45 High School Graduation Lunch Ideas

High school graduation is an important milestone in a student’s life, marking the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. It’s a time to celebrate accomplishments and look forward to exciting new opportunities. 

One way to make the graduation day even more special is by hosting a graduation lunch for family and friends. Whether you’re hosting a small gathering or a large party, the food you serve can set the tone for the entire event. In this article, we’ll provide you with some impressive and delicious high school graduation lunch ideas that will impress your guests and make your graduation celebration unforgettable. 

Say congrats in style: High school graduation lunch ideas that’ll make your cap toss higher

High school lunches around the world can be varied. From appetizers to desserts, there are many delicious options to choose from that will impress your guests and satisfy their appetites. Here are some menu ideas to help you get started on creating a memorable and enjoyable dining experience for everyone in attendance.


  1. Caprese skewers with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil.
  2. Mini quiches with a variety of fillings such as spinach and feta, mushroom and onion, or bacon and cheddar.
  3. Bruschetta with tomato, garlic, and fresh basil on top of toasted baguette slices.
  4. Deviled eggs with a twist, like avocado and bacon or sriracha and cilantro.
  5. Veggie and hummus platter with baby carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes.
High School Graduation Lunch Ideas


  1. Grilled chicken or beef skewers with vegetables and rice pilaf.
  2. Baked pasta dishes like lasagna or baked ziti with garlic bread.
  3. Taco bar with seasoned beef or chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, and tortillas.
  4. Build-your-own burger bar with beef or veggie patties, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and a variety of toppings.
  5. Pulled pork or chicken sliders with coleslaw and potato salad.


  1. Caesar salad with homemade dressing and croutons.
  2. Roasted vegetables like asparagus, carrots, and Brussels sprouts.
  3. Loaded baked potato bar with toppings like bacon, cheese, sour cream, and chives.
  4. Rice pilaf with mixed vegetables.
  5. Garlic bread or cheesy breadsticks.


  1. Graduation cap-shaped cookies with the graduate’s name and year.
  2. Chocolate-covered strawberries with gold sprinkles or drizzle.
  3. Ice cream sundae bar with various toppings like hot fudge, caramel sauce, nuts, and sprinkles.
  4. Lemon bars or other assorted bars like brownies or blondies.
  5. Mini fruit tarts with a variety of fresh fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi.
High School Graduation Lunch Ideas

Easy-to-Make Recipes:

  1. One-pot pasta with tomato sauce and spinach: Cook your favorite pasta in a large pot with tomato sauce, spinach, garlic, and vegetable broth until the pasta is al dente. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese for non-vegans.
  2. Veggie stir-fry with rice: Cook brown rice according to package instructions. In a pan, stir-fry your favorite vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, and onion with garlic and ginger. Add soy sauce or tamari for seasoning and serve over the rice.
  3. Black bean and sweet potato tacos: Peel and dice sweet potatoes and roast in the oven until tender. Mash black beans with cumin, chili powder, and lime juice. Assemble tacos with roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, sliced avocado, and chopped cilantro.
  4. Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables: Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Roast a variety of vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes. Toss the cooked quinoa and roasted vegetables with a vinaigrette made with olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and honey.
  5. Lentil soup with vegetables: Saute onion, garlic, and celery in olive oil until softened. Add dried lentils, canned diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, and chopped vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and spinach. Let simmer until the lentils are tender and serve with crusty bread.

Vegetarian Recipes:

  1. Vegetarian chili: Saute onion, garlic, and bell pepper in olive oil until softened. Add canned tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, corn, chili powder, and cumin. Let simmer until the flavors have melded together.
  2. Spinach and feta stuffed mushrooms: Remove stems from mushrooms and stuff with a mixture of spinach, feta cheese, garlic, and breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is bubbly.
  3. Roasted vegetable quiche: Whisk together eggs, milk, and cheese. Pour the mixture over roasted vegetables such as zucchini, red pepper, and onion. Bake in the oven until the quiche is golden brown.
  4. Chickpea curry: Saute onion, garlic, and ginger in olive oil until softened. Add chickpeas, canned diced tomatoes, and curry powder. Let simmer until the flavors have melded together and serve with rice.
  5. Caprese salad: Arrange slices of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil leaves on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Vegan Recipes:

  1. Vegan lentil shepherd’s pie: Cook lentils with diced onion, garlic, and vegetable broth until tender. Mash-cooked sweet potatoes with almond milk and vegan butter. Layer the lentil mixture on the bottom of a baking dish and top with the sweet potato mash. Bake in the oven until the top is golden brown.
  2. Vegan lasagna: Layer cooked lasagna noodles with vegan ricotta cheese, sauteed mushrooms and spinach, and marinara sauce. Bake in the oven until the lasagna is bubbly and the cheese has melted.
  3. Roasted vegetable and quinoa bowl: Roast a variety of vegetables like sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. Serve on top of cooked quinoa with a drizzle of tahini sauce.
  4. Vegan lentil sloppy joes: Cook lentils with diced onion, garlic, and canned diced tomatoes. Season with chili powder and serve on a bun with coleslaw.
  5. Vegan chocolate cake: Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Add in vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Bake in the oven until the cake is cooked through and top with vegan frosting.

