Although my dream workday includes an hour-long lunch break to soak up the midday sunshine, my reality is usually a quick lunch at my desk while I plow through emails. Or catch-up on my Instagram feed if I’m feeling really indulgent. But I still relish this little break each day to eat something delicious, and it’s usually a lunch salad recipes full of veggies, a little grilled chicken or boiled egg or avocado, something crunchy like nuts or seeds, and a homemade dressing that I made for dinner earlier in the week.
In my book, there are a few qualities that make a salad perfect for lunchtime. It should be portable and able to sit for a few hours without getting soggy or wilted. (This is where beans, chopped veggies, and sturdy greens like kale come in.) Also, it should be really simple and quick to throw together, because who wants to spend more than 10 minutes or so prepping lunch? And it needs to be substantial enough to give me enough energy to power through an afternoon.
Scroll ahead for 10 delicious lunch salads that’ll make your (virtual) co-workers green with envy.
Kale is perfect for a packed salad since its sturdy leaves will stay crunchy until lunchtime. With this salad, I like to pack the salmon separately, then top off my salad right before eating.
I love packing grain-based salads with farro or quinoa. They add a good source of vegetarian protein and soak up the dressing for a flavor-packed meal.
There’s nothing worse than a brown avocado for lunch. For this one, pack up your avo in a small airtight container topped with some lemon juice and then slice when ready to eat.
Who said salads must-have leafy greens? This one’s one of our team favorites and makes for a healthy and filling lunch that will get you through the afternoon slump.
A great dressing takes salads to the next level. I carry mine to the office in a little mason jar, then drizzle just before eating.
Speaking of dressing, I love making a big batch of my favorite vinaigrette that I can store for the week and use as needed on almost any salad that I bring to work.
I love the hearty nuttiness of farro, and it’s especially delicious with the kale pesto in this salad. Toss this together in the morning, and by the time lunch rolls around, all the ingredients will be infused with great flavor.
Quinoa creates the perfect blank canvas for almost any salad, and this chopped one can be totally customized based on what you’ve got hanging out in the fridge.
A salad with lots of protein will help keep you away from the office vending machine at 3 pm. Butter beans add a great dose of protein and satisfying flavor to this hearty salad.
Get inspired by the in-season veggies that you find at the market. A salad bursting with those fresh flavors will give you something to look forward to throughout the morning.
Cubed and roasted sweet potatoes are probably my favorite salad ingredient, and they’re a great grain-free way to add some healthy and energizing carbs to lunchtime.
This post was originally published on May 12, 2016, and has since been updated.