Cheap, Easy Lunch Recipes for Work

lunch

Helen Gurley Brown, the illustrious editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan for 32 years, didn’t believe in shelling out money for work lunches.

As a longtime secretary who worked her way up, she thought throwing away money on lukewarm sandwiches was a colossal mistake. Even as a high-earning boss, Helen routinely brown-bagged it and scolded younger ladies for not exercising the same budgetary tactic.

Do Helen proud — and save money — with these seven easy, budget lunch recipes from the always cost-conscious DailyWorth staff.

It All Adds Up

It All Adds Up

Helen Gurley Brown, the illustrious editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan for 32 years, didn’t believe in shelling out money for work lunches.

As a longtime secretary who worked her way up, she thought throwing away money on lukewarm sandwiches was a colossal mistake. Even as a high-earning boss, Helen routinely brown-bagged it and scolded younger ladies for not exercising the same budgetary tactic.

Do Helen proud — and save money — with these seven easy, budget lunch recipes from the always cost-conscious DailyWorth staff.

Easy Zucchini & Broccoli Curry

Easy Zucchini & Broccoli Curry

Ingredients:

A splash of olive oil or cooking spray
½ tsp. cumin seeds or ground cumin
½ large red onion, diced
14-oz. can of diced or crushed tomatoes
2 c. water
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tsp. curry powder
2 zucchinis, cut into ½ inch rounds
1 c. broccoli florets
2 carrots, cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ c. low-fat coconut milk
A handful of cilantro or mint
Brown rice (for serving)

Directions:

1. On low to medium heat, add the oil or cooking spray and add the cumin. Cook for 30 seconds.
2. Add onion. Cook until softened and golden brown. Meanwhile, puree the tomatoes with the water in a separate bowl.
3. Add garlic to the browned onions. Stir for 30 seconds, then add curry powder. Throw in the tomato puree.
4. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens a bit.
5. Add the vegetables and cook until softened (about 10-15 minutes).
6. Add the coconut milk and garnish with fresh herbs. Serve with brown rice.

—Julia Sonenshein, Editorial Assistant

Super Simple Quinoa

Super Simple Quinoa

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
½ tsp. cumin powder
1-2 garlic cloves (optional)
3 carrots, diced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained with a bit of juice reserved
1 c. quinoa
1¼ c. water
1 bag frozen peas
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Directions:

1. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat.
2. Saute the onion for 1-2 minutes, then add the garlic and cumin.
3. Toss in the carrots and stir for a few more minutes.
4. Add tomatoes and stir.
5. After a few minutes, add the quinoa and 1¼ c. water (measurement of water can vary by brand, so check the box)
6. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the quinoa has soaked up a lot of the water and expanded. Add the frozen peas.
7. Season with salt and pepper and serve with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

—Karell Roxas, Managing Editor

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Stew

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Stew

Ingredients:

Note: The recipe is forgiving and flexible, so you don’t need to worry about exact measurements and can add whatever you have lying around.

2-3 tbsp. olive oil
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can coconut milk
A bunch of chopped hearty greens, such as kale, spinach, or collard greens
Chopped garlic, to taste
Chopped onions, to taste
Optional: ground ginger, hot pepper flakes, lemon juice, to taste

Directions:

1. Heat a few tbsp. of olive oil on low to medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven.
2. Add chopped garlic and/or onions and cook until fragrant.
3. Add chickpeas and cook to warm.
4. Toss in chopped greens one handful at a time and stir together as they wilt into the mixture.
5. Pour the coconut milk over everything and cook until hot.
6. Add spices and lemon juice. You can make this super spicy with lots of hot pepper if you want.
7. Eat alone or pair with any starch or grain: rice, mashed potatoes, egg noodles. My favorite way to eat it is poured over a baked sweet potato. You can also add almost any protein (grilled chicken, shrimp, tofu, etc.).

—Martina Fugazzotto, Art Director

Wheat Berry Salad

Wheat Berry Salad

Ingredients:

1 large ripe tomato or 1/2 c. grape tomatoes
1 avocado, diced
1 c. cooked wheat berries (barley, quinoa, or farro also work well)
2 tbsp. chives or scallions
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Cook the wheat berry base according to package directions.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Mix all ingredients and allow time for dressing to incorporate. Eat warm or at room temperature.

—Victoria Bianculli Morales, Sales Marketing Director

Garrett’s Tasty Enchiladas

Garrett’s Tasty Enchiladas

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef, chicken, or roasted vegetables
1 onion, chopped
½ garlic clove, minced
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup preferred cheese, shredded
1 standard can salsa, preferably green chile or tomatillo
1 standard can diced roasted tomatoes
6 tortillas

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Add olive oil to a pan and heat on medium-high. Add the onion, garlic, and meat or roasted vegetables to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the mixture browns slightly.
3. Add the black beans and half the tomatoes. Turn off the heat.
4. Oil an oven-proof dish. Place a heaping amount of the cooked filling into each tortilla. Roll the tortillas and place them side by side in the dish.
5. Top the tortillas with the rest of the tomatoes plus the salsa. Cover with cheese and place in the oven.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese begins to turn golden brown.

—Garrett McDonnell, Associate Producer

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Potatoes, and Tofu

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Potatoes, and Tofu

Ingredients:

Brussels sprouts (as many as you want), halved
1 brick firm tofu, thickly sliced
1 baking potato, thinly sliced
Salt, pepper, and fresh or dried rosemary, to taste
3 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Rinse Brussels sprouts and potato. Arrange sprouts, potato slices, and tofu slices on a baking sheet.
3. Drizzle olive oil over sprouts, potato slices, and tofu. Massage or brush it thoroughly to ensure it covers everything.
4. Cover in salt, pepper, and rosemary.
5. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and flip the ingredients. Bake for another 10 minutes.

—Koa Beck, Senior Editor

The Trader Joe's Wrappin' Soup Special

The Trader Joe's Wrappin' Soup Special

Ingredients: 

1 c. tomato and roasted red pepper soup
½ c. frozen organic brown rice
1 tortilla
2 oz. Trader Joe’s Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
Lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and honey mustard, to taste

Directions:

1. Cook the rice in the microwave for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, add turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and honey mustard to the tortilla and wrap up in foil.
2. Measure soup into a reusable small container.
3. Add cooked rice to the soup and store the rest for future lunches.

—Stephanie Licata, Director of Programming & Membership

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