Pack a lunch

Pack a lunch

Spanakopita Twists

This recipe is inspired by spanakopita, a popular Greek dish traditionally made with flaky phyllo pastry. The twists can be frozen after they’ve completely cooled. Pull a few out of the freezer in the morning and they’ll thaw just in time for lunch. Eat alongside a light salad or a fruit cup for a balanced meal.

6 Servings
Preparation time
20 minutes
Cooking time
35 minutes
Total time
55 minutes
8 ounces ricotta cheese
3 eggs (divided)
1⁄2 teaspoon dried dill
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon dried mint
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 large shallot (minced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
10 ounces cooked chopped spinach (squeezed dry)
6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
17 ounces puff pastry dough (brought to fridge temperature)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 of the eggs, ricotta cheese, and all the spices until smooth. Mix in shallot, garlic, spinach, and feta.

Lay one sheet of puff pastry flat onto parchment paper on top of a baking sheet. Evenly spread spinach/cheese mixture with a ½-inch edge left bare. Lay second puff pastry flat on top of spinach/cheese filling, lining up the edges. Stretch the top edge down to the bottom edge and seal on all 4 sides. Using a sharp knife, cut pastry in half one direction and into 6 slices the opposite direction, ending up with 12 strips.  

With each strip, press one end with your fingers while carefully twisting the other end. When finished with all of the twists, beat remaining egg in a small bowl and brush across top of each pastry and sprinkle on some sesame seeds. Chill in fridge for 15 minutes before baking.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, switching rack positions halfway through. Pastry should be puffed and golden brown. Let cool. They’ll keep for about a week in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer. Eat warmed or at room temperature.


NOTE: If the ricotta cheese seems to have excess liquid, wrap it in cheesecloth and squeeze. 

Per serving: 585 calories, 40 grams fat (13 grams saturated fat), 82 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams fiber, 779 milligrams sodium, 43 grams total carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 15 grams protein.

Easy Asian Noodles

If you’re the kind of person who likes to prepare one lunch recipe Sunday evening to eat all week long, this recipe is for you. It’s quick to prepare and there’s no refrigeration required at your workplace — it’s just as good eaten at room temperature.

4 Servings
Preparation time
15 minutes
Cooking time
7 minutes
Total time
22 minutes
1 medium cucumber (cut into thin, 1-inch strips)
1 tablespoon salt
9 ounces soba noodles
2 cups snow peas
1 cup grated carrots
3 green onions (diced)
1⁄2 cup peanut butter
1⁄2 cup canned light coconut milk (mixed well)
1⁄4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons honey
  juice of 1 lime
3 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
2 cloves garlic (minced)
  coarse mustard for dipping

Place cucumber strips in a mesh strainer and heavily sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 20 minutes for the salt to pull some of the excess moisture from the cucumbers. Rinse off salt, shake off water, and place slices on paper towels in an even layer, patting them dry. Place a large pot of water on high heat. Once it comes to a boil, cook noodles according to package’s al dente directions. Add snow peas during the last minute of cooking, then drain and rinse both with cold water and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Toss cucumber, carrots, and green onions on top. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients to make the sauce. Pour sauce in with noodles and veggies, tossing to coat. Eat cold or at room temperature. Store in the fridge for up to a week.


Per serving: 521 calories, 18.5 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat), 0 milligrams cholesterol, 725 milligrams sodium, 78 grams     total carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 21 grams protein.

Pimento Cheese with Pairings

Pimento cheese is the hero spread of many quick lunch meals, making it easy for each person in the household to put their own spin on it or to mix it up throughout the week. Use as a dip for raw vegetables, wrap some up with some sliced turkey, or spread on celery, crackers, and bagels. 

10 Servings
Preparation time
5 minutes
4 ounces jar diced pimentos
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 ounces cream cheese (softened)

Drain pimento. Consider the spice level you’d like for your pimento cheese. The age of your red pepper flakes will make a big difference in how spicy they are — they become milder over time. If you’re sure you want yours to be on the mild side, start with ½ teaspoon. If you’re sure you want it spicy, start with 1 teaspoon and adjust to taste. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until incorporated, about 15 to 30 seconds. Taste and adjust spices, then pulse a few more times. (Without a food processor, chop the pimentos and shredded cheddar a bit more and mix by hand with a scraper spatula or large spoon.) Store in refrigerator for a week or longer. Eat cold or at room temperature.


NOTE: Canned or jarred pimento can often be found in the olive section of the grocery store. If not available, roasted red peppers can be substituted and are usually in the Italian aisle.

Per serving: 171 calories, 14 grams fat (7.5 grams saturated fat), 38 milligrams cholesterol, 217 milligrams sodium, 6 grams total carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 7 grams protein.

Pesto Chicken Tortellini

If you prefer eating a different lunch every day, this recipe can be made in small batches. Simply keep the tortellini, grilled chicken, artichoke hearts, and even the broccoli in the freezer until you’re ready for another batch. The open jars of pesto and sun-dried tomatoes will last for quite some time in the fridge.

5 Servings
Preparation time
10 minutes
Cooking time
5 minutes
Total time
15 minutes
Additional Ingredients
1 lb frozen tortellini
1⁄2 lb chopped broccoli
4 oz basil pesto
1 lb cooked chicken breast (diced)
14 oz quartered artichoke hearts
7 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drained and sliced)

Prepare tortellini according to package directions. Throw the broccoli in with the tortellini a few minutes before the tortellini is done. Quickly drain and rinse with cold water in a colander. Shake excess water off and transfer to a large bowl. Coat tortellini and broccoli with pesto, then mix in remaining ingredients. Eat hot or cold. Store in fridge for up to a week.


Per serving: 675 calories, 27 grams fat (6 grams saturated fat), 104 milligrams cholesterol, 848 milligrams sodium, 69 grams total carbohydrates, 12 grams fiber, 44 grams protein.