Packing up your own lunch in the morning not only saves loads of cash, but it’s also way healthier (step away from the pizza). Lunch is an easy way to get on a health kick, and while eating Mediterranean food (a.k.a all the tomatoes, lemons, feta, or falafel you can put on one plate), you won’t miss those fatty subs one bit. You may not be able to jet set to Greece and back in your one hour break, but these tasty Mediterranean recipes definitely live up to the hype.
1. Lemony Orzo Salad
This rice-shaped pasta reigns in the world of portable meals. You’ve probably had your fair share on the move at summer picnics, so why not prep it for lunches all week? You can cut down on ingredients as you see fit, but, as is, it’s packed with fresh cucumber, red onion, chickpeas, basil, mint, spinach, and feta, so pretty much perfection.
2. Falafel Kale Salad With Tahini Dressing
Homemade falafel sounds like a daunting all-day endeavor. In reality, you can whip these vegan fellas up in just 10 minutes. To start, you’ll be blending together chickpeas, onion, and garlic in a food processor, and then adding cilantro, parsley, cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Once you’ve finished frying up your falafel, your base salad is just as simple: kale (marinated in lemon juice), red onion, white beans, and jalapeño. The blogger points out that kale is amazing for meal-prep because it can hold up for days (can’t really say the same about spinach).
3. Gluten-Free Mediterranean Pasta
Thanks to the countless alternatives to wheat, gluten-free eaters don’t have to give up on that pasta life. This recipe uses brown rice noodles to go with its roasted eggplant and cherry tomatoes. Plus, if there are other types that you fancy more, like a chickpea- or quinoa-based pasta, you can easily swap those in.
4. Classic Mediterranean Salad
A bowl of classic Greek salad doesn’t need any company—it’s satisfying enough on its own. Prepare spinach, black olives, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced up red onion, and the beloved salty cheese, feta. For a simple dressing to suit it, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
5. Mediterranean Lentil Salad
Lentils are a pantry item that can really hold up to anything—stews, soups, you name it. This recipe has them starring on their own with the help of red onion, radishes, celery, red bell pepper, parsley, and feta. The best part? You can have a big batch ready in less than 30 minutes, and it’ll keep for days.
6. Greek Turkey Meatball Gyro With Tzatziki
You don’t need a Greek giagiá in your life to master the gyro. Instead of traditional lamb for the meat (which can get pricy), this recipe subs in tasty turkey meatballs wrapped in a pita and topped with tzatziki. Everything covered in the beloved cucumber yogurt sauce is better—these are just facts.
7. Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
No more sad, soggy lunch salads for you. A colorful bowl of quinoa, cucumbers, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red onion, hummus, basil, and a dollop of roasted red pepper sauce will have all your coworkers peeking over in envy.
8. Greek Shrimp Souvlaki and Farro Bowl
A bed of farro is an open canvas, and this bowl’s got lemon and herb grilled shrimp, bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and olives to jazz it up. The recipe calls for whole-grain farro, but you can use quinoa or even brown rice (hello, gluten-free friends!).
9. Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
This soup plays perfectly with avgolemono sauce (egg and lemon), which, if you’ve tried it, is probably on your top-foods list, like ever. The reheat value on it is great too (so perfect for the office microwave).
10. Lemon Parmesan Chicken With Zucchini Noodles
We always love our zoodles full of garlic and lemon—the cheese is just a bonus ingredient. All you need to be ready to meal-prep is butter and dried oregano (which you probably already have), chicken, garlic, lemons, a broth of your choice, and plenty of Parmesan.
11. Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant With Tahini Sauce
These dense eggplants are easy to transport and even easier to whip up the morning of. Stuff yourself with everything that goes into these: quinoa, mushrooms, whole plum tomatoes, garlic, and homemade tahini… You’ll wonder why you ever settled for the salad bar.
12. Bulgar Salad With Feta
Bulgar can easily hold its own as the main dish in your lunchbox. This one is extra lemony and pairs perfectly with all the best herbs: cilantro, mint, and parsley. As for the must-have topping, you’ve got feta, which is first marinated in lemon zest, garlic powder, and fresh oregano. Hello, salad of our dreams.
13. Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich
When all your favorite toppings become the main event, you know lunchtime will be good. This sandwich, which is essentially a salad between two slices of whole-wheat bread, has lettuce, sprouts, tomato, cucumber, red onion, crumbled feta cheese, and for its star: peppadew peppers (both sweet and spicy). As for spreads, try any hummus, but this recipe calls for Trader Joe’s cilantro jalapeño hummus if you can swing it.