Not the same old sandwich.
Sometimes it seems like dinner gets all the love and attention. Dinner feels like the main event: the focus of cookbooks and cooking shows, the meal we host dinner parties and holidays around, the event that marks the end of a long work day. But lunch, our most important break in our day, deserves love, too. Here are 10 of Unpeeled’s best lunch ideas and recipes to refresh your midday routine.
Best Lunch Ideas and Recipes: Better Sandwiches
Au revoir, PB&J. These three French baguette sandwiches represent some of the best of what you’d find in a French boulangerie, including the ultimate classic, jambon beurre (ham and butter), and the world’s ultimate tuna sandwich, pan bagnant.
Cured salmon, cucumber, and cream cheese are one of life’s great flavor combinations. This cured salmon cucumber smørrebrod recipe holds the great distinction of being a chic, no-cook breakfast or lunch that takes minutes to prepare.
This melted grape tomato bruschetta is everything you’ll want to eat right now. Grape tomatoes are made even sweeter by roasting them until jammy, spooned on top of crusty grilled artisan bread, a smear of fresh ricotta, and balsamic syrup.
A good grilled cheese should be melty, crisp, buttery, and never burnt. Here are your 5 essential steps to cooking up a perfect grilled cheese sandwich.
Egg salad is the white linen sundress of salad: simple, classic, and vaguely elegant in a low-key, casual way. I am an egg salad true believer, especially when the egg salad comes loaded with fresh herbs. This is a great recipe.
Best Lunch Ideas and Recipes That Skip the Sandwich
No one does ham, egg, and cheese like the French. An authentic buckwheat galette layered with ham, melted Gruyère and a runny egg makes one of the best simple yet sophisticated meals around.
Chinese peanut sesame noodles are a popular takeout dish for a reason. (Though not as popular as General Tso’s chicken or egg rolls, according to this survey.) Tasty warm or chilled, the flavor of sesame and a touch of peanut butter are mild, but nonetheless perfectly flavorful, especially when combined with bright scallion.
Make a pot of this nourishing, nutritious Indian rice and vegetable stew and enjoy it all week long. This Ayurvedic chickpea kitchari recipe combines wholesome legumes with vegetables, brown rice, and spices for an easy, flavorful one-pot stew.
There are so many wonderful tomato soup recipes out there, but for pure ease and comfort, I choose this easy tomato orzo soup recipe, adapted from living culinary goddess Ina Garten’s recipe.
An onigiri-inspired Japanese grain bowl of seasoned sushi rice, salt-broiled salmon, and edamame, with help from top chef Masaharu Morimoto. Filling and fresh.
3 Classic French Baguette Sandwiches
Jambon Beurre (Ham and Butter)
- 1 fresh, crusty baguette
- 3 tablespoons best-quality softened butter (salted cultured butter or grass fed would be good options)
- 1/2 pound French-style ham, sliced
- 1/2 pound Emmental or Gruyère cheese, sliced by hand into thin triangles
Chèvre Tomate (Tomato and Goat Cheese)
- 1 fresh, crusty baguette
- 1 or 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
- 1/3 pound bloomy rind goat cheese, such as Bucheron
- 1/3 pound French-style ham, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- 1 small handful of fresh arugula, optional
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, optional
Pan Bagnat: For the Vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoons minced parsley
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (just eyeball it)
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 turns fresh black pepper
- 2 anchovies
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot (about 1/2 of one shallot clove)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Pan Bagnat: For the Sandwich
- 1 fresh, crusty baguette
- 1 6.7 ounce jar of Italian oil-packed tuna, drained
- 1/2 bell pepper, red or green, sliced very thin
- 1 small handful raw haricots verts or green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces.
- 1 large handful arugula (about 1 ounce)
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
- 10 to 12 pitted black olives, preferably Niçoise, chopped
- 1 tomato, sliced
For the Jambon Beurre
- Slice the baguette in half lengthwise, almost all the way through, and open.
- Slather both sides with the butter. Layer with the ham and cheese. Close, press, and divide into two or three sandwiches.
For the Tomato Goat Cheese
- Slice the baguette in half lengthwise, almost all the way through, and open. Drizzle the top and bottom baguette halves with olive oil.
- Slice the tomato slices in half, so they are in half moons. Slice the goat cheese into thin rounds, then slice them in half into half moons.
- If using, layer arugula, then ham onto the bottom of the sandwich. Then add alternating slices of tomato and goat cheese along the length of the sandwich.
- Sprinkle with herbes de Provence. Close the baguette, press, and divide into halves or thirds.
For the Pan Bagnat
- Make the Vinaigrette: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the parsley, vinegar, Dijon, salt, pepper, anchovies, shallot, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Whisk until emulsified.
- Slice the baguette in half lengthwise, almost all the way through, and open. Drizzle the top and bottom baguette halves with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- To the vinaigrette, add the tuna, bell pepper, haricots verts, and arugula. Stir to mix well. The tuna will break apart somewhat.
- Spread the tuna mixture along the bottom half of the baguette. Layer the sliced hard-boiled egg and olives atop the tuna mixture.
- Sprinkle with herbes de Provence. Close the baguette, press hard, and let rest for 2 to 24 hours, preferably weighted down. Tip: Suggestions for weighing down the pan bagnat: the bottom of a cast-iron skillet, or sheet pan with heavy cookbooks on it. Slice into halves or thirds, and serve. Note: If the sandwich will rest for more than two hours, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Before serving, allow to return to near room temperature.