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Best Fast Lunches for Work In 10 Minutes

Updated on February 12, 2013
Banditos Salsa (public domain)
Banditos Salsa (public domain)

Fast Lunches with a Mexican Flavor

This hub presents is a series of several Mexican or Tex-Mex inspired lunch dishes that can be prepared quickly and refrigerated overnight to allow the flavors to meld. Most can also be placed into lunch containers, ready to grab out of the refrigerator in the morning when you go to work.

It's great if you have a refrigerator at work, but if not, use an insulated lunch bag or cooler for these dishes and they will be good-tasting and have good texture at lunchtime.

A serious work lunch. From the Harry S Truman National Historic Site.
A serious work lunch. From the Harry S Truman National Historic Site. | Source

A 5-Minute Lunch Dish

Black Bean Salsa/Salad

90 calories per serving (excluding chips), for 4-6 people.

For 2 lunches, cut the recipe requirements in half or keep the other half refrigerated and use within a few days.


  • 1 can (14 - 16 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can mango slices, cut into chunks
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, with peppers added if you like, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped, cilantro; or used powdered
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper if desired

Prep Time is only 5 minutes

  • Put together beans, mango, corn, onion and cilantro in a bowl.
  • Add then lime juice, garlic salt and cumin/cayenne and stir briefly. Serve with your favorite corn-based chips, such as blue corn or cilantro-added.

Lunch in Under 10 Minutes

Red Bean, Carrot and Avocado Salad

Serves 4-6


  • 1 can (14 - 16 ounces) red or dark kidney beans (or use some of each), rinsed and drained. Any sort of canned lidney-typ bean you have on hand would be good.
  • 1 can sliced carrots, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (use a spicy variety if you like)
  • 1 ripe avocado, the flesh diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Prep Time is 7-10 minutes

  • Using a large bowl, add beans, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, and red onion.
  • Add the olive oil and stir lightly, then season.
  • If you have a refrigerator or chilled lunch cooler, chill for lunch or eat immediately room temperature.
  • The salad can be kept in the refrigerator overnight as well.
  • For only 1-2 servings, cut the recipe requirements in half.
  • Serve with tortilla-type chips or your favorite bread.


A Meal in a Bowl in Less than 10 Minutes

Mexicali Salad

Serves 6 - 8. Cut the recipe requirements in half for 2-3 good lunch-sized portions.

  • 2 cans (14 - 16 ounces each) black beans, drained
  • 1 can diced Mexican tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 small can (about 4 ounces) chopped green chiles
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro; or 2 Tablespoons powdered
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar


  • Hot pepper sauce, to taste
  • Low-fat sour cream

Prep time is less than 10 minutes

  • Using a large bowl, combine beans, tomatoes, corn, chiles, cilantro, green onions and vinegar and stir lightly.
  • Mix in the hot pepper sauce and sour cream, if desired.
  • This can be prepared the night before so that the flavors will meld.
  • Serve with tortilla-type chips or your favorite bread.

A Cool Hearty Salad in About 15 Minutes

Avocado Citrus Salad

Serves 2-3


  • 1/2 can (14-16 ounces) diced tomatoes with green pepper or chilies and onion, drained
  • 1 small can Mandarin oranges, drained, but keep 1/8 cup of the juice
  • 1/8 cup chopped cilantro or 2 Tablespoons powdered
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 small chipotle pepper, seeds removed and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ripe avocados
  • 3 cups leafy lettuce (not iceberg), shredded
  • Parsley or Cilantro for garnish

Prep Time is 10-15 minutes

  • Using a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, Mandarin oranges, cilantro, and green onion.
  • In a small bowl, combine the chopped chipotle pepper, olive oil, Mandarin orange juice and black pepper.
  • Pour the chipotle mixture over the tomato mixture and toss together without bruising.
  • Let stand 30 minutes to blend flavors or eat immediately when avocados are prepared.
  • This portion of the dish can also mellow and meld in the refrigerator overnight, but don't mix it with the lettuce and avocado if you do this, because to may turn to mush.
  • Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and carefully scoop out the flesh with a spoon in a single piece on each half. Slice the halves ΒΌ inch thick.
  • Place the lettuce into lunch containers. If this is for lunch, place the lettuce in one container, coat the avocado slices with lime or lemon juice to prevent browning and put them in another container, and put the tomato mixture in a third container.
  • Whenever you are ready to eat, arrange avocado slices on top of the lettuce and spread or pour the tomato and orange mixture over the avocado.


