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25 Best Back-to-School Recipes

From make-ahead salads to a fresh take on Bagel Bites, we've got you covered.
lunch boxes with kids school supplies and whole apple

Summer is whizzing by and, believe it or not, school is around the corner. Even though school is going to look different for a lot of youngins this year, one thing is certain: They'll need lunch. Whether your child is physically going back to school or learning remotely from home, having some simple yet delicious recipes in the coffer will make it easier to keep them nourished.

To help you get a head start in planning, we've scouted out 25 back-to-school recipes that both adults and kids can enjoy (there are even a few treat recipes because, hey, you deserve it). And for more kid-friendly lunches, check out these 25 Genius Bento Box Lunch Ideas.

1

Cheesy pizza cups

keto pizza cups overhead
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

Bagel bites are technically breakfast treats, but let's be honest, they can be enjoyed any time. You could make these with mini bagels, but we took things to the next level by using a cheese-based dough in this recipe.

Get our recipe for Cheesy Pizza Cups

2

Classic turkey sandwich

classic turkey sandwich piled high with cheese and vegetables
Courtesy of A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Turkey sandwiches are classic for a reason. This one takes it up a notch, though, with the addition of cranberry sauce. Who doesn't love a little sweet and savory combo?

Get the recipe from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

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3

Greek yogurt apple streusel muffins

apple streusel muffins in baking tin
Shutterstock

Think outside the lunchbox and try whipping up some muffins for lunch. The kids can top them with peanut butter or pair them with some cheese for extra protein.

Get the recipe from Healthy Seasonal Recipes

4

Vegetarian Italian chopped salad

italian chopped salad in bowls
Courtesy of Cookie and Kate.

If your kids want all the deliciousness of an Italian salad but without the meat, this is the recipe for you. It's packed with protein from chickpeas and plenty of flavors thanks to a zesty vinaigrette and pepperoncini peppers (those are optional, of course). Leave the dressing off when you prepare it, and the salad will be good for up to four days.

Get the recipe from Cookie and Kate

5

Easy pasta salad

pasta salad in glass bowl
Courtesy of Inspired Taste

Pasta salads are one-stop-shop recipes. You have your carbs, veggies, and protein all in one bowl. And this recipe, with cucumbers, tomatoes, and a tangy vinaigrette, is just as easy to eat as it was to make.

Get the recipe from Inspired Taste

RELATED: Your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!

6

Mason jar salads

chicken berry quinoa mason jar salad
Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

It's a fact: Anything looks cute in a mason jar. Especially salad! Here are four ways to make a salad in a Mason jar (the chicken berry quinoa looks particularly delicious).

Get the recipes from Ambitious Kitchen

7

Mediterranean bean salad

mediterranean bean salad with tomatoes cucumber olives feta
Courtesy of The View from Great Island

This is the ideal batch-cooking salad. Chock-full of beans and crunchy vegetables, this salad will hold up great in the fridge all week.

Get the recipe from The View from Great Island.

8

Breakfast salads

sauteed breakfast salad
Courtesy of Eating Bird Food

These salads are meant for breakfast, but you and the kids can enjoy these any time of the day. The poached egg and avocado salad is especially great for those kids lunching from home.

Get the recipes from Eating Bird Food

9

Chickpea sunflower sandwich

Chickpea faux tuna sandwich
Courtesy of Minimalist Baker

This vegan recipe could convert even the staunchest carnivores. Smashed chickpeas, sunflower seeds, and vegan mayo (or regular, if that's preferred) come together for a satisfying sandwich filling. Make a big batch and scoop it into sandwiches all week.

Get the recipe from Minimalist Baker

10

Slow cooker chicken Caesar sandwiches

slow cooker chicken salad on brioche roll with lettuce
Courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything

The slow cooker does most of the work for you in this sandwich twist on a classic salad.

Get the recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything

11

BBQ chicken tortilla pinwheels

bbq chicken tortilla pinwheels
Courtesy of Five Heart Home

This dish hits all the comfort food notes: cream cheese, chicken, tortillas, and cheese. It's easy to prepare and fun to eat.

