Recipes Winter

30+ Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

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It’s that time of year again – lunch at school or the office! If you’re hoping to eat healthily, try these vegan lunch ideas!

By Lora O’Brien

School’s back in, holidays are over, and for most of us, lunch has gone from salads 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 eco-friendly reusable containers on hand, or some waxed paper to wrap sarnies. For liquids, a Mason jar or reusable thermos will do. Love some variety in your lunch? Copy what the Japanese do and purchase a reusable Bento Box.

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

30+ Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

1. Edamame Hummus Sandwich  

It totally sucks to be out and about and you can’t find a sandwich. That’s when hunger takes over all sense and suddenly you’re smashing your fists into the non-vegan options wondering why the heck they don’t do a decent hummus sarnie? So, make your own! It’s way cheaper, heaps healthier (you’ll be surprised by what they try and sneak into a sandwich these days) and you’ll never be without a delicious lunch.  

Get the recipe here.

Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

2. Chickpea Tuna Sandwich  

Let’s face it, tuna stinks in more ways than just being fishy. It’s endangered, and yet people are happy to chomp it down like it’s popcorn or something. Plus, it’s full of mercury and other heavy metals. This chickpea tuna recipe has all the makings off a fabulous tuna sandwich, minus the tuna. Chickpeas mash up to make an uncanny resemblance, and then using bay seasoning and some dill pickles, you really master that fishy vibe!  

Get the recipe here.

Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

3. Vegan Egg Salad Sandwich

Tofu is a “culinary chameleon” and that’s why I love it so much. I was never much a fan of smelly egg sarnies, but this chickpea recipe is wonderfully creamy and tastes delicious on some thick bread with fresh lettuce and a few slices of cucumber. And guess what? When I open this bad boy at work, no one runs from the eggy scent, hurrah!  

Get the recipe here.

Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

4. Spicy Bean & Sweet Potato Burritos  

I love burritos, and they’re a great food option when going to work or school – you can roll them up neatly and wrap them in some foil and they’ll stay in place until you’re ready to dive in. You can also stuff them to the brim with goodness. This spicy bean and sweet potato combination with a little fresh salad is so, so good!  

Get the recipe here.

5. Chickpea (Tuna-less) Salad Onigirazu

Of all the vegan lunch ideas for work, I like these the best. These Japanese rice sandwiches are super cute, easy to pack, and are also delicious. They store perfectly in a bento box so they can be taken on the go and there’s even room to stash a few veggie dippers as a snack. The chickpea tuna combination works really well with the rice, and it’s a great alternative to sandwiches. If you’re gluten free, you could use a gluten free grain such as brown rice or even quinoa instead of rice.  

Get the recipe here.

Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

6. Vegan Gyros

I don’t know about you, but come lunch time I’m more than ready to chow down on something insanely delicious to power me through the rest of the work day. And nothing excites me more than gyros! I tasted these when I visited Greece and they were to die for. For real. The veggie pulled pork jackfruit meat is juicy and flavoursome whilst the cooling tzatziki finishes it off nicely.

Get the recipe here.

7. Winter Spring Rolls

Rice wraps are a great food to make ahead of time as you can stuff them with your chosen ingredients, wrap them up tightly and store them ready to go. Make a little pot of dipping sauce and you’ve got a delicious lunch recipe. These are filled with crispy baked tofu and topped with a zingy mango and lime salsa for a refreshing lunch.

Get the recipe here.

8. Vegan Pate

Make some pate to store in a little pot to smear on either fresh bread or crackers. It’s made from chickpeas and a range of veggies so it’s a healthy and rich recipe that even non-vegan colleagues will be intrigued to try. Make the crackers below and top them with this yummy spread!

Get the recipe here.

Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

9. Pumped Up Seeded Crackers

Oh, crackers, how I love thee! I used to think of crackers as stale diet food, until I learnt that it’s all about what you pop onto them that brings them to life. Now I’m all about that cracker life! I crumble them into soup for make-shift croutons, or I smear a dip (like the recipe above) onto them. I’ve even been known to melt vegan cheese on them under the grill.

Get the recipe here.

10. Miso Noodle Soup in a Jar

These mason jar meals are super for when you’re at work. You just need to pop some boiled water into them, put on the lid, and the noodles will cook pretty quickly like a makeshift Pot Noodle – but without all those nasty chemicals. Our fave flav? The miso soup – just like a big bowl of ramen, but in a jar! You can make this the night before and store in the fridge, ready to add boiling water to later in the day.

Get the recipe here.

11. Spiced Red Lentil & Root Vegetable Soup

It doesn’t get easier than soup, plus it’s really cheap AND delicious the next day. In fact, you can make a huge batch on Sunday night to power you through the whole week. Store the servings in mason jars or even a flask, and all you have to do the following day is heat it up in the microwave (or stove if your workplace is super fancy).

Get the recipe here.

Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

12. Vegan Olive & Artichoke Tart

This tart, or quiche to some, is really great to make as you can cut it up for the week ahead. It takes minutes to prepare and is hearty and loaded with veggies and flavour. The texture is spot on, even without egg, and you’ll trick even those non-vegans! The mixture is super creamy and almost custard-like in texture thanks to the cashews and beans. And it’s super cost effective, which is always a bonus as eating out can get pricey!

Get the recipe here.

Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

13. Chickpea & Vegetable Picnic Hand Pies

I live for all things pastry based. It’s like taking a bite into perfection; heaven! Calories be damned. And this pastry pie filled with roasted vegetables and hummus makes a deliciously creamy lunch option. All you’ll need to do is wrap this up and take it with you and by lunchtime you, too, will be on a pastry induced high.

