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What Are the Different Types of Vegan Lunch Ideas?

By Cynde Gregory
Updated May 16, 2024
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Vegans are people who do not eat any animal products, which means they must get all their nourishment from plant-based foods. Because this diet is limiting, it can be difficult to find vegan lunch offerings in cafeterias and restaurants. Salads made of greens or grains can be good vegan lunch options. Vegans also can pack leftover dinner entrees or even make a sandwich with vegetables or vegan protein sources in the place of meat and cheese.

Sandwiches are a lunch staple for most people, including vegans. Where a carnivore might slide cold cuts or tuna between two slices of bread, a vegetarian might substitute egg salad and cheese. Where a vegetarian might stuff a pita with cream cheese and hunks of veggies, vegan lunch ideas might include chickpeas or lentils, refried beans, and brown rice, or even a couple of fried slices of eggplant.

Instead of animal products, vegans can create sandwiches with nut butters or beans paired with cucumber slices and lettuce. While vegans will avoid butter, mayonnaise and other animal product spreads, they have some good sandwich spread options. Vegan lunch ideas might involve sandwiches flavored and moistened with mustard, miso, or vegan mayo.

Couscous and other grains are among the most popular vegan lunch ideas. Leftover brown rice, quinoa, barley, or other whole grains can be mixed with vegetables, a little minced garlic, and a splash of olive oil to make a salad tucked into bib lettuce leaves. Dried or fresh oregano, cilantro, or basil can be added for extra flavor, as can diced carrots, green beans, or other crunchy or cooked veggies.

Eggplant offers vegans a wealth of lunchtime possibilities. Roasting an entire eggplant until it collapses, then mixing the steamed veggie meat with minced garlic, tahini, or sesame paste, and maybe a few capers makes baba ganoush. Cooked on the stovetop with sautéed onions, garlic, ginger, and veggies makes ratatouille that can be packed with whole-grain pasta or eaten cold on its own. Wintery vegan lunch ideas include warm eggplant veggie stew served along with hunks of hearty, grainy bread.

Pesto made with basil or cilantro, garlic, and pine nuts pureed can be poured over grains, pasta or slices of tofu for lunch. Vegans don’t have to forgo creamy soups, as long as they use vegan silky tofu that’s been whipped in the blender.

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