Lunch can be a tricky meal to make happen—you may be pressed for time and skip it, or have to pick up something on the go that’s pricy and not as nutritionally dense as you’d like. One simple fix for this is meal prepping at home, and having a handful of easy vegan lunch ideas you can make from one set of ingredients can really help. It’s something Kelly Jones, LDN, has come to rely on during the week—as well as a trick she frequently recommends to her clients.
“As a busy mom with a business who squeezes in workouts whenever I can, I relate well to my client’s needs for easy ‘throw together’ lunches,” she says. “I always have my pantry and freezer stocked so that I can piece together my formula in a pinch when I can’t make it to the grocery store, but it’s always a bonus to have a few staple fresh items on hand, too.”
This is a particularly convenient way to approach your mid-day meals if you’re plant-based, as it can help you utilize all of your produce and reduce food waste.
“When building your throw-together lunch, always include a fiber-rich starch, a quality protein source, and a vegetable as the base,” says Jones. “It’s also important that your meal includes fat and tasty flavors to promote satisfaction so you can move on with your day rather than keep thinking about food all afternoon.”
Here are some easy vegan lunch ideas you can enjoy from one grocery store trip that’ll make meal prep a breeze and save you money.
Your shopping list for 5 days of easy vegan lunch ideas
- Large container mixed greens
- Frozen spinach
- Frozen Asian medley vegetables
- Baby carrots
- Hemp seeds
- Pre-marinated tofu,
- Plant-based tuna (Jones recommends (Good Catch plant-based tuna.)
- Buffalo-marinated tempeh
- Frozen edamame,
- Egg wraps (Jones suggests Just Egg folded.)
- Sprouted grain tortillas (Jones’ picks are Food for Life or Angelic Bakehouse.)
- Microwavable potatoes ( Jones prefers Little Potato Co microwave ready kit.)
- Microwavable quinoa pouch
- Sesame oil
- Cracked pepper
- Garlic powder
- Stir-fry sauce (optional)
- Any favorite dressings or flavorful sauces
Got all that? Keep reading for 5 easy vegan lunch ideas to try at home
1. Quinoa Edamame Stir-Fry
Yields 2 servings
“This is one of my favorite options for myself,” Jones says. “It packs in 17 grams of plant based protein and over 20 percent of the daily value for iron, a nutrient of concern for those following plant-based eating patterns.”
1. Microwave your quinoa pouch according to directions—and before microwaving your Asian medley vegetables. You can also microwave your edamame, or let it steam in a small saucepan on the stove while your other ingredients are in the microwave.
2. Mix half of the quinoa pouch, half of the vegetables, and 1/2 cup of the edamame together. Top with 1 Tbsp sesame oil and sriracha to taste, or 2 Tbsp of your favorite stir-fry sauce.
2. Potato and Greens
Yields 2 servings
“On days you’re able to sit down for a mindful meal, this comes together quickly and offers high quality protein from the tofu, as well as plenty of potassium for healthy fluid balance from the quick-cook baby creamer potatoes,” Jones says.
1. Microwave the Little Potato Company’s Microwave Ready Kit for five minutes.
2. While it’s cooking, sauté your marinated tofu in a pan for 2–3 minutes.
3. Toss 2 cups of mixed greens with 1 tbsp of hemp hearts and your favorite salad dressing.
4. When the potatoes are done, stir in the seasoning packet and add 1/4 to 1/3 of the container to your salad. Top with half of the tofu.
3. Buffalo Tempeh Wrap
Yields 1 serving
“Packaged buffalo tempeh can be eaten cold, which makes it a high quality alternative for cold cuts,” Jones says. “If you’re new to plant-based proteins, tempeh is so easy and versatile since it doesn’t need to be cooked, and it can be enjoyed in strips or crumbled. It’s also fermented so may be easier on the digestive tract as you incorporate more legumes.”
1. Spread a tablespoon of hummus on a sprouted grain tortilla, then top with 1 cup of mixed greens (packed!), half a package of the buffalo tempeh, and 1/3 cup sliced avocado.
2. Roll up and serve for a balanced meal that you can eat with just one hand—how easy, right?
4. Lightened Up Vegan “Tuna Salad” Sandwich
Yields 1 serving
“This option is great to pack in fiber and offer the flavor you may miss from tuna sandwiches, while still getting quality protein,” she says. “It’s also perfect for anyone who is eating on the go or during another Zoom meeting.”
1. Mix a pouch of your plant-based tuna with 2 Tbsp of hummus, cracked pepper, and garlic powder.
2. Add this mixture to two slices of sprouted grain bread for a sandwich or just use one slice of bread to make an open-faced sandwich.
3. Serve with 1 cup of baby carrots.
5. Vegan Egg and Avocado Toast
Yields 1 serving
“This balanced meal is perfect anytime of day, especially for a quick work lunch,” Jones says. And since sprouted grain bread typically has 5 grams of protein per slice, this meal can pack in 17 grams of plant protein.
1. Toast two slices of sprouted grain bread.
2. Toast your vegan egg wrap.
3. Place half an egg wrap on each slice of toast and top each slice of bread with 1/4 of an avocado and 1/2 Tbsp hemp seeds.
4. Serve with a side salad, which offers fiber and greens.
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