Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Lunch Ideas

Delicious Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Lunch Ideas

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Updated on March 25, 2024

Does the thought of packing yet another gluten-free and dairy-free lunch ideas for yourself or your little one leave you feeling defeated?  

Fear not, fellow food adventurer! Fueling your body with delicious and satisfying midday meals doesn’t have to be a chore, even with dietary restrictions. Whether battling celiac disease, lactose intolerance, or simply following a healthier lifestyle, this guide is your roadmap to conquering cravings and creating powerhouse lunches that will keep you energised and focused all afternoon.  

We’ll explore various options, from quick and easy solutions to fantastic meal prep strategies, ensuring a perfect lunch fit for every busy schedule and taste bud. So, ditch the lunch blues and get ready to discover a world of flavour-packed possibilities!

Delicious Gluten-free and Dairy-Free Lunch Recipes

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Lunch Ideas
Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Lunch Ideas

Here are some delicious gluten-free and dairy-free lunch recipe options that are easy to make and perfect for a quick weekday meal:

Baked Salmon with Fennel & Tomatoes

This recipe is a flavorful and healthy one-pan meal perfect for a weeknight gluten-free, dairy-free lunch. It’s naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, making it a great option for those with dietary restrictions.


  • 4 salmon fillets (6-8 oz each)
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels. Season them with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Toss the sliced fennel, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
  4. Spread the fennel and tomato mixture evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Arrange the salmon fillets on top of the vegetables.
  5. Pour the white wine (if using) around the salmon and vegetables, being careful not to pour directly into the salmon.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the salmon is cooked and flakes easily with a fork. The flesh should reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).
  7. Squeeze the lemon juice over the salmon and vegetables before serving.


  • You can substitute other vegetables for the fennel, such as zucchini, yellow squash, or bell peppers.
  • If you don’t have fresh rosemary or thyme, use 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbs for each.
  • You can drizzle the finished dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil infused with garlic or herbs for a richer flavour.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Rice Noodle Salad with Peanut Butter Tempeh

This flavorful rice noodle salad features marinated tempeh in a creamy peanut sauce tossed with fresh vegetables and rice noodles. It’s a delicious and satisfying gluten-free and dairy-free lunch option.


For the Tempeh

  • 8 ounces tempeh, sliced into cubes
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (use tamari for a gluten-free option)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

For the Peanut Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (check label for dairy-free)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk (full-fat for creamier sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (use tamari for a gluten-free option)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha (or to taste)

For the Salad:

  • 8 ounces rice noodles (choose gluten-free variety)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)


  1. Marinate the Tempeh: In a bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, garlic, and ginger. Add tempeh cubes and toss to coat—Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight for deeper flavour.
  2. Cook the Rice Noodles: Cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain, rinse under cold water, and set aside.
  3. Prepare the Peanut Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, coconut milk, water, lime juice, soy sauce, maple syrup, and sriracha. Add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the sauce reaches the desired consistency (thin enough to coat the noodles).
  4. Cook the Tempeh: Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Drain the tempeh cubes from the marinade (reserve marinade for later) and cook for 5-7 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy.
  5. Assemble the Salad: In a large bowl, combine cooked rice noodles, shredded carrots, chopped cucumber, red bell pepper, green onions, and cilantro (if using).
  6. Add the Dressing: Pour the peanut sauce over the salad and toss to coat evenly. If the tempeh’s marinade seems flavorful, add a tablespoon or two to the salad for extra depth.
  7. Top with Tempeh and Garnish:  Add the cooked tempeh cubes to the salad and toss gently to combine. Garnish with sesame seeds (optional) and serve.


  • For a spicier peanut sauce, add more sriracha to taste.
  • Add other vegetables to the salad, such as shredded cabbage, chopped broccoli, or bean sprouts.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Overnight, the flavour may develop even more.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Chicken Pesto Wraps

These wraps are a flavorful and satisfying lunch option perfect for those following a gluten-free and dairy-free diet.


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 gluten-free tortillas (almond flour or cassava flour work well)
  • 1/2 cup pesto (look for a dairy-free variety, or make your own with dairy-free parmesan cheese)
  • 1 cup arugula
  • Cherry tomatoes, sliced (optional)
  • Vegan cheese shreds (optional)


  1. Cook the chicken: Season the chicken breasts with oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes per side or until cooked through. Let the chicken cool slightly, and then shred it.
  2. Warm the tortillas:  Heat the tortillas in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds per side or until warm and pliable.
  3. Assemble the wraps: Spread a layer of pesto onto each tortilla. Top with shredded chicken, arugula, and sliced cherry tomatoes (if using). You can also add a sprinkle of vegan cheese for extra flavour.
  4. Wrap it up: Fold the bottom edge of the tortilla up and over the filling. Then, fold in the sides and roll the tortilla tightly to enclose the filling.
  5. Optional: Toast the wraps (for a crispy exterior). Heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat. Place the wraps seam-side down in the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy.


  • You can use leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken for this recipe.
  • If you don’t have pesto, you can make your own dairy-free version using ingredients like basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and nutritional yeast.
  • You can add other vegetables to your wraps, such as shredded carrots, bell peppers, or spinach.
  • These wraps can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Easy Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Lunch Ideas

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Lunch Ideas
Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Lunch Ideas

Here are some super easy gluten-free and dairy-free lunch ideas that require minimal prep and are perfect for busy weekdays:

Wraps on the Go

Turkey and Veggie Pita: Spread hummus on gluten-free pita bread, top with sliced turkey, shredded carrots, cucumber slices, and a sprinkle of dried cranberries.