Get the recipe from Five Heart Home

12

Hamburger soup

hamburger soup in mini pot
Courtesy of A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

When the temperatures drop, it's time to put the soup on. This soup is packed with ground beef and veggies and will last all week. Send it to school in one of these cute insulated containers.

Get the recipe from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

13

Chopped Mexican bean and corn salad

mexican corn bean salad
Courtesy of A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

This recipe is meant to be easily prepared on camping trips, so you know it'll be easy at home, too. Serve it with a side of tortilla chips for a crunch factor.

Get the recipe from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

14

Balsamic vegetarian couscous

balsamic couscous with tomatoes
Courtesy of A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Pearl couscous has an excellent chewy texture and complements the tomatoes in this recipe perfectly. Balsamic dressing adds a nice tang, making this an ideal vegetarian dish, or you can pack it as a side to some chicken.

Get the recipe from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

15

Raspberry Greek yogurt

raspberry greek yogurt in three bowls
Courtesy of A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Lunch can be a little bit sweet and still be nutritious, as this raspberry Greek yogurt recipe demonstrates. Make it extra fun for the kids by packing a few toppings like nut butter and chopped fruit.

Get the recipe from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

16

After-school pinwheels

three types of pinwheel roll ups on serving platter
Courtesy of Macheesmo

If you're searching for more pinwheel inspiration, look no further. Here are three more ideas (one involving guacamole!).

Get the recipes from Macheesmo.

17

Grilled peanut butter, mango, and peach sandwiches

grilled peanut butter sandwich with peaches and mango
Courtesy of Creme de la Crumb

A peanut butter sandwich doesn't have to be just a peanut butter sandwich. This recipe levels up with the addition of mango and peach. Grill it if you're able to make lunch during the day, or skip the grilling for packing purposes (it'll still be great).

Get the recipe from Creme de la Crumb

18

Chocolate peanut butter banana bites

chocolate peanut butter banana bites on plate
Courtesy of Eating Bird Food

OK, these are better suited for after-school treats than for lunch. But they'll make after-school snacking so much easier. It doesn't get much better than chocolate, peanut butter, and banana.

Get the recipe from Eating Bird Food

19

Tomato soup

tomato soup in bowl with spoon
Courtesy of Inspired Taste

You only need three ingredients to make this classic soup. Pack it along with some bread for dunking. Or, pair it with the always-reliable grilled cheese.

Get the recipe from Inspired Taste

20

Whole-wheat veggie pizza

whole wheat pizza slices topped with bell peppers
Courtesy of Sweet Phi

Making pizza is a fun, hands-on activity to do with the kids, and then you can feast on it all week for lunch. Even room-temperature pizza (for the kids who can't reheat it) is delicious.

Get the recipe from Sweet Phi

21

Chipotle chicken taquitos

chipotle chicken taquitos on platter
Courtesy of Foodie Crush

Tacos are great, but they don't necessarily travel well for lunch. Enter the taquito. These rolled treats are the perfect handheld lunch for your kiddo.

Get the recipe from Foodie Crush

22

Roasted broccoli and farro bowls

broccoli farro bowls
Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

If your child is a veggie lover, then this is the bowl for them. That lemon-tahini dressing is irresistible!

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven

23

Energy cookies

energy cookies on a baking sheet
Courtesy of Cooking Classy

Cookies are a must in school lunches, but why not a cookie with a wholesome twist? These little sweets feature rolled oats, whole wheat flour, and flaxseed meal. But, there's also plenty of chocolate.

Get the recipe from Cooking Classy

24

No-bake energy bites

energy bites
Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

These easy-to-prepare bites make a great after-lunch treat or midday snack. Make a batch (get the kids to help scoop and roll) and store them in the fridge or freeze.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven

25

Thai peanut chicken wraps

thai peanut chicken wraps on plate
Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

These Thai-inspired wraps are a great way to shake up the usual lunch routine. The vibrant colors are enticing, but the peanut dressing with plenty of umami is irresistible.

Get the recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

And when you're cooking at home, try out these 52 Life-Changing Kitchen Hacks That'll Make You Enjoy Cooking Again.

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Lia Picard
Lia Picard is a food and travel writer. Read more
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