Vegan Lunch Ideas
These delectable recipes are ideal for a quick and easy meal during the week or as satisfying, protein-rich vegan lunch ideas for hectic days. You’ll find something here to suit every mood, preference, or season!
Admittedly, lunch doesn’t generate as much enthusiasm as dinner does for most people. Moreover, it often feels mundane and lacks the same appeal as the delightful breakfast.
To be frank, lunch is often a meal we hastily consume to satisfy our hunger, which is somewhat disheartening considering the countless savory and exciting possibilities that exist out there. However, by exploring new recipes or experimenting with different flavors, we can transform lunch into a delightful and fulfilling experience.
Simply consider the delicious ones in our collection as illustrations.
They are vibrant, bursting with taste, packed with vegetables, and feature your preferred pantry staples.
In fact, when combined with vegan breakfasts and vegan dinners, they can form a complete menu. Unsure about which ones to pair?
So, let’s dive in and explore the exciting world of vegan lunch ideas together!
Benefits of a Vegan Diet
Studies have indicated that adopting a vegan diet can offer several advantages, including the following:
- Promoting Weight Loss: Research suggests that a vegan diet can contribute to weight loss due to its emphasis on whole plant foods, which are generally lower in calories and higher in fiber.
- Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease: By eliminating cholesterol and minimizing saturated fat intake, a vegan diet may help lower cholesterol levels and, consequently, reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Lowering the Risk of Certain Cancers: Evidence suggests that a vegan diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and legumes may lower the likelihood of developing specific types of cancer, such as colon cancer.
- Managing Diabetes: Following a vegan diet has been associated with improved management of diabetes, as it can help lower A1C levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Improved Digestive Health: Moreover, the increased fiber intake from a vegan diet promotes regular bowel movements and helps maintain a healthy digestive system. Consequently, this can contribute to a lower risk of constipation, diverticular disease, and other digestive issues.
However, it is important to note that merely adopting a vegan diet does not guarantee good health. As emphasized by Soble, a healthcare professional, being vegan does not automatically ensure a healthy lifestyle. It is essential to have knowledge of which foods to avoid and which ones to seek out, as individuals can still be overweight or malnourished while following a vegan diet.
Therefore, making informed food choices and focusing on a well-balanced, nutrient-rich vegan diet is crucial for achieving optimal health and well-being.
What Is a Vegan Lunch?
A vegan lunch refers to a meal that is entirely plant-based, excluding any animal-derived ingredients such as meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. It primarily consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Additionally, a well-balanced vegan lunch should provide a good source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to keep you satiated and energized throughout the day.
Quick and Easy Vegan Lunch Ideas
For those busy days when time is limited, here are some quick and easy vegan lunch ideas:
- Ripe avocado
- Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- Chickpeas/navy or cannellini beans.
- Microgreens, radishes, or herbs ( optional )
- Black Pepper
- Salt to taste
Start by toasting slices of bread until they are golden and crispy.
As the bread is toasting, take a small bowl and combine the flesh of an avocado with apple cider vinegar. Mash the mixture until it reaches a smooth and creamy consistency.
Once mashed, season the avocado mixture with a pinch of salt and pepper to enhance the flavor.
Take another bowl and add the chickpeas to it. For the easiest and most effective method, it is recommended to use your hands to mash the chickpeas. However, you can also use a fork if preferred.
Continue mashing the chickpeas until they reach a flaky texture. The goal is to break them down into smaller pieces, creating a chunky consistency.
Once mashed, season the chickpeas with salt and pepper according to your taste preferences.
Take the prepared avocado mixture and spread it evenly over the toasted slices of bread. The creamy avocado spread will serve as a flavorful base for your toast.
Next, generously top the avocado spread with the mashed chickpeas. Additionally, the flaky texture and savory flavor of the chickpeas will add a satisfying crunch and extra protein to your toast.
Garnish with herbs, micro greens, or radish slices and present!
