Time to Read: 8 minutes
The number of people practicing veganism is on the rise. According to a 2017 report, six percent of American consumers now identify as vegan.
As more people make the switch to practicing a vegan lifestyle, the demand for delicious and healthy vegan recipes is growing. Just because you eat vegan doesn’t mean that you want to be stuck with the same meals over and over.
Trying to find creative vegan lunch ideas can be especially difficult during the week. You want something that’s easy to assemble and portable to take to work, but also something that is filling and delicious.
Planning ahead makes a difference when it comes to vegan lunches, and it helps to have a few great recipes to rely on.
Below, we’re sharing nine easy vegan lunch ideas so that you can have healthy and delicious meals all through the work week.
1. Do all of Your Prep Work on Sunday
We’re all so busy during the week, which makes our weekend time more precious than ever. Take some time on Sunday to do meal prep, and you’ll feel more ready for the week ahead.
Start by gathering all the ingredients you’ll need to make your vegan lunch ideas a reality. Before you go to the store, make a detailed shopping list of your favorite vegan items, like fruits, vegetables, grains and beans, and condiments.
You should also spend time on Sunday getting certain ingredients ready for use throughout the week. For example, if you make plenty of beans or grains then you can store them in individual portions and have them ready to grab and go.
Cleaning and shopping fruits and vegetables before storing them is also a great way to save time during the week, so plan to do that on Sunday as soon as you get home from your grocery store.
2. Make Spiralized Vegetable Noodle Salads
One of our favorite vegan lunch ideas is to make a variety of different “noodle” salads, where spiralized vegetables stand in for the noodles.
This is both a great way to eat vegetables and a healthier way to enjoy the same flavors of your favorite vegan pasta dishes.
To build a spiralized vegetable noodle salad, start by preparing your vegetables. Zucchini is a popular substitute for traditional noodles, but spaghetti squash and sweet potatoes work as well.
Once you have your base of vegetable noodles, you can build flavor with a sauce or other toppings.
Go Greek-inspired by adding sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and a red onion. Or give your dish an Asian flair with a dressing made from peanut butter, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
The best thing about vegetable noodle salads is that they get better the longer they sit because the flavors have a chance to marry together. You can make them over the weekend for the night before work, and then have a healthy and delicious lunch to grab in the morning.
3. Create Your Own Grain Bowl
Similar to a vegetable noodle salad, a grain bowl is one of the easiest and most delicious vegan lunch ideas. You can prep it beforehand, and have it ready to go at any time throughout the week.
Grain bowls are especially easy if you’ve made a big batch of your base – like quinoa, brown rice or couscous – over the weekend or at night.
Making the grains is the most consuming part of assembling the bowl, so once that’s done, the rest is easy. Choose your favorite vegetables and vegan proteins to mix in. You’ll end with a filling meal that will give you the energy you need to make it through the rest of your workday.
4. Try a Vegan Version of Your Favorite Sandwich
Going vegan shouldn’t – and doesn’t have to – mean giving up on all of your favorite comfort foods. There are lots of ways to incorporate the flavors you love into vegan sandwiches that make for perfect lunches. Here are a few favorites:
- Buffalo Chickpea Wrap: It makes for a great vegan alternative to a more traditional non-vegan staple, and it can satisfy any craving you might have for tangy, vinegary buffalo sauce.
- White bean and avocado salad sandwich: This sandwich filling is easy to assemble with a can of white beans and creamy avocado slices. Add bean sprouts or red onion for crunch and texture.
- Veggie hummus wrap: Creamy hummus and crunchy vegetables are a perfect match for a quick lunch wrap. Try differently flavored hummuses – such as red pepper or roasted garlic – to switch things up.
5. Mason Jar Salads
You’ve probably noticed that mason jars have skyrocketed in popularity over the past couple of years. Trendy or not, what we love about them is that they are a convenient way to build and pack a salad and are one of our favorite vegan lunch ideas for busy days.
A great vegan mason jar salad is all about the layering. That helps all the individual salad elements maintain their structure and texture until you’re ready to eat.
Start with your dressing on the very bottom of the mason jar, and add from there. Crisp veggies like cucumbers, red onion, or peppers make for a good second layer because they won’t get soggy.
From there, you can use your imagination when it comes to adding beans, grains, and greens. You do want to make sure that any greens you decide to add are the very top layer, so they won’t come in contact with the dressing too soon.
When you’re ready to eat, shake up the jar with the lid on so the ingredients get all mixed together.
6. Get Familiar with Vegan Protein Sources
Including protein in your lunch meal is especially important because protein is what keeps you feeling full and satisfied. When you eat enough protein with lunch, you won’t be tempted to snack on unsatisfying and unhealthy foods later.
There’s a common misconception that vegans have a hard time getting enough protein, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
If you are aware of the best vegan sources of protein, you’ll find that it’s easy to incorporate protein into your meals:
- Tofu: 10 grams of protein per cup
- Peanut butter: 8 grams of protein per two tablespoons
- Chickpeas: 8 grams of protein per half cup
- Tempeh: 12 grams of protein per cup
- Hemp seeds: 13 grams of protein per cup
Get inspired to come up with vegan lunch ideas by picking your protein first and building from there. You’ll get a satisfying meal and may even find a new flavor combination you love.
7. Try a Vegan Subscription Box
As much as we aspire to prep and put together five separate work-ready vegan lunches every week, there are times when it just can’t happen.
Vegan subscription boxes are one of our favorite vegan lunch ideas to turn to in a pinch. There are a variety of options out there, but we love the idea of being sent vegan snacks that are delicious and portable.
It may not be as satisfying as making lunch from scratch for yourself, but it’s nice to have a variety of vegan snacks to get you through the busiest days of your work week.
8. Have Strategies for Eating Out
Grabbing lunch with co-workers is an important ritual. It gives you an excuse to get outside and can be a way to decompress and relax for an hour with the people in your office.
You shouldn’t have to pass up on lunchtime invitations just because you’re vegan and your co-workers aren’t. A few strategies for eating vegan at any restaurant:
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Anyone who works at a restaurant should be well-informed about the menu and can help guide you to vegan choices.
- If possible, call ahead or look online to form a game plan for ordering once you get there.
- Sides are more likely to be vegan than main courses, so order two or three to make a complete meal.
If you truly can’t find anything to order, you can still join your co-workers for the social aspect of the meal, and eat your own vegan lunch later. Explain the situation to them so they don’t feel awkward, and everyone can have a good time escaping the office for a bit.
9. Don’t Forget About Dessert!
If you think desserts without eggs or dairy can’t possibly be good, think again! Vegans have a sweet tooth too, and there are lots of delicious vegan desserts that can satisfy a sugar craving and be a great workday pick-me-up.
Fruit makes for a great base for vegan desserts, and once you get comfortable with popular vegan baking substitutions, you’ll be whipping up your favorite treats in no time!
Ready to Try These Vegan Lunch Ideas?
Adopting a vegan diet is a commitment. It isn’t always easy, but it should always be delicious. These tips and vegan lunch ideas can help you prepare for the work week so that you can cut down on prep time and have great grab-and-go options.
For more information about eating vegan, please feel free to contact us and check out our recipes.