Eating well and saving money shouldn’t have to be mutually exclusive! Whether you’re an on the morning meal maker or a Sunday night prepper, these cheap lunch ideas for work are bound to come in handy! From five ingredient warming soups to mouth-wateringly good wraps, here are our top budget-friendly lunch picks.
Cheap hot lunch ideas
Starting off strong we have this oh so tasty chicken burritos recipe! Serving up eight wraps, you can adjust this recipe accordingly or just meal prep for the whole week with a little leftover for dinner. The best part? This is a one sheet pan so is easy on the prep and money front! As with all chicken recipes, just ensure you store it properly before reheating it in your work microwave.
Pea & ham soup
No matter the season, soup is unquestionably one of the reigning lunch champs. This pea and ham soup takes just five ingredients and 20 minutes to make! In other words, it’s one of the most perfect easy and cheap lunch ideas for work you can think of! Pair with some homemade bread rolls on the side if you fancy trying your hand at some baking.
Buffalo chicken quesadillas
Gooey cheese and tender buffalo chicken? Count us in! We love this particular recipe as you can personalise it however you like depending on your budget and food preferences. Trust us, you’ll be the envy of your colleagues with this one!
Lo mein noodles
Did someone say comfort food? Create your favourite takeaway at a fraction of the price with this chicken lo mein recipe. The ultimate clean out the fridge dish, simply cook this with your choice of veggies and any protein you like for a mouthwatering midweek meal. Did we mention it only takes 15 minutes to prep?
Easy cold lunch ideas
Chopped cobb salad
Healthy? Check. Budget-friendly? Check again. Easy to make? Triple check! Salads are the perfect meal for those who like to prep their meals right before they dash off to work. This particular chopped cobb salad recipe swaps chicken for bacon and works well with any vinaigrette of your choice. Simply make in a bowl and load into your chosen food container. Talk about easy!
Avocado, tomato, & chicken sandwich
Speaking of easy on-the-morning recipes, why not try your tastebuds at an avocado, tomato, and chicken sandwich? Filling and easy on the wallet, this sandwich is the ultimate fuss-free lunch idea for work.
Spicy tuna wrap
Budget-friendly doesn’t have to mean bland, something this spicy tuna wrap recipe certainly understands. Inspired by spicy tuna sushi rolls, think your go-to sushi takeout order but with a tasty twist. Moreover, tuna is packed with a ton of body-loving vitamins and minerals. Nutritious and delicious!
BLT lettuce wraps
If the idea of a lettuce wrap makes you roll your eyes, simply switch out this BLT wrap for your choice of tortilla or bread. For those who cannot seem to escape the dreaded bread food coma, this lettuce alternative is perfect! Low in carbs but high in flavour, we’re definitely saving this one for later.
Cheap vegetarian hot lunch ideas
Tangy veggie wrap
Tangy, tasty, and totally veggie-friendly, this wrap is sure to spice up your lunch life. With contrasting flavours and textures, this is a true culinary experience and a must for any gourmet food lover on a budget!
Spiced carrot & lentil soup
How does a complementary blend of red lentils, carrots, and spices sound? If your answer is anything other than delicious, you need to take your tastebuds for a check-up. Ready in just 25 mins and making four hearty servings, this recipe is the ultimate chuck in the microwave recipe your bank balance is looking for. Serve with naan bread for a true treat.
Creamy pesto & kale pasta
Everyone has pasta in their cupboard which makes this creamy pasta and kale recipe a money-saving winner! Pair with some kale, soft cheese, and veggie pesto for the midweek meal of dreams! Add some red onions to pack a proper flavour punch.
One-pot butter beans & greens
Meal preppers rejoice! This one pot butter beans and greens recipe is just made for storing away on sunday night for the ultimate easy lunch. With hearty beans and an array of spices, this may require slightly more forward-thinking but is more than worth it for the flavour!
Cold vegetarian lunch ideas
Vegetarian ramen noodle salad
If you’re a sucker for convenience or find yourself without a food container, this ramen noodle salad in a jar is the recipe for you! Simply find an old jam jar or sauce jar, fill with the necessary ingredients, and pack in your bag to enjoy at work.
Vegetarian chickpea salad sandwich
Akin to the world famous tuna salad, this chickpea salad sandwich is the perfect veggie twist that will satisfy time and time again. Taking just 10 minutes to make, you have no excuse to splurge on an overpriced sandwich when you can whip this up in no time!
Courgette & caramelised red onion puff pastry tart
Fancy branching out from the standard salad and sandwich route? Give this courgette and caramelised red onion puff pastry tart a go. The perfect way to expand your cooking horizons, this crowd-pleasing tart is sure to become a regular part of your lunchtime routine (especially once you see how easy it is to make)!
Easy pearl couscous with chickpeas
One pot and minimal ingredients? Sign us up! Couscous has long been a lunchtime staple, but have you ever tried this easy pearl with chickpeas version? Containing plenty of cupboard staples, think minimal splurge but maximum taste. There are plenty of ways you can customise this too so don’t panic if you find yourself without all the ingredients!
Easy vegan hot lunch ideas
Spanish-style vegan lentil stew
Warm, hearty, and cheap to make, this Spanish-style vegan lentil stew is as delicious as it sounds! Lentils are wonderfully cheap and versatile, making them a solid choice for any savvy shopper. Try them in this particular recipe and see where your next lentil adventure takes you.
Vegan taco casserole
Imagine layers of tortilla chips, salsa, nutritional yeast, and seasoned black beans? Are you salivating yet? Now imagine tucking into this vegan taco casserole knowing you’re also saving precious pennies. This truly is what lunchtime dreams are made of.
Sweet & sour tofu
Tofu may sometimes get a bad rep for being a bit bland but this sweet and sour tofu recipe is here to disprove that once and for all. Making four portions, we wouldn’t blame you for having this as your dinner too!
Vegan burrito bowls with cauliflower rice
Love a takeout but hate seeing that money disappear from your account? This vegan burrito bowl recipe is perfect for making early in the week for grab-and-go meals when mornings seem to run away from you. Feel free to use white or brown rice instead of the recommended cauliflower alternative – it’ll taste great either way!
Cold vegan lunch ideas for work
Vegan quinoa salad
There’s no reason you should ever have to choose between saving on time or loading up on flavour. Just take this quinoa salad for example. Made with a delicious sesame soy dressing, the flavours in this make this a great budget-friendly alternative for when you just fancy a little something light for lunch.
Veggie & hummus sandwich
Hummus in a sandwich we hear you say? Well hear us out. First off, you can use any variation of hummus from caramelised onion to red pepper. Secondly, you can customise your veggies too. Essentially, it’s a crudité platter between two wonderfully soft slices of bread. And who doesn’t like the sound of that!
Vegan pasta salad
If you’re after something you can just toss together with what’s in your cupboard or fridge, this pasta salad is the one for you. Wonderfully customisable while also immensely satisfying, you can enjoy a different variation each day of the week!
Vegan bean burrito
Finishing off our list of cheap lunch ideas for work, we have this vegan bean burrito recipe. Think everything you enjoy in a burrito bowl but in an easy to prep wrap. Customise to your liking or just follow the recipe, either way you’re in for one hell of a flavour ride.
Now you’re armed with heaps more cheap lunch ideas, check out our range of cooking, baking, and meal prep essentials to make your life even easier. Whether you’re a cooking whiz or just starting your cooking journey, you’ll be saving precious pennies on your midweek meals in no time!