- Uncooked quinoa – 1 cup
- Water – 2 cups
- Cooked chickpeas – 1 ½ cups
- Cucumber, seeded and chopped – 1 ( medium )
- Red bell pepper, chopped – 1 ( medium )
- Chopped red onion – 3/2 cup
- Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley – 1 cup
- Olive oil – 1/4 cup
- Lemon juice – 1/4 cup (from 2 to 3 lemons)
- Red wine vinegar – 1 tbsp
- Garlic, pressed or minced – 2 cloves
- Fine sea salt – 1/2 tsp
- black pepper, to taste ( freshly ground )
Start by cooking the quinoa. In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook the quinoa uncovered for approximately 15 minutes, ensuring the water is fully absorbed. Reduce the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer. Once cooked, remove the saucepan from heat, cover it, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes to fluff up.
In a large serving bowl, combine the chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, and parsley. Set the bowl aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, and salt until well blended. Set the dressing aside.
Once the cooked quinoa has mostly cooled down, add it to the serving bowl with the other ingredients. Drizzle the prepared dressing over the quinoa salad. Toss the mixture until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Taste and season with black pepper, adding an extra pinch of salt if necessary. For optimal flavor, allow the salad to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
This quinoa salad can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for approximately 4 days, making it a convenient make-ahead option. Additionally, you can serve the salad chilled or at room temperature, according to your preference.
- Whole wheat flour tortillas – 4 ( large )
- Hummus – 2/3 cups
- Edamame, cooked and shelled – 1 cup
- Baby spinach leaves – 2 cups
- Avocados, peeled, seed removed, thinly sliced – 1 to 2
- Carrot shredded – 1 ( large )
- Cucumber, chopped – 1
- Other veggie ideas: chopped tomato, alfalfa sprouts, radish, corn, cabbage lettuce, beets, bell peppers.
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Olive oil for drizzling
Take a tortilla and spread a generous amount of hummus evenly over it. Choose your favorite flavors, such as regular hummus or roasted red pepper, to enhance the taste.
Add a variety of vegetables to the wrap. Additionally, consider incorporating edamame, spinach, avocado, carrot, cucumber, and any other desired vegetables. This combination will provide a mix of flavors, textures, and nutrients.
Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper over the vegetables to add a hint of spice and enhance the overall taste of the wrap.
Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the ingredients. This will add a touch of richness and moisture to the wrap.
Roll up the tortilla tightly, enclosing all the ingredients within. This will create a convenient and portable wrap that is ready to be enjoyed.
Vegan Lunches for Meal Prep
If you prefer to prepare your lunches in advance, meal prepping is a fantastic option. Here are some vegan lunch ideas that can be prepped ahead of time:
Vegan Lentil Soup
- Extra-virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp
- Chopped yellow onions – 1 1/2 cups
- Carrots chopped – 1 cup
- Garlic, minced – 3 cloves
- Tomato paste ( no-salt-added) – 2 tbsp
- Reduced-sodium vegetable broth – 4 cups
- Water – 1 cup
- Cannellini beans rinsed (no-salt-added) – 1 can ( 15 ounces )
- Mixed dry lentils (brown, green, and black) – 1 cup
- Chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained – 1/2 cup
- salt – 3/4 tsp
- Ground pepper – 1/2 tsp
- fresh dill chopped, plus more for garnish – 1 tbsp
- Red-wine vinegar – 1 1/2 tsp
Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions and carrots to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, which typically takes about 3 to 4 minutes.
Put garlic in the pot and cook, stirring constantly, until it becomes fragrant, usually around 1 minute.
Add tomato paste to the pot and continue stirring constantly. In addition, ensure that the mixture evenly coats the vegetables. Cook for about 1 minute to enhance the flavors.
Stir in the broth, water, cannellini beans, lentils, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and allow the soup to simmer for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, or until the lentils become tender.
Remove the pot from heat and stir in the dill and vinegar, which will add a refreshing and tangy twist to the soup.
Optionally, garnish the soup with additional dill for added flavor and presentation.
Serve the delicious lentil soup hot and enjoy its comforting and nourishing qualities.
Chickpea Pasta Salad
For the salad
- Pasta rotini, fusilli, penne, farfalle – 1/2 pound
- Chickpeas – 1½ cups ( 15 oz )
- Cherry tomatoes – 1 1/2 cups
- Cucumber – 1 1/2 cups
- Olives – 1/2 cup
- Red onion – 1/3 cup
- Canned corn – 1/2 cup
- Parsley – 1/2 cup
- Ripe avocado (optional) – 1
For the dressing
- Extra virgin olive oil – 4 tbsp
- Lemon juice sub apple cider vinegar – 2 tbsp
- Mustard – 1 tbsp
- Maple syrup sub honey – 1 tbsp
- Salt – 3/4 tsp
- Black pepper – 1/4 tsp
- Ground cumin optional – 1tsp
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until it reaches the desired “al dente” texture. Once cooked, drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water to prevent overcooking. This will help cool it down and maintain its firmness.
