5 Make-Ahead Vegan & Gluten-Free Lunches: Part 2

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on September 12, 2011

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Welcome to Part 2 of my Make-ahead lunch series!  For Part 1: Sunday Prep + Monday & Tuesday’s Lunches, see this post.

Thank you for your enthusiastic feedback in my first post! I guess I’m not the only one who has been eating the same lunch for the past several weeks, months, years… ;) This challenge has been just the kick in the butt that I needed.

Next up, we’re getting over the hump with a protein-packed lunch.

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Wednesday’s Lunch featuring Back on Track Brown Rice & Chickpea Salad

Adapted from Back on Track Wheatberry Salad.

Salad:

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chopped cucumber & red pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat parsley
  • 1 green onion, chopped

 

Dressing (or sub in your favourite dressing)

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt, ground black pepper, & Herbamare, to taste

 

Snacks:

  • Mary’s Crackers & 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1 juicy in-season fruit

 

1. In a bowl, mix together the salad ingredients. In a small bowl or jar whisk/shake dressing ingredients together. Pour onto salad and stir.

2. Season well with kosher salt, pepper, Herbamare, crushed red pepper flakes, etc.

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In the original recipe, I used wheat berries and I preferred it to the brown rice. If you don’t need a gluten-free recipe, I suggest using wheatberries if you can, but use whatever grain that floats your boat.

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Love juicy pears!

And because no week is complete without a big salad, Thursday packs in a bounty of vegetables while strategically leaving room for chocolate…muhauha.

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Thursday’s Lunch featuring Big Lentil Power Salad

Salad:

  • 2-3 cups lightly packed leafy greens like romaine, spinach, or kale (I used kale)
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils (I used beluga)
  • 1 tbsp hemp seed (or seed of choice)
  • 2 tbsp chopped toasted walnuts (or nuts of choice, sub sunflower seeds for nut-free)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chopped vegetables (I used pre-cut cukes, peppers, carrots, and tomatoes)
  • 1-2 tbsp raisins or goji berries or dried cranberries

 

Dressing:

 

Snacks:

  • 1 peach
  • gluten-free Bread and Earth Balance
  • Chocolate Red heart (I wasn’t a big fan of that raw chocolate bar in the photo)

 

1. In a bowl, mix together the salad ingredients. If using kale, pour on dressing of choice and mix well. Allow kale to ‘marinate’ overnight or for up to 2 days in the fridge. If using other greens like spinach or romaine, pour on dressing just before serving so it doesn’t wilt.

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This is a high volume lunch and one that I will split up into lunch plus a snack or two.

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For Friday’s lunch, I used up any leftover grains or beans that I hadn’t used (you can also do this for dinners throughout the week).

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Friday’s Lunch featuring Protein Packed Pita Pocket

Pita:

  • 1 whole wheat pita pocket OR sub w/ Gluten-free wrap or bread if required
  • 1/4 cup hummus mixed with 1/2 cup leftover cooked grains and beans
  • Roasted red pepper slices or fresh red pepper slices
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

 

Snacks:

 

1. In a small bowl, mix together leftover grains/beans with hummus. Season to taste.

2. Spread hummus/grain mixture over inside of pita halves. Layer on avocado and red pepper slices.

Note: If packing this lunch, I suggest adding a layer of lettuce in between the pita and hummus mixture to prevent sogginess.

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This concludes my first Lunch Series on the blog! I hope this has inspired you to add some variety into your own lunches. You can use my lunch recipes for inspiration in your own kitchen and whenever possible use the ingredients you already have lurking in your fridge and cupboards. The recipes I posted are simply suggestions and can be adapted quite a bit. Also, if you find yourself with a lot of leftover cooked grains and beans, you can freeze them (in an air-tight bag or container). Just defrost overnight in the fridge and heat as necessary.

Lunch tends to be my biggest meal of the day because that’s when I’m the most hungry (likely due to my A.M. workouts), but feel free to tailor it to your specific portion needs too. I also like to split up some of the food, so I have a snack mid-morning or a snack late-afternoon to spread it out.

Happy Dining!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

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courtney June 23, 2013 at 4:29 pm

I’ve made almost all of these … thank you so much for the work you do. You’re changing lives, you know!

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Sean M October 2, 2013 at 5:11 pm

That Earth Balance is pure GMO crap. Stay away from it! I do love the rest of the recipes and ingredients from both posts. Great job!

