A few months ago, a blog reader asked me if I could share some lunch ideas to help her get out of a rut. That’s when it hit me that I was in quite the lunch rut myself too. I sent her some of my go-to lunch ideas (when I’m not in a rut, that is) and then I used this as a nudge to start creating more balanced lunches. As added motivation, I’ve been sharing lunch snapshots on Instagram because I thought it might be helpful for others in need of inspiration. I personally love seeing what other plant-based people whip up for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Sometimes you just need that one moment of inspiration to spark a new idea!
I have a couple main goals when making lunch:
1) They have to be quick to throw together. My secret is to rely on leftovers for most of my lunch. I’m not ashamed to admit I love leftovers. I think they’re big time savers and well, I can’t argue with the foods that taste even better the next day (like soup or chili). To me, the beauty of putting so much time and effort into food prep is that you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour the next day or two without any mess, dishes, or hassle. Leftovers rule! And if I get sick of any particular leftover, I just freeze it for another time…no big deal.
2) I aim for lunches that are packed with nutrition to fuel my day and keep my energy high. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s definitely something I shoot for most days.
Here are a handful of my favourite lunches from the past couple months, as shown above. I apologize for the photo quality – all photos were snapped on my phone. I’ll also share some other lunches I love in the list below.
1. Chickpea Quiche (new recipe I’m working on) + sides, sliced Gala apple, sliced carrots, Blissful Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins with Strawberry Chia Seed Jam.
2. Big Burrito Bowl inspired by my Raw Taco Salad. It features a sun-dried tomato walnut “meat”, shredded kale, salsa, spiced tomato rice, green onions, black beans, and hummus. Divine!
3. Travel Meal: This is a meal I packed for travel last week. It includes a simple chickpea salad I threw together with balsamic vinaigrette, two slices of seedy spelt bread, hummus, apple, and a banana.
4. Leftover bowl of My Favourite Vegan Chili with Vegan Sour Cream. Perfect on a cold winter day!
5. Leftover soup, specifically my favourite Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato, and Kale Soup! With a huge side salad and toast with hummus. I love this lunch!!
6. A huge “kitchen sink” salad topped with leftover Cumin Lime Black Bean Quinoa Salad and hummus toast on the side.
7. Leftover bowl of cauliflower-potato-kale-lentil soup I was testing last December.
8. The Big Vegan Bowl! Packed with roasted chickpeas, sweet potatoes, quinoa, hummus, carrots, avocado, sliced cabbage, and more.
9. Avocado toast served on top of my Super Power Chia Bread.
Other lunch ideas not shown above:
10. Almond/Peanut/Sunflower Seed Butter and Chia Seed Jam on toast with fruit and veggies on the side
11. Ultimate 4-Layer Vegan Sandwich
12. Loaded Savoury Oatmeal
13. Wraps stuffed with crumbled veggie burgers or leftover casserole/burrito filling + veggies
15. Easy Flaked Almond “Tuna” Salad – a reader favourite!
Ok, that’s all for now. I hope this list gives you some inspiration! Be sure to let us know in the comments what your favourite go-to lunches are.
Last week for lunches, I brought to school your Carrot Ginger Soup and chickpea salad-stuffed pita sandwiches with a fruit! I was looking forward to school just to get to lunch time ;)
That’s great! Thanks for trying them out :) I need to make that soup again soon.
Oh man I wish it was lunch time NOW. Great collection of recipes, some of my favorites. Yum!!!
Angela, I bought your book and immediately found what I wanted: Creamy veggie Curry, but I had no cashew nuts, so I made my creamy sauce out of cauliflower and it was soooooooo good. Vegans have so much more “play” with foods . My husband and I have been vegans for the last 20 years and enjoy a medication free healthy life and we are older, but very young at heart and body. Thanks, Kerstin
I love that idea! Will have to try it soon :) yum
I just wanted to say that I got your cookbook in the mail yesterday and it is amazing! I already have about 10 things I am planning on making this weekend!! Congratulations!
Oh that just made my day…thank you!! I hope you enjoy the recipes. :)
Another wonderful post! In this phase of my training cycle, I am ravenously hungry all the time, but always looking for new nutritious ways to enjoy my food. I try to have a hearty lunch that will keep me going for at least a few hours, and these are wonderful options!
Nutrition is crucial to my body staying healthy with all the stress I am putting it under with my high level running. It always pays off in my races if I eat right during this time, now I have lots more options! If I run the 1:13 in the half marathon this spring that I hope to, I may be sending you a thank you for keeping me on track :)
Thanks for these recipes….am a veggie…but looking towards vegan in the future…so these are ideal.
