Around 70 Nostalgic Lunch Recipes for Every Palate

70 Nostalgic Lunch Recipes

I believe that variety is the spice of life. We live in an era where we are exposed to countless cuisines and infinite ingredients to bring diversity to our daily meals. Eating the same thing every day of the week or relying on a few lunch recipes for a lifetime is no way to live!

As a passionate foodie and home chef, I’ve scoured infinite food blogs, cookbooks, and old family recipe cards to bring you the tastiest of throwback dishes. Join me as we explore classics that have graced countless lunch tables over the years, as well as innovative fusion dishes that have revolutionized the dining scene.

Slip into your groovy apron and prepare for a nostalgic journey through time with my compilation of 70 sensational lunch recipes! 

Table of Contents show

1. Grilled Pesto Chicken Wraps

Grilled Pesto Chicken Wraps feature a sonata of flavors, including the bright herby pesto and the sweet creaminess of pitted avocadoes. Whether you’re planning a picnic in the park or simply wish to enjoy a flavorful meal at work, these wraps are the perfect portable lunch. 

2. Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

The Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich is a unique and wholesome twist on an old favorite. Packed with creamy avocado, protein-rich boiled eggs, and a zesty kick of lemon juice, this sandwich offers a refreshing and nutritious upgrade to your lunchtime routine.

3. Italian Pasta Salad 

Italian Pasta Salad resembles a symphony of colors and flavors dancing on your lunch plate. Tri-colored rotini pasta tossed with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, red onions, spinach leaves, salami, and pepperoni is a taste of Italy’s culinary artistry in every bite.

4. Ham and Swiss Quesadilla

Let me tell you why you absolutely need to try the Ham and Swiss Quesadilla for lunch today– the seamless balance of smoky ham and creamy Swiss cheese, hugged by warm toasty tortillas is a party in your mouth! 

5. Ramen

Packaged Ramen is a lifesaver for students worldwide, but this homemade Ramen lunch recipe is one you’d like to savor. The spinach, carrot, and mushroom combo is unbeatable, but this dish allows you to be as creative as you can. 

6. Monte Cristo Sandwich

The Monte Cristo Sandwich is one heavenly assemble of ham, turkey, and Swiss cheese, cushioned between slices of buttery French toast-like bread. Don’t forget to pair it with a side of French fries and fresh salad for a filling lunch!

7. Easy Chicken Fajitas

If you want something hot and spicy, these easy chicken fajitas will make you beam at lunchtime. Stuff them in a sandwich, toss over a bed of rice, put in your salad, or relish as you please.

8. Caprese Panini

I don’t mind a Caprese salad for lunch, but how about we make something better out of it? Luckily, you can savor your beloved Mediterranean flavors in the indulgent Caprese Panini, which only takes fifteen minutes to make. 

9. Homemade Filet-O-Fish

Who needs McDonald’s when you can make an awesome Filet-O-Fish burger at home? The best part is that this lunch recipe involves no deep-frying, so it’s a healthy and delicious alternative. 

10. Caramelized Onion Mushroom Pizza

Why go for a traditional kind of pizza when you can create something simpler and gourmet? This lunch recipe is effortless and vegetarian-friendly. It is an easy crowd-pleaser that will even impress most picky eaters. 

11. Fresh Salmon with Thai Noodle Salad

Salmon is an excellent source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Thai Noodle Salad, typically made with rice noodles and an array of vegetables, offers an abundance of fiber and essential nutrients. The result is an impeccably balanced meal. 

12. Green Goddess Sandwich

Green Goddess Sandwich lives up to its name with its fresh and nourishing ingredients. The green elements in this lunch recipe include cucumber, avocado, spinach, and lentil sprouts; you may experiment with your own combination of greens as well. 

13. Creamy Red Lentil Soup

Greek Red Lentil Soup is a healthy and budget-friendly option for lunch. Lentils are a leading source of plant-based protein, and feta cheese gives a boost of calcium. If you ever thought lentils are boring, wait till you try this recipe. 

14. Spicy Smoked Salmon and Avocado Sushi Bowl

Unlike traditional sushi rolls, this dish is served as a bowl, making it more approachable for home cooks like you and me. This lunch recipe has its roots in Japanese cuisine, but the Western influence makes it all the more exciting.

15. Tuna and White Bean Salad

Here’s another protein-packed heart-healthy lunch recipe fit for a Mediterranean lifestyle.  This salad is perfect for warmer days when you need a refreshing and light option that won’t weigh you down.

16. Lemon Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a naturally gluten-free grain, making this salad an optimum lunchtime meal for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. The vibrant colors of quinoa, cranberries, fruits, and fresh herbs make this salad visually appealing and appetizing.

