How to eat meatless at lunch? Here are the best healthy vegetarian lunch ideas that will keep you satisfied all afternoon!
Lunch is one of the hardest times of the day to eat healthy, right? In the middle of a crazy day, the last thing you want to think about when your stomach is rumbling is clean eating! But Alex and I have found with just a little bit of planning, lunch time can be manageable! Here are a few of the real life recipes that we eat for lunch.
More lunch inspiration? Go to 40 Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas, Vegan Lunch Ideas or Gluten Free Lunch Ideas.
And now: our our favorite vegetarian lunch ideas!
This is one of our favorite vegetarian lunch ideas ever: chickpea salad! It’s like a vegetarian version of a chicken salad sandwich, but made using chickpeas. The chickpeas are smashed and mixed together with a bit of mayo, lemon juice, celery and green onions to make the most savory, delicious spread. You can serve it as a sandwich, or eat it with crackers as a dip. This one often makes it into our lunches and it takes only 5 minutes to whip up.
Hello and welcome to the best quick vegetarian lunch idea: the Hummus Bowl! At it’s base, this simple concept requires no cooking at all: layer a dollop of hummus with crunchy veggies and greens (with optional pre-cooked rice). It takes just 5 minutes to make this Mediterranean-style meal that’s bursting with creamy, tangy, crunchy, fresh, and savory flavors.
This Mexican Pinwheel recipe is all about making a healthy lunch or family dinner recipes as fast as possible. While we often serve them for lunch, we've eaten them for dinner when we need it FAST. The pinwheels are packed with healthy veggies: bell peppers, spinach, and black beans. They're mixed with Mexican spices and rolled into a tortilla with a bit of hummus. Dip into salsa if you'd like!
Here's a customizable make-ahead recipe that works for healthy lunch idea: Egg Muffins! Bake up scrambled eggs in muffin tin cups with healthy veggies, then refrigerate them for meals all week! This works as a grab-and-go breakfast, and it's perfect for kid lunch boxes. The filling is packed with good stuff: loads of spinach, cottage cheese for healthy protein, and jarred red pepper.
Looking for an easy vegetarian lunch? Here’s one that’s super simple and totally customizable: lentil bowls! Lentils are one of the healthiest foods on the planet, so why not incorporate more of them into your everyday? This recipe results in perfectly seasoned, tender lentils. For lunch, eat them in a bowl meal: dollop with Greek yogurt or cashew cream and add pita wedges.
Try Cottage Cheese on Toast! This simple way to make a tasty lunch is not rocket science, but it’s incredibly satisfying every time. Spread this high-protein cheese onto a piece of toast, top with savory toppings, and enjoy! Here are a few of our favorite ideas for toppings: we like them all, but the smoked salmon toast is out of this world good.
Next up in our vegetarian lunch ideas: healthy banana bread muffins! Because they’re made mostly of oats and bananas, they’re basically like eating oatmeal and banana, to go! We’d serve these with peanut butter or almond butter to make them even more filling, then accessorize with some of the veggies and dips below. They’re blender muffins so they’re very easy to make at home. We freeze them and use them in our son's school lunch throughout the week: and snack on them ourselves too!
These hummus and veggie roll ups are one of our favorite simple concepts to make eating veggies fun and delicious! Simply spread hummus on a tortilla, add chopped broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, and roll it up! It sounds deceptively simple but tastes fantastic. We’d add a few other no think components like a handful of almonds and green apple slices. It’s one of our easy vegetarian lunch ideas that works for both kids and adults.
This is one of our favorite new vegetarian lunch ideas that we call “The Best Sandwich Ever”. Yes, it tastes like a healthy version of a Big Mac! What makes this coleslaw & Swiss melt sandwich so savory and delicious? Start with our best coleslaw ever, and add melty cheese on a salty pretzel bun, and the secret sauce: Russian dressing, the star ingredient in a Reuben sandwich. Bringing this to an office? Keep the components separate and then toast in a toaster oven: or microwave to melt the cheese!
