Got into the habit of going out for lunch on Friday with your work squad? Easy done – and why not? You’ve earned it after a hard week. Nobody wants meal prepped misery on a Friday of all days, but spending $25 on the burger and beer deal from over the road every Friday quickly adds up to over $1000 a year. Ouch.

If you’re finding yourself wishing you had a bit of extra cash – perhaps you’re saving for a home or planning a big trip overseas – cutting back on this Friday lunch spend is an easy way to free up some moola. BUT, office culture often means he who skips Friday lunch also skips all the office banter, and we can’t have that.

One way to slash that work lunch spend without sacrificing your in-office social life is to explain your financial goals (or just your appetite to save a bit of cash) to your coworkers, and get them on board with a DIY Friday lunch club. Eating food from home doesn’t need to be all soggy sandwiches and leftover tuna pasta. 

Here are 5 Friday-worthy, mega-tasty, no-prep team lunches for under $5 a head. All you’ll need is an office, a bucketload of Friday energy, and a sandwich toaster/microwave.

Halloumi, Rocket and Red Pesto Panini

You will need:

  • 1 block of halloumi

  • 1 jar of red pesto

  • 1 bag baby rocket

  • 4 panini rolls/Turkish rolls

  • 1 bag shaved parmesan

If you’ve never cooked halloumi in a sandwich press, get ready to be mind blown. Head up the sandwich press for a few minutes, and then lay slices of halloumi on top. Don’t shut the lid. When it starts to sizzle, flip the slices over until they’re brown and crispy on both sides. Meanwhile, slice open your panini rolls, slather red pesto on both sides, add a few sprigs of rocket, and a light layer of shaved parmesan. Then, lay the sizzling halloumi over the top, squash down and, and toast to the whole sandwich in the press until crispy.

Vermicelli Noodle Salad

You will need:

The beauty of vermicelli noodles is you don’t have to boil them – just soak them in hot water and boom, lunch is on. Soak your noodles according to the packet instructions, and then allow to cool. Mix through your chosen salad dressing, and the salad mix of your choice. Mix through the coriander leaves, add a squeeze of lime and a handful of peanuts, and dig in.

All-In Charcuterie Baguettes

You will need:

  • 100g serrano ham

  • 2 cheeses of your choice (the Woolworths ‘little entertainers’ range is good)

  • Dip of your choice

  • 1-2 large French stick baguettes (depending on size)

  • 1 jar chutney/jam of your choice

Bring the magic of weekend winery lunches to your Friday office setup with these all-in charcuterie board baguettes. Slice open your baguettes, slather on your chosen dip on one side, chutney on the other. Then, layer the serrano ham and cheeses any way you like. Squash down between the fresh crusty bread, and enjoy. 

Spinach and Feta Turkish Pidé

You will need:

  • 1 large Turkish bread (ideally garlic, but not essential)

  • Bag of spinach

  • 1 block of feta

  • Olive oil

  • Onion powder (not essential)

Slice open the Turkish bread and drizzle with olive oil. Then layer in spinach and crumble over the whole block of feta (yea boi). If you’ve got salt and pepper to season, go nuts. Then shake a little onion powder over the top. Close the Turkish bread and place into the sandwich press until the insides go gooey. 

Hot Chicken and Cous Cous Salad

You will need:

  • 1 hot rotisserie chicken 

  • 2 packs flavoured cous cous

  • 1 block feta

  • Mixed greens

  • Sauce of choice

Just before lunchtime, nominate someone to nip out and grab a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. Meanwhile, prepare the two packs of cous cous, by soaking in hot water for 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, and then mix through your bag of mixed greens, and crumble the feta through the cous cous salad mix. Spoon onto 4 plates, and serve with the fresh hot chicken and drizzle a sauce of your choice (hot sauce, Nando’s sauces, etc).

Go forth and save you and your coworkers a stack of cash!

Looking for meal prep ideas for week-long low cost lunches? These 5-ingredient lazy girl meal prep ideas have you covered.