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40 Mother’s Day Lunch Ideas for When You’re Cooking for Mom

Our best Mother's Day lunch ideas are fancy enough to feel festive but are totally easy to make. From soups to flatbreads, we have ideas for the perfect menu.

Treat mom to an extra-special lunch with these Mother’s Day recipes. Whether your mom prefers flavor-packed salads and quiches or restaurant-worthy soups and sandwiches, you’re sure to find something here that she will love. Round out the meal with a few mom-approved appetizers and a couple of Mother’s Day desserts for a truly delicious spread.

If your mom is more of an early bird, we also have a range of Mother’s Day brunch recipes that are sure to please.

Whichever time you set aside to celebrate mom, make sure you don’t forget a Mother’s Day gift!  It can be as elaborate as a gift basket or simple as a flower delivery and hand-written card.

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Fontina Asparagus Tart

This lemony tart is loaded with fontina cheese and fresh asparagus. It’s a snap to make but looks really impressive. Be advised…your guests will be vying for the last tasty slice. —Heidi Meek, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Grilled Romaine SaladTMB Studio

Grilled Romaine Salad

Grilled lettuce might sound like a mistake, but it’s delicious. The grill marks add tasty, smoky flavor, while the lettuce warms and softens just slightly, turning almost silky. A perfect appetizer to make if you’re grilling an entree for mom’s special day.

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Simple Shrimp ChowderTMB Studio

Simple Shrimp Chowder

Seafood chowder feels both fresh and cozy, which will be just right if Mother’s Day is chilly. This version comes together in under 30 minutes, meaning less time cooking and more time spent with mom. Serve with warm dinner rolls as a finishing touch.

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The Best Quiche LorraineTMB Studio

The Best Quiche Lorraine

A vintage-inspired recipe evocative of a department store lunch counter, quiche Lorraine is both elegant and comforting. Even small kids will enjoy the cheesy egg filling speckled with bacon in a flaky pastry crust.

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Ambrosia SaladTMB Studio

Ambrosia Salad

A five-ingredient, one-bowl recipe that looks super fancy? Count us in! This is a top-rated favorite for good reason. Make sure to make it ahead so the salad chills and the flavors develop.

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Mint-Cucumber Tomato SandwichesTMB Studio

Mint-Cucumber Tomato Sandwiches

A slight twist on a tomato sandwich, this simple recipe adds refreshing mint and cucumber to the mix. Slice the vegetables in advance, but assemble the sandwiches shortly before eating so they don’t get soggy.

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strawberry avocado tossed saladTMB Studio

Strawberry-Avocado Tossed Salad

Mother’s Day falls during peak strawberry season, so take advantage! Strawberries pair well with sliced avocado and a handful of toasted pecans, plus it’ll be a delightful pop of color on your lunch spread.

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Slow Cooked Chicken Caesar WrapsTMB Studio

Slow-Cooked Chicken Caesar Wraps

Want a more modern take on tea sandwiches? Try these chicken wraps. As a bonus, the chicken can be cooked ahead and slightly reheated (or served cool).

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Chunky Chicken Salad With Grapes And PecansTMB Studio

Chunky Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans

You can’t go wrong with chicken salad. Our top-rated version adds halved grapes and celery for a refreshing crunch. Serve with bread and rolls at a sandwich station, fill lettuce cups or serve atop a green salad. Make it ahead and keep refrigerated until serving.

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Roasted Veggie QuesadillasTMB Studio

Potato Veggie Quesadillas

Roast a big pan of vegetables to fill cheesy quesadillas. In addition to potatoes, try corn, broccoli, asparagus or any other favorites. Using corn tortillas makes this a simple gluten-free lunch option.

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Thai Salad With Peanut DressingTMB Studio

Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing

Like takeout in a bowl, this Thai salad is admittedly a bit more complex, featuring a homemade dressing that’s a little bit sweet, savory and spicy. This recipe is dairy-free and vegan, and you can easily add crispy tofu to turn it into a main dish.