Fast Tortilla Chips

Tortilla Chips

Lay out a few flour or corn tortillas on a cutting board and spray them with nonstick olive oil or other cooking spray on both sides.

  • If you wanted seasoned chips, sprinkle seasonings on both sides after spraying with cooking spray. You might use cayenne, cilantro, garlic salt, onion salt, or some other favorite. I like to use a little lime juice (careful not to wash off the cooking spray), cilantro, onion salt, black or white pepper, and red pepper.
  • Stack as many as 8 the tortillas together and cut into quarters with a sharp knife or a sharp pizza cutter.
  • Place your tortilla triangles in one layer on cookie sheets.
  • Bake 5 - 7 minutes at 375 degrees F until crisp and edges begin to curl up. Do not over cook and check ever 30 seconds after 5 minutes have elapses - they can burn quickly.
  • Remove chips from oven and place on a cooling rack as they continue to become crisper. Cool 5-10 minutes and enjoy.

Video Recipe: Healthy Southwest Bean Salad Recipe


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      JerseyGirl - Yes, i became very tired of those sorts of sandwiches and some days just did not eat lunch at all. But I watched some old cooking shows and started coming up with some ideas. There are so many weeks of constant work and no lunch in my life that food preparation is now a hobby. Happy lunches to you!

      Kat07 - Great! I hoep you like them when you try them.

      C-Lee, I am happy that they look good to you. They certainly taste good! They look good too, so feed preparation can be an art form. :)

    • C-Lee profile image

      C-Lee 9 years ago

      Now how am I supposed to focus on writing, after those scrumptious recipes amd mouth-watering pics?

      Patty, these are great variations on a theme, which makes them easy to remember. Thanks!

    • Kat07 profile image

      Kat07 9 years ago from Tampa

      Patty, you are on a roll! These are great!

    • JerseyGirl profile image

      JerseyGirl 9 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Great recommendations. Hubbie and I were actually discussing new lunch ideas tonight; as our regular ones were not that exciting.

      Tuna Salad, Egg Salad, BLT, Bologna and Cheese, and leftover Mealoaf. Maybe if lucky, a couple of leftover chicken legs. If not too lucky, some other leftover from dinner that doesn't taste quite right, may be lurking in your lunch bag.

      None the less.... we ALL seem to run out of ideas.

      YOURS are great. I cannot wait to try them all and wish that my family's lunchbox is on the mend. Thank you.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Thank you very much Hope! I have some of those and will make some probably tomorrow evening.  I have some corn flour for making tortillas and it's time I tried to make them as well. Wish me luck!

      judy1947 - Thanks for the nice comments. I love vegetables. Actually, if I had only cilantro I could live on that for about 3 days. It's magic.


    • profile image

      judy1947 9 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Good job on your hub. Looks so good. I am going shopping and the veggies looks great. Yummy.

    • Hope Wilbanks profile image

      Hope Wilbanks 9 years ago from Louisiana

      Nice recipes! I think I'll try the tortilla chips on some leftover flour tortillas I have. :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      But I like cold pizza. :)

    • djtphn1 profile image

      djtphn1 9 years ago from Riverside County, California

      Lovely hub, makes me hungry, wish I had these ingredients right now I would prepare something, but all I have, lo and behold is cold pizza and a beer....not so appetizing!!!! Thanks for the hub.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Thank youhighwaystar! I should maybe write encyclodpedias. :)

    • profile image

      highwaystar 9 years ago

      Excellent Patty, you have such a flair for precise details with plenty of information, easy to read, great hub...thanks.