I almost skipped lunch today. But then I reminded myself that there is one situation when I should never skip lunch: when I am hungry!
More often than I’d like to admit, I slack on lunch when I am indeed hungry. Sounds silly. It makes no sense really, but I’m sure you know what I mean. It is just too easy! A busy work day gives us more than enough reason to keep powering through the afternoon – ignoring that growl in our stomachs. Trying to calm it with a coffee beverage, quick snack, water chug or even worse – something processed/salty/from a bag/from a vending machine/in the chip family/etc.
But today I pulled myself out of my chair amidst smoothie book writing and into the kitchen where I did in fact pull off lunch. In a flash. And it was super yummy. And not surprisingly, I think I even got more work done after my lunch break than if I had skipped or slacked on lunch – and been famished by dinner time. Healthy food = productivity. So how did I succeed? I certainly don’t enter that kitchen unarmed. I have a long list of recipes that I refer to as my “go-to” lunch ideas. Here are a few…
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10 Easy Vegan Lunch Ideas
note: some of these recipes are easier/faster than others – and some can even be made ahead of time to easily pull from the fridge or reheat.
1. The Quickie Sandwich. This is what I did today. I pulled two slices of sprouted grain bread from the freezer and toasted them – good as new. Then I slathered on some garlic hummus and vegan mayo from the fridge. Then I added a quickly toasted (you can even microwave it) vegan veggie burger – I used Amy’s Kitchen California Veggie Burger. Then I piled on the greens. I was pleased to have some micro cilantro and spicy arugula which both really gave this sandwich some ‘gourmet’ appeal. Lastly, I added a juicy slice of grapefruit – I swiped a slice from the grapefruit I used in my smoothie. Oh and some Penzey’s Spices on top. Boom. Sandwich done.
I paired this meal with baby carrots and a Grapefruit Smoothie: 1 large grapefruit, peeled. One large banana. Handful ice. Drizzle maple syrup. Splash of rice milk. Blend. I topped with a handful or organic blueberries. YUM. Here is what today’s lunch looked like..
Grapefruit + Banana + Blueberry Smoothie:
(OK, so that was my lunch today. Here are a few more ideas below..)
2. The Wrap. Love a wrap at lunchtime. Wraps can hold just about anything. Grilled veggies, beans, grains, a giant few handfuls of lettuce, dressing, hummus, chopped fruit, raw veggies and more. Keep some extra large wraps on hand and stuff whatever healthy delicious ingredients you have on hand inside. I lightly warm my wraps before filling and folding. VIDEO on wrap-folding here.
Try my Wrap Recipes.
Also try.. The Wrap Spiral. These are fun. Grab some lavash wraps, tortillas or flour wraps and slather them with something. Hummus, vegan cream cheese, pesto, BBQ sauce – whatever. Then pile on the toppings – veggies work best. Then you simply roll and slice into sushi-sized rolls. Lunchbox-approved fare.
Make my Hummus Veggie Spiral Wraps.
3. Bagel-wich. Bagels make everything better. I love smashing my bagel sandwiches between my panini grill – kind of like a bagel grilled cheese – but you don’t even need any vegan cheese. Try vegan cream cheese, hummus or a mix of veggies on lunch bagels.
4. The Hearty Pita. It is easy to stuff a pita with hummus, lettuce and such. But sometimes I like to make more hearty vegan fare like tempeh and broccoli for lunch. I may also have some leftovers from dinner – hearty grilled or steamed veggies and protein like tempeh or tofu. Instead of serving these items on a plate i love to stuff them inside pitas. A pita makes hearty items more “lunch-y” in a way. Leftovers + pitas = easy lunchtime bliss.
Try my Smoky Tempeh Broccoli Pita.
5. Giant Salad. Grab a bowl. Fill it with all the veggies, fruit and legumes you have on hand – get creative and have a little fun. The good thing is that most vegan ingredients mesh well together so a giant random salad will usually be quite yummy. Or you can work off a specific recipe too. Leftover ricotta cashew cheese on a giant salad – yum.
I also love love love slaw salads. They can be made ahead of time for grab and go lunching.
Make my creamy slaw salad.
6. Tofu Salad. Tofu is a nice go-to item for lunch. It is rich in protein and absorbs flavors well so you can pretty much make it whatever you are craving. It also keeps well in the fridge for easy make-ahead lunches. I like to make chilled tofu salad and spread it on sandwiches or eat it with crackers.
Make my Tofu Crunch Salad. Try my “Eggless” Tofu Salad Sandwich.
7. The Smoothie! Oh yes you guys know i love my smoothies. A smoothie can very easily be a meal in a glass. Quick, healthy, yummy lunch!
Try my Easy Energy Almond Butter Smoothie.
8. Tempeh Sandwich. I love tempeh on sandwiches. And my favorite includes either smoky tempeh with avocado or BBQ sauce slathered tempeh with some accent items like onion, kraut or greens – or all of the above.
Make my BBQ Tempeh Kraut ‘Wich – and get 15 sandwich truths.
9. Soup! Leftover soup paired with some bread is atotally easy lunch idea. I like to reheat and add in some nutritional yeast and additional spices. I also like to plop a giant handful of greens over top my hot soup – it wilts them down nicely so I get the best of both worlds for lunch: soup and salad. And yes, canned or boxed vegan soups can make a nice, easy base for a vegan lunch. I spruce them up by adding in some fresh ingredients.
10. All About Hummus. Good hummus can really define a lunch. Heck, take the time to whip up some tasty hummus and your lunch is done. Serve with toasted bread, veggie sticks, crackers or over top a bowl of salad greens. Good hummus is packed with flavor and makes lunch easy. Plus you can easily make it ahead of time so all you have to do at lunch is pull a few items from the fridge.
Make my Sweet Potato Cajun Hummus.
BONUS. Outsource it. OK, I love making my own lunches. But I have no problem outsourcing them.
What is YOUR fave way to pull off lunch???