When you need to pack your lunch hours ahead of time, cold is the way to go!
These amazing Cold Lunch Ideas are great make ahead healthy midday meals for school or work.
You’ll find sandwiches and wraps, salads, pasta salads, and even some unique Cold Lunch Ideas you may not have thought of.
Go through all of these cold lunch ideas, your cold lunches have never been so interesting!
The Best Cold Lunch Ideas:
1. Tortellini Pasta Salad with Prosciutto
We’re starting our list of cold lunches with this gorgeous platter. Isn’t it an upgrade over your regular pasta salad?
Cheesy, soft tortellini along with heirloom cherry tomatoes bursting in all colors. Throw in some creamy, buttery, melt in your mouth mini mozzarella balls, sweet red bell pepper and briney kalamata olives and you have one great cold lunch ready in jiffy.
2. Rainbow Pasta Salad
There is nothing more healthy than a bunch of different colors in your bowl. Make a huge bowl this great Rainbow pasta salad and it’s a great addition to any school lunch box. Tasty and super heathy.
3. Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Gỏi Gà Bắp Cải)
This is not your usual chicken salad. It’s almost like a shredded slaw, but with amazingly tasty dressing and the goodness of chicken.
Look at the colors and textures and you will guess all the jam packed flavors in this heaping mound of cold chicken salad.
4. Loaded Layered Hummus Dip
Dress up your hummus like never before… Get that scooping going with this beautiful, bright and colorful Loaded Layered Hummus Dip.
This luscious loaded hummus is perfect as a cold lunch idea along with pita bread.
5. Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is the light and tasty cold lunch idea you need this summer.
A simple mix of quinoa, a few veggies, some Mediterranean staples, and a zesty lemon dressing is all it takes.
6. Antipasto Pasta Salad
Our Antipasto Pasta Salad is very hearty and satisfying as your next cold lunch.
And it’s so easy. It can be your quick weeknight dinner, complete with protein, veggies and carbs. Or it can be meal prep for all the week’s lunches.
7. Baba Ganoush
This easy Baba Ganoush recipe is perfect contender as cold lunch idea. Roasted eggplant, creamy tahini, and a variety of great flavors enhancers come together beautifully.
8. Chicken Larb Salad (Thai Larb Gai)
Get ready for a cracking new flavor with this Authentic Thai Larb Gai Recipe! In Laos and Thailand, Larb is more than just a dish, it’s a social experience.
Meet Larb Gai, a Thai chicken salad that’s packed with flavor.
9. Shrimp Remoulade Lettuce Cups
Shrimp Remoulade is a New Orleans classic. You can use them in your salad bowl, or make lettuce cups. Great quick lunch or keto friendly meal option!
They’ll be one of your new favorite cold lunch ideas.
10. Turkey Spinach Pinwheels Meal Prep
Here’s another great meal prep lunch recipe. This one features turkey spinach pinwheels, which are packed alongside grapes, carrots and cucumbers to keep things healthy!
11. Egg Salad Sandwich
This Egg Salad Sandwich is a classic that never gets old. It’s also a great meal prep option, just make a big batch of the egg salad.
12. Salmon Asparagus Orzo Salad
This lemony salmon asparagus pasta salad recipe is full of the best fresh springtime flavors, is quick and easy to make, and can be served warm or as a cold pasta salad.
Flaky smoked salmon tossed with some chopped asparagus, herbs, pine nuts, parmesan and a quick lemony dressing. This simple orzo salad is such a winner!
13. Muffuletta Sandwich
The Muffaletta Sandwich is a delicious New Orleans invention filled with olive salad, cheese, and a variety of meats, all on a loaf of Italian bread. It’s quite hefty and loaded with meats.
14. Italian Wraps
These Italian Wraps have rotisserie chicken, crisp lettuce, sweet tomatoes, creamy avocado, parm cheese and Italian dressing, along with crotons for some crunch. Great wrap recipe!
15. Mexican Pinwheels
Looking for some pinwheel ideas to feed the crowd? How about these Mexican Pinwheels? They are filled with spiced creamy chicken mix, all rolled up for perfect finger food.
A great make ahead cold lunch, which is easy and quick to make.
16. Chicken Salad Sandwich
This Chicken Salad Sandwich is super quick, made with shredded pre-cooked chicken.