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Carrot Soup with Orange TarragonTMB Studio

Carrot Soup with Orange and Tarragon

This vibrant soup delivers a wallop of flavor with minimum effort. If you don’t like (or don’t have) fresh tarragon, use any soft, fringe-y herb like dill, oregano or thyme.

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avocado and artichoke pasta saladTMB Studio

Avocado and Artichoke Pasta Salad

An easy make-ahead potluck dish, pasta salad is perfect served as a starter or on a buffet with other dishes. This version is perfect for artichoke lovers, plus it’s a good time-saver, using canned artichoke hearts rather than fresh.

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sparkling orangesTMB Studio

Sparkling Oranges

Mother’s Day lunch ideas that are simple and elegant? We’ll take it. These sparkling oranges serve as either a fruit salad or a dessert. Plus, the recipe can be prepared ahead of time and garnished before serving.

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Prosciutto Pesto PizzaTMB Studio

Prosciutto Pesto Pizza

Use store-bought pizza dough to make this elegant appetizer in minutes. Shelled edamame—a crunchy, slightly sweet soy bean—adds a surprising pop of texture alongside the savory prosciutto and cheese.

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Creamy Herbed Tomato SoupTMB Studio

Creamy Herbed Tomato Soup

Even though this soup looks indulgently creamy, it’s actually low in fat. We like making soups for parties, as they almost always taste better if made ahead of time. Serve with any of your favorite sides for soup.

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Sesame Beef & Asparagus SaladTMB Studio

Sesame Beef and Asparagus Salad

A fresh way to serve a really good steak? Atop a salad. This Thai-inspired salad includes zippy ginger and in-season asparagus for a delightful mélange of flavors.

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Mini Ham QuichesTMB Studio

Mini Ham Quiches

Almost infinitely adaptable, these bite-sized quiches will taste great with just about any protein or veggie you like. Spooning them into muffin cups makes them quick to bake and easy to serve.

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Mandarin Orange Chicken SaladMandarin Orange Chicken Salad

Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad

This Asian-inspired green salad, dotted with tender orange slices, is sure to go quickly. The dairy-free salad dressing is ideal to pack for a picnic.

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Cashew Chicken Salad SandwichesTMB Studio

Cashew Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Yes, we need two chicken salad recipes in this collection! Here, cashews and apples give a nod to the classic Waldorf salad flavor.

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Spring Pea SoupTMB Studio

Spring Pea Soup

This bright green soup is like an exclamation point for your table. It’s a real celebration of in-season peas, if you have fresh—but frozen work too.

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Grilled Salmon SaladTMB Studio

Grilled Salmon Salad

We love salmon recipes, but not many can be made ahead. Luckily, this cold salad can be. With its zippy raspberry vinaigrette, it’s both rich and refreshing.

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Cheddar Broccoli SoupTMB Studio

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

A good choice for those celebrating in colder climates, broccoli cheddar soup is like comfort in a bowl. Serve with cheese and even croutons sprinkled over the top to fancy it up.

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Chicken Florentine PaniniTMB Studio

Chicken Florentine Panini

Elevate lunch meat sandwiches by giving them the grilled panini treatment. These are great with your favorite deli meat (ham, turkey or chicken) and any sliced sandwich bread you like.

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Luau Pork Lettuce WrapsTMB Studio

Luau Pork Lettuce Wraps

Need Mother’s Day lunch ideas for feeding a crowd? Make a big batch of this spiced pork, which works equally well in lettuce cups, pitas, tacos or atop salads.

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Creamy Fresh Asparagus Soup TMB Studio

Fresh Asparagus Soup

Take advantage of in-season asparagus with a French-inspired soup! A dash of lemon juice keeps the soup looking (and tasting) bright.

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Cool and Creamy Fruit SaladTMB Studio

Cool and Creamy Fruit Salad

Make this creamy fruit treat the day before and keep it in the fridge overnight. Just about any fruit works well here, but be sure to use a variety of colors for the prettiest impact.

