It can be tough for anyone to escape from their desk to get a midday meal, but for Paleo eaters, lunchtime can be even more of a challenge. No grains means no sandwiches, a major lunchtime staple.
No worries — we’ve got your back. We’ve gathered 19 Paleo lunch recipes that are easy enough to whip up on a weekend and pack for a weekday lunch.
These hearty, flavorful meals take full advantage of the poultry, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and nuts allowed on the Paleo diet. Eating well at lunch will help you stay alert and focused the rest of the day.
P.S. You don’t need to be on the Paleo plan to enjoy these recipes. Go ahead and add them to your brown bag rotation.
1. Chipotle chicken lettuce wraps
If you think lettuce wraps are limp and too light to sustain you, get ready to have your mind — and taste buds — blown. Between the jalapeño chiles and homemade chipotle sauce, your lettuce won’t know what hit it.
2. Cuban picadillo lettuce wraps
Loaded with flavor, these lettuce tacos are filled with ground beef flavored with cinnamon, cumin, and sharp, salty-sour capers and green olives. Top these babies with the homemade pico de gallo and it’s a lunch party.
3. California turkey and bacon wraps with basil mayo
Satisfy your California dreams with these West Coast-inspired wraps. This blogger shows you how to assemble and wrap crisp iceberg lettuce, spread with a fresh basil vegan mayo, around slices of turkey, bacon, avocado, and tomato. Make sure to use a paleo-friendly mayo.
Just stick a bamboo toothpick in it and serve.
4. Steak and sriracha lettuce wraps
Everyone loves fajitas. Sizzling steak? What’s not to love? Here, the seasoning is amped up Paleo-style with coconut aminos. Make this for Sunday lunch. Leftovers will make a workday lunch shine.
5. Cajun garlic shrimp noodle bowls
Quick-cooking shrimp are a good choice for a Paleo lunch. Here, Cajun-seasoned crustaceans are cooked with garlic and olive oil and then tossed with sautéed onions and red bell peppers. Zoodles stand in for pasta.
6. Egg roll in a bowl
Satisfy your Chinese takeout cravings with this wrapperless roll. Fiber-packed cabbage joins carrots and scallions and gets a flavor boost from coconut aminos (a Paleo-friendly sub for soy sauce).
Add eggs or meat to make it heartier.
7. Bowl of doom
Named after a dish at a blogger’s favorite restaurant, this ought to be called “bowl of amazing.” Make a hash of sweet potato and ground beef and top it with an egg cooked just how you like it.
Serve with salsa and avocado and prepare to meet your doom — and joy.
8. Cuban sandwich bowls
With crispy cabbage, sweet and tangy mojo pork, salty deli ham, creamy avocado, and fried plantains, who needs bread?
Simmer the pork in your slow cooker and fry up the plantain chips on the weekend. Then pack up individual servings to tote to work. You’ll be grateful on those busy days when you can’t get out at lunch. No need resort to leftover doughnuts from the break room!
9. BLT bowl
It’s all the good parts of a BLT and more. Crispy bacon, juicy tomatoes, and fresh lettuce welcome avocado and cucumber. Yes, that’s feta cheese in the photo — strict Paleo eaters can simply omit it.
10. Mason jar healthy taco salad
Your co-workers will be jealous when they see you eating this Mexican-inspired chicken salad. You’ll get protein from the chicken and vitamins from colorful veggies like carrots, red bell pepper, cucumber, and tomatoes. Add in some pumpkin seeds for extra crunch and satiety.
11. Antipasto salad
If the Italian sub is your first choice at the deli, this antipasto salad is for you. Keep in mind that cured meats should be eaten in moderation. Here, they play a flavor-enhancing role among many veggies.
If you’re taking this salad to work, pack the dressing separately and toss just before eating.
12. Salmon salad power bowls
There are so many awesome things happening in these bowls of deliciousness: salmon (which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease), high fiber raspberries, and heart-healthy avocado oil.
Lunch at your desk can be life-affirming.
13. Thai chopped chicken salad
This mason jar salad is bursting with fresh flavors. Featuring mango, roasted peppers, and a spicy chili vinaigrette, this Paleo lunch will transport you away from thoughts of work. You need the mental break — admit it.
Thanks to the layering in the jar, the lettuce won’t get soggy while you wait for lunchtime.
14. Paleo burgers with caramelized balsamic onions and avocado
Burgers are really about the meat and fixings, not the bun. Here, savory-sweet caramelized onions rest on a juicy beef patty.
Served on thick tomato slices (why didn’t we think of that?) and topped with sliced avocado, these creations will tempt even non-Paleo eaters.
15. Rosemary lamb burgers with pesto
Lamb and rosemary are classic partners, and these are some of the tastiest, juiciest burgers you’ll ever eat, Paleo or not. They’re topped with hempseed pesto to amp up the garlicky, lemony Mediterranean flavors.
16. Grilled Paleo pizza
Tapioca flour and coconut flour make up the tasty crust of this Paleo pizza. It’s super customizable — just throw on whatever toppings you love or whatever’s in your fridge. If you’re eating primal, add a little cheese. Skip it if you’re strictly Paleo.
17. Paleo meatloaf muffins
Scarfing down lunch before a meeting? Pop one of these meatloaf muffins. They travel well, and the turkey-pork combo is a welcome change from beef.
We love the sweet onion, zucchini, and ’shrooms here, but you could easily swap in spinach or broccoli. And what is it about muffin tins? They make everything taste better.
18. Smoky grilled pineapple burger
Smoky burger, meet sweet, sweet pineapple. You’ll love the flavor contrast of paprika-spiked beef (choose grass-fed for more omega-3 fatty acids) and juicy grilled pineapple. Hawaiian shirts are optional.
19. Paleo Cajun burgers
These look like your basic burgers… and then you sink your teeth in. Hello, Cajun spices! Think cayenne, cumin, garlic, paprika, and thyme. Serve them on lettuce leaves or, if you’ve got time to spare, bake the accompanying Paleo buns.
Lunch doesn’t have to be a challenge for a Paleo eater — it can be an opportunity. These 19 recipes embrace all the Paleo ingredients with delicious results.