I know plenty of people looking to make a change in their diets, and one thing I think we all struggle with is finding vegetarian lunch ideas that are both tasty and filling.
Whether you’re working from home or need to bring your lunch to the office, it’s not always easy to come up with a complete meal when you take away the meat.
But with a bit of culinary know-how, it’s a lot easier than you think!
Swapping out chicken for chickpeas and ground beef for black beans will leave you with not only a super substantial lunch but also a protein-packed mid-day meal to keep you going until dinner.
Now, don’t worry; nothing on this list is overly complicated.
If you can make chicken salad, you can make a smashed white bean and avocado salad.
If you can throw together a quick pork burrito, then you can make a fast tofu power bowl in no time.
So, let’s dive into this list of 20 vegetarian lunch ideas so you can start your week off right!
Gazpacho is such a refreshing lunch option that’s loaded with flavor and a sure-fire way to keep you full all day long.
This chilled tomato and vegetable soup is perfect for bringing to work since you won’t have to worry about reheating anything.
Just add a piece of crusty bread to the side, and you’re good to go.
I love wraps for lunch because they’re a little lighter than a bulky sandwich, but they’re also brimming with fresh ingredients.
And I have to say that these spicy chickpeas are something special!
Sautéed with hot sauce and garlic, they bring this whole dish to life as they gently soften and soak up all that incredible spice.
The simple hummus will help to mellow that out, but this is not for the faint of heart!
I always add chicken to my salad to up the protein content and make it a bit heartier.
One thing’s for sure; you won’t miss a single thing when you sub out your chicken for chickpeas!
Loaded with fiber, protein, carbohydrates, and several vitamins, I won’t be surprised if you get a boost of energy after eating this salad.
Chicken salad is a go-to in my house. I love making a big batch and throwing some in a sandwich for a super-fast but delicious lunch or snack.
If you’re the same and want a meat-free alternative to a creamy and tender chicken salad, this recipe is a must-make.
Smashed white beans are not only buttery and tender, but they will add some great texture to your vegetarian salad.
Then, of course, you’ll add some avocado for an ultra-creamy taste and pretty green coloring.
I like to add some chopped red onion to mine for a peppery crunch, too!
Bean sprouts would also be a fantastic and healthy alternative.
Looking for something carb-free, vibrant, and bursting with flavor and texture?
These wraps use collard greens instead of pita or tortillas, making them gorgeous on the outside and super light.
Oh, and you’ll get some great nutrients right in the wrap!
As for the filling, there are so many great options, including that smashed bean mix, which would be perfect for this!
I think texture is hugely important in food, which is why I think this combination of smooth hummus, quinoa, crunchy cucumber, juicy tomatoes, and sweet shredded carrot is sensational.
This soup might look creamy, but there’s no dairy in sight!
It’s also so pretty with its red coloring – something a lot of lentil recipes lack, unfortunately.
The base is made with diced tomatoes and veggie broth, along with garlic, cumin, curry powder, and thyme.
It leaves you with such a lovely warmth to the soup.
If you like minestrone soup, you can eat this as soon as the lentils have cooked through.
If you like it a touch creamier, all you’ll need to do is blitz some of the soup and mix it back in. So easy!
Full disclosure: you might only need half a sandwich with this recipe!
If you’re a fan of farmer’s markets, I’m sure you always come home with a basket full of vibrant and fresh veggies, right?
What better way to use them than to slice them all up and pile them high between some crusty, seeded bread?
The vegan pesto is a really nice touch, and you can always make this gluten-free if you get the right kind of bread.
If you’re a vegetarian or just looking to cut back on your meat consumption, you’ll know that cauliflower is a powerhouse of a vegetable!
There’s nothing it can’t do, and it tastes great to boot!
When you roast it – like you will for this recipe – it becomes even nuttier in flavor, and the slight char just brings it to life.
Combine that with so many unique Mediterranean flavors, like olives and roasted red peppers, and you won’t miss the meat one bit.
You’ve probably noticed the abundance of chickpeas in this list of vegetarian lunch ideas, and that’s because they’re so versatile and a great source of vitamins and minerals.
