40 Easy No-Cook Lunch Ideas for Backpacking or Hiking

By Rachel
April 2, 2024

Wondering what to bring along the next time you go hiking? This post will help you find 40 Easy No-Cook Lunch Ideas for Backpacking or Hiking from lettuce salads and beans salads, to sandwiches and wraps. Perfect for sticking in your backpack or cooler! These recipes are all made to eat cold, as is – no heating required. No matter if you’re hiking with yourself, a friend, or a large group, these meals are all easy to package and easy to eat! These meal ideas are all made with real food and don’t require much effort to make!

No-cook lunch ideas can seem boring, but items like mason jar salads and flavorful loaded wraps bring more excitement to your backpacking trip! Good fuel is necessary during hiking or backpacking and these 40 recipe ideas are sure to give you the fuel you need. Most of these ideally need to be stored in a small cooler of lunch box to keep them chilled, depending on the temperature outside.

Make sure to pack you bag with plenty of napkins, silverware, hot sauce or other seasonings as needed to bring even more fun to your no-cook lunch! All ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. A nutritious meal is a necessary part of your next camping trip! Whether you have a camp stove or not these can all be a great option for delicious meals, that are also family favorites!

1. Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad

This easy Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad with honey balsamic dressing is my go-to summer pasta salad. It’s almost no-cook and comes together quickly, and with very little effort. Grilled balsamic herb chicken tossed with balsamic dressing, pasta, marinated mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and creamy avocado. It’s colorful and so delicious. Enjoy this for dinner and save the leftovers for lunch. Or serve it up at your next summer party. It’s always good.

2. Sesame Chicken Cold Rice Noodle Salad Lunches

Why not add this simple cold meal prep lunch to your rotation? These Sesame Chicken Cold Rice Noodle Salad Lunches are full of mandarins, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, sesame shredded chicken, and cold rice noodles for a total meal prep game changer!

3. Mediterranean Bean Salad

Mediterranean Bean Salad is an easy three bean salad recipe (3 bean salad) loaded with legumes and veggies all tossed in a delicious Mediterranean dressing. It’s also nutritious, delicious and it travels well so it’s a perfect cold bean salad to take to a potluck or summer barbecue! 

4. Peanut Chicken Wrap Recipe

These easy, chicken wraps with peanut sauce are such an simple and healthy lunch recipe, but they’re delicious any time of day. Soft flour tortillas are filled with seasoned chicken, crunchy coleslaw and peanuts with a slightly spicy, homemade sauce. Feel free to swap store bought sauce to make them even easier. Makes 6 chicken wraps.

5. Copycat Starbucks Turkey Protein Box

Copycat Starbucks Turkey Protein Box can be prepared ahead of time for an easy lunch!

6. Pizza Roll Up Lunch Box

These easy no-cook lunch boxes make great “brown bag” lunches for the work week, especially for those of you who don’t have access to a refrigerator or microwave during your work day. Just pop one of these in an insulated lunch pack and you’re good to go!

7. Lemony Artichoke and Quinoa Salad

I’m living off refrigerator salads all summer, what about you? Oh, you don’t know what a refrigerator salad is? It’s a salad that holds up well to refrigeration (doesn’t go limp and soggy like lettuce), and a meal prepper’s best friend. During the summer months I love mixing up a big batch of refrigerator salads, like this Lemony Artichoke and Quinoa Salad, to eat all week. Sometimes I eat them alone as a light entrée, sometimes I use them as a side dish, sometimes as a base for bowl meals. They’re versatile, delicious, and never go to waste in my house!

8. Viral TikTok Grinder Salad

Let’s make the Viral TikTok Grinder Salad with salami, provolone, and your favorite Italian antipasti. We’re assembling the whole thing in a mason jar, which makes it a dream for meal prep! The key to success is in layering the salad ingredients in a way that keeps the lettuce crisp right up until you serve. Dressed with our homemade basil vinaigrette, this easy lunch salad recipe will quickly become one of your favorites. Gluten-free.

9. No Cook Greek Pita Bento Box

Greek pita bento box has chicken, greek salad, tzatziki and pita bread. No cooking required, and assembled in under 20 minutes!

10. Chicken Bacon Picnic Sandwiches

Like most picnic sandwiches, they’re easy to assemble, they’re ultra-customizable, they travel well, they can be made ahead of time, and they will be devoured. I swear it. 

11. Avocado Tuna Salad

This avocado tuna salad recipe is the perfect quick, fresh, easy-to-make lunch and dinner ready in only 10 minutes! Made with avocados instead of mayo, it’s a healthy and satisfying twist on the classic tuna salad recipe.

