Ideas to Host the Perfect Lunch Party (Menu for Friends)

Learn how to create and throw a simple, quick lunch party with menu ideas that your girlfriends will love!

Cobb salad recipe with table decor, and table setting for lunch party

Last week, we had the privilege of being spoiled guests for our friend Midge. Today, I am sharing her winning formula for hosting the perfect lunch party for your girlfriends.

An invitation to Midge’s home is like a great big hug: warm and welcoming, it leaves you feeling loved and cared for.

I was amazed and inspired by how she spontaneously invited us the day before yet still managed to prepare ahead and create a lovely and delicious meal. 

Can we all learn to do this? Let’s find out!

More hosting and entertaining ideas and menu ideas for lunch with friends.

beautiful new, white kitchen design, white countertops, and white cabinets

Ingredients for the Perfect Lunch Party

The first ingredient starts with your wonderful friends, of course!

Follow that with a flavorful but easy menu because the beauty of this lunch party is how quickly it can come together.

It’s all about artfully laying out delicious ingredients.

Begin by combining fresh store-bought items, selecting prepared foods and pantry staples, and then narrowing in on the best stores to meet your needs.

As a result, you can conveniently pick up everything in one shopping trip.

You will have fun putting it together, and your friends will be amazed at how beautiful it looks!

Find lunch ideas for a baby shower in this post.

Table decor and table setting for lunch party

Keeping it Simple

For me, narrowing down my menu is the hardest part. This is not a buffet, so just remember, less is more. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the different options you could offer your guests.

Yes, you could spend days preparing an intensive meal, but the best way to truly enjoy yourself and your guests is to keep it simple. Midge’s table doesn’t look simple due to her planning and beautiful presentation.

The Art of Assembly

Yes, Midge has all the skills for cooking and baking, but she is wise in choosing when and when not to use them. What she chose to do for this party was the art of assembly.

Fast, delicious, and crowd-pleasing. This is a skill worth learning, and Midge has mastered it. Since this technique is quick and healthy, it is also a great option for weeknight family dinners.

Cobb salad recipe with table decor, and table setting for lunch party

Arranging Party Food

We eat with our eyes first, so think about design, color, and texture when you assemble your food for your luncheon party. Just like Midge’s gorgeous garden, experiment with a good balance of color and various food textures to create mouth-watering combinations.

You may try layering and stacking food for height or adding different garnishes. Try to have an item or two that delivers a pop of color, such as brightly colored carrots, cranberries, or sliced hard-boiled eggs.

Cobb salad recipe with table decor, and table setting for lunch party

Midge’s Luncheon Party Menu

Chicken Cobb Salad
Bread with Dipping Oils
Fruit Bowl
Dessert: Cookie, Lemon Loaf & Brownies
Drinks: Lemonade, Sparkling & Plain Water, Coffee

Her Grocery List (for Four)

Cobb Salad
Salad Greens
One Pound Seasoned & Diced Rotisserie Chicken
Shredded Carrots
Four Hard-boiled Eggs
Grape Tomatoes
One Cup of Feta Cheese
Two Avocados
Nuts
Seeds
Assorted Salad Dressings

Fruit Cups
Bunch of Red Grapes
Four Kiwis
Raspberries
Blueberries
Blackberries

Bread Basket
A loaf of Crusty Bread
Olive Oil
Balsamic

Desserts
Cookies
Lemon Loaf
Brownies

3 tier tray of desserts for hosting the perfect lunch party for your girlfriends

More Lunch Menu Ideas

If you were looking for more ideas beyond salads, I’ve got you! Let’s make simple, delicious, stress-free lunch recipes using simple ingredients. Below are ideas for luncheon menus for small or large groups; use your imagination to make them your own!

Entree Ideas

Choose one entree that requires minimal cooking from scratch (or none at all). Depending on the season, this could be salad, sandwiches, quiche, soup, or chowder.

Salads

The choice is yours, but choosing a salad as the main entree provides endless options, flexibility for food allergies or special diets, and loads of potential.

Classic Caesar Salad: A timeless favorite, this salad features crisp romaine lettuce tossed in creamy Caesar dressing, topped with crunchy croutons and shaved Parmesan cheese. Add grilled chicken breast slices for a protein boost, making it a satisfying and refreshing option for your guests.

