Meatless Mondays and Fridays in Lent are hard on carnivores, and lunchtime especially presents a challenge. Because while consumers easily swap out bacon at breakfast and sear fish on the skillet for dinner, the midday meal is harder to swallow when one doesn’t have a stove or oven at his disposal. Gone are the days of meaty, hunger-satisfying sandwiches, and one can only eat so many half-heartedly prepared salads. Fish have to find their way into your lunch too, and here’s how. Check out these seven recipes that prove you can eat your fish for dinner, and lunch, too, even if you’re not in your kitchen at noon. These meals can either be prepared ahead or on-the-go at your desk.
1. Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich
First up is a recipe from Mother Thyme that you can easily make at your desk or in the work kitchen. Canned tuna is cheap, easy, and packed with protein, making it a great substitute for meat. It’s also simple to prepare, as all you need to do to achieve deli-style tuna fish salad status is combine your canned tuna with celery, onions, mayonnaise, and relish. Pack the good stuff between two soft slices of bread and add tomato slices if you please. This tuna fish salad sandwich will fill you up and keep you satisfied until dinner.
- 5 ounce can good quality solid white albacore, packed in water
- 3 tablespoons celery, diced
- 3 tablespoons yellow onion, diced
- 2 tablespoon regular or light mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sweet relish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sandwich bread, rolls or croissants for serving
- Lettuce, tomato and alfalfa sprouts for serving
See recipe directions at Mother Thyme.
2. Bean and Salmon Salad
Next up is a salad recipe from Eating Well that is light on the greens and heavy on the fish and beans. Enter: the bean and salmon salad that is tossed with a homemade anchovy-arugula dressing. Your sad desk lunch just got a little more exciting. Beans and canned salmon are married to serve as the base of this fish dish that is packed with fiber and protein. It’s also flavorful thanks to the bold dressing made from arugula and anchovies. Radishes and celery give the salad an extra crunch and when you top your concoction with avocado, each bite is a little more creamy.
- 1½ cups baby arugula
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley leaves
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
- Pinch of salt, plus ¼ teaspoon, divided
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cups cooked cannellini beans, well drained, at room temperature or warm (see Tip)
- 1 7-ounce can wild salmon, any bones and skin removed, flaked
- ¾ cup thinly sliced radishes
- 1 stalk celery, sliced diagonally ¼ inch thick
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 large leaves butterhead or Boston lettuce
- 1 avocado, sliced, for garnish
See recipe directions at Eating Well.
3. Lentil, Tuna, and Roasted Pepper Salad
Next up is another salad recipe from Fine Cooking that is again, less about the lettuce, and more about the protein. In fact, there are no greens on this recipe’s ingredients list, as there is no room for greenery in your dish when lentils, tuna, roasted peppers, and a homemade vinaigrette are involved. This lentil, tuna, and roasted red pepper salad from Fine Cooking will change everyone’s mind about sad desk salads as it can satisfy you even more successfully than a meat-packed lunch can. The protein and fiber combination from the lentils and tuna is enough to help you get your nutrient fix for the whole day, and the salad can easily be made ahead of time so all you need to do is pull out your lunch box and dig in.
- 2 tablespoons finely diced shallot
- 1½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup brown or French green lentils
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 medium clove garlic
- 1 small carrot, peeled and halved
- 1 small yellow onion, unpeeled and halved
- ¼ cup thinly sliced scallion (white parts only)
- ½ cup homemade or jarred roasted or grilled red peppers, peeled and cut into thick slices
- 2 to 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 (5-ounce) cans tuna (preferably line-caught and packed in olive oil), drained
See recipe directions at Fine Cooking.
4. Baked Salmon Cakes
Salmon cakes are another easy fish lunch you can prepare ahead of time and then enjoy at your desk or in the lunchroom. They’re also easy and inexpensive to make, with canned salmon costing you close to only $2. Make salmon cakes on a Sunday before the work week and then enjoy a stress-less midday meal. This recipe from Taste of Home will show you how to bake your patties and then it’s up to you how you wish to serve them. Whether you eat the salmon cakes on a salad, on a sandwich, or plain, you’ll enjoy the deviation from your typical meaty lunch and your coworkers will find the salmon cakes fancy.
- 1 can (14¾ ounces) salmon, drained, bones and skin removed
- 1-½ cups soft whole wheat bread crumbs
- ½ cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
- ½ cup egg substitute
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup finely chopped celery
- ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
- 3 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 2 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon capers, drained
- ¼ teaspoon dill weed
- Dash lemon juice
See recipe directions at Taste of Home.
5. Shrimp Salad Pita
Moving on to shrimp, we come to this recipe from Martha Stewart for a shrimp salad pita. We’ve covered tuna and salmon salad, but have failed to mention how shrimp can be made into a creamy salad, too. Just add capers, lemon zest, and mayonnaise, and you’re good to go. As long as you prepare and make this shrimp salad ahead of time, you’ll have no trouble enjoying the good stuff at your desk. The shrimp salad can be refrigerated until it’s ready to be used and then you can pop it in a pita with cucumbers and lettuce whenever the craving strikes.
- 2¾ teaspoons salt
- 3 pounds small shrimp, in their shells
- 6 tablespoons capers, drained
- Zest of 3 lemons
- 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped dill
- 1 package pita bread (6 pitas)
- 12 leaves Boston lettuce
- 1 cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced
See recipe directions at Martha Stewart.
6. Crab Salad
If you want to treat yourself for lunch, grab some lump crab next time you go to the grocery store. With it, you can make this crab salad from The Lemon Bowl. Crab salad is another dish you can either enjoy alone, on a sandwich, or on a bed of greens. It’s full of protein that will leave you feeling satisfied and full, and you’ll also get your fix of omega-3 fatty acids. Follow this easy formula that subs out some of the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt, and you’ll find yourself dreading Meatless Mondays less and less.
- 1 pound lump crab meat
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup celery, minced
- ½ cup onion, minced
- ½ cup red pepper, minced
- 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
- Salt, pepper, and hot sauce, to taste
See recipe directions at The Lemon Bowl.
7. Tuna Macaroni Salad
Last but not least, we’re combining tuna with carbs. This recipe from Tastes of Lizzy T will completely change how you feel about canned tuna. It’s hard to resist the flavor-packed fish when it’s paired with macaroni and mayonnaise, and the tuna macaroni salad even gets an upgrade with the addition of hardboiled eggs and peas. Prepare your salad ahead of time and then pack it for lunch the next day. This recipe will take you all of 25 minutes to make, and you’ll be dreaming about it all morning.
- 2 cups elbow macaroni
- 4 hard boiled eggs, diced
- 2 cans tuna fish, drained
- 1 can peas, drained
- 1½ cups Miracle Whip (or mayonnaise)
- Salt and pepper to taste
See recipe directions at Tastes of Lizzy T.