12. Black Bean Tortilla Roll Ups

These tortilla roll ups are a quick and easy lunch recipe, they’re colorful and full of healthy veggies. Dip in salsa for the win!

13. Caprese Chicken Salad Meal Prep Bowls

Caprese chicken salad meal prep bowls are fresh, summery and delicious. With baked chicken, fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, quinoa and basil leaves all drizzled in a balsamic vinaigrette.

14. Healthy Quinoa Salad

Bright flavor and bold bites are what make this healthy quinoa salad with chickpeas, black beans, mango, and avocado in a limey dressing an easy side dish or simple vegetarian meal.

15. Firebirds Wood Fired Grill BLT Salad Recipe

This Firebirds wood fired grill BLT salad recipe is too easy not to make at home! Mixed lettuce, cherry tomatoes, chopped bacon, herbs, and avocado tossed in a homemade roasted garlic ranch. Perfect for ripe summer produce, this salad makes a great side or main dish. For a heartier salad, add grilled chicken or steak, hard boiled eggs, chopped nuts, or croutons.

16. Jennifer Aniston Salad with Orzo

This tasty, easy, and healthy salad recipe is a spin of the TikTok-famous Jennifer Aniston Salad with a few different additions and swaps.

17. Lemon Orzo Salad with Chicken

This lemon orzo salad recipe is a fresh, healthy, and colorful summer salad that’s a breeze to make! It’s ready in about 30 minutes.

18. Asian Mason Jar Salads

These healthy, delicious, and portable asian mason jar salads are made with romaine lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, green onion, mandarin oranges, avocados, almonds, and cilantro with a tahini miso dressing.

19. BLT Pasta Salad Jars

These BLT pasta salad jars are loaded with protein-packed crispy tempeh bacon for smoky and savory flavor, chickpea pasta, juicy cherry tomatoes, and chopped arugula tossed in a zesty sunflower seed jalapeno mayo dressing. A delightful twist on the classic pasta salad. Perfect for meal prep, a barbecue party or as a side with your main course.

20. Copycat Zoe’s Kitchen Pasta Salad Recipe

This copycat Zoe’s Kitchen pasta salad recipe is simple and flavorful! Campari tomatoes, feta, and herbs in a quick olive oil dressing. This pasta salad makes a great side dish, add grilled steak or chicken for a heartier meal. Easily make this salad ahead of time for parties or gatherings. The perfect recipe for fresh summer produce!

21. Greek Chicken Salad in a Jar

The best healthy Greek-inspired chicken salad loaded with chickpeas, fresh veggies, feta, and kalamata olives. Toss this light and simple Greek chicken salad with a flavorful Greek dressing, layer in a mason jar, or put it in meal prep containers for the perfect weekday lunch!

22. Greek Farro Salad

Classic Greek salad meets everyone’s favorite whole grain in this Greek Farro Salad recipe! Toss hearty farro with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, roasted red bell pepper, feta, & plenty of arugula, then bring it all together with the simplest Greek vinaigrette. Not only is it absolutely delicious & easy to make, but this Mediterranean farro salad is also incredibly versatile – serve it warm or cold, as a side dish or plant-powered main, or meal prep for the best weekday lunches ever!

23. Creamy Italian Pasta Salad

If the weather is warm, pasta salad is always on the menu and I cannot get enough of this Creamy Italian Pasta Salad!

24. Creamy Cucumber Salad

Cool and refreshing, this cucumber salad is the perfect addition to your virtual recipe book of sides. Whip it together with our Squeeze Mayo with Avocado Oil or Real Whipped Tangy Dressing & Spread for a creamy texture and delicious flavor. We bet it’ll be one of your new go-to sides for summer!

25. Italian Coldcut Wrap

A couple slices of deli turkey, a couple slices of salami, and a slice of provolone cheese is all we need to be perfectly full. Plus, we’re going to finish it off with some microgreens to add a nice freshness to our wrap! If you’re not totally obsessed with microgreens like I am, feel free to use some fresh spinach as your green in these wraps.

26. Club Sandwiches

These little guys have turkey, ham, cheddar, bacon, lettuce, and avocado.  I also brushed the sliced rolls with a garlic butter before toasting them until golden brown.  

27. Buffalo Chicken Jar Salad

Buffalo Chicken Jar Salad ~ Easy, Light and Healthy Lunch Full of Flavor! Layers of Blue Cheese Dressing, Celery, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Corn, Onions, Buffalo Chicken and Lettuce!