Gluten-Free Recipes:

  1. Gluten-free chicken and vegetable stir-fry: Marinate chicken with soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Stir-fry with a variety of vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots. Serve over gluten-free rice noodles.
  2. Gluten-free pizza: Make a gluten-free pizza crust with gluten-free flour and yeast. Top with marinara sauce, shredded cheese, and your favorite toppings like pepperoni or vegetables.
  3. Gluten-free chicken taco bowls: Cook brown rice according to package instructions. Season cooked chicken with chili powder, cumin, and lime juice. Serve on top of the rice with diced avocado, salsa, and shredded lettuce.
  4. Grilled shrimp skewers: Thread shrimp onto skewers and grill until cooked through. Serve with a side salad of mixed greens and a gluten-free vinaigrette.
  5. Grilled chicken and vegetable kabobs: Marinate chicken and vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and zucchini in olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs. Thread onto skewers and grill until cooked through.

Dairy-Free Recipes:

  1. Dairy-free tomato soup: Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, and Italian herbs. Let simmer until the flavors have melded together and blend until smooth.
  2. Dairy-free chicken alfredo: Cook chicken with garlic and onion until cooked through. Serve on top of gluten-free pasta with a dairy-free alfredo sauce made with cashews, nutritional yeast, and almond milk.
  3. Dairy-free coconut curry: Saute onion, garlic, and ginger in coconut oil until softened. Add your favorite vegetables like bell peppers, cauliflower, and green beans. Let simmer in a coconut milk-based curry sauce until the flavors have melded together.
  4. Dairy-free avocado chocolate mousse: Blend avocado, cocoa powder, almond milk, and honey until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until set and serve with sliced strawberries.
  5. Dairy-free banana oatmeal pancakes: Blend together oats, banana, almond milk, and baking powder. Cook the pancake batter on a griddle until golden brown and serve with maple syrup.

Bonus tips and tricks for a high school graduation lunch that’ll have you feeling like a valedictorian!

With the high schoolers already enjoying delicious cold lunches during school time, you are ought to make them feel special at the time of graduation. Here are some bonus tips and tricks to make your high school graduation lunch a success:

  1. Plan ahead: Planning ahead is essential to make sure that everything runs smoothly on the day of the event. Make a list of all the dishes you want to serve, and write down all the ingredients you need to buy. Go grocery shopping at least a week before the event to avoid any last-minute rush. Consider the number of guests you’re expecting and plan your menu accordingly. This will help you avoid over or under-ordering food.
  2. Consider dietary restrictions: It’s important to make sure that you have options for guests who have dietary restrictions. You can label each dish with a tag indicating if it’s vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or dairy-free. Alternatively, you can ask guests to let you know in advance if they have any dietary restrictions, so you can prepare something special for them. This will ensure that everyone feels welcome and included.
  3. Keep it simple: It’s best to keep the menu simple and easy to make to avoid any last-minute stress. Choose dishes that can be prepared in advance, and that require minimal cooking or preparation. This will help you save time and make it easier to focus on other important aspects of the event, such as decorations and socializing with guests.
  4. Serve buffet-style: Setting up a buffet-style table is an excellent way to make sure that guests can customize their meals according to their preferences. Arrange all the dishes, plates, and utensils on a table so that guests can serve themselves. This will save you time and make it easier for guests to interact with each other while they’re serving themselves.
  5. Decorate the space: Decorating the space can help create a festive and celebratory atmosphere. Use balloons, banners, and centerpieces to add some color and personality to the space. Consider the high school graduate’s favorite colors or themes when choosing decorations. This will make the event more personalized and memorable. Furthermore, you can also include some quotes, notes, and jokes along with the meal for added fun. 
  6. Delegate tasks: Enlisting the help of family members or close friends can make the event less stressful and more enjoyable. Assign tasks such as food preparation, set up, and clean up to different people. This will ensure that everyone has a role to play and feels involved in the celebration.
  7. Have fun: Finally, remember that the event is a celebration of the high school graduate’s achievement. Take lots of pictures, make speeches, and have a good time with family and friends. This will create memories that will last a lifetime. Add some great lunchtime activities and make it a lunch to remember! 


In conclusion, a high school graduation lunch is a wonderful way to celebrate the achievement of a young person and to gather together family and friends. Planning ahead, considering dietary restrictions, keeping the menu simple, serving buffet-style, decorating the space, delegating tasks, and having fun are all key elements to ensure a successful and enjoyable event. By following these tips and tricks, you can create a memorable celebration that the high school graduate and their guests will cherish for years to come

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