In a small jar, combine all the dressing ingredients. Close the jar tightly and shake it vigorously until the ingredients are well combined. Alternatively, you can whisk the dressing ingredients together in a bowl until they form a smooth mixture.
In a large serving bowl, firstly, add the drained and rinsed chickpeas. Next, include the canned corn kernels, diced cucumber (with the peel left on), halved cherry tomatoes, olives, finely chopped onion, and parsley. Collectively, these ingredients will provide a delightful combination of flavors, textures, and colors to the salad.
Add the cooked pasta to the bowl with the other ingredients.
Pour the prepared dressing over the salad and mix well to ensure all the ingredients are coated evenly. Additionally, taste the salad and adjust the seasoning with salt as needed.
Serve the chickpea pasta salad, which can be enjoyed immediately. For an extra creamy touch, consider adding diced avocado to the salad just before serving.
Roasted Veggie and Quinoa Bowl
- Vegetable broth – 2 1/2 cups
- Kosher salt – 2 tsp
- White quinoa – 2 cups
- Minced flat-leaf parsley – 1/4 cup
- Roasted Vegetables:
- Jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise – 2
- Sweet Potato, peeled and diced – 1
- Red bell pepper, cored and diced
- Zucchini cut into bite-sized chunks
- Olive oil – 2 tbsp
- kosher salt
- Shallot, minced
- Baby spinach – 3 cups
- Avocado – 1
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).
For the quinoa, bring the broth and salt to a simmer over medium heat in a saucepan. Stir in the quinoa, ensuring it is well coated. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan with a lid. Allow the quinoa to simmer for 20 minutes. Once cooked, turn off the heat and let it sit until you’re ready to serve. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and gently stir in the fresh parsley.
While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the roasted vegetables. On a sheet pan, combine the jalapeno, sweet potatoes, bell pepper, and zucchini. Toss them with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt to enhance the flavors. Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until they turn golden and tender.
Create a bed of baby spinach in a serving bowl. Pile the cooked quinoa on top of the spinach and add the roasted vegetables on top of the quinoa. Sprinkle shallots over the bowl for an added burst of flavor. Finally, add avocado slices to the bowl.
Serve the quinoa and roasted vegetable bowl, allowing the ingredients to blend harmoniously. The combination of textures and flavors will provide a satisfying and wholesome meal.
Nutritious Vegan Lunch Ideas
For those seeking more substantial and nutrient-rich meals, try these vegan lunch ideas:
Rainbow Quinoa Salad
- Lemon juice – 4 tbsp
- Olive oil – 4 tbsp
- Kosher salt – 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper, to taste
- Cooked quinoa – 4 cups
- Shredded Brussels sprouts – 1 cup
- Shredded red cabbage – 1 cup
- Thinly sliced carrots – 1 cup
- Yellow bell peppers – 1 cup
- Diced mini cucumbers – 1 cup
- Halved cherry tomatoes – 1 cup
In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk the ingredients together until well blended to create a flavorful dressing.
Divide one cup of quinoa into each serving bowl. This will form the base of the salad.
Arrange the vegetables in rainbow order on top of the quinoa, starting with purple and ending with red. Use 1/4 cup of each vegetable to add vibrant colors and a variety of flavors to the salad.
Drizzle the prepared dressing over the salad, ensuring each bowl receives an even coating. Taste the salad and adjust the salt and pepper seasoning according to your preference.