Made mostly of almonds and tomatoes, it’s a super filling dip that you can serve with crackers to make a healthy lunch. One of our friends says he always has the ingredients for this dip on hand in his cupboard so he can stay healthy when hunger strikes! Again, this is a component of a delicious lunch: combine with veggies, crackers and cheese, a hard boiled egg, and fruit to make it into a full fledged vegetarian lunch ideas.
Here's an easy, healthy lunch idea that you can make in 5 minutes! It's plant based and starts with a can of chickpeas. Throw these chickpeas together with cucumber and red pepper, stir with olive oil and red wine vinegar, and you've got an incredible Mediterranean-style plant based salad that tastes like it took all day. Serve with pita triangles or crackers.
Here's a healthy lunch idea you can use as a "side" to any of our salads or sandwiches! This peanut butter dip is just 4 ingredients and somehow tastes like frosting. Greek yogurt, peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla combine into the best dip for sliced green apples. Or dip any fruit you like--or pretzels for a sweet and salty twist!
Another great vegetarian lunch recipe? The Avocado Club! It's full of umami flavor and so satisfying that it will surprise you. The combination of smoky, rich, hearty, crunchy and savory is so irresistible…you’ll want to eat it all over again once it’s gone.
This spin on the traditional Mediterranean chickpea dip might sound fun, but here’s the thing. It tastes even better than it sounds! Yep, we polished this one off extremely quickly because it’s just that good. Black beans, lime, tahini and a bit of smoked paprika make creamy dip magic. Add fresh veggies and gluten-free crackers for dipping.
Eggs are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet. And hard boiling them makes them perfect as vegetarian lunch ideas! Eggs have 75 calories each, and are packed with nutrients and 7 grams of protein. They’re especially helpful for vegetarian diets as a natural source of B12. Recent research has found that instead of avoiding boiled eggs for cholesterol reasons, eggs actually increase the good cholesterol the body needs. They’re recommended as an affordable and easy-to-eat source of high quality protein.
Here’s a fun homemade spread for dipping: Veggie Cream Cheese! Make this spread with fresh vegetables and it tastes even more incredible than the store-bought variety. Use it as a dip for vegetable sticks or gluten free crackers! It’s a great idea for kids, and you can even freeze it for use in lunch boxes.
Looking for a quick sandwich recipe that will knock your socks off? This Mediterranean veggie sandwich is fast to make and loaded with deliciousness. Top your bread with Garlic Herb White Bean Dip, then add red onion, shredded carrot, greens, and feta cheese, It’s one of those over the top tasty vegetarian lunch recipes that doesn’t require too much effort.
Try this quick and easy White Bean Salad! It’s bursting with Mediterranean flavor from simple ingredients: bell pepper brings a crunch, parsley an herbaceous bite, and red wine vinegar brings a zing of acidity. Top with a sprinkle of feta, and it’s irresistibly tasty with minimal effort. We often lean on bean recipes for healthy lunches, and this simple mix hits it out of the park for us.
Vegan banh mi is another one of those vegetarian lunch ideas that sounds fancy, but is actually pretty simple to put together! Whip up a batch of our ginger lime hummus the night before, and slice up some veggies for quick pickles. Day of, assemble your sandwich on a baguette at your workplace: all your coworkers will be jealous!
Of course, who could have a list of vegetarian lunch ideas without avocado toast! Avocado toast has now become ubiquitous, but what’s the harm in that? An avocado spread onto toast with just a sprinkle of salt can be one of life’s best treats. Here we’ve added a turmeric poached egg: but if you’re doing this as a desk lunch, use a hard boiled egg instead.
Here’s a trick for infusing veggies into our day to day: this Chopped Vegetable Salad! It’s a mix of sturdy veggies makes the best colorful mix, tossed with a red wine vinegar dressing and a sprinkle of feta cheese. This burst of flavor tastes great right away: and even better after a few days of marinating. It's perfect for lunches!
