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26 Hot And Delicious Meal Ideas That Work Equally Well For Lunch Or Dinner

All of these can also be made in 30 minutes or less.

A cold turkey sandwich is great, but can it really top a mountain of hot mushroom stroganoff or homemade tacos? We'd argue no.

NBC / Via Giphy /

If you had to start working from home during the pandemic, you likely noticed one undeniable perk: making hot lunch in your own kitchen. 

If you want something delicious and only have 30 minutes, you've come to the right place. These lunch recipes are filling and tasty — and all of them can double as dinner, too.



1. Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry / Via

Not only will this stir-fry be ready in 30 minutes, but it uses only one pan so you can keep your post-lunch dishes to a minimum. The recipe includes a special cashew sauce, but if you're short on time, recipe testers say teriyaki and chow mein sauce work just as well.

Recipe: Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry

2. 15-Minute Chicken Noodle Wonton Soup / Via

This recipe takes frozen veggies and wontons and transforms them into a hearty lunchtime soup. Fair warning: Once you get used to wontons at lunch, you may find it hard to get excited about that soggy PB&J.

Recipe: 15-Minute Chicken Noodle Wonton Soup



3. Mushroom Stroganoff / Via

If you're trying for Meatless Mondays, this lunchtime recipe is the perfect way to get in the flavor of beef stroganoff, without the beef. You'll get a creaminess you probably aren't used to having midday and a filling meal that will get you through till dinner.

Recipe: Mushroom Stroganoff

4. One-pan Chicken Sausage & Veggies / Via

If you're fridge is near empty, you're in luck. It takes just four staple ingredients (in addition to olive oil and spices) to put together this hot, filling meal. The best part is that you can add extra sausage (or veggies) to make this dish your own.

Recipe: One-pan Chicken Sausage & Veggies



5. Curry Noodle Soup / Via

It doesn't take much to make a steaming bowl of curry noodle soup. If you have the essentials — coconut milk, rice noodles, curry paste — you can sub in whatever vegetables you have on hand. The recipe calls for tofu, but leftover shredded chicken or even shrimp works just as well.

Recipe: Curry Noodle Soup

6. Shredded Chicken Tacos / Via

If you can make your own chicken tacos in less than 30 minutes, why settle for anything else...ever? To keep this recipe under the half-hour mark, you'll need either leftover chicken breasts OR (as the recipe notes) an Instant Pot. While the chicken cooks, prep the toppings — cheese, salsa, guacamole, etc.

Recipe: Shredded Chicken Tacos



7. Chicken Tortilla Soup / Via

If you had chicken (or better yet, rotisserie chicken) for dinner last night, this will be the perfect next-day lunch. Throw a handful of veggies, beans, and the leftover chicken in a pot with broth and top with tortilla chips and cilantro for an easy, yet amazing lunch.

Recipe: Chicken Tortilla Soup

8. Sweet Potato Mushroom Penne / Via

This recipe looks like it takes a lot of effort, but thanks to cooking shortcuts (microwaving the sweet potato, for one), this meal will be ready in less than 30 minutes. 

Recipe: Sweet Potato Mushroom Penne



9. Carne Asada / Via

This recipe says it takes 30 minutes or less, but you might want to give yourself extra prep time if you want to make the homemade guac and red sauce included in the recipe. 

Recipe: Carne Asada

10. BBQ Chicken Tortilla Pizzas / Via

It literally only takes 5–10 minutes and five ingredients to recreate a taste of California Pizza Kitchen's iconic BBQ chicken pizza. You can always sub pita for the tortilla and add whatever veggies you have lying around.

Recipe: BBQ Chicken Tortilla Pizzas



11. Pineapple Fried Rice / Via

This is a great way to use up that pineapple you forgot to bust out at the weekend BBQ. In less than 30 minutes you'll have a dish that's not only delicious, but has a whopping 39 grams of protein per serving. 

Recipe: Pineapple Fried Rice

12. Spicy Chicken Burger / Via

Some days you just need a burger. But rather than run out to Chick-fil-A, you can make your own chicken creation at home — in less than 30 minutes. Plus, the sauce is out of this world.

