Here Are 6 Easy, Quick Lunches You Can Make The Night Before

Because ain't nobody got time to whip up a feast.

05/09/2016 11:17 AM AEST | Updated 05/09/2016 4:20 PM AEST
Keep it colourful and fresh.

The thought of coming home from work, when you're tired and spent, and getting straight into the kitchen to whip up tomorrow's lunch for over an hour is as appealing as leaving your comfy bed at 5am to go to the gym.

That's why quick and easy lunches you can make in under 30 minutes the night before work are ideal.

Prepping lunch in the evening not only saves you from getting up early in the morning to make it, but also saves you money you would usually spend in the food court.

Cooking your own lunch is also one of the best ways to make sure you're including enough veggies and to control your portion sizes.

These six simple, no-nonsense lunches are the answer for when you want to make-ahead lunch. From colourful beef salad jars to chicken and vermicelli noodles, your healthy lunch is sorted.


1. Dukkah chicken with hummus and feta salad

Recipe and image courtesy of My Food Bag.

Serves one.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 10 minutes.


Dukkah chicken:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • Dukkah seasoning, to coat (can be found in spice section of supermarket)

Feta salad:

  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, diced 1–2cm
  • 1 tomato, diced into 1–2cm cubes
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves , finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ chilli, seeds removed, finely diced (optional)

To serve:

  • 1 wholemeal ciabatta roll
  • 2 tablespoons hummus


1. Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°C (fan forced). Line an oven tray with baking paper (if you have an oven proof fry pan use this instead).

2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and slice into 3–4cm strips. Coat in dukkah.

3. Heat a drizzle of oil in a small fry pan (preferably oven proof and non-stick) on medium heat. Cook chicken for 1-2 minutes each side until golden, then transfer to oven (or if pan is not oven proof, transfer to prepared tray). Place wholemeal roll on tray and bake both for 3–5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and ciabatta is crispy.

4. Combine all feta salad ingredients with a drizzle of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. To serve: place chicken on plate with feta salad and a dollop of hummus. Serve wholemeal ciabatta roll on the side.

My Food Bag
Simply assemble this delicious salad in a tupperware container and bring to work the next day.

2. Chicken and vermicelli noodle salad with soy and sesame dressing

Recipe and image courtesy of My Food Bag.

Serves two.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Cooking time: 10 minutes.


Chicken and vermicelli noodle salad:

  • 2 teaspoons oil of choice (e.g. peanut, canola, soy)
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 300g chicken breast
  • 100g vermicelli noodles
  • 150g snow peas, ends trimmed
  • ½ bunch radishes, ends trimmed
  • ½ cup shredded mint leaves, plus extra to serve

Soy and sesame dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds


1. In a medium bowl, combine oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and cut into steaks. To do this, place your hand on top of chicken breast and use a knife to slice through horizontally to make two thin steaks. Add chicken to bowl with oil and lime juice and toss to coat.

2. Heat a large fry pan or grill pan (preferably non-stick) on medium heat. Cook chicken for 3-4 minutes each side until golden and cooked through. Cover with tinfoil and set aside to rest for a few minutes.

3. While chicken is cooking, make vermicelli noodles: place noodles in a large, heat proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover and leave to soak for 4-5 minutes until soft. Drain and rinse well under cold water to prevent noodles sticking together. Return to bowl.

4. To make dressing, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and sesame seeds in a small bowl.

5. Prepare vegetables: trim snow peas ends and thinly slice lengthways. Trim radish ends and thinly slice. Add to noodles with mint and two tablespoons of dressing and toss to combine.

6. Thickly slice chicken.

7. To serve, divide noodle salad between bowls and top with chicken. Garnish with mint and serve remaining dressing on the side.

My Food Bag
This Asian-inspired dish is fresh, light and packed with flavour.

3. Sirloin salad jar

Recipe and image courtesy of Jacqueline Alwill for Australian Beef.

Serves four.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Cooking time: 10 minutes.


  • 600g sirloin steak
  • ¼ cup dukkah seasoning
  • 3 carrots, grated or spiralised
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 300g cauliflower, blitzed or grated to a crumb
  • 600g pumpkin, peeled, chopped roughly and roasted
  • 1½ cups (200g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 beetroot, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 cup cooked turmeric quinoa

Green goddess dressing:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons macadamia oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup picked parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup coriander
  • ½ medium avocado, skin and seed removed
  • Sea salt and black pepper


1. To make turmeric quinoa: rinse ½ cup raw quinoa, place in a small saucepan with one cup water and ½ teaspoon ground turmeric. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid, then reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until small tails appear on the quinoa and most of the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to stand covered for five minutes before fluffing with a fork.

