20 Best Lunches That Are Not Sandwiches

Ditch the boring sandwich and see what the rest of the world eats for their midday meal

By SAVEUR Editors

Published on March 13, 2018

You might be stuck at your desk looking at the same lunch you've eaten the past three days, dreaming about other ways to fulfill your noon cravings. Sometimes that sandwich or salad just doesn't cut it. If you want to shake up your routine, take a look at the different ways the world eats lunch. Whether it's a fresh soba salad from Japan, or a beef stew from Kenya, pack a lunch that will make your coworkers jealous. Or, if you're on a sandwich kick, mix it up with a Danish smorrebrod. Here are our favorite ways to make your lunch deliciously different.

Making sushi at home can be a challenge fraught with angst. That's where chirashi comes in. It's a rice bowl covered in colorful slices of fish, glistening balls of orange roe, and a rainbow of other garnishes from sesame seeds to seaweed promising all the architectural potential we lust for in a well-made sushi platter—but with far less effort. This recipe comes courtesy of chef Mike Lim of Chicago's Roka Akor. Get the recipe for Japanese Sashimi and Rice (Chirashi) »

The Kenyan lunch known as sukuma wiki—a combination of collard greens, chile-flecked ground meat, and tomatoes served with cornmeal or mashed plantain—is such a fortifying part of the workweek that its name means "week pusher". Get the recipe for Beef Stew with Mashed Plantains (Sukuma Wiki with Matoke) »

Puy lentils from France's Haute-Loire region are celebrated for their robust, earthy flavor, which shines in this lively salad from Pelle Lundberg, a home cook in Vickleby, Sweden. The lentils, tossed with cherry tomatoes sautéed in butter and olive oil, flavored with rosemary and thyme, and then dressed in balsamic, make a festive vegetarian main course or a robust side dish for a Swedish midsummer lunch. Get the recipe for Puy Lentil Salad (Sallad på Puylinser) »

This classic Spanish dish can be served for breakfast, cut in cubes for tapas, or as a summer lunch with a bowl of gazpacho. A quick note: Add the potato mixture while it's hot enough to start cooking the eggs but not so hot as to souffle them. Get the recipe for Spanish Potato Frittata (Tortilla Española) »

At Los Angeles' Lemonade restaurant, crunchy radishes, snap peas, and medium-rare seared tuna are tossed in a ginger-soy dressing for a crisp and colorful entrée salad. Get the recipe for Watermelon Radish, Ahi Tuna, and Snap Pea Salad »

Barley is typically eaten in a pudding for breakfast or dessert in Egypt, but in this recipe from cookbook author Suzanne Zeidy, it's turned into a hearty salad, seasoned with cumin and chiles, and tossed with grilled vegetables, feta, and pistachios. Get the recipe for Grilled Vegetable and Barley Salad »

Korean kimbap is similar to Japanese sushi, but typically uses cooked or pickled ingredients. In this version, bulgogi (marinated beef) is paired with vegetables and egg. Get the recipe for Kimbap »

In this Balinese lunch dish, tempeh—fermented soybean cake—is fried until golden and then tossed in a fiery tomato-and-chile sauce. Get the recipe for Sambal Goreng Tempe (Fried Tempeh in Tomato Sambal) »

Packed with grassy, spicy watercress and plenty of cheese, this frittata-like tart works wonders at brunch. Get the recipe for Watercress Ricotta Torte »

This light quinoa salad, filled with scallions, mint, snap peas, and crisp haricots verts tossed in a Dijon vinaigrette, makes a perfect summer side dish for picnics and barbecues. Get the recipe for Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas, Scallions, and Mint »

This basil-laced potato and vegetable frittata makes a satisfying lunch. Get the recipe for Potato, Spinach, and Red Pepper Frittata »

Pasta salads are essential summer food: they travel well; they're easy to adapt to whatever produce you have on-hand; and they're simple to make in large portions, making them perfect dishes to carry to parties, picnics, and barbecues. Get the recipe for Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad »

Salmorejo, gazpacho's richer, deeper cousin, is a cool, creamy soup typically topped with chopped hard-boiled eggs and salty prosciutto or Iberian ham; omit the pork to make it vegetarian. Get the recipe for Salmorejo »

This simple fried rice is as good for breakfast as it is for dinner. Thick-cut bacon will make for more meaty, chewy bits. Cookbook writer Amy Thielen often adds a little sauerkraut for a further Midwestern touch. Get the recipe for Bacon and Egg Fried Rice »

This Cambodian chicken salad is bolstered by crisp green mango, roasted peanuts, and fresh herbs with a signature Southeast Asian sweet–sour–savory dressing. Get the recipe for Chicken and Green Mango Salad »

In his version of Chilean empanadas, chef Rodolfo Guzmán of Boragó replaces lean ground chuck with rich beef short ribs, which make each bite tender. Get the recipe for Beef Short Ribs Empanadas »

These lamb meatballs are simmered in a harissa-spiked tomato sauce, served over peppery arugula, and drizzled with bright yogurt-thickened aïoli and roughly chopped basil leaves. Get the recipe for Moroccan Meatballs with Arugula »

This refreshing salad of soba noodles tossed with winter greens and mixed vegetables is brought together by a tart dressing of miso, ginger juice, and lemon. Get the recipe for Soba Salad with Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette »

This hearty grain and seed salad is perfect for lunch, as the quinoa, buckwheat, and sunflower seeds luxuriate in a lemon dressing with mandarin-sauced shrimp. Get the recipe for Sprouted Seed and Grain Salad with Spiced Prawns »

This grilled chicken dish is the Holy Trinity of weeknight cooking: delicious, quick, and made from easy-to-find ingredients. Get the recipe for Honey-Grilled Chicken with Citrus Salad »

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