Get the recipe here.

Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

14. Roast Vegetable Quinoa Salad

A quinoa salad is really quick and easy to make, and one that will store well in a container so that you can take it along with you. Quinoa makes a great base as you can pretty much throw anything you like in with it. This recipe has roasted vegetables, but I’d also roast some sweet potato chunks and serve with spinach.

Get the recipe here.

15. Curried Tofu ‘Egg’ Salad

This curried tofu salad is rich and indulgent and will taste as good in a sandwich as it will on a bed of crisp, fresh salad, so you can pretty much enjoy it anyhow you like. Why not roast some jacket potatoes and take one along and top it with this egg-like salad for a loaded potato lunch? Yum!

Get the recipe here.

16. Vegan Meatball Subs

When I used to eat meat, I would buy something similar to this from a sandwich shop – but I know it was full of crap – no wonder I would feel so bad afterwards! This highly improved version has meatballs made from chickpeas, smothered in a tomato sauce, and it’s even topped with some vegan Parmesan! Wrap these up in some tinfoil and stick in a toaster oven at work if you have one. If not, never fear – they’re still tasty when just warm, not hot. But I’m not guaranteeing you won’t get a bit messy eating one!

Get the recipe here.

17. Baked Green Pea Fritters

I love making fritters or veggie burgers that are both tasty even when cold, and easy to pack to work. You can add them to salads, dip them in a herbed yogurt sauce, or put them into a sandwich, too.

Get the recipe here.

18. Cheesy Vegan Zoodles

Of all the vegan lunch ideas here, these may be the messiest, but my, they’re delish! And can you believe these only have six ingredients? And the best part is that these zoodles taste great hot OR cold. If you don’t have a spiraliser, well, you should probably get one right now! They’re a game changer, seriously. Get one here and start enjoying super-low carb, gluten free ‘pasta’ all the time!

Get the recipe here.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. Vegan Red Pepper Pasta

I often make a batch of pasta with a great deal of ambition – that is to say, I make way too much! But this Mediterranean recipe makes it easy to take leftovers to work with me. The cherry tomatoes pair so well with the rich and creamy vegan ricotta cheese, and vegan lunch ideas don’t get much easier to make than this.

Get the recipe here.

22. Layered Raw Taco Salad

When it comes to salads, I want to feel as though I’m eating real food, not something that I could also feed to my pet rabbit. That’s why I love a deconstructed taco bowl. I simply love Mexican food, so I’m always happy to include tacos into my day but this recipe is so wholesome and nourishing, you’ll feel ready to take on the rest of the day after eating this. Packing it into a Mason jar means it won’t look as pretty as this, but when something tastes this good, who cares?

Get the recipe here.

23. Savoury Pesto & Sun Dried Tomato Muffins

Sometimes our lunch hour comes and goes in such a blur that we’ve not had time to even consider anything fancy for lunch. That’s when these savoury muffins are a really great recipe to have on hand. You can eat it as your desk with no fuss and no mess and feel satiated. Why not pack a salad on the side and enjoy them both together?

Get the recipe here.

24. Veggie Noodles with Curried Coconut Sauce

Another super quick and cheap recipe that will taste great. A mix of courgettes and carrots make the ‘noodles’ (again, a spiraliser makes these supreme) and they’re then smothered in a curried coconut sauce. Salivating? I sure am!

Get the recipe here.

25. Vegan Chilli Con Veggie

This isn’t one of the most elegant vegan lunch ideas, but I absolutely love chilli. I smother it on the top of potatoes, I eat it from a bowl loaded with rice, and often I just dig right into it whilst it’s cooking and chow down. It’s full of lots of protein rich foods such as the beans and lentil and it’s really going to nourish you. You could warm up some rice and enjoy it with some, or simply eat it on its own. Either way it’s delish!

Get the recipe here.

26. Vegan Sushi Rolls

How could we not include a great sushi recipe here? These rolls are perfect, because you can eat ’em with one hand and type on the computer with the other one (just make sure you have some Wet Wipes nearby!)

Get the recipe here.

Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

27. BBQ Cauliflower Bites

I kind of feel sorry for carnivores who think we suffer as vegans because we don’t get to eat ‘fun’ foods like Buffalo Wings, Pizza, or Hotdogs. Well, guess what? There are vegan versions of all these things, and these BBQ Cauliflower bites are a great example! Make a nice vegan-yogurt based dip, add some crudites, and you have a very enviable lunch indeed.

Get the recipe here.

Packable Vegan Lunch Ideas for Work or School

28. Vegan Granola Bars

How can I not include a sweet treat or two in a list of vegan lunch ideas? I always like to end my lunch break with a little sweetness, and with so much temptation around us it’s a great idea to make your own sweet treats at home that the whole family from husbands and kids to enjoy. And these granola bars are naturally sweetened with maple syrup so there’ll be no sugar crash an hour after snacking on one.

Get the recipe here.

29. Raspberry Chocolate Protein Balls

Easy to pop into any lunch, protein balls also keep you filled up during the day. These ones not only bring in the antioxidants of dark chocolate, but use up the last of the summer raspberries, too. Oh, and if you’re a fan of the protein ball in general, you can see loads more recipes here.

Get the recipe here.

30. Healthy No Bake Millionaire Bars

What do you get when you combine coconut flour, sticky dates, chocolate and coconut oil? Sweet, healthy millionaire’s bars! Who wouldn’t look forward to grabbing a few of these at lunch?

Get the recipe here.

Main image: get the recipe here.

Lora O'Brien

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