Just what I needed to see today – lacking inspiration in the kitchen. These look great! Thank you! xx
You’ve got my stomach rumbling for lunch already and it’s only 10:30! A lot of my meals are similar to your big vegan bowl – stuffed with a rainbow of veggies! I don’t know about you, but I find that if I make it look nice and pretty, it tastes even better. All of these are beautiful! Happy Friday, Ange!
Great round up. I’m in a rut myself so this is perfect timing!
I am a self-proclaimed leftover queen! If I had the choice I would only eat leftovers, but its tricky because you have to cook at some point!!
I normally still from dinner leftovers too for my lunches!
Nutritious packed leftovers for lunch = gold! I can’t wait to try your spiced lentil kale soup – woah!!!
Thanks for the ideas. I always find inspiration from your lunch IG photos and I’m in desperate need of quick healthy lunches.
a big kale salad, spaghetti squash spaghetti, and marinated veggies are always good for lunches….
Thanks for these great ideas! I love how huge all of the meals are — and absolutely packed with veggies. I need to get better about basing my meals around vegetables and fruit rather than around grains, I think…these would be a great start :)
Where is the recipe for that cauliflower-potato-kale-lentil soup??? Sounds amazing.
Hey Michelle, I haven’t done anything with it yet…it kinda got lost in the heap of recipes I tested around Christmas! I might have to dig it up though… :)
These lunches sound delicious! I’m always looking for new lunch ideas!
Thank you for some new ideas! I feel like I’m always in a lunch rut. I usually make a big salad on Sunday and eat it during the week. Sadly, my salads aren’t all that creative.
Nice list. I would love to jump into number 9.
Avocado toast is one of my favorite things ever! I will seriously never get tired of it!
These all look so good! Everytime I make your thai sweet potato burgers I crumble the leftover patties over arugala, thin out the sauce to make salad dressing and have it as a salad for lunch – so good!!
Also wanted to let you know I got a notification I can pick up my pre-ordered cookbook at the post office…SOOOO excited!!! Such a good surprise for the weekend especially since I wasn’t expecting it till March – can’t wait to pick it up tonight!
My go-to lunch is the chickpea “tuna” salad you posted a while back. I think you had it as a wrap, but I’ve used it as a wrap, on toast, in salad, in a bell pepper, etc. Great recipe.
Would you mind sharing what you put on/in your savoury oatmeal?
A newbie vegetarian (along with my 16 yr old son) I trying to incorporate more vegan dishes. Your website was recommended by a colleague at work, and I am impressed with what I have seen so far. But I have recently been diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Do you have any recipes or insights in how to combine vegetarian/vegan eating with a low carb diet? thanks
Great lunch ideas! Plus I just got my cookbook and it is awesome!!!
Hi Angela! Yay to great vegan lunch ideas – now I was wondering if you might highlight some of your “training” vegan friendly recipes? I’ve started running competitively as well as started strength training (all of this for the first time – I admit to being a couch potato less than a year ago) and I feel so dead afterwards. And during the workouts I feel heavy and often think about how I could have eaten “cleaner”, which would make me feel more energetic than lethargic. Ideas?
Thank you for these great ideas. I am always in a serious lunch rut because I am most likely on the go! I just recently started my own blog and I must say you were part of my inspiration to do just that :)
I love these ideas and your focus on leftovers – something that really helps me out during the working week. I’d enjoy any of the meals you snapped :)
Thanks again for another great post. I got an email from Indigo featuring your cookbook. Way to go Angela!
When I cook lentils (usually in berbere seasonings, or a carrot & tomato-based sauce), I make a big batch. I freeze a bunch in silicon mini-loaf pans – each one is about 3-4 ounces. This gives me a stockpile of additions to add to a container of leftover rice, or a salad, or with a few roasted veggies leftover from dinner. I’ve also discovered if you melt one of these lentil units in a cup of water, it makes a really good workday soup.
I agree about presentation being important. If you artfully arrange a random assortment of vegetables around a dollop of hummus, or add a sprinkle of green onions on top of the leftover chili, it feels more special.
I love making a pureed “orange” soup (squash, sweet potato or carrot) in the winter to keep in the fridge for the week and add a huge bunch of kale. I usually round it out with some chickpeas or hummus, avocado and fresh veggies. I don’t like to be overly full because I always like to leave room for a substantial afternoon snack :) I’m a grazer and eat all day long most days!
