Prep and pack any of these vegetarian lunches for a nourishing midday meal at work or school.
Do you want to pack more lunches instead of skipping or ordering takeout when you have a busy day?
It takes a little extra planning, but there are a lot of advantages to bringing your own lunch from home. This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of lunch options in your area.
Make meal prepping work for you.
The good news is you don’t have to spend hours dicing and hovering over the stove to start meal prepping and packing lunches to go.
Start small and make a batch of Instant Pot Black Bean Soup or a ready-to-eat Edamame Crunch Salad. Both recipes are easy to make and full of nourishing ingredients that will help you stay focused for the rest of the afternoon.
Why pack vegetarian lunches?
Some of the benefits of meal prepping and packing lunches for work or school include:
- Ability to cook multiple servings at once
- Balanced meals for energy
- Save money
- Option to pack in reusable containers to reduce waste
What makes these vegetarian lunches ideal for work or school?
When you’re looking for a recipe to prep for meals away from home, look for these qualities in vegetarian lunches:
- Easy to make ahead
- Ready-to-eat or microwavable
- Balanced with fiber, carbs, protein, and fats
How to Meal Prep Vegetarian Lunches
If you want to make a few vegetarian lunches ahead of time but feel a little bit overwhelmed by starting to meal prep, don’t be afraid to keep it simple with a single recipe.
When you’re ready to step it up, use the same ingredients in a few different ways to create two or three different dishes. This simplifies both grocery shopping and meal prep, and it can also help minimize food waste.
Storage Tips for Packed Lunches
When you're prepping lunches ahead of time, you generally want to keep sauces and dressings in separate containers. Also separate anything that's supposed to stay crispy, such as tortilla strips or roasted chickpeas.
To keep avocados from getting brown, either spritz them with lime juice or cut immediately before eating. You can also store apple slices with lemon juice to prevent browning.
How to Use the Same Ingredients in Different Vegetarian Lunches
Look for versatile ingredients, such as beans, chickpeas, whole grains, starchy vegetables, greens, nuts, seeds, and seasonal produce.
- black beans for tacos, chili, and enchiladas
- brown rice for power bowls, burritos, and grain salads
- chickpeas for hummus, bowls, and as a soup topper
- sweet potatoes for sandwiches, soups, or energy bars
- spinach for salads, bowls, or stuffed potatoes
- tahini for salad dressings, sauces, and whole-grain cookies (for those days when you also want an afternoon snack)
Vegetarian Lunches to Pack for Work or School
The vegetarian lunches in this list are organized into five categories (click to go directly to one type of meal if you know what you’re looking for).
Make a big batch of one of these vegetarian soup recipes and you’ll be set for lunch all week. When you’re making an entree soup, look for a balance of fiber from vegetables or whole grains and protein from pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas, and dry peas) or soy (tofu, tempeh, and edamame).
Cook dry beans, sweet potatoes, and spicy chipotle peppers in your Instant Pot to make this hearty Black Bean Soup up to a week in advance. Portion it off into microwave-safe containers for grab-and-go meals.
Creamy oat milk is blended with sweet corn and three types of peppers in this Vegan Corn Chowder soup. Be sure to add on the beans at the end if you want to increase the fiber and protein.
This Tuscan-inspired Tomato Barley Soup is a comforting and delicious lunch on the go. Add vegan cheesy roasted chickpeas on top for a little extra crunch.
Simplify meal prep with one flavor-packed ingredient. Spicy harissa flavors bean chili all on its own so you only need 8 ingredients to batch cook this vegan lunch.
Make-ahead taco soup is filled with vegetables and plant-based protein from both black and pinto beans. It’s freezer-friendly, so you can keep it on hand for months.
Filling vegan salads really do exist. Look for balanced recipes with lots of variety from whole grains, starchy vegetables (such as potatoes, squash, or corn), beans, chickpeas, lentils, or edamame.
This vegan take on Greek salad is made with juicy heirloom tomatoes, nutty toasted farro, and crumbled tofu feta. The added grains give this entree salad extra staying power.
When you’d rather be in the Caribbean, there’s spicy jerk tempeh served over a hearty spinach salad with fruity mango salsa. (Keep the salsa in a separate container to keep the greens crispy.)
Protein-packed soybeans are tossed with crunchy vegetables and spicy peanut dressing in this easy Edamame Salad. Make-ahead, ready to eat, and also happens to be one of the all-time most viewed recipes here on Grateful Grazer.
When you’re looking for ultimate portability, go with a mason jar salad. This easy vegetarian lunch recipe is made with fiber- and protein-packed chickpeas and Moroccan-inspired spices. Good hot or cold.
If you like combining fruits and veggies, try Roasted Beet Sandwiches layered with apple slices, fresh tarragon, and garlic-herb chickpea spread.
I’ve been making these chickpea salad sandwiches for years, and I still never get sick of them. Sometimes I swap out the chickpeas and use tempeh or tofu instead. It’s ideal when you don’t have access to a microwave.
The best thing you can do for yourself this week: take a break to bite into this fully loaded Sweet Potato Sandwich with creamy avocado and hot sauce.
The options for vegetarian power bowls are endless. Just combine cooked whole grains with beans, veggies, and sauce. My choice for the sauce is almost always tahini.
Try fall-inspired Crispy Baked Tofu Bowls with sweet potatoes and kale for a balanced vegan lunch that won’t leave you feeling hungry.
Tempeh and sweet corn are seasoned with Mexican-inspired spices in this balanced burrito power bowl. Pack it up with all of your favorite burrito fixings.
When you’re looking for a vegetarian lunch with lots of spicy flavor, try these buffalo roasted chickpeas with tangy honey mustard tahini sauce.
Make-Ahead Hot Vegetarian Lunches:
Prep and portion these recipes when you’re craving something beyond the typical soup, salad, or sandwich. These recipes may be more like what you’d traditionally eat for dinner, but we all know leftovers make the best next day lunches anyway.
Roasted sweet potatoes are loaded with sweet and spicy BBQ tempeh and vegetables in this simple, meal prep-friendly recipe.
The coziest-ever Roasted Butternut Squash Curry with protein-packed lentils and hearty Brussels sprouts. Reheat over rice or any cooked grain.
Layers of seasonal vegetables, crispy tortillas, and melty pepper jack cheese make this comforting taco bake a meal to keep on repeat always. Portion it off into separate microwave-safe containers to grab and go.
Do you like these packable vegetarian lunches?
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Did you try one of these vegetarian lunches?
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