This healthy egg salad with basil one of our favorite easy vegetarian lunch ideas: it’s made with Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard for big savory flavor. Adding dill or basil to your egg salad gives a fresh element that makes it easy to love. Serve with crackers or on bread as a sandwich.
Here's a lunch idea you might not have considered: a tofu scramble! This tofu scramble has the same texture as scrambled eggs, but it’s 100% plant based. It actually saves very well as leftovers, and even tastes good cold. It's amazing how savory it tastes: and it's full of plant based protein. If you'd like, add the veggie saute: or just serve with sliced raw bell peppers!
This kale quinoa salad is designed as a lunch idea that saves well! It's full of healthy ingredients: quinoa, kale, peppers, carrots: and then covered in a delicious, ultra tangy dressing! It’s so flavorful and keeps that flavor 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Lunch just got way more exciting!
This Mexican quinoa recipe is one of the few vegetarian lunch ideas in this list that requires making the night before. BUT, it’s so delicious and fun that we wanted to add it to the list: and it saves well for lunches throughout the week. Here, quinoa is tossed with black beans, veggies, and fajita seasoning to create a super flavorful and filling salad. It’s one of those lunch recipes that you can’t wait for lunch time so you can dig in! Another option: Caribbean Black Bean Salad
For the vegetarian lunch ideas above that called for some accessories: this cinnamon yogurt fruit dip is the perfect accompaniment! This yogurt dip is so easy to make, and super clean: it’s got just plain yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla. We love to serve it with green apple slices, bananas or strawberries.
This fresh and healthy lentil salad is Mediterranean-style, mixed with fresh veggies, feta cheese and pistachios. It’s a deliciously protein-packed and it just gets better in the fridge. Make a big batch to eat off of for healthy and easy vegetarian lunches all week.
Finally, the last of our vegetarian lunch ideas also requires prep the night before, but is totally worth it: Kale Soup! Hearty Tuscan kale, white beans and kale float in a tangy broth flavored with oregano and fennel. It’s like a combination of all our favorite soup recipes in one bowl: comforting and full of bold Mediterranean-style flavors. It comes together in just 30 minutes and makes a huge pot that’s great for lunches.
Notes on vegetarian lunch ideas
These vegetarian lunch ideas are ultra simple. Honestly, we’d rather spend our main cooking energy on healthy dinner recipes. These vegetarian lunch ideas include sandwiches, snacks, and dips you can mix and match to form a meal. A few notes on protein:
- It’s important to make sure your lunch has enough plant-based protein so you stay full! Here’s more about how to get protein as a vegetarian.
- Add in protein sides to keep you full all day. Some lunch ideas stand alone, like our Chickpea Salad Sandwich. But others are things you could combine to make a meal: for example, hummus, crackers, a hardboiled egg and an apple. Most of our vegetarian lunch recipes are simple to put together day of, or easy to make a big batch of and eat off of during the week.
25 Vegetarian Lunch Ideas: Chickpea Salad Sandwich & More!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 sandwiches 1x
Looking for easy vegetarian lunch ideas? This delicious chickpea salad sandwich is a vegetarian version of chicken salad made using chickpeas!
- 15 ounce can chickpeas
- 1 rib celery
- 3 green onions
- 1 to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, vegan mayonnaise, or cashew cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
- 4 slices bread (try our Homemade Bread)
- Lettuce, spring green mix, or sprouts
- Hummus, optional
- Thinly slice the celery (if it’s large, cut in half lengthwise first). Thinly slice the green onions.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a medium bowl, smash the chickpeas with a fork.
- Combine the chickpeas with the chopped celery and green onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and celery seed. Add about ¼ to ½ teaspoon kosher salt, depending on your chickpea brand and taste preferences, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Taste and salt until the flavor pops! If the salad is dry, add more mayonnaise (cooked chickpeas have a drier texture than canned).
- Assemble the chickpea salad sandwich: If desired, spread the bread with hummus (this amps it up a bit but not required). Top the sandwich with lettuce or greens and chickpea spread.
- Category: Lunch
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Sandwich
Keywords: Vegetarian Lunch Ideas