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21 Delicious Vegan Lunch Ideas

By Thepickyeater @pickyeaterblog

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If you're looking to reduce your meat consumption, or are becoming a vegan and are looking for vegan lunch ideas, my 21 easy vegan lunch recipes are just what you need. These dishes are easy to make and make a perfect vegan lunch for work or for enjoying at home!

21 Delicious Vegan Lunch Ideas

A misconception about vegan dishes is that they lack flavor, substance and variety, but this couldn't be further from the truth! The key is knowing all of the different sources of vegan-friendly protein and how to best use them in your cooking. My vegan lunch recipes are bursting with flavor and color, not to mention all the nutrients you need to stay full until dinnertime. So let's take a look at these 21 vegan lunch ideas that everyone will love.

In case you don't know what a vegan diet is, it's a diet that avoids all animal products. This means no dairy or meat products, as well as foods that contain animal products as a part of their production process. This includes things like candy that contains gelatin and mayonnaise that is made with egg yolks.

Why Do People Become Vegan?

Veganism is a lifestyle choice that many people make for a variety of reasons; from religious beliefs to health reasons and wanting to lessen their personal impact on the environment.

A vegan diet is synonymous with being a healthy way to live because of the emphasis on eating more vegetables and grains, but like any other diet, it needs balance with each of the main food groups.

Is a vegan diet healthier than eating meat?

Like any type of diet, veganism has the potential to be both healthy and unhealthy depending on what you choose to eat. A vegan diet can be healthy, providing you eat a balanced and varied diet that avoids processed foods, high sugar and high salt foods where possible.

In terms of the potential health benefits of a vegan diet, there are advantages to cutting things like red meat out of your diet. These include a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and substantial weight gain, which you are at a much higher chance of developing when eating large amounts of red meat.

Key Aspects of the Vegan Diet

Because a vegan diet doesn't include any animal products, that means that you'll need to find other sources of protein to maintain a balanced diet. This, fortunately, isn't as hard as you might think, as there is a whole range of other protein-rich foods available to vegans and non-vegans alike. Let's get familiar with some of them!

Soy-based protein

Soy-based protein such as tofu, edamame and tempeh all come from soybeans and are a fantastic source of protein. Edamame beans are great added into salads and stir fries, while tofu and tempeh act as ideal meat substitutes to use in veggie burgers, sandwiches, stews, scrambles, curries, stir fries and more.


Seitan is a popular protein source for vegans as it is so naturally high in protein. It's one of the highest protein foods you can find. It resembles meat in terms of appearance and texture when you cook it, meaning it can be used to substitute meat in an array of dishes that traditionally use meat. It can also be sauteed, fried and baked, so is a really versatile meat substitute too.

Please note that seitan is made from gluten, and should be avoided by anyone with gluten intolerances or celiac disease.


Another super source of protein comes from lentils. They can be used in soups, daals, stews and even salads, and are packed with other nutrients such as folate, fiber, and iron.


Whether it's kidney beans, black beans, butter beans or chickpeas, beans are fantastic sources of protein. Similar to lentils, they make great additions to soup dishes, stews and curries, and can easily be made into burgers too which are always a hit with kids!

Nutritional yeast

Many vegans use nutritional yeast for a boost of protein in a variety of dishes, from pasta to soups. It has a cheesy flavor, so it's a good vegan-friendly cheese substitute. If you're looking for a way to add a little more protein to your meal in a quick and simple way, then nutritional yeast is what you need.


Certain grains are particularly high in protein, including spelt, sprouted wheat, quinoa, and teff. They make great substitutes to wheat or rice so can be used in baked recipes or dishes that typically use rice.

21 Delicious Vegan Lunch Ideas

What Makes A Good Vegan Lunch?

When it comes to a good vegan lunch, you want to make sure that it's balanced with the right food groups. Lunchtime is a tough one to master because you want to be full enough to keep you (or your kids) energized for the day ahead, but not so full that you feel sluggish and sleepy. The great thing about vegan lunch recipes is that they aren't too heavy and won't leave you feeling too weighed-down like a lot of meat dishes can do sometimes.

My vegan lunch ideas utilize a range of different protein sources, as well as a variety of vegetables and flavors inspired by Mexican, Indian and East Asian cuisines to create fun and tasty lunches for the whole family. So if you're in the mood for a certain cuisine, there's an easy vegan lunch you can enjoy in under 30 minutes.

What Can I Eat in a Vegan Lunch Instead of Meat?

  • Meat substitutes in dishes such as burgers, chilis or sandwiches: Opt for meat substitutes such as vegan meat slices or vegan sausages to use in your sandwiches, swap burgers for bean burgers and add lentils or beans in your stews.
  • Add protein to your salads in the form of lentils, beans or tofu.
  • Make a hearty, warming soup that'll give you lunch for days or feed the whole family on a weekend. This is a great option for colder weather too!

Vegan Lunch Ideas By Cuisine

I often take inspiration from Mexican, Indian and East Asian cuisines for my vegan lunch recipes, because of the large variety of flavors and ideas these cuisines have to offer!

Mexican-Inspired Vegan Lunch Ideas

Mexican food is a rich and versatile cuisine with a number of dishes that make great lunchtime food. From chilis and enchiladas to a lighter burrito bowl, you won't miss the meat in these vegan lunch recipes!

Indian-Inspired Vegan Lunch Ideas

Indian food is nutritious and warming, and full of flavor. It's also a cuisine that is particularly geared towards a vegan diet, with so many wonderful plant-based dishes to choose from. These recipes can give you a high protein vegan lunch to keep you fueled for the day.

East Asian-Inspired Vegan Lunch Ideas

From stir fries to rice dishes, it's easier than you think to enjoy an East Asian-inspired vegan lunch that's healthy too. Tofu is an extremely popular source of protein that is usually a hit with kids too! Try out these recipes for lunch with a kick.

Quick Vegan Lunch Ideas For Work

If you're looking for an easy vegan lunch that you can take on the go to work with you, these salad recipes are quick, great for meal prep, travel well, and are oh-so-tasty.

Vegan Lunch Ideas To Make At Home

If you're working from home or need a tasty meal to whip up on the weekend, these recipes work great for feeding the whole family, or as meal prep for the week ahead.

Try A Vegan Lunch For School For The Kids

If you're trying to reduce your family's meat consumption or are raising your kids on a vegan diet, try these kid-friendly vegan lunch ideas that are easily packed up for school and are sure to please even the pickiest eaters!

Looking For More Vegan Recipes?

I've given you 21 vegan lunch ideas, but for breakfast and dinner options, as well as sweet treats, check out my full range of vegan recipes here! And if you're just starting out on a vegan diet, check out my 50 beginner vegan recipes here!

If you have tried any of these vegan recipes, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

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