I’m going to print off that recipe for the “tuna” salad and I plan on making your quiche this week. Yum!
O! Thank you for this post! I come up against a mental block so often when it’s time to make meals. It is on my 2014 Intentions list to find recipes I like and can remember!!! What a treat! (both for my tummy and my mind) :o)
Your “Big Vegan Bowl” makes me smile every time I see it!! Just reading the ingredients make my mouth water.. thanks for compiling these into a roundup!
I made the chick pea pancake this weekend!!! Absolutely love it!!
My husband got me your cookbook for an early birthday gift! It arrived from Canada to So. Calif. in 2 days! And it was out early! :) Love all the beautiful pictures with the recipes! My husband has already picked out something for me to make – the mushroom tart. Thanks Angela for all these wonderful healthy recipes! Looking forward to trying each one…….
Still enjoying your Energy and Work Mrs. Liddon, enjoy your evening. Raw Superfood Kombucha Mylkshake, Yummy?
Just received the Oh She Glows cookbook! My daughter and I made the Empowered noodle dish…my family loved and we had great fun making it! Thanks for a great book that is quickly becoming my favorite !!
Thank you Andrea! I’m so happy to hear that :)
Just picked up your book yesterday. Love that you have a picture for everything. Great job, don’t know what to make first but I’m leaning toward apple & pear baked oatmeal. Congratulations! Fabulous job :)
Thanks for the great inspiration. Is there a recipe for the sun dried tomato walnut meat? It sounds wonderful.
Hey Pat, I’m not sure if I wrote it down, but I think it was something like this: 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, 1 cup toasted walnuts, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste, 1/2 tbsp nutritonal yeast, chili powder to taste. Cant recall if I used garlic now. Anyway, I used a mini food processor and processed the tomatoes until minced and then added in the rest and pulsed just until combined and chopped. so tasty!
All of these look super tasty, the variety of colors and general aesthetics of the food itself and the way it is served makes it look even more tempting!
And there is an abundance of ingredients to mix together, foods I would have never even thought of before deciding go vegan, I’m so glad that there are people like you who document and share their recipes for everyone to try!
Thank you so much for sharing these, hope you’re having a great day!
great line-up. love your site. thanks for sharing!
Those were taken on your phone? They look amazing! I never have good lighting for my phone pictures. Anyway, it all looks delicious and I can’t wait for the cookbook on the 4th!!
haha thanks ;) I usually use a small white board to bounce light for pictures, especially if it’s dark or shadowy. Works like a charm!
I’m interested in seeing the chickpea quiche. I can’t eat tofu (soy bothers my tummy) and if it soy-free I’d love to try the recipe.
Thank you so much! This was exactly what I needed to inspire my Monday morning move out of my own lunch rut. Your inspiration is much appreciated!
These are great ideas! Thank you for sharing! I’ve been pretty stuck lately as well as to what to pack for lunch. Simple fruits and vegetables are getting a little boring for me now. I really liked the idea for the vegan chili with homemade sour cream. I will definitely try it out soon!
My go to is leftovers. However, I always keep cooked quinoa in the fridge so if I’m in a pinch its usually a bowl of quinoa, whatever veggies are in the chill and some apple cider/mustard vinigrette accompanied by good (homemade) seedy bread. I need to get more creative, but between school and work I fizzle out sometimes. LOL Thanks for the inspiration…I want that Big Vegan Bowl every.day.of.the.week. Please? =D
I love all your lunch ideas! I get in food ruts all the time; same breakfast and lunch for weeks on end. I love having leftovers and I often will freeze 1-2 portions to have in the future.
My go to lunch when I can’t think anymore is a variation of your Big Vegan Bowl. Whatever veggies I have in my fridge, I roast up, and throw whatever beans/tofu etc I have and a big dollop of hummus and/or avocado. no thinking & always delicious! Thanks for more ideas, going to try the quinoa/black bean salad tonight!
The quiche sounds amazing! I can’t wait till the recipe is ready!
Thank you for the delicious Banana Bread Muffin Tops recipe! It was so easy to make. I thought they would be delicious as I was processing the bananas, dates, vanilla and coconut oil (the smell of the ingredients was heavenly) but I was not prepared for the wonderful texture and taste they had when they came out of the oven! I plan to always keep a batch of these on hand for snack emergencies.
So many great ideas, I have avocado toast on hummus almost every other day for lunch, sometimes I add sun dried tomato paste and cucumbers.