Magazine Recipes

21 Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

By Andrea Lee

School’s back in, holidays are over, and for most of us, lunch has gone from seafood by the ocean or picnics in the park to a sandwich snatched between meetings. That sucks, because it’s really hard to find something healthy when you’re on the go and have like, 20 minutes for lunch! The solution? Make your own!

Taking packed lunches to work or school is a great idea – you get to choose if you make the ingredients organic or not (of course, try to when you can!) and more importantly, you know exactly what’s in every bite. As a bonus – you will use far, far less waste than the typical ‘fast food lunch. Better for your health, better for the health of the planet! Of course you’ll need some basic equipment – be sure to have some reusable containers on hand, or some waxed paper to wrap sarnies. For liquids, a Mason jar or reusable thermos will do. Remember: avoid plastic containers, especially ‘harder’ ones that contain hormone disrupting BPA, and don’t ever microwave anything in plastic (especially plastic wrap) or in any paper container (like a Tetra pack) that’s coated in plastic inside – the chemicals leach into the food, more so when heated by a microwave.

Hope you enjoy these 21 Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas recipes that are perfect as pre-prepared meals to take with you to the office, college, or wherever you need to be.

1. Simple Grain Bowl

The great thing about this basic meal from is that the ingredients are easily interchangeable – you can do a base of pre-cooked rice on Monday and swap for buckwheat or millet on Tuesday. Top up with beans and vegetables, and simply pop into a microwave before consuming. Easy!

Get the recipe here.


2. Veggie and Hummus Sandwich

We couldn’t possibly compile this list without throwing in the most famous on-the-go meal: the hearty sandwich. Here, the avocado and hummus filling paired with layers of veg provide you with plenty of much-needed protein and fibre to get through the rest of your day. All we would change about this is the bread: we’d make sure ours was gluten free or better yet, organic.

Get the recipe here.


3. Tofu Eggless “Egg Salad”

Tofu is a “culinary chameleon” according to and we wouldn’t agree more! They recommend using it in place of high-fat, high-cholesterol egg mayonnaise and serving it on wholesome rye bread as a sandwich. Add some cucumber or carrot sticks on the side, and you’re good to go!

Get the recipe here.


4. Refried Bean Wrap

Also from, these delicious wraps can be made from pre-bought organic refried beans or totally from scratch for those of you that are into DIY. They work well for both lunch and dinner – pair with some tortilla chips if you’re on the go. Even better, the recipe can easily be doubled to feed more people.

Get the recipe here.


5. Onigiri

The Japanese are famous for their (delicious AND practical) food and it’s easy to understand why! Onigiri are little triangles of sticky rice stuffed with a filling and wrapped up in toasted nori (seaweed). A favourite of Japanese schoolkids and businesspeople alike, these adorable snacks can be stuffed with any filling you want and tucked into a lunchbox. Making them can be tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it you’ll find yourself making it more and more.

Get the recipe here.


6. Vegetarian Dumplings

I added this recipe not because I think a few dumplings make for a hearty lunch, but because you can make these a part of one – my idea would be to make these at home (the more in one batch, the better -these can be frozen for later use), and then take them wrapped in waxed paper or reusable foil, plus a box of organic miso soup mix to the office. Boil the water for the soup, put it in a huge mug, add the dumplings, and voila. They’re also a nice addition to a salad, especially if you have a spicy Asian dressing on hand.

Get the recipe here.


7. Vegan Tuna Salad uses an interesting tuna alternative – hearts of palm. Popular in Spain and South America, these are pretty tasty – kind of like a blend of sweetcorn and an artichoke, but with the meaty texture of tuna. You’ll need to prepare it the night before as it needs to chill for a couple of hours to allow the flavours to blend. Enjoy by itself, on crackers, or in a sandwich. Yum!

Get the recipe here.


8. Mexican Tempeh Quinoa Salad 

Zesty and fresh, this deliciously colourful salad boasts only 350 calories per serving and is packed with fibre and protein. Taking only 45 minutes to make, you’d be mad not to try this one out. It’s kind of like a deconstructed taco.

Get the recipe here.


9. Rainbow Salad

You’ve heard to “eat the rainbow.” Well here’s why–each colour in each veg is packed with different phytonutrients. By eating a wide range of them, you provide your body with a broad spectrum of nutrition. For instance, carrots and yellow bell are rich in beta-carotene, red peppers contain lycopene, and red cabbage has powerful antioxidants…everything in this salad is packed with nutrition, but we just love how it tastes. You certainly won’t find anything this healthy in a sandwich shop!

