Ask a skeptic what vegans eat for lunch and they’ll paint you a pretty sad picture–like a plate of plain lettuce with some beans and chopped veggies or some sort of bland AF vegetable soup.
Haters gonna hate–and lunch can be tricky enough as it is, even if you haven’t taken all animal foods off the table. I mean, you want something that is both easy to make in advance and interesting enough that you’ll actually look forward to it all morning long. Plus, it’s gotta be decently nutritious–unless of course you want to feel sluggish all afternoon.
Well, guess what: Limited as you may think they are, vegan lunches check all of these boxes–and pretty easily. “Vegan meals can be very meal prep-friendly because preparing veggies and plant-based sources of protein is simple and doesn’t require a ton of time in the kitchen, says nutritionist Maggie Michalczyk, RD. “Plus, most of the components (with the exception of some veggies) will last for a few days.”
Her one major tip for preparing vegan lunches? Make sure you incorporate a source of plant-based protein, so that the meal has more staying power. Michalczyk building your lunch around a staple like chickpeas, quinoa, chickpea pasta, lentils, grains, or nuts and seeds.
Another plus: You don’t even need to fire up your stovetop or oven to prep most vegan proteins. (Three cheers for canned beans.)
Are you sold, or are you sold? Get your plant power on–and keep your eats interesting–with these 40 easy vegan lunch ideas.
This sandwich is great for on-the-go and easy to pull together. Plus, the lemon and cranberries give it unique flavor.
Per serving: 406 calories, 13.5 g fat, 60.5 g carbs, 17.3 g fiber, 10.7 g sugar, 12.3 g protein
These light, fruity, citrusy wraps are perfect for summertime.
Per serving: 558 calories, 23.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 76.3g carbs, 13.3 g fiber, 18.2 g sugar, 16.2 g protein
Made with hearty chickpeas and broccoli, this salad is hearty–and super unique, thanks to lots of curry flavor.
Per serving: 434 calories, 17.7 g fat, 56.4 g carbs, 14.9 g fiber, 15.6 g sugar, 15.8 g protein
If you like your lunches colorful, this one is jam-packed with an entire rainbow’s-worth of veggies.
Per serving: 422 calories, 18 g fat (3 g saturated), 1607 mg sodium, 51 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 12 g protein
This sweet, tangy, salty burger has so much flavor that you won’t miss meat for a second.
Per serving: 443 calories, 21 g fat (2 g saturated), 923 mg sodium, 44 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 16 g sugar, 17 g protein
This fragrant, summery soup is loaded with healthy veggies. Up the protein by adding plenty of green peas or another legume to your finished blend.
Per serving: 188 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated), 362 mg sodium, 23 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 7 g protein
This bright, antioxidant-rich bowl is the place to start for beginners who want to prep a whole week’s-worth of vegan lunches.
Per serving: 519 calories, 28.4 g fat (14.5 g saturated), 518 mg sodium, 59.2 g carbs, 12.5 g fiber, 13.7 g sugar, 13.2 g protein
Consider your Chinese takeout crushed.
Per serving: 321 calories, 8.2 g fat (1.4 g saturated), 816 mg sodium, 48.7 g carbs, 4.8 g fiber, 7.7 g sugar, 13.5 g protein
You will literally lick this lemony maple tahini dressing straight out of this Buddha bowl. Promise.
Per serving: 474 calories, 21 g fat (2.8 g saturated), 565 mg sodium, 62 g carbs, 11.4 g fiber, 7.2 g sugar, 13.2 g protein
Stuff this Thai-inspired salad (complete with peanut sauce!) in mason jars for colorful grab-and-go meals.
Per serving: 432 calories, 27.5 g fat (4.1 g saturated), 1065 mg sodium, 32.5 g carbs, 8.2 g fiber, 12.1 g sugar, 18.3 g protein
Low-carb zoodles are easy to make in big batches and dress up with creamy peanut butter sauce. Add marinated tofu or tempeh to up the protein punch.
Per serving: 245 calories, 2 g saturated fat, 221 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 7 g protein
This seasonal together in just about a half-hour and pairs well with a hearty sandwich or a veggie burger.