The salad also featured grapes and cashews, giving it a nice variety of flavors and textures.
17. Grilled Pesto Chicken Wraps
These Grilled Pesto Chicken Wraps are so delicious!
Tortillas are filled with rotisserie chicken, avocado, artichoke hearts, mozzarella and pesto, then grilled crisp. You will be making these more than once, for sure!
18. Waldorf Chicken Salad Wraps
Waldorf Salads are a classic flavor that has been enjoyed for generations. Now, you can enjoy it in wrap form along with chicken. This will be one of your favorite cold lunch ideas.
19. Southwestern Wraps
These Southwestern wraps are fantastic! They’re filled with nutrition, and they use black beans, chicken, spinach, roasted red peppers, low fat sour cream, and a tasty blue cheese spread.
20. Veggie and Hummus Sandwich
This Veggie and Hummus Sandwich recipe is a light, meatless sandwich. It’s packed with a big variety of veggies, for plenty of flavor and nutrition.
21. Tuna Salad Sandwich
Here’s another real classic. This Tuna Salad Sandwich is the best one you will try. Tuna salad is made with an easy mix of tuna, mayo, hard boiled eggs and onions.
It’s topped with tomatoes, lettuce and then you can assemble it on any variety of bread. This is a simple and tasty sandwich which everyone will love!
22. Spicy Sriracha Tuna Wraps
These delicious Spicy Sriracha Tuna Wraps are light and fresh, full of flavor, and only take about 5 minutes to make.
They are a great make ahead cold lunch option for school or work.
23. Smoked Salmon Bagel
Cream cheese on a bagel, along with smoked salmon topped with lemon, dill, and capers is very classic.
Buy those bagels the next time you see them in your bakery and save them for this simple treat.
24. Italian Sub Sandwich
Italian subs are a classic lunch. They’re so meaty and flavorful!
This one is made of crispy bread that’s layered with mayonnaise or Italian dressing, and it’s filled with provolone cheese, ham, salami, and mortadella.
25. Chunky Shrimp Guacamole
Go a little beyond regular guacamole. Add some cooked shrimp into the mix and you have a great base for a lunch.
Serve it with chips, crostini or crackers.
26. Smoked Salmon Sandwiches
Looking for a healthy lunch? This is it if you have some smoked salmon lingering in your refrigerator.
Make a tall sandwich with cream cheese, avocado, tomatoes, radishes and sprouts with your favorite smoked salmon. This one is full of flavor and very fulfilling.
27. Smoked Salmon Sushi Roll Ups
Craving some sushi? Make these easy salmon roll ups filled with lemony cream cheese, creamy avocado & fresh cucumber slices.
Roll them in everyday bagel seasoning and they are ready to be popped in your mouth.
28. Fresh Spring Rolls
These fresh spring rolls are totally phenomenal! They’re homemade, healthy, easy to make, and packed with veggies.
They’re filled with fresh basil, soft butter lettuce, crunchy carrots, cucumber, red peppers, and crisp red cabbage.
29. Classic Chef Salad
Now this one is an old classic, too. Chef’s salad comes in many forms and variations. Basically, whatever is available in your refrigerator.
But it’s always loaded with greens, assorted meats, cheeses, vegetables and this one comes with thousand island dressing. Very hearty and satisfying salad recipe.
Vichyssoise is your summertime potato soup. A classic French recipe, vichyssoise is a creamy soup with a blend of potatoes and leeks.
What makes it a summer soup? It’s served cold.
We hope you love these delicious and healthy cold lunch ideas as much as we loved finding them for you!
Save or pin this collection of great recipes so you always know where to find it. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new easy recipes for you!
- 1 lb pasta such as rotini, penne or farfalle
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 cup black olives, chopped
- 1 cup garbanzo beans
- 8 oz crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tsp pepper or to taste
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tbsp parsley fresh, chopped
- 2 Tbsp oregano fresh, chopped (or 1 tbsp dried oregano)
- 2 Tbsp basil fresh, chopped (or 1 tbsp dried basil)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Add salt to your water, at least 2 tbsp of salt. After draining your pasta add a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.
- In a small bowl or jar add all the dressing ingredients together and whisk well. If using a jar, put the lid on and close it, then shake well.
- Toss all salad ingredients together, mix in dressing. Chill before serving.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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