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Mango Jalapeno Sloppy Joe SlidersTMB Studio

Mango Jalapeno Sloppy Joe Sliders

Few foods say “party” as boldly as sliders! This batch updates the traditional sloppy joe filling with a bright tropical fruit topping. Add these sliders to a french fry charcuterie board to really amp up the fun for mom.

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Chunky Potato Leek SoupTMB Studio

Chunky Potato Leek Soup

Potatoes and leeks are a classic combination. This recipe lightens up the rich classic so you can enjoy a bowl or two at lunch without needing an afternoon nap.

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Shrimp Tostadas with Avocado SalsaTMB Studio

Shrimp Tostadas with Avocado Salsa

These festive tostadas capture the bold flavors of Southwestern food. A surprising hint of citrus tastes delicious with the shrimp. Serve with guacamole, chips and margaritas, and you’re set!

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Blackberry Balsamic Spinach SaladTMB Studio

Blackberry Balsamic Spinach Salad

Mom is going to love this beautiful salad packed with superfoods. The best part is that you don’t need to make a fancy dressing from scratch (though you can if you’re feeling fancy!). If you’re not a fan of feta, swap out another crumbly cheese.

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Apricot FluffTMB Studio

Apricot Fluff

Love apricots or peaches? Showcase them with this delicious update to ambrosia, a popular vintage dessert. The fluff does need to chill in the fridge before serving—at least four hours or overnight—so plan accordingly.

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Couscous Tabbouleh with Fresh Mint & FetaTMB Studio

Couscous Tabbouleh with Fresh Mint and Feta

A popular Mediterranean salad, tabbouleh is hearty enough to serve as a main dish. The base of couscous and chickpeas is so tasty with classic tomato and cucumbers, but you can get creative and add other chopped vegetables, roasted or raw.

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Lemony Turkey Rice SoupTMB Studio

Lemony Turkey Rice Soup

Comforting and light, lemony rice soup tastes great with turkey, but you can also use up leftover rotisserie chicken. Because the soup calls for precooked protein, it comes together in minutes.

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Three-Cheese QuicheTMB Studio

Three-Cheese Quiche

Forgot to pick up a pie crust at the store? Make this crustless quiche! Note that you’ll need 12 eggs, so make sure you have a full carton in your fridge before you get baking. As a bonus, this quiche is naturally gluten-free.

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Wilted Endive SaladTMB Studio

Wilted Endive Salad

Endive is a hearty green with a distinctive bitter flavor (in a good way). In this recipe, adding hot ingredients to the bowl wilts the endive a bit, softening it and giving it a sweeter edge.

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Grilled Elote FlatbreadTMB Studio

Grilled Elote Flatbread

Go trendy this Mother’s Day and serve this street food-inspired app. Since the flatbread can cook on the grill as well as under the broiler, it’s adaptable to unexpected weather conditions.

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Pulled Turkey TenderloinTMB Studio

Pulled Turkey Tenderloin

In this sweet and spicy recipe, turkey tenderloins slow-cook in a unique brine made with broth, pickle juice and jalapenos. A creamy yogurt sauce tames the heat, though heat lovers can top their sandwiches with fresh jalapeno slices to add a kick.

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Herbed Tuna And White Bean SaladTMB Studio

Herbed Tuna and White Bean Salad

If you want to upgrade this simple main dish salad, use grilled tuna steaks. Otherwise, good quality canned tuna, tasty olives and a simple homemade dressing make for a light, memorable lunch.

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Bok Choy TossTMB Studio

Bok Choy Toss

Love making Chinese dishes? Grab a bottle of orange ginger vinaigrette and prepare this simple, fresh salad. Bok choy has a refreshing crunchiness that pairs well with juicy tomatoes and summer squash.

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Kelsey Rae Dimberg
A former in-house editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes articles and novels from her home in Milwaukee. She's an avid cook, reader, flâneur, and noir fanatic. Her debut novel, Girl in the Rearview Mirror, will be published in June 2019 by William Morrow.