2. While quinoa is cooking, make sirloin steak component. To prepare the steaks rub two teaspoons of the dukkah over each piece of steak. Heat a large frying pan over a medium high heat and cook the steaks for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and allow to rest, before slicing into thin strips.

3. Combine the green goddess dressing ingredients in blender and blitz until smooth.

4. To assemble the salad jars: start with the salad dressing at the base and layer the ingredients on top. Finish with an extra sprinkle of dukkah and garnish with herbs.

This easy lunch takes the boring out of salads.

4. Greek style pizzettes with feta and salad

Recipe and image courtesy of My Food Bag.

Serves one.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 15 minutes.


Greek style pizzettes:

  • 2 small pita breads
  • 2 tablespoons pizza sauce
  • 1 handful baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ capsicum, core and seeds removed, finely sliced


  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • ½ punnet cherry tomatoes
  • Drizzle of olive oil and vinegar of choice (e.g. red wine, white wine, balsamic)

To serve:

  • 30g feta cheese
  • 1–2 tablespoons vinegar of choice (e.g. red wine, white wine, balsamic)


1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C (fan forced). Line an oven tray with baking paper.

2. Lay pita breads on prepared tray. Divide pizza sauce between pitas and spread out evenly. Divide spinach, mozzarella cheese and capsicum between pitas. Bake for about 12 minutes until bases are crispy and cheese is melted and golden.

3. While pizzettes are cooking, prepare salad: dice cucumber and quarter cherry tomatoes. Toss with olive oil and vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. To serve: crumble feta over pizzettes. Serve salad on the side.

My Food Bag
Heat these mini pizzas up in your work microwave or sandwich toaster, and serve alongside the fresh Greek style salad.

5. Seared beef and beetroot salad with sweet potato

Recipe and image courtesy of My Food Bag.

Serves two.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 25 minutes.


Beetroot salad with sweet potato:

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-2cm cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 beetroot, peeled
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls mixed mesculin lettuce mix
  • 3-4 tablespoons vinaigrette of choice (e.g. basil)

Seared beef:

  • 300g beef sirloin steak, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C (fan forced). Line an oven tray with baking paper.

2. Toss sweet potato with olive oil in the prepared tray and cook for 20-25 minutes until tender and slightly caramelised.

3. While sweet potato is roasting, prepare the remaining salad ingredients: use a vegetable peeler to peel beetroot into thin slices and finely slice radishes. Transfer to a large bowl, add mesculin mix and set aside.

4. When the sweet potato has about 10 minutes of cook time remaining, pat beef dry with paper towels, rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large fry pan (preferably non-stick) on medium to high heat and cook steak for 2-3 minutes each side for medium-rare, depending on thickness, or until cooked to your liking. Set aside and cover with tinfoil to rest for a few minutes. Slice thinly against the grain.

5. Add sweet potato to salad ingredients and toss with vinaigrette just prior to serving. To serve, divide salad between plates and top with sliced beef.

My Food Bag
Colourful, easy, fresh and tasty.

6. Lamb backstraps with halloumi wraps

Recipe and image courtesy of IGA.

Serves four.

Preparation time: two minutes.

Cooking time: 10 minutes.


  • 4 lamb backstraps, at room temperature
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to serve
  • 500g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 180g packet of halloumi, sliced 1cm thick
  • Lebanese bread, to serve


1. Season lamb generously with sea salt and cracked pepper.

2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the backstraps for four minutes, and turn over. Cook the second side for a further three minutes. Remove and place on a cutting board to rest for five minutes before slicing to serve.

3. Into the pan juices from the lamb, add the tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Sauté, shaking pan frequently, until tomatoes soften and skins just begin to wrinkle -- about two minutes. Into the pan, place the halloumi slices. Cook for 1-2 minutes, gently turn and splash with a good squeeze of lemon juice. When golden in colour, remove from the pan and serve on a platter with lamb, tomatoes and Lebanese bread.

Portion the lamb, halloumi and cherry tomatoes into plastic containers, and heat up and serve with the wraps at work.

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