 minutes.

greek healthy meal prep recipe
40 Aprons


Greek Healthy Meal Prep

Who could resist tzatziki and hummus?

spicy cobb salad with cajun grilled steak recipe
The Spice at Home


Spicy Cobb Salad with Cajun Grilled Steak

Make everything ahead and assemble as needed.

roasted sweet potato and salmon soba noodle bowl recipe
Half Baked Harvest


Roasted Sweet Potato and Salmon Soba Noodle Bowl

The secret to enjoying your lunch break is homemade sweet chili sauce.

spanish chickpea and spinach stew recipe
Lazy Cat Kitchen


Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Top with almonds if you’re fancy.

teriyaki chicken stir fry meal prep lunch box recipe
My Food Story


Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry Meal Prep Lunch Boxes

Complete with made-from-scratch sauce. Swoon.

chickpea and vegetable coconut curry recipe1
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell


Chickpea and Vegetable Coconut Curry

For when you want to impress your coworkers.


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...