All great summer lunches have two things in common: They’re packed with seasonal produce and they don’t require you to turn on the oven in the middle of the day. They’re either quick to make OR can be batch-cooked in advance so you spend more time outside instead of in the kitchen.
Looking for ideas? You’ve come to the right place. From the dreamiest panzanella to a chicken chopped salad, these are the summer lunches you’ll want to make over and over again.
1. Tomato Toast with Chives and Sesame Seeds from Bon Appétit
I’m starting off with the quintessential summer lunch: tomato toast. At its core, a good tomato toast is just great bread, tomatoes, and maybe a smear of mayonnaise. This recipe from Bon Appétit kicks things up a notch by using a crusty bread, homemade lemon-y garlic mayo, heirloom tomatoes, and chives and sesame seeds for garnish. It is absurdly easy and satisfying. Want to make it more substantial? Pair with a simple vegetable side or even rotisserie chicken.
2. Summer Squash & Basil Farro Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette from How Sweet Eats
Farro salads make an appearance in my kitchen at least once a week. It makes any salad feel more substantial, and it adds a wonderful nuttiness to every dish. In this recipe, you toss farro with caramelized summer squash, feta, toasted pine nuts, and a lemon vinaigrette. Make a double batch of this and enjoy it all week.
3. Basic + Awesome Chicken Quinoa Salad from Pinch of Yum
This salad checks all my necessary summer lunch boxes and then some. There’s a fair amount of protein in this salad thanks to the quinoa and the rotisserie chicken, which means you’ll be satiated for longer. It’s also incredibly versatile. You could throw whatever kind of vegetables you want into here and it would be delicious, or you could change up the protein and swap chicken for chickpeas. Really, what’s not to love?
4. Peach Panzanella Salad with Burrata and Bacon from Foodie Crush
If I could eat panzanella for every single meal I honestly think I would. I mean, it’s bread! In a salad! What could be better than that? This recipe from Foodie Crush consists of lettuce or arugula, thinly-sliced peaches, bacon, sourdough bread, and burrata. The whole thing is topped with basil and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
5. Marinated Veggie Cheese Sandwich with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto from Half-Baked Harvest
This sandwich is more labor intensive than, say, a classic PB&J, but it’s worth the effort. Marinated and grilled vegetables will make you feel like you’re outside at a picnic instead of typing away at your desk. And the sun-dried tomato pesto is something you could make in bulk and enjoy throughout the week in other meals.
6. Chicken Bacon Avocado Chopped Salad from All the Healthy Things
In my opinion, a good chopped salad is the King of All Lunches. There’s a lot of variety with every bite so it never feels boring, and it’s normally pretty healthy. This recipe, for example, is full of protein, healthy fats, and vegetables. It also has a wildly delicious honey mustard dressing that you’ll want to add to everything.
7. Summer Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken & Veggies from Plays Well With Butter
When in doubt, just add pesto to your meals during the summer. It’s the easiest way to bind everything together and make it feel a little more fresh. This simple pasta recipe with grilled chicken and vegetables gets a nice upgrade with pesto, little mozzarella balls, and a hit of lemon zest.
8. Chipotle Lime Shrimp Bowls from Foodie Crush
The star of this rice bowl is obviously the chipotle lime shrimp, but it’s also packed with cherry tomatoes, black beans, avocado, and onion. It’s a great option for meal prepping on a Sunday to enjoy for lunch the next few days (just make sure to add the avocado later so it doesn’t brown!).