17. Beef and Bean Burritos

Beef and Bean Burritos are a versatile Tex-Mex treat that allows customizable filling wrapped in a handy package. You may enjoy them as a comforting family dinner or a convenient lunch on the go.

18. Zoodles with Avocado and Mango Sauce

Zoodles, i.e. noodles made from zucchini, offer a low-carb and nutrient-rich alternative to traditional pasta. The creamy avocado and juicy mango create a pleasant tropical fusion, which leaves a cooling and soothing effect on the senses.

19. Grilled Ground Turkey Burgers

Ground turkey is leaner than beef, making these burgers a low-fat and high-protein option that is ideal for weight watchers. Moreover, turkey-based burger patties cook quicker, so they’re great for the grill. 

20. Tuna Melt Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I am thrilled to inform you that you can recreate the classic tuna melt sandwich sold in fancy cafes in your home kitchen. The familiar and approachable flavors of the sandwich make it appealing to kids and adults alike.

21. Buffalo Chicken Wrap

The star of this lunch recipe is the iconic buffalo sauce, which infuses the wrap with tart and spicy hints. Blue cheese dressing, mayonnaise, and cream cheese make the filling extra luscious and indulgent, so prepare to get carried away! 

22. Almond Strawberry Salad with Fennel

This uplifting summer salad has a lot going on with contrasting textures and flavors. It contains fruit, nuts, and veggies, which provide a remarkable balance of sweetness, crunch, and succulence. The unusual mix also makes it an effective palate cleanser. 

23. Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves instead of dense bread, these chicken burritos are a lighter substitute for all my carb-conscious friends out there. Making these wraps at home is part of the fun, so definitely ask the kids to join in. 

24. Pin Wheel Sandwich

These pinwheel sandwiches are a hundred perfect vegan, and almost too pretty to eat. They are a wonderful idea for daytime parties and when you get together with friends/family for a late lunch or brunch.

25. Microwave Egg Sandwich

A Microwave Egg Sandwich may not rival the glory of a gourmet breakfast sandwich from your favorite deli, yet it’s surprisingly good when you’re in a hurry or don’t have access to a stove. 

26. Banh Mi Sandwich

The Banh Mi Sandwich consists of a crusty and airy baguette filled with a variety of ingredients. It is generously layered with pickled veggies, which add a zesty and satisfying crunch to the sandwich. 

27. Portuguese Chicken and Potatoes with Peri Peri Sauce

Portuguese Chicken and Potatoes with Peri Peri Sauce is not merely a lunch recipe. I consider it an experience that beckons you to cherish every morsel and immerse in the culinary artistry that makes Portuguese cuisine so alluring.

28. BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad is an incredible twist on the classic BLT sandwich, which makes this a lunch recipe that cannot go wrong. The beloved flavors of a BLT sandwich, i.e. crispy bacon, fresh lettuce, and juicy tomatoes will surely make your day.

29. Guacamole Tossed Salad

Guacamole Tossed Salad is a clever concept that involves pouring guacamole over a fresh plate of salad rather than a bowl of chips. The salad is infused with the rich flavors of avocado, lime, and cilantro, which is pleasantly electrifying. 

30. Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls, also referred to as Vietnamese Spring Rolls are gluten-free and low in calories. This dish can be served as a DIY lunch, so all family members get to assemble their rolls at the table, which is fun and interactive.

31. Garlic Butter Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles

Garlic Butter Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles are a feast for the eyes and the belly. The vibrant green zoodles and the succulent meatballs create a stunning presentation that invites you to treasure every bite.

32. Chicken Bacon Avocado Salad with Roasted Asparagus

Whether you’re looking to support your overall health, manage your weight, or enjoy a delectable and balanced meal, this salad checks all the boxes. It’s a nurturing lunch recipe to keep you full and content.

33. Grilled Veggie Burrito Bowls with Green Rice

Are you looking for recipes to add more veggies to your diet whilst exploring new culinary experiences? Search no further because this creative burrito bowl promises to deliver a mouthwatering meal that will keep you coming back for more.

34. Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich with Garlic Mayo

Did you know that this iconic sandwich is not just a decadent treat, but also a symbol of Philadelphia’s vibrant food scene and culinary heritage? Garlic Mayo elevates the sandwich to a whole new level with its zesty and aromatic notes. 

35. Southwestern Grilled Shrimp Salad

This salad is a carnival of fresh ingredients, aromatic spices, and surprising textures that make it a true delight to the senses. Don’t be overwhelmed by the long list of ingredients for this lunch recipe, and freely customize it. 