Thai Peanut Noodle Salad
- Dry noodles (Brown rice noodles, Soba noodles, pad thai style rice noodles, linguini) – 6 ounces
- A mix of red cabbage, carrots, and radish, shredded – 4 cups
- Finely sliced red bell pepper – 1
- Sliced scallions – 3
- Chopped sub basil and mint or bunch cilantro – 1/2
- Finely Chopped jalapeño – 1 tbsp
- Roasted, crushed peanuts ( optional garnish) – 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Thai Peanut Sauce
- Ginger – 5 thin slice
- Garlic – 2 cloves
- Sub-almond butter or peanut butter – 1/2 cup
- Fresh orange juice – 1/2 cup
- Lime juice ( roughly 2 limes) – 1/3 cup
- Soy sauce – 1/4 cup
- Maple syrup or honey – 1/3 cup
- Toasted sesame oil- 1/4 cup
- Cayenne pepper – 1-1 1/2 tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
Prepare Noodles: Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the cooked noodles and cool them under cold running water.
Prepare the Peanut Sauce: While the noodles are cooking, use a blender to blend together the ingredients for the peanut sauce until smooth.
Toss Together: Place shredded vegetables, bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, and jalapeño into a serving bowl. Toss the ingredients together. Add the cooled noodles to the serving bowl and toss again. Pour an adequate amount of peanut sauce over the mixture and toss well to combine. You don’t have to use all of the sauce; just use enough to coat the ingredients well. (Save any extra sauce for leftovers, as it can be absorbed overnight.)
Adjust the Flavor: Taste the dish and adjust the salt to your liking. If desired, add chili flakes for extra spice or more lime juice for acidity. Serve the dish, garnishing it with roasted peanuts, cilantro, and a lime wedge.
Roasted Veggie with Hummus Dressing
- Baby gem lettuce – 2
- avocado – 1
- Red pepper – 2
- Yellow pepper – 1
- Red onion – 1
- Courgette – 1
- Cherry tomatoes – 1 dozen
- Sweet potatoes – 2
- Hummus – 1 tbsp
- Olive oil – 2 tbsp
- Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
- Tamari – 1 tsp
- Maple syrup – 2 tsp
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
Begin by cutting the red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, and courgettes into medium-sized chunks, and halve the tomatoes. (If you are using sweet potatoes, prepare them at this point). Arrange them on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle a pinch of salt, and roast for approximately 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely shred the baby gem lettuce, starting from the end, and place it in a bowl.
Create the dressing by thoroughly mixing all the ingredients until smooth.
Once the vegetables are well-roasted, add them to the salad bowl along with the shaved lettuce and the hummus dressing. Toss everything together well and serve, garnishing with avocado on top.
Vegan Sandwich Ideas for Lunch
Sandwiches are a classic lunch option, and with a few tweaks, they can be made vegan-friendly. Here are some delicious vegan sandwich ideas:
Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Chickpeas – 1 can ( 15 ounces )
- Rib celery – 1
- Green onions – 3
- Vegan mayonnaise, or cashew cream – 1 to 2 tbsp
- Lemon juice – 1 tsp
- Celery seed – 1 tsp
- Fresh ground pepper and kosher salt
- Bread – 4 slices
- Sprouts, lettuce, or spring green mix
- Hummus ( optional )
Slice the celery into thin pieces (if it’s a large rib, cut it in half lengthwise first). Thinly slice the green onions.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a medium bowl, use a fork to smash the chickpeas.
Combine the smashed chickpeas with the chopped celery and green onions. Additionally, mix in mayonnaise, lemon juice, and celery seed. To enhance the flavor, season with about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, adjusting based on your chickpea brand and taste preferences. Finally, don’t forget to add freshly ground pepper to taste. Keep tasting and adding salt until the flavors stand out! If the salad seems dry, add more mayonnaise (cooked chickpeas tend to have a drier texture compared to canned ones).
To assemble the chickpea salad sandwich: If desired, spread hummus on the bread (this adds an extra kick but is not necessary). Top the sandwich with lettuce or greens and the chickpea spread.
BBQ Tofu Sandwich
- Block tofu- organic, extra firm, drained – 1
- Olive oil or coconut oil – 2 tbsp
- Salt – 1/4 tsp
- Black pepper – 1/4 tsp
- BBQ Sauce (aim for one without high fructose corn syrup ) – 1/4 cup
- Sriracha or chili paste – 1 tsp
- Soft buns – 2
- Avocado is messy but good. 😉
Creamy Cilantro Slaw:
- Shredded cabbage – 3 cups packed ( 4 ounces )
- Cilantro chopped – 1/4 cup
- Red onion, thinly sliced – 1/4 cup
- Vegan mayo or regular mayo – 3-4 tbsp
- Vinegar- Apple Cider or white, more to taste – 1 tbsp
- Salt – 1/4 tsp
Drain the block of tofu, gently pat it dry, and cut it into one-inch-thick slabs. You should be able to get 2 or maybe 3 slabs from one block. Pat it dry once again.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over the oil. Once the pepper becomes fragrant, carefully place the tofu in the skillet. Allow it to sear without moving it around, so it develops a crispy, deep golden crust. This process will take around 12 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together BBQ sauce and red chili paste, then set it aside.
