A No-Cook Meal-Prep Plan With Just 8 Ingredients for 5 Easy Lunches


Roasting a ton of veggies, simmering a large batch of chili, baking up an eight-serving lasagna—these are all great ways to meal-prep for the week ahead. But what about when a busy weekend leaves you with hardly any time to boil water, let alone whip up a whole recipe?

That’s where this meal plan comes in. Using 50 percent fresh ingredients and 50 percent packaged items (but 100 percent real food!), it gives you five days of no-cook meals that don’t require you to stir a single pot, preheat an oven, or even turn on the stove. (One caveat: You do need a food processor or blender for one of the recipes, but for literally two minutes—and the recipe is totally worth it. Manageable, right?)

Ready, get set, cook go!

Step 1:

Go shopping.

Not to the shoe store; the grocery store, silly. Pick up everything on this very short list.

Shopping List:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can of chickpeas
  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 head of lettuce (romaine or butter)
  • 1 avocado
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 5 slices of whole-wheat bread
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 4 ounces roast beef (or any sliced meat you prefer)


Pantry Ingredients:

  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Whole-grain mustard

Step 2:

Prep in 20 minutes or less.

Again, no roasting meats, boiling grains, or chopping tons of veggies. Quickest prep ever.

1. Make hummus.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Combine half of them with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, and cumin and salt to taste in a food processor. If you have tahini on hand, add a tablespoon or two. Store the hummus in one airtight container and the remaining chickpeas in another. TBH, you can also just buy store-bought, but it’s so easy to make your own (and you’ll need to buy chickpeas anyway).

2. Rinse and store the lettuce.
Remove lettuce from its wrapping and remove any sketchy-looking outer leaves. Soak the head in iced water for a few minutes, then pat it dry with paper towels as thoroughly as you can. Use another few sheets of paper towel to wrap the lettuce and place it in a large resealable plastic bag. Put it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. On Tuesday, check the paper towels; if they’re especially wet, replace them, along with any leaves you find are starting to wilt. A properly stored head of lettuce can easily last a week.

3. Slice and store the cucumber.
Rinse cucumber thoroughly, then put it in an airtight container and cover with water. It’ll last for up to four days.

4. Store the roast beef.
Don’t open the roast beef until Monday, when you’re going to use it. Once you do, keep it stored in an airtight container. It’ll last for an additional three days.

5. Walnuts and bread can remain in their packaging.
However, after about two days, place the package of bread in the freezer. Thaw slices in the toaster oven as you need them. On Monday night, soak 1/2 cup walnuts in water to use for Tuesday’s dinner.

6. The tuna can remain in its can until you open it on Sunday. Once opened, remove the contents from the can and store them in an airtight container.

7. Store the avocado.
Don’t cut into the avocado until you use it on Sunday. Once it’s cut, add a drizzle of lemon juice over the flesh of the remaining half and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

Step 3:

Relish your easy, no-cook lunches from Sunday through Thursday and take yourself out to celebrate on Friday.

Sunday: Tuna Avocado Boats

  • 1/2 can tuna
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/3 cucumber, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons hummus

How to eat: Scoop out the flesh from the avocado and dice the chunks. Mash it with 1/2 the can of tuna, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of lemon juice. Spoon the filling back into the avocado “boat” for pretty presentation! On the side, plate up the cucumber slices with hummus for dipping.

Monday: Open-Faced Hummus and Roast Beef Sandwich

  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 ounces roast beef
  • 2 lettuce leaves
  • 1/3 cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 cup hummus

How to eat: This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Slather the hummus on each slice of bread and top with lettuce, cucumber slices, and roast beef. Eat each slice with a knife and fork or ditch cutlery altogether and pick them up like you would a pizza.

Tuesday: Vegan Walnut Tacos

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 2 lettuce leaves
  • 1/4 avocado, cut into chunks

How to eat: This one does require you to pull out your food processor or blender, but it’s worth it! Take the walnuts you soaked on Monday night and throw them in the processor with the chickpeas, salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic powder to taste. You can eat this “meat” cold or heat it up in the microwave for a minute before scooping it into the lettuce leaves. Top with the slices of avocado and a squirt of Sriracha, and dig in.

Wednesday: Tuna and Chickpea Salad Sandwich

  • 1/2 can tuna
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 2 slices bread
  • 1 lettuce leaf

How to eat: Make your mid-week meal much easier with a super-simple sandwich. Mash together the tuna, chickpeas, and avocado, and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Spread mustard on the bread and top with lettuce. Stuff the tuna salad filling between the bread.

Thursday: Leftovers Salad

  • 3-4 large lettuce leaves, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 ounces roast beef
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 slice bread
  • Any hummus you have left over

How to eat: When you’re gearing up for Thirsty Thursday happy hour, you’re going to want to eat a hearty but healthy lunch before going out on the town. Top the lettuce with pieces of the roast beef and scatter the walnuts and cucumber slices on top. Season with a dressing of 1/2 tablespoon olive oil mixed with a teaspoon of lemon juice, salt, and pepper. On the side, plate up a piece of toast with the remaining hummus.