28. The Best No Lettuce Salad

If you’re looking for a light and refreshing salad that skips the lettuce but not the flavor, this No Lettuce Salad is your answer. Packed with garbanzo beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a zesty dressing on a bed of cottage cheese, it’s a satisfying and wholesome salad that’s perfect for any meal.

29. Caesar Chicken Salad Lunch Wraps

Keep lunch prep easy with these Caesar Chicken Salad Lunch Wraps! Mix up the caesar chicken salad ahead of time, then enjoy with greens on a wrap, as a sandwich, or dip in crackers at lunchtime. Simple & make-ahead friendly!

30. Chickpea Salad Sandwich

This simple chickpea salad sandwich is a creamy and filling vegetarian lunch idea that we whip up all the time! Like a chickpea tuna salad but totally vegan, made with a few flavorful but simple ingredients. My husband asks me to make this for him to take to work ALL the time!

31. Italian Chopped Salad

This hearty Italian Chopped Salad is full of flavor and absolutely delicious. Crunchy veggies, creamy cheese, and the best lemon herb dressing all come together to make a tasty and filling salad that everyone is sure to love!

32. Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad

Time for another no-heat meal idea: Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad. I came up with the idea for this recipe when my basil plant was going crazy and needed to be trimmed back. I’ve had this particular basil plant since last fall – got it at the grocery store and it’s been going strong ever since! I’m a huge fan of all interpretations of caprese salad, and adding pasta and chicken makes for a truly delicious lunch. It’s all tossed together with an easy homemade balsamic based dressing.

33. Mediterranean Chickpea and Egg Salad Jars

Mediterranean Chickpea and Egg Salad Jars for your Monday lunch.

34. Portillos Chopped Salad

A flavorful copycat recipe of the famous Portillo’s Chopped Salad- packed with crisp romaine lettuce, savory bacon & diced chicken , juicy cherry tomatoes, green onion, Gorgonzola cheese, and bits of ditalini pasta all covered in an easy creamy sweet and tangy dressing.

35. Italian Chicken Wrap

This Italian chicken wrap is stuffed with the most flavorful ingredients like roasted red peppers, arugula, kalamata olives, tomatoes, and provolone cheese, and is such a delicious, easy lunch.

36. Chicken Caeser Sandwiches

You can’t go wrong with these incredible Chicken Caesar Sandwiches! They’re filled with thinly sliced chicken, cheese and Caesar dressing between two Ciabatta rolls.

37. Caprese Sandwich

If you’re a Caprese salad fan, you’ll love this Caprese Sandwich recipe! Juicy tomatoes, fresh basil, peppery arugula, and rich mozzarella are sandwiched between two soft focaccia layers. It’s the perfect vegetarian sandwich to enjoy at summer brunches, lunches, picnics, and more. Perfect for a day hike!

38. Marinated Tomato Feta Orzo Salad Jars

These Marinated Tomato Feta Orzo Salad Jars are a fun, easy, and wholesome make-ahead lunch or dinner. These simple, delicious salad jars are no-cook, come together quickly, and with very little effort. Greek olives, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, salty feta cheese, orzo pasta, and a tangy, herby Greek dressing. Each jar is so colorful and, once everything is tossed together, very yummy too. Enjoy these for lunch or dinner. Using mason jars make these easy to store!

39. Roasted Asparagus, Feta, and Orzo Salad

This roasted asparagus and feta orzo salad is fresh, bright, and full of flavor. Tender orzo pasta, roasted asparagus, cherry tomatoes, feta, and herbs. This is a great salad for summer, it’s a wonderful way to use up in season vegetables and herbs. Serve this salad at room temperature or cold, great for picnics or backyards BBQ’s.

40. Chicken Cashew Crunch Salad

Chicken Cashew Crunch Salad with Sesame-Teriyaki Dressing is meal prep-friendly and perfect for weekday meals. Ready in just 20 minutes and full of nutritious, flavorful ingredients. Perfect for left over rotisserie chicken!

Other snack ideas for your hike:

  • Trail mix with chia seeds and chocolate chips
  • Peanut butter and apples
  • Banana chips or fresh bananas
  • Beef Jerky
  • Chopped fresh fruit
  • Summer sausage or beef sticks
  • Protein shakes or protein powder and almond milk
  • Instant hummus and veggies
  • Crackers
  • Protein bars or homemade granola bars
  • Freeze-dried food like freeze dried strawberries or mangos
  • Energy bars
  • Mozzarella cheese sticks
  • Mini prepared charcuterie board
  • Bagels and cream cheese

If you enjoyed this guide on 40 Easy No-Cook Lunch Ideas for Backpacking or Hiking, try these other guide post’s for more inspiration!

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