36. Low Carb Indian Chicken Skillet

If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine and wish to maintain a low-carb lifestyle, this skillet dish is sure to be a hit on your weekly lunch schedule. It is a perfect example of how food can be tasty and healthful simultaneously.

37. Crispy Honey Sesame Chicken

This popular Asian-inspired lunch recipe is a fantastic treat for special occasions when you’re craving a flavorful and comforting meal. Serve over a bed of steamed rice with a side of stir-fried vegetables to add more color and nutritional value.

38. Chicken Cobb Salad

Chicken Cobb Salad is a classic and hearty salad that is a winning choice for salad enthusiasts and chicken lovers alike. The salad features hard-boiled eggs, which add more character and an additional source of protein.

39. Beef Taco Salad

The Beef Taco Salad brings out the best of Tex-Mex cuisine, blending the familiar flavors of a beef taco with the freshness and crunch of a salad. Pair the salad with various dressings, such as lime-cilantro vinaigrette, creamy ranch, or salsa!

40. Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma is a yummy Middle Eastern street food that is esteemed worldwide. Fortunately, you can easily recreate it at home with seasonings, spices, and toppings of your choice.

41. Sweet Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salads are my favorite kind of salad, especially when it’s creamy with a touch of sweetness. I like to add diced potatoes to this salad as well, but it’s pretty amazing otherwise too.

42. Vegan Soba Noodle Salad

The star ingredient of this lunch recipe is soba noodles, which are in essence Japanese buckwheat noodles. This salad is usually served cold, making it a great option during hot weather or when you crave a cool and light meal.

43. Spicy Vegan Rice Bowl

The beauty of this dish lies in its adaptability, allowing you to personalize the bowl with your favorite vegetables, protein sources, and level of spiciness. It can be a nourishing meal at lunch or dinner for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores. 

44. Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

With its fresh and seasonal ingredients, Grilled Bruschetta Chicken is an ideal dish for summer lunches and barbecues. Anyone following a low-carb or keto diet can enjoy it without the bread for guilt-free indulgence.

45. Asparagus Nicoise Salad

Asparagus Nicoise Salad draws inspiration from the traditional French dish called “Salade Niçoise.” This variation features the addition of tender asparagus, which complements the classic elements of the original, creating a marvelous amalgam of flavors and textures.

46. Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad

This delish Mediterranean lunch recipe features orzo pasta, a small rice-shaped pasta, alongside fresh veggies, Kalamata olives, Feta cheese, aromatic herbs, and a creamy dressing made from no-fat Greek yogurt. 

47. Tuna Salad Flatout Wrap

In this lunch recipe, the Flatout wrap serves as a vessel for tuna salad, thereby providing a soft and pliable base to hold the delicious filling. Flatout wraps are a type of flatbread or tortilla that comes in various flavors.

48. Paleo Egg Roll in a Bowl with Chicken

My favorite thing about Paleo Egg Roll in a Bowl with Chicken is its simplicity and ease of preparation. As a busy individual who prioritizes nutritionally balanced meals, I appreciate how quickly I can whip this up without compromising on taste.

49. Curried Egg Salad

This lunch recipe is an ingenious take on the classic egg salad; the addition of curry powder infuses the salad with warm and fragrant elements, giving it an exotic flavor profile. I love it as a sandwich filling and frosting for salted crackers.

50. Asian-Style Chopped Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

The assortment of Asian-inspired ingredients and flavors in this salad appeals to a wide range of palates. The Sesame Vinaigrette dressing adds a pleasurable nuttiness with sweet and sour notes. 

51. Stir-Fried Rice Cakes

Stir-Fried Rice Cakes or “Tteokbokki’ are famous street food in Korea that symbolize prosperity and good fortune. The cylindrical-shaped rice cakes are made from pounded rice flour, which gives them an interesting chewy texture.

52. Focaccia Sandwiches

I adore Focaccia, i.e., a traditional Italian flatbread that serves as the bread base for these sandwiches. The airy and fluffy nature of the flatbread makes it an ideal choice for sandwiches, as it enfolds the fillings so well.

53. Easy Baked Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

Sandwiches are the fuel of the working class, so it’s good to know as many variations as possible. Easy Baked Chicken Parmesan Sandwich is the kind of lunch that fills you up without making you feel overly stuffed.

54. Sesame Cucumber Noodles

Do you want a quick, light, and refreshing lunch that requires no cooking? If yes, the Sesame Cucumber Noodles are exactly what you seek. This meal offers lots to crunch and keeps you hydrated on long and scorching summer days. 

55. Teriyaki Salmon Rice Bowl with Spinach and Avocado

This masterpiece of a lunch bowl is a nutritious powerhouse, offering a balanced mix of lean protein from the salmon, fiber from the spinach, healthy fats from the avocado, and energy from the steamed rice.

