READY TO LUNCH: 10 Quick Lunch Ideas for Short Notice Events

Choosing lunch for yourself is simple. Choosing lunch for a whole group, be it friends, family or colleagues? Not such a no-brainer. Coming up with quick and easy lunch ideas for an event that will please multiple people’s taste buds means there should always be some reliable go-to recipes in your repertoire.

Whether for a baby shower, a boardroom meeting, or casual family get-together, lunches are a more casual occasion than dinner parties–meaning if you’re planning a last-minute event, simple and light lunch dishes are what’s called for. But quick, healthy lunch ideas don’t have to be boring: whether you’re preparing the menu yourself or ordering from a catering company, serve up a combination of delicious classics along with a few impressive lunch ideas a little more out of the box.

Grazing Platter

Nothing like filling everyone up on a delicious assortment of bites they can pick ‘n’ mix themselves! Get creative with your presentation and fill a huge platter or table to the brim for a quick lunch idea that gives the impression of an abundant feast. Combine charcuterie and cheeses with olives, dried fruits, fresh fruit, crackers, dips, nuts, pastes, breads, chocolate and more. Lay out all your largest items first, followed by your serving utensils, medium and small items. Finish by filling the gaps with draped bunches of grapes, tiny dishes of nuts, jars of toothpicks (and more chocolate).

Sliders

There’s not many things that beat a big juicy burger, but the slider is a definite contender: all the goodness of a burger in a bite-sized treat. Try any of the below combinations:

  • Tuna & Sriracha Mayo 
  • Mushroom Pate & Pickles
  • Roast Beef & Guacamole 
  • Chicken Schnitzel & S

Sandwiches

Yes, sandwiches are a classic, but for a reason. They’re a fuss-free vehicle for getting a variety of textures and flavours into one easy-to-eat package, and they often don't require any cooking.

Keep the sandwiches and wraps for any business meetings small and light. White bread is always a safe bet (trim the crusts and slice to create delicate finger sandwiches), but adding options like sourdough, rye, bagels or paninis gives some extra wow factor–and don’t forget to include at least one bread that is gluten-free.

Elevate your options with some gourmet sandwich fillings such as:

  • Chicken, pesto, rocket, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic drizzle
  • Pear slices, goat’s cheese, chopped walnuts, and sprouts
  • Smoked salmon, cucumber, and herbed cream cheese

Salad

Salads full of tasty ingredients and compelling flavour combinations can be a delicious side dish or a standalone meal, as well as brightening up your table. Here are some of our favourites available here:

Frittata

Oh-so-versatile, a frittata is an blissfully easy lunch idea that can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; tastes as good (possibly even better) cold or at room temperature as it does warm; and can be packed with just about anything.

It can be made as a healthy, low carb, or vegetarian option simply by pre-cooking ingredients of your choice, covering with eggs mixed with a dash of milk plus a sprinkle of cheese, and baking in the oven (hot tip: using muffin cups to make baby frittatas, instead of one big slice in a dish, allows you to create as many different flavour variations as you like). Ingredients we love? Try mushrooms, potato, goats cheese, pancetta, roasted pumpkin or leeks. Serve cold, bring to room temperature, or reheat before serving.

Hot Dishes

Depending on how much sustenance your attendees might need, it can be nice to serve something a little heartier. Noodles are a super-tasty option for a hot offering, that you can either serve traditionally plated buffet-style (keeping the main dish warm on a hot plate), or fill individual takeaway boxes and serve them hot fork buffet-style–more substantial than finger food, less formal than a sit-down meal.

You can easily put a noodle dish together with curry paste, mixed vegetables, fully cooked rice noodles, and poached and shredded chicken thigh. Sprinkle crushed nuts on top for crunch!

Something Sweet

Sweet tooths in your crowd always appreciate something sugary to finish off a meal, and lunch is no different. The simplest option is to bake a slice (brownies are our favourite), cool, slice, and serve dusted with icing sugar. Another idea is to buy empty mini tart casings, pipe in lemon curd or ganache, and top with a tiny mint leaf for maximum elegance with minimum effort. Don’t forget a fruit platter for those wanting to just refresh their palate.

Or even better, make use of an experienced caterer take the guesswork out of the menu planning–not only are they full of quick and easy lunch ideas, it’s even quicker and easier when they can take everything off your hands!

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