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5 Easy Lunch Recipes Using Leftovers

We’ve all been there. That soggy, sad sandwich you eat quietly at your desk is entirely unsatisfying, which leads to buying an overly-expensive lunch (and maybe a latte, too) around 3 PM. What was the point of bringing your lunch in the first place? Meal-prepping can be a challenge, but these easy lunch recipes are here to help. Picked by our chefs, these recipes are delicious as dinner, but might be even better as lunch.

2016 Pan-Roasted Chicken with Kale, Green Apple, and Peanut Dressing — THUMB

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Kale, Green Apple, and Peanut Dressing

“This recipe is a great next-day lunch because the hearty, dinosaur kale has extra time to wilt and soak up all that good, peanutty dressing. Alongside chicken, this meal feels light enough lunch, but satisfying to keep you full for the rest of the day. For the sliced apples, either leave it out and eat it on the side, or slice right before eating so it doesn’t brown. Be sure to let the salad come to room temperature so that the dressing can thaw.” – Michelle Kresch, Test Kitchen Manager

_Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps with Basil Rice HERO

Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps with Basil Rice

“I love lettuce wraps for lunch because they feel like a fun, fresh way to take a lunch break—all hands on deck and no forks necessary! The saucy beef in this recipe is so flavorful and is packed with crunchy bits of water chestnut and roasted peanuts. Let the rice and filling cool completely before storing in an airtight container (we like to pack them together so the rice absorbs all of the delicious sauce from the beef). Wrap lettuce cups in plastic wrap or slide into a resealable plastic bag. You can reheat the filling in the microwave if you want it warm, but it’s just as good cold!” – Rachael Stuart, Recipe Editor

Beer Braised Chicken

Beer Braised Chicken with Queso Fresco over Rice

“Anything braised is always better the next day, so this dish is perfect to pack for lunch. The rice will soak up the sauce overnight and become extra flavorful. This is one dish I love eating for dinner and then getting to enjoy it all over again for lunch the next day!” – Elana Karp, Culinary Co-Founder

2280 Kale and Farro Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato and Crispy Goat Cheese — HERO

Kale and Farro Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Crispy Goat Cheese

“Kale is an amazing green that, when dressed, only gets better with time—similar to the chicken and kale salad mentioned above. The farro and sweet potato make this salad super filling, allowing you to stay full throughout the work day. Bonus: this recipe is also vegetarian!” – Andrea Folkerts, Test Kitchen Assistant

Peanut Noodles with Bok Choy and Miso-Glazed Eggplant — THUMB

Peanut Noodles with Miso-Glazed Eggplant and Bok Choy

“The beauty of peanut noodles is they’re incredible both cold and hot. By saving my second portion for lunch the next day, I get the best of both worlds! Hot for dinner, cold for lunch. The flavors in the sauce have even more time to meld, and because the bok choy and eggplant are already ultra-tender, I don’t need to worry about over-cooking them if I do decide to reheat. Also…who wouldn’t be excited about BYO lunch when it’s peanut noodles?” – Suzanne Lehrer Dumaine, Director of Culinary Operations

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