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Tasty Lunches You Can Make With 5 Ingredients Or Less

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The power of five.
For SELF, by Audrey Bruno.

Photo: Tiffany Azure via; Graphic by Jocelyn Runice

Weekday lunches are tricky: You're craving a seared turmeric chicken bowl, a warm and crispy avocado toast, or maybe a hearty chili. But, depending on your location and schedule, whipping up a fresh, homemade meal isn't always an option.

When you have a few minutes to spare, and access to a kitchen, these tasty recipes keep the ingredient count in check. If you're stuck at your desk, the meals below are excellent dinner options--ones that make for excellent next-day lunches.

So what's on the menu? Well these seven recipes only require five ingredients (not including salt and pepper, natch). From there, you can doctor them up if you like, but dishes like sweet potato and black bean chili and apple and gruyère quesadillas taste great all on their own. You'll be feeling--and eating--like a superstar chef. Easy peasy.

1. Spinach-Parmesan Zucchini Noodles from Two Peas & Their Pod
Photo: Maria Lichty via

A combo of butter, spinach, and Parmesan transforms this plate of zucchini noodles into a restaurant-quality meal. Get the recipe here.

2. Buffalo Chicken Sliders from Creme De La Crumb
Photo: Tiffany Azure via

Kick lunch up a notch with these spicy sliders. Get the recipe here.

3. Sweet Potato And Black Bean Chili from Minimalist Baker
Photo: Dana and John Shultz via

If you've got a little extra time and a few more ingredients, Minimalist Baker recommends adding a handful of spices. But you only need five ingredients to make the delicious base. Get the recipe here.

4. 5-Minute Chicken Quesadillas from Healthy Nibbles And Bits
Photo: Lisa Lin via

This is not your typical quesadilla: It's packed with sweet and savory ingredients like apples, gruyère, and spinach. It's best eaten with pinkies up. Get the recipe here.

5. Mexican Brown Rice from Kim's Cravings
Photo: Kim Lee via

This rice recipe only calls for corn, beans, chili powder, salsa, and rice. But if you feel like amping it up, throw some avocado or lean protein (like chicken or turkey) on top. Get the recipe here.

6. Cheesy Cauliflower Soup With Kale Pesto from Pinch Of Yum
Photo: Jenna Arend via

Dreamy and creamy. If you have any truffle oil on hand, Pinch Of Yum highly recommends drizzling it over this creamy soup. Get the recipe here.

7. Pasta Salad from Gimme Some Oven
Photo: Ali Ebright via

Arugula gives this pasta salad a fiery zing and a nutty pesto rounds out all the flavors. Get the recipe here.