Caprese Chicken Salad This vibrant salad combines grilled chicken breast with fresh cherry tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for a burst of flavor.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad: Try this Mediterranean-inspired salad for a light and flavorful dish. Combine chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, red onion, and feta cheese in a tangy lemon-herb vinaigrette. It’s a colorful and nutritious option that’s sure to be a hit.

The Cobb salad is a great choice. There are many other classic salads to consider, including Chef, Chicken, Chinese Chicken, Waldorf, Tabouleh, Taco, Tuna and Panzanella, and Pasta Salads.

Soup and Sandwiches

Grilled Vegetable and Pesto Sandwich For a lighter option, grill a medley of colorful veggies such as zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant, then layer them with creamy goat cheese and pesto between slices of whole-grain bread.

Turkey and Avocado Panini This delightful panini features thinly sliced turkey breast, creamy avocado, crisp bacon, and melted cheese, all grilled between slices of hearty bread.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup Your guests will love a comforting bowl of soup made with ripe tomatoes, aromatic basil, and a touch of cream. It’s velvety smooth and bursting with flavor. Serve it alongside grilled cheese sandwiches for a classic combination that everyone will love.

Corn Chowder Warm up your guests with a bowl of creamy corn chowder. Made with sweet corn, potatoes, onions, and bacon, this hearty soup is rich, creamy, and full of flavor. Serve it with a side of crusty bread for dipping.

Other Creative Twists

Quiche Lorraine Whip up a classic quiche filled with crispy bacon, sautéed onions, and creamy Gruyere cheese. Serve slices of quiche alongside a mixed greens salad.

Taco Bar Set up a DIY taco bar with seasoned chicken breast strips, black beans, crunchy bell peppers, red onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, and all the fixings.

Pesto Pasta Primavera Cook pasta and toss it with homemade or store-bought pesto sauce. Add in sautéed vegetables like bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and baby spinach for a colorful and satisfying dish.

Mediterranean Platter Create a Mediterranean-inspired spread with grilled chicken skewers, hummus, tabbouleh salad, stuffed grape leaves, and warm pita bread.

All of these ideas would work equally well for your next party or special occasion, for example, baby showers, birthday celebrations, or simply an easy dinner party.

Favorite Sides

Select one or two sides, for example, fruit, a vegetable, a simple side salad, crusty bread, or perhaps muffins.

Desserts Picks

Next, pick one or two different desserts that you can purchase pre-made and that you know are delicious. The options are usually available at your local bakery, grocery store, or even Costco.

Favorites include cookies, cakes, sweetbreads, ice cream floats, and pastries. If purchasing more than one, vary the flavors and colors for different preferences and visual appeal.

Beverage Ideas

Lastly, select a few beverages. One strategy is to pick one special drink. Consider iced tea, lemonade, sangria, or a cocktail. Water (sparkling and plain) and coffee round out the selections.

Remember to keep it simple and minimize your time investment here. A day or two before you host the perfect lunch party, decide on your table decor and set your table. Do your grocery shopping, too, so all you need to do on the day of your party is “assemble” your food.

container garden and garden party setting
host a garden party - red clematis and yellow petunias
water fountain in Wisconsin
Beautiful perennial garden in Grafton Wisconsin

Other Hosting Ideas

The perfect garden spot with Adirondack chairs

Table Setting Ideas

Looking for more hosting and entertaining inspiration? Below are links to other ideas for table decor, plus party and menu ideas.

Oktoberfest Party Foods
DIY Valentine’s Table Ideas
Spring Easter Tablescape Ideas
Pink Spring Table Setting Ideas
Friends Spring Lunch
Black and White Table Decor Ideas
Fourth of July Tables
Thanksgiving Table Ideas
Elegant Christmas Tables
Rustic Christmas Table Ideas
Spode Christmas Table

Kid Birthday Party Themes

Below are more hosting party options and ideas for children.

Picnic for Kids
Camping Party
Food Ideas for Camping Party

beautiful new, white kitchen design, white countertops, and white cabinets

I hope you are now inspired to invite your friends or family over!

A little more time for planning plus less time for cooking equals more quality time together to enjoy your VIPs. Isn’t that what life’s about?

Please comment below on how your lunch party goes. I’d love to hear from you. Be sure to subscribe or follow me on social media for more inspiration!

xo,
Cindy

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