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Ashley December 3, 2013 at 8:39 pm

wow I’m late to the game but this is great! My sister and I were just talking about how since I’m pregnant now I can’t seem to bring enough food to work and this leaves me starving and yucky really fast. I am totally going to use this as a guide and plan better for next week :)

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Michelle December 26, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Hallo. Any chance of another one of these series to start the year off right?

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Kamau January 9, 2014 at 5:20 pm

The chickpea & brown rice salad was great! I left out the maple syrup & used red onion instead of green. I also added in some lemon juice. I added this salad on top of a huge bowl of greens & it was the best looking lunch at my office!

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Cheri May 9, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I’m clearly over 3 years late to this posting, but WOW! I am making the slow transition to a plant-based diet and your blog is keeping me on the path! It’s been five days without meat so far (cheese is harder to let go) and I am doing ok :)
It’s redundant at this point, but you are inspirational.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Thank you Cheri, I appreciate it! Good luck with all your dietary goals.

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Rachel August 25, 2015 at 8:06 pm

This is an old post but I hope you see my comment because I want you to know how HELPFUL this post is (part 1 and 2). I’m not vegan, but I am very conscious of nutrition. I pack lunch every day for work to save money and ensure a healthy meal. I do a variation of these meals pretty much every week – I just pick 3 dry beans and 2 grains and whatever veggies are in season and adapt these recipes. I used to do a traditional “meal prep” where you pack 5 meals of the same thing every day, and this is such a better approach. No more lunch boredom. It’s so great for those of us who are cooking for one. Thanks for this!

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Amelia August 26, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Hi Angela, I was just wondering where a fellow Canadian can find the earth balance products? I live near Montreal and have never seen them before :(

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Reza @ detoxopedia December 16, 2015 at 6:23 am

That yummy-looking lentil salad seems appealing to me. I’ll give it a try the next Sunday!

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Melodie April 8, 2016 at 2:32 pm

I just tried this plan for my boyfriend and I (both vegan) and I was surprised at how easy everything was! Thank you so much for this post, I was able to study for exams while the the grains and beans were heating and morning prep work was minimal so I could catch some extra sleep!

I was wondering if you would have any ideas or suggestions about a meal plan for a 4 day vegan camping trip. All I’ve got is a cooler, and fires are prohibited on the grounds. My boyfriend and I are going to a rock festival (not the most vegan friendly environment) and I’d love some ideas that don’t require much refrigeration or reheating. We don’t mind eating room temp food for a few days, as long as we can avoid food poisoning and get enough energy to brave the mosh pit, we’re golden.
Thanks!

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Angela Liddon May 3, 2016 at 3:56 pm

Hi Melodie, that’s a tough one to answer as your safety is my first priority and food poisoning is no joke! And, disclaimer: I am NOT a camper, so my suggestions should be taken with a grain of salt. haha. ;) I suggest bringing some of your fav fruits and veggies that tend to travel well and do fairly well at room temperatures (to save space in your cooler for other meals where refrigeration is a must), like apples, oranges, and avocados. Dried fruit, either store bought or homemade, is another great option as it’s energy dense. I’d also suggest bringing granola or muesli–again, either store bought (which likely has a lesser need to be refrigerated) or homemade recipes (that I generally recommend storing chilled) like my Ultimate Nutty Granola Clusters (p. 31 of The Oh She Glows Cookbook). For something more savoury, you could also bring crackers (for a recipe, try my Endurance Crackers or Homemade Wheat Thins). Protein bars or energy bites, like my Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites, Glo Bars, or Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars will give you a great boost for that mosh pit! hah. Keep those chilled too. If you have a really good cooler situation going, you could also consider making a salad that travels well (like my Chickpea Salad- recipe on the blog), or perhaps a gazpacho (check out the one on my blog!) that can be eaten cold, but both of those would have to be kept cold at all times. You could also bring single-serve, non-refrigerated almond milks for at some grocery stores (like juice boxes only for plant milks!), and little baggies of pre-portioned vegan overnight oats (chia, oats, dried fruit, cinnamon, a bit of granulated sweetener) and mix them up during breakfast. It wouldn’t be cold necessarily but it would work in a pinch. Or you could simply serve the granola with the milk. I recommend eating the most perishable items first, and this may be a situation where it’s worth stocking up on some store-bought, less perishable options because most foods won’t last in a cooler for that long. I hope this helps get the wheels turning, and that you have a fantastic weekend!!

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Emma December 30, 2016 at 7:31 pm

The power lentil salad how many cups would say is one serve and if you were to add more protein too what would you suggest

Many thanks Emma

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