Get the recipe here.


10. Sweet Potato Crust Pizza

Drop the gluten and white carbs for this tasty sweet potato pizza. It’s a lot easier to make than cauliflower pizza bases, and you can sub the mozzarella for vegan cheese, no problem. Yummy hot or cold, this is an easy one to take to the office or classroom.

Get the recipe here.


11. Couscous with Chickpeas, Fennel and Citrus

Mmm…carmelised fennel is sooo yummy! Browning this veg in a skillet transforms it into a tender, mellow, and sweet sensation. It blends perfectly with the nuttiness of chick peas and the saltiness of  fat olives, the sweetness of orange and tanginess of lemon. It’s an explosion of flavour, all served up on a bed of couscous–preferably organic whole wheat. Eat it as a hot meal, or cold like a salad.

Get the recipe here.


12. Vegan Pho Soup

This recipe is kind of a super healthy ramen. Prepare the base, then you can change the ingredients to pretty much anything you like (why not try the vegan dumplings in it, above?). Bonus: add a lot of coriander if you want to detox (it takes all the heavy metals out of your system). Want to take this to work? Just put it all in a Mason jar and heat it up in the microwave (be careful when taking it out, the glass will be hot!)

Get the recipe here.


13. Fattoush Salad

Salad isn’t the most inspiring of lunches, let’s face it. But when it’s not only bursting with a variety of different flavours, but also the filling bonus of some toasted bread…well, that’s a different story! Make the most of your Mason jars and pack this delicious Lebanese salad into one for lunch.

Get the recipe here.

14. Korean Eggplant

Korean food is having a moment now. Far spicier than Japanese, with loads of healthy ingredients, this cuisine is getting easier to make as more Asian ingredients pop up in our shops. But for this one, the most exotic thing you’ll need is sesame seeds! Any eggplant (or aubergine, if you like to call it that) will do. This is meant to be a side dish, but bring some rice and voila – you’ve got a whole meal.

Get the recipe here.


15. Basic Vegan Tomato Soup

Sometimes the most basic things are best. Tomato soup is simple, wholesome, and packed with nutrition. Add some shredded basil for an Italian touch, and a chunk of whole wheat or gluten free bread makes this a hearty, filling meal.

Get the recipe here.


16. Big, Healthy Vegan Bowl by Oh She Glows

One of our favourite vegan websites has loads of great ideas that will have you smacking your palm on your forehead thinking ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ This one is basic, but bountiful. The best thing is – you can prep all the ingredients in advance, store them in the fridge, and have this lunch ready for the next week.

Get the recipe here.


17.  Tofu and Broccoli Salad with Peanut Dressing

This reminds me a bit of pad Thai, but significantly lighter. We love the contrast of the spicy radishes and sweet dressing; the crunchy veggies and the soft tofu.

Get the recipe here.


18. Vegan Power Lunch Pasta Salad

Spinach and beans add some nutrition to this pasta salad, whilst a vegan cheese sauce lends the flavour. Choose your pasta shape and grain, and if you prefer real cheese, you can use that too. Fits perfectly in a Mason jar, which is the perfect takeaway vessel if you want to heat this up.

Get the recipe here.


19. Mediterranean Polenta Stacks

Looking for a gluten free, filling vegan lunch? Look no further! These polenta stacks take the best flavours from the Mediterranean to create easy-to-pack cakes that can be eaten hot or cold.

Get the recipe here.


20. Better Than Chipotle Vegan Burrito

Wow, that’s quite a claim, but with this recipe, it’s a truthful one! Tasty, toasty, spicy, hearty and healthy, this packed lunch will have you watching the hands of the clock, waiting in anticipation for the magical hour that will let you indulge in this yummy lunch.

Get the recipe here.


21. Vegan Loaded Sweet Potato

How many superfoods can you load into one meal? Kara Lydon has managed to get in loads: Omega 6 packed avocados, beta-carotene loaded sweet potatoes, and protein packed beans, to name a few. Forget your basic baked potato – there’s a new lunch in town!

Get the recipe here.



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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Dec 8, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    The differences in the weight gain are evident
    while you compare veggie and non veggie menus!

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