Have you ever found yourself conveniently “forgetting” to pack a lunch and ducking out in the middle of the workday for something delicious but way too expensive? Or maybe when you were younger you would make your way to the hot lunch line, allowance in hand, knowing there was a full lunchbox at the bottom of your backpack.
I get it — I’ve been there, too. I am happy to report, though, that packing a cold lunch does not have to be a sad, boring endeavor.
Cold sandwiches can get a bad rap, but when properly made with bold flavors and interesting textures, they are every bit as exciting as any other lunch. These sandwich recipes from our Recipe Finder are quick to whip together, easy to transport and, most importantly, full of flavor. Try one for your next packed lunch — your taste buds (and wallet) will thank you.
Turkey Sandwiches With Smoked Gouda, Pickled Red Onion and Cherries, above. This is not that bland turkey and cheese of your childhood. In this grown-up version, sweet cherries and punchy pickled onion beautifully complement the roasted turkey and smoked gouda.
Dill and Pickle Egg Salad Sandwich. Inspired by the flavors of a mustardy potato salad, this sandwich from staff writer Becky Krystal is powerful and protein-packed. It’s a great one-person meal, but if you’re prepping for the week or making it for the family, the recipe can easily be scaled to accommodate that.
Stacked Deli Sandwiches With Seared Tofu. Tofu isn’t just for vegans. This loaded sandwich uses it to add texture and heft, and you can marinate it with whatever flavors sound good to you.
Arugula and Avocado Sandwich With Turkey. A sandwich so good that it has kept a friendship going strong for over 20 years, this turkey and greens-filled meal is sure to please. If you’re not a huge fan of sandwiches with loads of mustard or mayo, give this one a try.
Tomato, Pesto and Ricotta Sandwiches. Full of the flavors of Italy, this sandwich pulls inspiration from a Caprese salad for a bright, creamy lunch. The pesto and ricotta can be made three days in advance, so you can get a jump-start on lunch and throw the sandwich together before dashing out the door in the morning.
Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwiches. This recipe dispels the myth that vegetarian sandwiches can’t be substantial and filling. Chickpeas are mashed with avocado to make the creamy filling, and lemon juice, pickles and curry powder all add their own flavorful kicks.
Chicken Satay Sandwiches. Pulling inspiration from the flavors of a peanut satay sauce, this sandwich is a great way to mix up your lunch rotation. The chicken keeps well in the fridge, so make a batch ahead of time and enjoy for lunch for the next few days.
Deli Salad Sandwich 3 Ways. The choose-your-own-adventure of sandwich recipes. Chickpeas, tuna or chicken make an excellent filling for this customizable sandwich. You can also swap out the bread for lettuce wraps to add a crisp bite.