Back away from the PB&J! These vegan lunch ideas are delicious eaten cold or reheated at the office. Up your vegan packed-lunch game!
Packing a lunch saves money, and if you use reusable containers and utensils, it can reduce the lunchtime waste you generate. Just make sure that you’re using safe practices when you’re packing your lunch for work. Whether you are just getting into the swing of packing your lunch for work or need some new packed-lunch inspiration, we’ve got you covered.
The vegan lunch ideas below are a mix of meals that you can eat cold or reheat in the microwave at work or school. Some taste great either way. If you don’t have access to a microwave or don’t like to use one, there are lots of options for you!
Vegan Lunch Ideas for the Work Week
1. Barley Salad
Salads in a jar are super hip right now, and with good reason. They’re portable, and you can even pack a few, so your fridge will have several days of grab-and-go vegan lunches at your fingertips.
Turn leftover brown rice from supper into a whole new meal for lunch the next day. Crunchy cashews and umami-packed sun dried tomatoes are the stars of this satisfying vegan lunch idea. You can even make extra rice on purpose, so you’ll have what you need to make this salad for the next afternoon’s lunch.
3. Mezze Platter
Mezze is a middle eastern appetizer platter, and it makes such a satisfying lunch! Pack all of your favorites, like baba ghanoush (pictured above), hummus, tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves, olives and plenty of pita squares and raw veggies for dipping.
4. Pesto Pasta
Eat this flavorful pesto pasta recipe hot or cold. The pesto sauce uses avocados, walnuts and fresh sage for an oil free sauce. Add some baked tofu or white beans on top, if you’re looking for a protein boost.
Warm the filling for these lettuce wraps, or eat it cold. Either way, this is a fresh, satisfying vegan lunch that’s packed with protein to keep you going strong all afternoon.
This 6-ingredient vegan sandwich filling uses chickpeas as the base and capers to give it that salty flavor that you associate with canned tuna. Make a batch of the salad on Sunday evening, and you’ve got sandwich filling or salad toppings for days!
Another filling salad in a jar! It’s packed with both raw and cooked veggies and pistachio nuts for protein and crunch. This salad uses basil pesto as the sauce, which you pack separately and shake in just before you eat.
Noodles tossed with garlic-tahini sauce, fresh veggies and edamame are delicious warm or cold. You can use udon noodles or soba in this recipe. If you’re looking for more whole grains, soba noodles are your best bet—they’re usually made from buckwheat.
9. Taco Wraps
These whole-food vegan tacos use seasoned, ground walnuts as the filling. Depending on how long your lunch will be sitting, you can either roll these up in the morning, or pack the fillings and wraps, and wrap them up at lunchtime to avoid a soggy tortilla.
This is a veggie-packed pasta salad tossed in homemade vinaigrette. It tastes even better the day after you make it and keeps for a few days in the fridge, so make a big batch over the weekend, and you’ll be able to dish out vegan lunches all week long!
If it’s still grilling weather where you are, make a double batch of this tofu, so you can pack the leftovers for lunch the next day. The citrusy cauliflower rice goes perfectly with the smoky-sweet grilled tofu, for a satisfying vegan lunch.
Seasoned, smashed chickpeas and plenty of fresh veggies on a whole grain bun are an easy and satisfying vegan lunch idea. The chickpeas will last a few days, so you can get a few lunches out of this recipe.
Like most stews, this curry is even more flavorful the next day! If you don’t have access to a microwave (or don’t like them), reheat this on the stove at home, then pack the hot curry in a thermos, so it will be piping hot at lunchtime.
Eat this warm, like you would for supper, or dish it up cold at lunchtime, like a grain and bean salad. Either way, it’s a tasty, filling lunch!
15. Picnic Sandwich
Homemade jalapeno-cashew cheese is the base for this fresh vegan sandwich. Pile on the fresh veggies! The cashew cheese keeps for a few days, and you can get quite a few lunches out of one batch.
Whole chickpea with sliced hearts of palm and kalamata olives are the stars of this bright, citrusy salad. It’s perfect served cold or even at room temperature.
This is a spicy spin on the usual vegan “egg” salad sandwich. The spice from the curry powder is so nice with the sweet pieces of chopped, fresh apples. This salad tastes even better the next day, which makes it perfect for lunchboxes!
18. Collard Wraps
Fresh collards are the ”tortillas” in these healthy wraps packed with hummus and veggies. The best part? Collards don’t get soggy, which means you can even make these the night before!
This versatile chickenless salad is so easy to make. Sarah serves hers on a pretzel bun, but you could stuff this salad into pitas or even pack a scoop over salad greens. You can use soy curls, chickenless strips or chickpeas as the base, so it’s really a use-what-you-have situation. Perfect for last-minute lunches!
20. Vegan BLT
Tempeh bacon (or your favorite vegan bacon) on whole grain bread with fresh tomato and lettuce. Instead of mayo, you spread avocado onto your bread slices!
Fresh veggies and homemade vegan mozzarella cubes tossed with plenty of pasta is a hearty vegan lunch. You can add white or kidney beans, if you want to bulk out this tasty salad even more.
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All images via recipe authors, used with permission.