Plant-based eating has taken the world by storm, and with good reason—growing fruits, veggies, whole grains, and beans is less taxing on the environment than animal production, according to a 2018 review study published in Nutrients. Eating more plant foods is also associated with a reduced risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and even certain cancers, according to the same study. Whether you’re a long-term vegan or vegetarian, or you’re plant-curious but can’t seem to fathom what on earth you can eat for lunch, these easy (and batch-able) plant-based lunch recipes should provide some much-needed inspo.
Burrito bowls are one of my all-time favorite lunches because they can be thrown together quickly, combine cooked and raw foods (a winning combo, IMO), and are totally customizable. Just open a can of beans, microwave some rice or quinoa, and chop up whatever veggies you have on hand. Use this recipe to get started and let your taste buds guide the way.
Make it vegan: Leave out the cheddar or use dairy-free cheese.
Sandwiches can be tricky to figure out when you’re first going plant-based. What do you put in them if not lunch meat, grilled chicken, or a burger patty? All-veggie sandwiches are great, but they’re missing the key ingredient of satiating protein needed to power you through your afternoon. This gourmet chickpea filling is the solution to your sandwich woes. The recipe makes enough for about five sandwiches, which means you can batch on Sunday and have lunch taken care of for the rest of the week.
Don’t have avocado? Use dairy-free yogurt instead to reach your desired consistency.
Pasta salad is typically served as a side dish at cookouts, but it’s also great as a make-ahead meal on its own. Plus, it’s perfect for beginner cooks—all you need to do is boil water and chop some veggies. To up the nutrition factor of this tangy Greek pasta salad, use whole-grain noodles.
Make it vegan: Leave out the feta cheese or replace it with crumbled tofu.
While soup isn’t always the most exciting lunch, it’s incredibly nutritious and can be made with just a few pantry staples. It’s also easy to cook up in a huge pot so you can eat it over several days with little extra effort. Try this busy student’s soup for a comforting, plant-based lunch.
Don’t have fresh greens? Use frozen or add extra canned vegetables.
Pre-made veggie burgers are fine in a pinch, but like all prepared foods, they tend to be more processed, high in sodium, and expensive. Fortunately, making your own out of whole foods is pretty simple and cheap. This beans and greens burger recipe makes it even easier by using only canned and frozen ingredients.
Make it vegan: Replace the egg with one tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with three tablespoons of water. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes, whisking periodically, before mixing in.[survey_plugin]