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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

21 Delicious Vegan Lunch Ideas

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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!

vegan lunch ideas - Vegan lunch table. Chocolate smoothie bowl, Buddha bowl with tofu, chickpeas and quinoa, lentil soup and toasts on a gray background.

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. 

vegan lunch ideas - Healthy Homemade Mason Jar Salad with baked vegetables, hummus, tofu and chickpeas. Healthy food, detox, Clean Eating or vegan concept.

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!

chili stuffed peppers with black beans and mushrooms, served on a white plate
Chili Stuffed Peppers with Black Beans and Mushrooms
These chili stuffed peppers are packed with fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans, mushrooms, jalapeño peppers, and the perfect amount of cheese in every bite. They’re a healthy, satisfying, totally delicious and easy weeknight meal!
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vegan enchiladas, fresh out of the oven, served in a casserole dish and topped with green onions and olives
Vegan Enchiladas with Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes
Lip-smacking Vegan Enchiladas are easy to make, delicious, and a real crowd-pleaser. Each enchilada is filled with sweet potatoes, onions, bell peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans, spices, and they are topped with a 5 minute homemade enchilada sauce! 
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Healthy Homemade chipotle copycat Sofritas Tofu Tacos with Tomato Onion and Cilantro
The Ultimate Chipotle Inspired Sofritas
These Chipotle copycat Sofritas are a healthy, vegan-friendly protein alternative with tons of flavor. They’re low sugar, low sodium, spicy, and great for adding to tacos or veggie bowls! 
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bbq jackfruit served in a white bowl with burrito fixings
BBQ Jackfruit Burrito Bowls
This pulled BBQ jackfruit burrito recipe in a bowl is simply incredible and bold in flavor. Made with tender jackfruit, hearty beans, rice, fresh vegetables, and comforting spices, this recipe is the perfect healthy option for meatless weeknight dinners!
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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.

sweet potato dahl with kale, served in a white bowl
Sweet Potato Dahl with Kale
Comforting and delicious, this Sweet Potato Dahl is a fast and easy meal. Perfect for lunch or dinner, this dahl is filled with warm Indian spices, kale, sweet potatoes, and yellow split peas. It’s vegan, gluten-free, hearty, healthy, and nutrient rich!
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tofu paneer, mattar paneer in a white dish with peas and curry sauce
Matar Paneer (made with Tofu Paneer!)
This healthy version of matar paneer (made with tofu paneer!) is so rich and creamy it pretty much melts in your mouth when you take a bite of it. Made with only five ingredients, you can enjoy gourmet, restaurant-quality Indian food at home in just 20 minutes! 
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Pav Bhaji (or Indian Spiced Vegetarian Sloppy Joes) served on a wooden cutting board with a wheat bun
Pav Bhaji (or Indian Spiced Vegetarian Sloppy Joes)
This Pav Bhaji is the perfect Indian inspired street food, but it has a healthy and nutritional twist that is insanely good. Munching on this Indian spiced vegetarian sloppy joe style sandwich will keep the entire family happy and makes for an easy dinner idea. 
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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. 

vegan tofu fried rice with vegetables, served on a white plate
Vegan Tofu Fried Rice
Vegan Tofu Fried Rice is super satisfying, healthy and flavorful. It's packed with nutrients, and it’s a one-pot meal that can be thrown together in around 20 minutes! Family-friendly and kid-approved!
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vegetarian egg roll in a bowl topped with green onions, served in a white bowl
Vegetarian Egg Roll in a Bowl
We took out the insides of an egg roll, and put them in a bowl! It's easy to make, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, keto-friendly, and is ready in just 30 minutes. This egg roll in a bowl recipe is a flavorful, healthy one-pan meal that the whole family will love!
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healthy vegetable stir fry recipe served in a white bowl with chopsticks
Asian Vegetable Stir Fry Recipe
This easy Vegetable Stir Fry recipe is the ultimate Asian dish made with tofu, vegetables, soy sauce, red Thai sauce, and so much more! Ready in about 20 minutes for an delicious meal way better than takeout.
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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.

roasted cauliflower salad with spinach and chickpeas and kalamata olives, served on a white plate
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Spinach and Chickpeas
This recipe makes cauliflower the star, roasted to perfection and tossed with a warm dressing, along with some chickpeas for protein, spinach for some greens, and kalamata olives for a nice tangy bite.
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Apple Walnut Salad with Dates and Brie
If you love fall flavors, then you will absolutely adore this apple walnut salad with dates and brie. Crispy mixed greens are tossed with tart Granny Smith Apples, creamy brie, crunchy walnuts and a tangy apple cider vinaigrette for the perfect side dish or light lunch! Ready in just 15 minutes, delicious and healthy too!
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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.

vegan paella with tofu served in a large skillet
Vegan Paella with Tofu
The vegan paella is comforting, flavorful and family-friendly. It’s made with cooked brown rice, spicy tofu, earthy mushrooms, veggies, a hint of fresh lemon juice, and the perfect amount of seasonings. It's so delicious that you won't miss the meat – I promise!   
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vegan pasta primavera served on a white plate
Vegan Pasta Primavera
Delicious Vegan Pasta Primavera will knock your socks off with its incredible flavors. Filled with fresh, tender vegetables, tossed in a rich marinara sauce, and seasoned to perfection, you can whip up this family-friendly meal in just 25 minutes! 
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healthy vegan black bean soup topped with greek yogurt, avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips in a grey bowl, top view
Chunky Vegan Black Bean Soup
This chunky vegan black bean soup is a healthy, hearty, filling, one-pot meal! Made with simple ingredients, flavorful spices, and you can customize it with your favorite toppings.
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Tuscan Bean Stew with Whole Wheat Pasta, topped with parmesan cheese and served in a ceramic bowl
Tuscan Bean Stew with Whole Wheat Pasta
This Tuscan Bean Stew is hearty, spicy, healthy and satisfying. Full of veggies, beans, and whole wheat pasta it's a high protein, high fiber, delicious meal that's done in 30 minutes.
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roasted vegan tomato soup topped with fresh herbs in a white bowl against a marble background, top view
Roasted Vegan Tomato Soup with Garlic
This delicious vegan tomato soup with garlic is full of healthy ingredients. It's creamy and full of flavor without the cream.
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sweet and sour tofu with veggies, served on a white plate with chopsticks
Sweet and Sour Tofu with Vegetables
Sweet and Sour takeout flavors without the excess fat and other ingredients. You won’t miss the price of takeout once you make this healthy tofu version at home.
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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!

vegan tacos with black beans, avocado, veggies, and cilantro, served on a white plate
Vegan Tacos with Black Beans and Avocado
These healthy and delicious vegan tacos are great for an easy weeknight meal. Packed with black beans, veggies, and spices, they're full of flavor, ready in 30 minutes, and perfect for the whole family!
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closeup of falafel wrap recipe with tomatoes, spinach and tahini sauce served on a white plate
Falafel Wrap Recipe
Falafel is often deep-fried, but baking still gives you that amazing texture without the added fat. This falafel wrap recipe is a lightened up version that makes a delicious meal.
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samosa wraps with tofu served on a white plate
Spicy Samosa Wraps with Tamarind Chutney
This homemade Samosa Wrap recipe is a healthy copycat of Amy's Indian Samosa Wraps! Super easy to make, vegan, easily made gluten-free and perfect for a grab and go lunch or healthy dinner. Family-friendly and delicious!
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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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Try my favorite vegan recipes, like my BBQ Jackfruit Burrito Bowl and decadent healthy raw chocolate pudding.

Want to convert an existing recipe into a vegan-friendly version? Flax eggs make it easy!

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