56. Wilted Spinach Salad with Bacon Dressing

When you’re considering having a salad for lunch and someone tells you that salads are boring, introduce them to Wilted Spinach Salad with Bacon Dressing. The proverbial ingredients and vibrancy of the dish make it a hit among all age groups.

57. Vegan Quinoa Avocado Bowl With Beans

Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that provide all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. This vegan lunch bowl also brims with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which are necessary for overall well-being.

58. Vietnamese Noodle Bowl

Vietnamese Noodle Bowl (also called “Bun”) consists of vermicelli rice noodles served with a variety of fresh vegetables, protein (typically chicken), herbs, and a lovely sauce or dressing. Make this at home for lunch to savor the whimsical flavors of Vietnam. 

59. Cauliflower Rice Bowl With Curried Lentils

At the heart of this epic lunch recipe is cauliflower rice, which is an innovative low-carb substitute for regular rice. It is made by pulsing cauliflower florets in a food processor until they resemble rice grains.

60. Korean BBQ Steak Rice Bowls

The secret to a stellar Korean BBQ Steak Rice Bowl is good-quality sticky rice. If you need to pack this lunch to take to work or someplace else, it is best to put the rice in a separate container. 

61. Rotisserie Chicken Ramen

As the name suggests, this ramen recipe is unbelievably easy to prepare, so you can totally make this on your busiest days. Using pre-cooked rotisserie chicken saves you time and hassle whilst promising a tasteful bowl of ramen. 

62. Lemony Broccolini Pasta

Broccolini, a hybrid vegetable that resembles broccoli’s smaller cousin, is the main ingredient of this lunch recipe; you may use regular broccoli if you cannot find it. Lemon zest instills the broccolini with a fresh and tangy essence that brightens up the entire dish.

63. Shrimp Rice Noodles with Peanut Butter Sauce

Wondering if Shrimp Rice Noodles with Peanut Butter Sauce could be any good? I’ll let you know that it is out of this world, and you’ll want to have it for lunch every other day!

64. Creamy Green Chili Chicken Tortilla Soup

Whenever you yearn for a rich and creamy soup in the afternoon, you have to try this lunch recipe. The charismatic blend of green chilies, creamy broth, tender chicken, and comforting Tex-Mex flavors shall leave you speechless (in the best way possible). 

65. Kung Pao Chicken

Making Kung Pao Chicken at home is a fantastic idea because this way you can ensure that the dish stays true to its authentic flavors and spices. On the contrary, you could make it just the way you prefer or like it.

66. Beef, Barley, and Cabbage Soup

Having Beef, Barley, and Cabbage Soup for lunch will make you happy, and here’s why: this soup brings together the potent flavors of beef, the wholesome goodness of barley, and the nutritious crunch of cabbage.

67. One Pot Coconut Curry Chicken and Rice

This dish is prepared in just one pot, making it easy to cook and minimizing cleanup afterward. The creamy coconut milk serves as the base of the curry, adding a luxurious texture and a hint of natural sweetness to the dish.

chia seed pudding with mixed berries and nuts

Chia Seed Pudding with Mixed Berries and Nuts

If you own a nagging sweet tooth like me, you probably long for desserts way too often and wish you could enjoy one in place of a savory meal. This feeling doesn't need to stay an irrational dream because nutritional desserts exist to satisfy your cravings.
The following lunch recipe is a healthy dessert option, which is rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Refrigeration Time 2 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 2
Calories 350 kcal


  • ¼ cup Chia seeds
  • 1 cup Almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp Maple syrup (adjust to taste)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • 2 tbsp mixed nuts (sliced or chopped almonds, pistachios, and cashews)


  • In a mixing bowl, combine the chia seeds, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Stir properly to ensure that the chia seeds are evenly distributed.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. This allows the chia seeds to absorb the liquid and create a creamy pudding-like texture.
  • Before serving, give the chia seed mixture a good stir to break up any clusters and achieve a smooth consistency.
  • Wash and prepare the mixed berries by slicing or dicing them, depending on their size.
  • To assemble, divide the chia seed pudding into individual serving bowls. Top each portion with a generous amount of mixed berries and a sprinkle of chopped nuts for added crunch and nutrition.
  • You can also drizzle a little extra maple syrup or honey on top if you prefer a sweeter taste.


Nutritional Value (per serving):
Total Fat: 15-20g | Saturated Fat: 1-2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8-10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4-6g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 100-150mg | Total Carbohydrates: 30-35g | Dietary Fiber: 12-15g | Sugars: 12-15g (from natural sugars in the berries and maple syrup) | Protein: 8-10g
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