No matter how much you plan ahead, you’ll always have those days when life surprises you with an extra shift at work or a surprise take-home quiz. Understandably, the last thing you’ll feel like doing is spending lots of time and effort on prepping lunch for the day. For those moments when you can’t be bothered to whip up an elaborate meal but aren’t feeling a boring bowl of cereal either, try out one of these super simple, 5-ingredient (or less) recipes.
Related-ish: 3-Ingredient Smoothie Recipes
Photo by Sofia Gonzalez
Don’t be fooled into thinking this isn’t a filling dish just because it has the word salad in the title. Serve this quirky Caprese salad alongside some fresh bread or baked chicken and you’ve got yourself an easy, hearty lunch.
Photo by Jennifer Nigro
Being healthy is important, but sometimes only pizza will do. This chicken parm pizza couldn’t be any simpler to throw together and is a great snack to take to study groups as well.
Photo by Claire Waggoner
Forget about warming up a hot dog in the microwave and try your hand at these ridiculously easy (and healthy) turkey apple sausages. You can make a sandwich out of them or serve them with your choice of eggs to make a super filling meal.
Photo by Maria Rodgers
You might notice a pizza theme throughout this list, and for good reason. Homemade pizza treats are filling and are always a crowd pleaser. If you’re trying to be a bit healthier, skip the cheese and load up these bagel bites with veggies instead.
Photo by Demitria Castanon
Nothing helps you relax in the middle of a busy day like a glass of red wine, amirite? Luckily for you, this pasta is work-safe since the alcohol will (sadly) get cooked out while the pasta is boiling.
Photo by Tess le Moing
Bright summer veggies will wake up your tastebuds in this amazing Caprese fusilli recipe. If you prep your veggies ahead of time, you can make this pasta throughout the week to snack on.
Photo by Cassandra Bauer
There’s really nothing better than a loaded grilled cheese sandwich in the middle of a busy day. Served with a side of tomato soup (or another grilled cheese – no judgement), this makes for the ultimate midday meal.
Photo by Theo Lee
Next to pizza, soups are arguably the easiest food to throw together for lunch. Knock back some of this delectable broccoli cheese soup for a lunchtime pick-me-up.
Photo by Katie Elliott
See? I told you soups were perfect for lunch.
Photo by David Cul
Cook some basmati rice, slap on some yummy tandoori chicken, and call it a day. Congrats, you’re officially a lunch pro.
Photo by Marissa Laliberte
I realize the title of this recipe is a pretty bold statement, but trust me when I say it’s 100% accurate.
Photo by Naib Mian
Remember when I said being healthy is important? Yeah, forget about that and make this epic french fry hash instead. But be sure to hide this from your roomies, because they’ll definitely want a bite.
Photo by Bernard Wen
Cuban paninis are the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. Forget about your boring PB&J and make this instead.
Photo by Kyle Heffernen
You really can’t go wrong with chicken salad. Prep an extra big batch of this Sunday night and you’ll be set for an entire week’s worth of lunches.
Photo by Christina Warner
Read: spiralize some veggies and toss on a bunch of toppings. This is literally the easiest thing you can do for lunch.
Photo by Emily Nadler
Kale and watermelon sounds like an odd combo, I know. But this salad is out-of-this-world delicious and can be thrown together in a matter of minutes.
Photo by Clare Beatty
Mac ‘n cheese to go? Yes, please.
Originally published by our friends at Spoon University.
Related-ish: 19 Crockpot Recipes To Make For Lunch & Dinner