Avocado Egg Salad Wrap: Mash avocado with chopped hard-boiled eggs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Spread on a gluten-free wrap and add chopped spinach or lettuce.

Salad Sensations

Chopped Antipasto Salad: Combine chopped olives, salami (or vegan salami), cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese alternative (made from coconut milk), and a drizzle of Italian dressing. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Tuna Salad with a Twist: Mix canned tuna with chopped celery, red onion, chopped apple for some sweetness, and vegan mayonnaise. Serve on a bed of romaine lettuce leaves.

Leftover Magic

Leftover Protein Bowl: Repurpose leftover grilled chicken, salmon, or roasted veggies. Toss them on a bed of greens, top with chopped avocado, sliced cucumber, and a drizzle of your favourite vinaigrette.

One-and-Done Options

Hard-boiled Eggs with Fruit are a classic protein and fibre combo. Pair hard-boiled eggs with apple slices, grapes, or a handful of berries.

Trail Mix with a Twist: Make your own dairy-free trail mix with gluten-free rolled oats, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds (avoid cashews if nut allergies are a concern).


Bonus Tip

Stock up on pre-cut and washed vegetables like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber slices for easy additions to any lunch.

Allergy-Friendly Packaged Lunch Ideas

Discover convenient and tasty gluten-free and dairy-free lunch ideas perfect for those with food allergies. From delicious bread alternatives to satisfying snacks, these packaged lunch ideas will make your life easier and tastier.

So why wait? Start exploring now!

Protein and Healthy Fats

Individually packaged cooked chicken or turkey breast slices: These are a great source of protein and can be eaten on their own or added to salads or wraps. Look for brands that don’t contain added preservatives or fillers.

Single-serve packets of nut-free seed butter (sunflower seed, pumpkin seed): Spread them on gluten-free crackers or rice cakes for a satisfying snack.

Hard-boiled eggs: A classic protein source, easy to peel and pack.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh, pre-cut fruits and vegetables: Many stores offer pre-cut options like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, apple slices, or celery sticks. Pack them with a safe dip like hummus or guacamole (check labels for hidden allergens).

Dried fruits and unsweetened applesauce: A good source of fibre and natural sweetness.

Individual fruit cups packed in water: Look for brands that don’t contain added sugars or syrups.

Grains and Starches (if tolerated)

Individual packets of gluten-free crackers or rice cakes: Choose varieties made with wholesome ingredients like brown rice, quinoa, or chickpeas.

Single-serving packets of gluten-free pretzels or popcorn: A fun and crunchy snack option.

Treats (if tolerated)

Individually packaged gluten-free cookies or snack bars: Look for brands that are also free from your specific allergens (e.g., nut-free, dairy-free).

Freeze-dried fruit: A healthy and satisfying sweet treat.


  • Invest in a thermos: To stay warm, pack hot lunches like leftover soup, chilli, or cooked quinoa bowls.
  • Ice packs: Keep pre-cut fruits and vegetables fresh with a small ice pack.
  • Lunch box with compartments: This helps separate different food items and prevent them from getting soggy.
  • Always check labels: Even pre-packaged snacks can contain hidden allergens, so double-check the ingredients list to ensure they are safe for your specific allergies.

Remember: While these are general ideas, tailoring them to your specific allergies is important. Be sure to check labels carefully and choose options that are safe for you.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Meal Prep Magic

Meal prepping can be a lifesaver for those with jam-packed schedules. It allows you to prepare healthy and delicious lunches in advance, eliminating the daily scramble and ensuring you have satisfying meals readily available throughout the week. 

Here’s how to leverage meal prep for your gluten-free and dairy-free lunches:

The Power of Planning

The key to successful meal prep lies in planning. Start by dedicating a specific time each week (usually a Sunday afternoon) to prepping your lunches.

 This dedicated planning session will not only save you time throughout the week but also help you stay on track with your dietary goals.

  • Plan Your Menu: Consider your dietary needs, preferences, and the amount of time you have for weekday mornings when choosing your meal prep recipes. Opt for various options to keep your taste buds happy throughout the week.
  • Make a Shopping List: Once your menu is finalised, create a comprehensive shopping list to ensure you have all the necessary ingredients for your planned lunches. This helps avoid those mid-week grocery store runs that can disrupt your schedule.

Storage Savvy

Choosing the right storage containers is crucial for maintaining the freshness and safety of your prepped lunches.

  • Airtight is Key: Invest in a set of high-quality, BPA-free airtight containers. These containers prevent air exposure, which can lead to spoilage and the growth of bacteria. Consider portion-control containers to promote mindful eating and prevent overconsumption.
  • Label It Up: Clearly label each container with the contents and date of preparation. This ensures you’re grabbing the freshest option and helps you rotate your lunches throughout the week to avoid food waste.

Sample Meal Prep Plan

Here’s a sample gluten-free and dairy-free meal prep plan to inspire your creativity:

  • Monday: Gluten-free pasta salad with grilled chicken, vegetables, and a light vinaigrette dressing.
  • Tuesday: Mason jar salad with quinoa, black beans, chopped vegetables, and a zesty lemon-tahini dressing.
  • Wednesday: Veggie wraps with almond butter, sliced bell peppers, cucumbers, and hummus.
  • Thursday: Leftover soup from Sunday night’s dinner paired with a side of gluten-free crackers and chopped vegetables.
  • Friday: Leftover stir-fry from Tuesday night with a side of sliced fruit.

The Final Bite

We hope this guide has equipped you with the knowledge and inspiration to conquer the lunch challenge, regardless of your gluten-free and dairy-free restrictions. So, ditch the bland and embrace a world of flavorful possibilities! Now, get out there and pack some amazing lunches!

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