Per serving: 163 calories, 5 g saturated fat, 628 mg sodium, 19 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 3 g protein
This warm, comforting meal gets a major boost of fiber and protein by swapping regular pasta for noodles made from chickpeas.
Per serving: 349 calories, 1 g saturated fat, 358 mg sodium, 46 g carbs, 10 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 19 g protein
Consider this simple sammie the perfect beginner’s to chickpea salad.
Per serving: 231 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 276 mg sodium, 29 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 9 g protein
Peanuts, ginger, and plenty of herbs give this noodle-y lunch major flavor. Just throw in cubed tofu or seitan for some protein.
Per serving: 110 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 571 mg sodium, 8 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 4 g protein
This Whole30 and vegan salad make a perfect base for a vegan lunch. Just mix in some chickpeas and rice or quinoa.
Per serving: 691 calories, 42 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 1299 mg sodium, 75 g carbs, 12 g fiber, 16 g sugar, 7 g protein
This easy, beginner-friendly salad is colorful, crunchy, and spicy. It’s perfect alongside a black bean burger.
Per serving: 253 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 36 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 8 g protein
This bowl is basically a deconstructed taco and I am here for it.
Per serving: 379 calories, 14 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 299 mg sodium, 53 g carbs, 16 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 14 g protein
The plantains are really just the icing on the cake of this mindblowingly tropical bowl.
Per serving: 470 calories, 6.5 g fat, 251.3 mg sodium, 91.5 g carbs, 14.6 g fiber, 18.6 g sugar, 14.6 g protein
The vinaigrette made with Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar takes this already-tasty salad to the next level.
Per serving: 279 calories, 12.7 g fat, 34.2 g carbs, 7.1 g fiber, 3.2 g sugar, 8.4 g protein
Kid-friendly and easy to make, this lunch is ready in just 10 minutes and doesn’t require any utensils.
Per serving: 238 calories, 7.1 g fat, 37.2 g carbs, 9.5 g fiber, 6.4 g sugar, 8.4 g protein
This recipe is basically a veggie-packed salad with some pasta noodles thrown in–it’s that nutritious.
Per serving: 413 calories, 16.1 g fat, 62 g carbs, 9.6 g fiber, 4.5 g sugar, 12.1 g protein
Mashed chickpeas are so much less stinky than canned tuna, so no one will give you the side-eye for bringing this sammie to work.
Per serving: 281 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 316 mg sodium, 40 g carbs, 11 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 13 g protein
Marinated tofu, peanut sauce, sweet potatoes, and broccoli make this bowl hearty and satisfying.
Per serving: 418 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 96 mg sodium, 59 g carbs, 10 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 8 g protein
Avocado and sweet potato chunks, cilantro, and a nice side of (vegan!) cornbread make this chili pretty much perfect.
Per serving: 105 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 616 mg sodium, 19 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 2 g protein
This is pretty much the healthiest sandwich to ever live between a bagel, so ’nuff said.
Per serving: 482 calories, 14.4 g fat (1.7 g saturated fat), 1384 mg sodium, 70.8 g carbs, 17.2 g fiber, 16.3 g sugar, 16.8 g protein
Lemon zest and apple cider vinegar brighten up this rich, creamy broccoli salad.
Per serving: 122 calories, 9.1 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 215 mg sodium, 7.1 g carbs, 2.3 g fiber, 2.2 g sugar, 5.9 g protein
You don’t need a single shred of cheese to whip up this cozy fan-favorite soup.
Per serving: 267 calories, 18.1 g fat (3.1 g saturated fat), 436.6 mg sodium, 24 g carbs, 6.2 g fiber, 7.3 g sugar, 7.8 g protein
Complete with veggies, hummus, avocado, and crunchy pumpkin seeds, this sandwich will truly win over any meat lover.
Per serving: 285 calories, 17 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 188 mg sodium, 31 g carbs, 10 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 9 g protein
This kid-approved macaroni salad is easy to make in bulk–and packs a surprising amount of vegetables (including artichokes and beets).
Per serving: 241 calories, 15 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 481 mg sodium, 23 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 4 g protein