16 easy, healthy lunch ideas that don’t involve sandwiches

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Before discovering the whole paleo or ‘primal’ eating philosophy, and going (mostly) grain-free, sandwiches were my go-to lunch.

Especially when I was heavily into my sourdough bread baking phase.

It’s been a long time since I last had a sandwich for lunch. And the thing is, I don’t really miss them. There are so many other quick healthy lunch options.

So if you’re trying to eat gluten-free or even if you’re keen to break out of your own ‘sandwich rut’, here are 16 ideas for healthy bread-free lunches.

portable lunches

Perfect for when you need to be able to make lunch in advance, even the night before and take it with you.
1. raw broccoli salad
2. carrot ribbon salad with pesto and cashews
3. butter bean & tuna salad
4. boiled eggs with curried chickpeas
5. chickpea & parmesan salad [skip the leaves]

lunches to make in the office

Most offices have some sort of ‘kitchenette’ with at least a sink and a microwave. Why not make the most of it and cook lunch at the office. Much cheaper than going out AND a great little break from the stress of the day.
6. tomato, almond & pesto salad
7. big-ass avocado salad
8. washing up-free salad
9. mixed sprout & avocado salad
10. tuna & white bean salad
11. the triple ‘s’ salad
12. green chickpea salad

quick hot lunches

Especially in the cooler months, a warm lunch can give a real boost to your day. Most of these don’t require a proper kitchen.
13. white bean & tomato soup
14. chickpea ‘kettle soup’
15. broccoli & parmesan soup
16. warm chickpea salad with rosemary & garlic

What about you? Got any favourite quick healthy lunches you’d like to share? Drop in to the comments below and share!

warm pea & tahini salad

warm pea & tahini salad
serves 2

It took me years to overcome my childhood fear of frozen peas. I’ve found the secret is to make sure you don’t overcook them. All they need is a quick soak in boiling water to defrost.

4 handfuls frozen peas
2 tablespoons lemon juice
sm bunch mint, leaves picked & chopped
2 generous handfuls almonds
3-4 tablespoons tahini

1. Pop the kettle on to boil. Place peas in a heatproof bowl.

2. Cover with boiling water and stand for 2-3 minutes or until peas are defrosted and bright green.

3. Drain peas and pat dry with paper towel. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Squeeze over lemon. Season.

4. Toss in mint and almonds.

5. Serve with tahini spooned on top.

nut-free – replace almonds with chunks of avocado

sesame-free – replace tahini with a few handfuls of grated parmesan or chunks of goats cheese or feta.

carnivore – replace almonds with finely sliced salami, proscuitto or shredded chicken.

fresh peas – by all means use fresh podded peas instead of frozen. Or skip the boiling water and try snow peas instead.

cold salad – allow peas to defrost for 15 minutes or so before using them in the salad. Skip the boiling water step.

video version of the recipe


recently on the stonesoup diaries

§ mastering the art of [kitchen] improvisation
§ 5 lessons from ‘a homemade life’
§ summer ‘slaw – possibly a worlds first!
§ ever wished you could cook like the (former) best chef in the world?
§ buttermilk dressing

Jules x

ps. Looking for easy, healthy dinner ideas?
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Then Check out the Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion over here:

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

CuteEverything March 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Gorgeous photos!!!


Wandering Minimalist March 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I’m starting a little all-natural diet experiment this week. Your timing couldn’t be more perfect.


jules March 6, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Thanks CuteEverything!

WAndering Minimalist
Good luck with the experiment.. glad the timing helped!


lareinedespommes March 6, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Thank you!! So inspiring !


sweet road March 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Great ideas, I want to try that carrot pesto salad!


aileen @ PharmaFoodie March 7, 2012 at 2:35 am

Thanks for the great ideas! I’m trying to avoid wheat due to an intolerance, but I find it hard to come up with interesting salads as substitutes for a typical sandwich at lunch. Could you do a similar series on breakfasts that predominantly avoid whole grains? I find breakfast ideas, particularly on work days, even harder than figuring out lunch.


lynn @ the actor's diet March 8, 2012 at 10:23 am

i just made hummus waffles the other day:


they freeze beautifully, so it would be easy to pull out for lunch and toast!


Vania March 9, 2012 at 8:28 am

thank you for the ideas :) i love your recipes!


Didee March 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

I just love your site. This is just how I love to eat. Plenty of salad gives you plenty of energy. I love to post healthy recipes on my blog too, especially using my own organic vegetables. I will link you in my next post if I may. I would love you to drop by my blog http://bluetrees-didee.blogspot.com/


love cooking March 14, 2012 at 12:04 am

I really love all these quick and easy meals, and all are healthy foods. Thanks for sharing all these good ideas. :)


Birdie March 17, 2012 at 11:42 pm

My favorite go to: a big slice of toasted french peasant bread spread with a little ghee, topped w/thin slices of cheddar, 1/4 avocado, a sliced boiled egg and a couple of sprays of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos for a mild tamari saltiness. Creamy, crunchy and salty. Yum


Angie@Angie's Recipes March 21, 2012 at 3:40 am

I love all sorts of salads…and totally tempted with this warm pea salad.


laura March 25, 2012 at 7:39 am

love your blog and videos. thanks for sharing. i was recently diagnosed with pre diabetes and i really did not know much about making veggies, with your help i’ve learned that veggies can be super tasty and fun to cook :)


jules March 28, 2012 at 8:55 am

So glad i’ve been turning you into a veggie lover Laura!


Andrea March 31, 2012 at 11:10 am

I used your pizza dough recipe for pizza tonight (with leftovers thrown on top- peruvian chicken roast, grilled pineapple, red peppers and some left over parmigiano reggiano) and I LOVED your recipe. The one I had before used shortening- glad to not have to use that anymore!

And to add to dinner for my husband and two young boys I made this salad (minus olive oil and almonds) and everyone loved it. We have out of control mint in our garden so I am so happy to find a delicious recipe we can have for lunch! I see this being on the menu many times in the future!


jules April 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Glad you liked it Andrea!
I wish my mint would grow more like yours


Ella McDaniel April 5, 2012 at 5:20 am

Soup is my absolute favorite portable lunch. I’m in college right now, and it’s pretty easy to find a microwave (and a kettle for tea) in nearly every building on campus. I’ve found that a thinner, more side-like vegetable soup can become a filling entree with the addition of a few potatoes and/or some beans.


jules April 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm

yay for soup ella!


franchise takeaway April 18, 2012 at 5:27 am

It seems nice and easy to make!


farm marketing strategies March 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm

are the peas cooked or raw? ?


Viola Saldanha March 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Congratulations to you and your Irish man on the new creation that is waiting to burst forth in June.

Every week I look forward to your mail for the simple, colourful, flavourful and easy on the wallet recipes.

In India we are celebrating a festival called ‘Holi’ on 27th March’13 which is basically a festival celebrating spring.

Could you please whisk a colourful recipe that uses fresh fruits or vegies in either a salad, main entrée or dessert?


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