Take a medium bowl and place the shredded cabbage in it. Next, add the onions, cilantro, mayo, vinegar, and salt. Toss everything well to combine, ensuring all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Afterward, taste the mixture and adjust the flavors as needed. The final result should be a creamy, tangy, and flavorful combination.
Toast the buns and slice the avocado.
Once the tofu is crispy, reduce the heat to low and add the BBQ sauce mixture, ensuring the tofu is coated well. Use all the sauce if desired. Let it caramelize slightly in the pan, then turn off the heat.
To assemble the sandwich, firstly, spread more mayo on the bottom bun if desired. Next, place the hot tofu on the bun, and then top it with the cool slaw and a few slices of avocado. Finally, enjoy your delicious creation! 🙂
Warm Vegan Lunch Ideas
Sometimes, a warm and comforting lunch is just what you need. Here are some delicious warm vegan lunch ideas:
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
- Extra-virgin olive oil – 1 tbsp
- Sweet potato, peeled and diced – 1 ( medium-large )
- Onion, diced – 1 ( large )
- Garlic, minced – 4 cloves
- Chili powder – 2 tbsp
- Ground cumin – 4 tsp
- Ground chipotle chile – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – 1/4 tsp
- Water – 2 1/2 cups
- Black beans rinsed – 1 can ( 15 ounces )
- Diced tomatoes – 1 can ( 14 ounces )
- Lime juice – 4 tsp
- Chopped fresh cilantro – 1/2 cup
In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion, and cook while stirring frequently, until the onion begins to soften, approximately 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle, and salt, and continue to cook while stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Pour in water and bring it to a simmer. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until the sweet potato becomes tender, which should take around 10 to 12 minutes.
Add beans, tomatoes, and lime juice to the mixture. Increase the heat to high and bring it back to a simmer, stirring often. Once simmering, reduce the heat and let it simmer until slightly reduced about 5 minutes. Remove the Dutch oven from heat and stir in the cilantro.
Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Bell pepper tops cut off and cores removed – 6 ( medium )
- Uncooked quinoa rinsed and drained – 1 cup
- Vegetable broth – 2 cups
- Olive oil – 1 tbsp
- Onion chopped – 1 ( small )
- Garlic minced – 2 cloves
- Diced tomatoes – 1 can ( 15 ounces )
- Black beans – 1 can ( 15 ounces )
- Frozen corn thawed – 1 cup
- Cumin – 1 tsp
- Paprika – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper – 1/4 tsp
- Freshly shredded Monterey Jack cheese – 1 cup
- Chopped fresh cilantro diced avocado, sour cream ( optional )
In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the saucepan with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Allow the quinoa to rest for about 5 minutes without opening the lid, then fluff it with a fork.
To begin, preheat the oven to 375°F. Next, prepare the peppers by cutting them in half lengthwise and removing the seeds and membrane. After that, place the pepper halves in a baking dish, and cut side up. Finally, pour enough water into the dish to cover the bottom.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until they begin to soften, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant. Stir in the cooked quinoa, diced tomatoes, black beans, and corn. Season with cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Carefully spoon the quinoa mixture into the sliced peppers and sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake the dish uncovered until the peppers are tender and the cheese is melted, approximately 30-35 minutes. Add optional toppings and serve hot.
I hope you love all of these vegan lunch ideas.
A vegan diet is one that excludes all foods of animal origin, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. It primarily focuses on plant-based foods. For beginners, a vegan diet can be approached by gradually incorporating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains into meals while avoiding animal products.
Yes, vegans can eat rice. Rice is a vegan-friendly food that can be a staple in a vegan diet. It is a versatile grain, a good source of vitamins and minerals, and a low-fat, low-calorie option. However, there are concerns about rice production’s impact on water usage and resources.