Heaps of fresh parsley, paprika, and coriander add tons of bright flavor to this hearty bulgur dish, stuffed into a pita and held together with some lemony tahini.
'lunch box' on Serious Eats
The key to a make-ahead sub is choosing toppings that won't wilt or dry out, and to choose a bread that won't quickly turn stale or soggy. This sandwich iteration of the classic beans 'n' greens pairing fits all the criteria, and takes less than 20 minutes to throw together.
Baked tofu won't dry out the next day or get sad and shriveled like fried tofu can. A trip under the broiler yields a crunchy, chewy crust; here it's bolstered by a thick coating of sesame seeds. A spicy green bean salad makes a straightforward, refreshing accompaniment, and can be mixed and matched with whatever's in your fridge.
Few things improve overnight quite like chimichurri sauce, and corn and shrimp are the perfect backdrops for the bright, tangy sauce in the summer. Make a large batch and slather it on steaks and fish all grilling season long.
Inspired by cha ca la vong, a flavorful Vietnamese stir-fry, these mushrooms take on warm notes from turmeric, acidity from vinegar and lime, and sweet freshness from scallions and heaps of dill.
Cucumbers and radishes are the perfect, refreshing candidates for a salad that can improve while sitting in dressing overnight. The tangy, shallot vinaigrette I used as a marinade—just shallots, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and a big pinch of salt—is my go-to, and it never fails me.
If your office is anything like mine, which is to say, offensively freezing given the calendar date, then you likely share my affinity for soup in warm weather. Leeks, fennel, peas and spring onions make this something of a spring vegetable kitchen sink soup, so you can feel like spring while shivering at your desk.
A quick Google search revealed that kale and tahini are not such original bedfellows, but the first time I tried a kale tahini salad it was a mind-blowing revelation. I added almonds and apricots, sticking with the Mediterranean flavor profile, and added some chicken as well to make it a more complete meal.
Sitting overnight gives the orange flavors time to permeate the dish, offset by salty, fatty prosciutto, bitter raddichio and balsamic. Farro is more than an afterthought here; every nutty grain absorbs bitter, tart and sweet flavors.
A win-win for a make-ahead salad is killing two recipes with one marinade. A simple citrus-soy dressing doubles as a marinade for the steak. If you're new to jicama, and couldn't pick it out of a veggie lineup, it's starchy, sweet and unfailingly crunchy.
As something of a seasoned peanut noodle slurper, I wanted my version to be spot on, and up to snuff. The sauce is a balance of salty, sharp, sweet and rich, and just hovering between liquid and paste for the perfect amount of "noodle cling". I threw in some easy pickled bean sprouts for kick (and crunch) and some simply seared tofu to make this a well-rounded lunch box. Just try not to slurp too loudly.
The beauty of marinated mushrooms is you can't really go wrong; you can marinate them in pretty much whatever you have on hand. If you have fresh herbs, definitely throw those in there, and minced shallots would work great, too. This is ideal for a lunch box because the mushroom marinade doubles as your salad dressing, and because this salad is all about sturdy vegetables, nothing will wilt before lunchtime.
A light lemongrass-miso broth with mushroom and scallion wontons.
Super-toasty Israeli couscous is bombarded with flavors: roasted fennel and red onion, creamy feta, tart lemon and parsley. Let everything hang out in the fridge overnight, and you've got yourself an enviable lunchbox for tomorrow.
Somewhere between saucy and soupy, this dish is just shy of a full-blown curry. Quinoa, mushrooms and shrimp are cooked in coconut milk and curry powder so they're infused with flavor--and then finished with fresh basil. Adding coconut milk makes the quinoa extra brothy, so it won't dry out when you reheat it the next day.
Finally: a salad that holds its own with no need for dressing. Oranges and grilled lemon brighten up grilled escarole, adding enough acidity and flavor that you don't need to pour on dressing to add taste. A one-container salad that won't contain any sad, soggy lettuce.
A make-ahead vegetarian burrito that only gets better the second day. Wrap and go, and then microwave at work for a hot, cheesy roll-up that doesn't require a giant stack of paper napkins at your desk.
This is an ode to soup lovers looking for a meal in a bowl, with crispy fried chickpeas, tender chard and rice. Packed with antioxidants and fiber, it's also ideal for your eat-healthier, your-body-is-a-temple New Years' resolutions--no kale chips required.
Sweet mango and Thai basil balance out a spicy dressing with lime and fish sauce in this bowl of noodle goodness. Fresh and bright, this flavorful dish won't leave you with post-greasy takeout blues.
Vibrant tzatziki and tangy carrot salad improve overnight, making this the ideal DIY work lunch. Throw it together the night before and you're done. Start counting down until your lunch hour.