They take on flavor like you wouldn’t believe, and they will help to bulk out your dish, so you’re not feeling hungry an hour later.
If you buy your chickpeas dried, you’ll save so much money, making this simple vegetable dish super cheap to make.
Lentils are known to be an excellent meat replacement, and when it comes to lunch ideas, they’re perfect for a make-ahead, on-the-go salad.
This recipe includes plenty of veggies, such as tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, and carrots, along with a light and refreshing dressing.
You can make this even better with any number of vegetables you might have on hand.
How about some roasted sweet potatoes and zucchini?
Making chickpea burgers is a touch more involved than making simple beef burgers.
But once you have your seasonings down, you can have a whole batch of these ready to go in minutes.
I like to make a bitch batch and freeze mine so I can pull them out whenever I need a quick and healthy lunch or dinner.
You’ll need a food processor for this to make the chickpeas nice and smooth.
If you like it with extra texture, I’m sure you could just mash them in a bowl.
Black bean soup might not look super impressive, but when you add in parsley, oregano, cumin, bay, paprika, chili powder, and lime juice, you just know it’ll taste incredible.
If you’re in a rush, feel free to use canned black beans. The dried kind will obviously be cheaper.
You’ll just have to remember to soak them overnight before cooking.
Veggie burritos are a fabulous lunch option whether you’re at home or on the move.
They’re super easy to bring to work and will heat up right in the microwave.
When it comes to making your rice, it’s important to give it a little love. Who wants boring, bland rice in their meal?
As for the beans, this recipe will be a little spicy, though you can adjust the seasonings to your liking.
For an added pop or creamy color, try making some Mexican street corn to add to the mix!
I always shied away from tofu after one bad experience. It was mushy and cold and just not pleasant to eat.
But when you know how to cook it, it can be an excellent meat alternative to any meal!
It all starts with getting the right kind of tofu. You can’t expect to crisp up the silky kind, right?
To make it crispy, you’ll need to press your tofu.
This is a method of removing excess moisture, which will allow the tofu to crisp up as you bake it.
This recipe also uses extra firm tofu, and yes, you will need to press it again for this sandwich.
It’s as easy as lining a plate with paper towels and popping a skillet on top.
You’ll need to pan-fry the tofu once it’s pressed; otherwise, this sandwich will be a bit too mushy.
I like to add some crunch to the mix, so I sprinkle over some everything bagel seasoning, too.
This is the kind of vegetarian lunch dish that you can’t really take with you, but will brighten up your Saturday at the first bite!
Of course, you’ll need a blender for this and a decent one if you’re blending frozen fruits.
Using frozen fruits rather than fresh will help to make your smoothies nice and thick, which I prefer.
If you like it thinner, feel free to use fresh fruit, but you won’t really be able to make it as a bowl recipe.
Chow mein usually contains oyster sauce and meat, but you won’t miss that at all with this recipe!
Once the tofu has been fried in soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine, it will taste crispy and slightly sweet, which perfectly pairs with the noodles, cabbage, and sprouts.
To prevent your tofu from breaking apart, either cut it nice and thick or remove it from the pan and cook the cabbage separately.
Then just add the tofu to the top of the dish when you plate everything.
As far as veggie salads go, this might just be the prettiest!
I can’t get over the colors and textures, and the sesame garlic dressing is just to die for!
You won’t have to mince the edamame if you prefer it with some bite, but I just love how it blends into everything, giving you that great flavor in every bite.
I always have a jar of roasted red peppers in my fridge, and I like to add them to my meals for a pop of color and lovely zesty flavors.
I have to admit that I needed some extra hummus in my wrap here, as the peppers were quite strong.
Though, the avocado does help mellow it out, too.
This would also work with some of that smashed bean salad as well!
Power bowls, Buddha bowls, or grain bowls; no matter what you call them, they’re always a hit.
These can be a terrific make-ahead meal that will travel like a dream.
If you make a whole slew of roasted veggies, you can easily change it up day by day.
Quinoa is the best option if you’re looking for something hearty and gluten-free.
But you could always use brown rice if you prefer the texture (and the price tag!).
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