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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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

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Laura September 12, 2011 at 3:56 pm

So much fresh inspiration!

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Mallory September 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Love all of these lunch ideas! Thanks for doing this!

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Brittany *Sparkles* September 12, 2011 at 4:01 pm

yummy I want to make that pita!!

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Rachel September 12, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Gorgeous! Best blog posts I’ve seen anywhere in weeks–I’m feeling really inspired to transform my mid-day eats now. Keep up the great work. :)

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Heather @ Get Haalthy with Heather September 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I love this series! Can I hop over and have lunch with you :). The big Thursday salad looks out if this world!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Sure I have lots of food for you…heh ;)

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rachel @ sweettarte September 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Wow–I had almost exactly the Lentil Power Salad for lunch today! (Spinach, red pepper, tomato, carrot, lentils, avocado, walnuts, craisins–and it was delicious). I love this series of posts–thanks for all of the great ideas.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Nice! What did you use for dressing?

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Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg September 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I’m loving these posts!! That lentil salad looks perfect!

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Laura September 12, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Been waiting all day to see how you finished the week! I am super excited to try some recipes. I’ve been so lazy with meals lately that eating isn’t fun. These should help me get back on track.

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Katie September 12, 2011 at 4:12 pm

These look fabulous!
Were you at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival on the weekend by any chance? I’m a huge fan of your blog so when I went on Sunday I kept an eye out for you! :P

Also, I’m in full-fall mode here which = PUMPKIN! I’ve already made your pumpkin butter (deeeelish), pumpkin butter oat bars (DOUBLE deelish) and recreated your pumpkin spice latte! :D Thank you for all the recipes, I looooove them! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Glad you are loving the pumpkin!

I wasn’t able to make the veg fest as I had a prior commitment. So sad I missed it!

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes September 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Yum! I definetly love both recipes! Great pictures :)

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Ashley September 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Wow! All these recipes look amazing, and are just what I’ve been needing. Lunchtime seems to be the time when I simply cannot figure out what to eat– and what will keep my full until dinner. The snacks, especially the trail mix, are a fabulous idea for that 3 pm hour that is a huge slump in energy for me!
I’m really excited to try these recipes out:) Great job!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I love the trail mix around 3:30-4pm…perfect pick me up!

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Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance September 12, 2011 at 4:16 pm

I love that each of these are so well-balanced :) You’ve got some great idea– perfect for me to bring on campus

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Giulia @ Tutupa's Lab September 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm

That pita looks so good! I like the idea of mixing together the hummus with the grains and beans!

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Heather (Where's the Beach) September 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Love this – everything is so simple but healthy and looks delicious!

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Britt @ runwithbritt September 12, 2011 at 4:25 pm

I love these ideas! They are all so balanced, quick to prepare, and perfect to take to school. Thanks for saving me from my lunch rut!

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Stormy @Maoomba September 12, 2011 at 4:27 pm

These look fantastic! Thanks for the ideas.

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) September 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm

such a wonderful wonderful series! Thankyou for sharing! I will be sure to refer bak to these posts when planning my lunches xx

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table September 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

This is fantastic! Love that lentil dish especially. Lunch is typically my biggest meal too and I’m always looking for dishes I can make ahead to bring to work.

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Megan @ The Detoxinista September 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Love all the lunch ideas! I’m definitely guilty of eating the SAME meals over, and over, and over…. and over. ;)

Thanks for the fresh inspiration!

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Amy Wolff September 12, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I’m so glad you said the was your first lunch series, implying there will be more! My daughter is always looking for healthy lunches to pack for school and I need some for at home. I can’t wait to try these recipes!

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Moni'sMeals September 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Love these lunch ideas! Just like you Lunch too is usually my biggest meal. :)

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Ashley September 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm

These lunches are so creative + colorful. Nowadays my lunches are completely random!

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stacey September 12, 2011 at 5:13 pm

i’m slowly transitioning into a vegan/ plant strong diet… thank you for such yummy looking make-ahead meal ideas. as a nurse in labor and delivery- we do 12 hour shifts… by the time i get home at night making a lunch for the next day is the last thing i want to do :)

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Shruti September 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I struggle big time to make something that leaves me full for atleast 4hours. I was thinking the lack of protein is to be blamed. I want to try your protein-pumped lunch menu for this week and see if it makes any difference.

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Kate September 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm

the pita sounds delish!!

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Kassidy September 12, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I’ve been trying to eat gluten/dairy free and these lunch posts have been perfect, thank you! I can’t wait to try the brown rice salad.

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jackie hatch! September 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm

LOVE THIS! all of it…

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allison September 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I have loved all the new lunch ideas!! The only thing i don’t like is that i know my boyfriend will like them too so I’ll have to share;);) Just kidding, i totally dont mind sharing……….

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Holly @ The Runny Egg September 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I love this set of lunches as well — they look way healthier (and much more appetizing) than what I’ve been eating for lunch for quite a while.

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga September 12, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Another gorgeous spread of food, recipes, and photography!

You rock, lady. Seriously.

Thanks for doing this for all of your readers :)

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bitt of raw September 12, 2011 at 5:58 pm

I WISH there was a GF vegan pita. There isn’t. :-( thanks for your recipes being xgfx though!

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worldbysmith September 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm

this was a REALLY amazing series. I’m not GF but I am on a eating plan that is surprisingly identical to what you’ve laid out here. Ideas I’ve never thought of before that make some of my mundane staples seem exciting. THANKS for the effort with this post. I hope you will consider more of these in the future. AWESOME!

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The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh September 12, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Now look what you did, I’m full from dinner but you made me hungry again!! ;)

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Rebecca September 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm

This is awesome. My mom cooked up a big batch of brown rice and chickpeas today AND chopped up a cucumber. Looks like I’m right on track for Wed’s Back on Track salad :) Thanks for doing this series…I’m going to put those kids at the college cafeteria to shame ;)

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Judy September 12, 2011 at 6:36 pm

I just love the great lunch ideas. Thank you for the awesome ideas!

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Liz @ Something To Chew On September 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm

You make me so hungry :) excellent ideas, thank you! I needed some!

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Shelby stillians September 12, 2011 at 7:27 pm

You are a saint! Great ideas here and in many of your blog posts. I have been vegan for almost 9 months and I love finding new, innovative recipes (and vegan/health inspired blogs) Thank you!!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 12, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Again, great ideas Ange! I love the Back On Track Wheatberry salad, and I boiled up a bunch of grains on the weekend so I might use them in these recipes. I think I need to get me some pitas!! Thanks for the suggestions – everything looks beautiful. :)

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Jessica September 12, 2011 at 7:41 pm

All great ideas, I love the whole lunch planning + menu series, really gives me some inspirations for lunches, thanks so much for putting it all together! And how colorful and delicious does that pita look, YUM!

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Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove September 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm

I love that pita recipe. It seems so easy that it would be silly not to make it for lunch one day!

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