Recipe: Spicy Chicken Burger



13. Instant Chicken Ramen / Via

Thirty minutes might not be much time, but some workdays, finding a half hour to whip up a hot lunch is a stretch. If that's the case, you can make this recipe ahead of time and enjoy a truly instant meal later.

Recipe: Instant Chicken Ramen

14. Chili Cheese Mac 'n' Cheese / Via

Boxed mac 'n' cheese might be one of your WFH staples, but I promise you, this beefed-up version (literally) will blow that boxed mac out of the water. All you need is 30 minutes and six ingredients to create a spicy, cheesy variation on the lunchtime classic.

Recipe: Chili Cheese Mac 'n' Cheese



15. Hot Chicken Chopped Salad / Via

I know, I know — this doesn't look like a hot lunch, but the chicken is cooked fresh and thrown on the greens hot to help soften the spinach and accentuate the homemade creamy ranch dressing you just whipped up (NBD).

Recipe: Hot Chicken Chopped Salad

16. Kimchi Quesadillas / Via

A lunchtime quesadilla doesn't have to be boring. Kimchi and toasted sesame seeds make this staple feel completely new. For extra spice, dip them in Sriracha. 

Recipe: Kimchi Quesadillas



17. Cilantro-Lime Chicken and Rice Bowl / Via

This recipe only calls for a handful of ingredients, and the preparation is super easy (you literally just throw everything into a bowl and eat!). Plus, you'll get a hearty 38 grams of protein with every serving.

Recipe: Cilantro-Lime Chicken and Rice Bowl

18. Linguine Alfredo / Via

If you're craving something creamy and hearty (that takes just 20 minutes), look no further. This easy, breezy linguine will transport you from your kitchen table to a cafe in Italy.

Recipe: Linguine Alfredo



19. Grilled Shrimp Tacos With Creamy Cilantro Sauce / Via

In less than 30 minutes, you'll have a handful of shrimp tacos topped with cabbage and a creamy cilantro sauce that you made yourself. Not bad for a Wednesday afternoon.

Recipe: Grilled Shrimp Tacos With Creamy Cilantro Sauce

20. Quick 30-Minute Chicken Pho / Via

Homemade pho in under 30 minutes? Believe it. In fact, the most time consuming part of this recipe is prepping the rice noodles. 

Recipe: Quick 30-Minute Chicken Pho



21. Sloppy Joe Sliders / Via

Sometimes, childhood cafeteria cravings come back with a vengeance. And when they do, you'll have this recipe on hand. Just make sure you have all the sauces and seasonings on hand — those school-era sloppy Joes were a little more gourmet than you might've remembered.

Recipe: Sloppy Joe Sliders

22. Homemade Broccoli Cheese Soup / Via

There's something about cheesy broccoli soup that feels homey, but you don't have to wait till your next visit home to relive the feeling. This recipe — which includes a cheesy bread for dipping — will be ready in less than 30 minutes and calls for less than 10 ingredients. 

Recipe: Homemade Broccoli Cheese Soup



23. Sweet and Sour Pork / Via

The most time-consuming step in this popular Chinese takeout dish is marinating the pork (20 minutes). To save time, let the meat sit while you wrap up work; then, dive in and imagine you're dining halfway around the world.

Recipe: Sweet and Sour Pork

24. Chickpea Sweet Potato Stew / Via

This dish is healthy and spicy with 14 grams of protein — what's not to love? For more substance, you can clean out the veggies in your fridge or fry up some chicken.

Recipe: Chickpea Sweet Potato Stew



25. Tempeh Bacon / Via

If you're not a bacon eater, you can still get the flavor with this easy tempeh recipe. Once your "bacon" is crispy and browned, throw it between two slices of bread alongside lettuce, tomato, mayo, and avocado for a healthier take on the classic BLT.

Recipe: Tempeh Bacon

26. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Bread Bowl / Via

You literally only need four ingredients — tomato soup, butter, cheese, and bread suitable for a bread bowl — to make this vastly upgraded (and bowl-free) take on grilled cheese and tomato soup. For an extra kick, season the dish yourself (readers suggested garlic powder).

Recipe: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Bread Bowl

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