Not Sad Desk Lunch

How to Eat Cheese & Crackers for Lunch

March 17, 2015

As a defiant response to sad desk lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty. Each week, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches -- and we want to see yours, too. This post is brought to you by Triscuit.

Today: Cheese and crackers aren't just for cocktail hour. Here's how to enjoy the dynamic duo for lunch.

We all know cheese and crackers as the dynamic duo of party food, but we would like to reintroduce them as the perfect lunchtime team. Sure, cheese and crackers might seem like a snack, but with a few clever combinations, they can serve as the foundation to a noontime meal worthy of workday fantasies.

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More: Want your cheese to last? Learn to store it like a pro.

To make an amazing C&C lunch -- yes, we are on a nickname basis -- all you need to do is follow this simple formula. Grab a box of your favorite crackers, add some cheese, and top with some cured meats or jams. Here's some inspiration to help you choose your ultimate cheese and cracker combination, and make a lunch worth looking forward to:

Cheese Options

Get to know your cheese:

  • First, brush up on your cheese options. Either use the lonely block of Parmesan from the back of your refrigerator, or splurge on that piece of cheese you've been coveting -- Casatica di Bufala, we're looking at you. Before you leave the house, just be sure you know what to ask for.
  • Feel like skipping the store altogether? Go for the gold and whip up your own baked brie, or make cashew cheese for a vegan option.

How to Make Pastrami at Home

Take a lesson in charcuterie:

  • Just because we're talking office lunches doesn't mean you can't bring a beautiful spread of cured meats to accompany your cheese. Head to the store, or make your own pastrami or salami at home.
  • Looking for a vegetarian option? Use pickled or cured vegetables as a replacement, starting with these watermelon radishes.

Create your ideal flavor pairing:
Yes, cheese goes with just about anything, but some combinations are better than others.

  • Cheddar, apple, and bacon jam: Cheddar and apple is a well-known combination, but the addition of the slightly sweet bacon jam brings it to a whole other level -- and unlike your desk neighbor's BLT, the bacon won't crumble over your keys at first bite.
  • Gruyère and spinach: We're all for working leafy greens into our lunches, especially when they're paired with creamy, nutty cheese. For bonus points, place your formed cracker in the office toaster oven until the Gruyère begins to melt and bubble.
  • Ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto: Think of this as Italian pasta on a cracker. While closing your eyes and taking a bite might not transport you to the shores of Cinque Terre, it will provide you with a mouthful of flavor.
  • Gouda and dried figs: This classic sweet, aged cheese with figs is one cracker away from being a dessert -- but what's so terrible about dessert for lunch?

All About Cured Meats

  • Mozzarella and prosciutto: Nothing makes a weekday feel more like a weekend than a prosciutto desk-side spread, so grab a cheese knife and slice away.
  • White cheddar and ham: Chances are you've enjoyed this combination on a sandwich before, so you already know the drill -- layer the cheddar (the sharper the better) with the ham and dig in.
  • Chèvre, pickled chipotle peppers, and any cured meat: This lunch has all the makings of a high-end charcuterie plate. Bring extra so that you're prepared to share when colleagues catch wind of your five-star cheese plate.
  • Manchego and dried apricots: The subtle sweet flavor of Manchego makes it the perfect pairing for sweet dried fruit, like apricots. (It also pairs especially well with sherry, but we'll save that one for 5 o'clock.)

Photos by Mark Weinberg and James Ransom

Our friends at Triscuit have more ideas for your next snack. Get inspired on Pinterest.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Diari
  • Abbie C
    Abbie C
  • nancy essig
    nancy essig
  • JadeTree
  • ATG117
Past Julia Child Fellow at Food52 || Believer in Brunch


Diari October 3, 2019
Truffle gouda and buttery crackers. Any day of the week
Abbie C. March 18, 2015
I saw this after lunch yesterday, but was inspired to make a cheese, cured meat, and crackers dinner with some cherry tomatoes and dolmas. It was really fun having an hors d'oeuvres party for two on a Tuesday night!
nancy E. March 18, 2015
And now the slide to a compromised cooking site begins. Same thing happened to Epicurious and now you cannot find the recipes for all the ads. In this world now, as soon as something interesting and intelligent takes off, the corporations destroy it.
JadeTree March 18, 2015
The new Triscuits with rye and caraway seeds are amazing with extra sharp cheddar! I had almost forgotten about the Triscuits of my youth until a friend brought these to a party. At the risk of sounding like a commercial (too late), they're worth taking about. Perfect snack I eat all the time.
ATG117 March 17, 2015
Am I the only one who doesn't like Triscuits at all?
AntoniaJames March 17, 2015
I practically lived on Triscuits, crunchy peanut butter and wafer thin tart Apple slices for years, before I got married and started regularly cooking for the two of us. I'd sub cheese - good Parm, soft Italian cheeses and sharp aged cheddar from the UK -- to switch things up on occasion. My roommate told me buy stock in the corporation that made Triscuits. They're still my faves. ;o)
laurenlocally May 2, 2015
That is a funny story!
irina March 17, 2015
Had this for lunch Friday.
Prosciutto, manchego, triscuits and fig paste.
Grapes and black olives.
Some french chardonnay and it was complete!
sexyLAMBCHOPx March 17, 2015
I love Triscuits and cant tell you how the article reflects many a satisfying meal for me. Try the sea salt & black pepper.