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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

20 Easy, Healthy, Vegetarian Lunch Ideas

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Are you tired of the same lunch options week after week? Or are you trying to go meatless for a few meals but don’t know where to start? Here are 20 easy, healthy and delicious vegetarian lunch ideas that are perfect for taking to work or enjoying at home!

Whether you’re making your own lunch (to take to work or eat at home), or looking for something your kids will enjoy, coming up with healthy options for lunch can be so hard! Ideally, you want something that will keep you full (so you don’t end up with a candy bar in your hand at 3pm), and something that super fast and doesn’t require much cooking or prep time.

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here are 20 vegetarian lunch ideas that are tasty, good for you, and that kids will love!

What Should You Look For In A Healthy Vegetarian Lunch?

When it comes to lunch, you want something that’s easy, flavorful and will keep you full. Here are some other things to look for when figuring out what to make for lunch:

  • Low Sugar: Choose a recipe that won’t make you feel sluggish (no sugar highs and crashes!)
  • Well Balanced: Look for lunches that are balanced when it comes to protein, fats, carbs and have a good amount of vegetables. You especially want to make sure there is enough plant-protein to keep you full.
  • Easy to Pack: Because if you’re taking lunch on the go, you need it to be easy to transport and not have 100 components to put together!

20 Vegetarian Lunch Ideas

Hearty Sandwiches and Burgers

lunchbox makeover: vegetarian sandwich on sprouted wheat bread with tomatoes, cheese and lettuce

Sandwiches and burgers are lunchtime staples, but can become boring if you have the same thing every day. Try these recipes to switch things up!

top view of garlic bread grilled cheese on a wooden cutting board
Garlic Bread Grilled Cheese with French Onions
This Garlic Bread Grilled Cheese with French Onions is the ultimate gooey cheesy indulgent sandwich with a healthy twist. Packed with flavor and done in minutes, it's comfort food at its best!
View this recipe
Chickpea Stuffed Pita Sandwiches with Yogurt Sauce
These chickpea stuffed pita pockets have the essence of falafel without the long prep time it takes to make them!
View this recipe
Gourmet Banana Peanut Butter Sandwich
Who said that peanut butter sandwiches had to be 1) boring 2) just for kids and 3) the same every time? Sometimes reinventing a classic is just what you need to get out of a rut.
View this recipe
Homemade vegetarian black bean burger on whole wheat bun, topped with baby spinach, tomato, onion and served with home fries on the side
Black Bean Quinoa Burgers
These vegetarian black bean quinoa burgers are easy and quick to make, so they are perfect for a healthy weeknight meal. 
View this recipe
Vegan Black Bean Burgers with Tahini Sauce
These protein packed vegan burgers are perfect for the summer!
View this recipe

Other Sandwich Tips

  • For an everyday savory sandwich: Start with sprouted wheat bread like Ezekiel, and layer on some plant-based protein (mild cheddar cheese, hummus, baked tofu, etc.), any veggies you like (greens, tomatoes, sprouts, cucumbers, roasted vegetable slices, etc.), and add some flavor (salt/pepper, mashed avocado or guacamole, mustard, pesto, etc.) For kids, I like to “deconstruct” the sandwich and serve it bento-style since being able to hold a sandwich that big without everything spilling out can be hard for little hands. You really can’t go wrong with a healthy, filling sandwich, and you can change things up slightly every day!
  • For a sweeter sandwich: Try using a combination of nut and seed butters, fresh fruit, and toppings like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. One of my favorites is a combo of almond butter, pear slices, walnuts and cinnamon!
  • For a quick veggie burger: I recommend making the patties in bulk and freezing them, so you can spend 5 minutes warming them up and assembling them before you head out for the day. For kids, I pack a deconstructed burger with the patty in one compartment, toppings in another and the bun cut in half in the third. That way it doesn’t get soggy by the time they eat it and it’s easier for kids to eat without getting messy!

Salads That Pack Well

lunchbox makeover: healthy greek salad with peppers, cucumbers, greens, against a white background

You can pretty much do anything you want with a salad. For kids, I recommend chopping up the veggies/toppings/etc into smaller bite sized chunks so it’s easier to chew. And in general, there are a few rules to keep in mind to make sure any salad you make is both tasty & healthy:

Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs
If you are looking for an easy, make-ahead dish, then this Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs could be for you!
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healthy greek salad
Keto Greek Salad with Feta
This refreshing Keto Greek Salad is the perfect side dish for a potluck or picnic, but it can also be eaten as an entree for a light lunch or dinner!
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Simple and Fast Lentil and Feta Salad
This is so easy to make, it literally takes 20 minutes. It’s kid friendly and crowd friendly too – everyone loved this salad including Layla, who had leftovers the next day for dinner too!
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Avocado Cucumber Tomato Salad
This recipe is super simple. It’s full of fresh veggies, summer tomatoes, chickpeas, feta and spices. No cooking required: just chop your veggies, toss and serve.
View this recipe
superfood salad served in a white bowl with broccoli, blueberries, sweet Fuji apples, cabbage, spinach, dried cherries, pine nuts, and a healthy ranch dressing
Superfood Salad with Healthy Ranch Dressing
This Superfood Salad is going to be your new favorite dish! It’s filled with broccoli, blueberries, sweet Fuji apples, cabbage, spinach, dried cherries, pine nuts, and a healthy, homemade ranch dressing. Ready in just 15 minutes, it's the perfect healthy lunch or light dinner!
View this recipe

Other Salad Tips

  • Lots of Veggies: Start as many veggies as you like! Greens, cucumbers, peppers, roasted veggies, tomatoes, and anything that’s in season is always fun to add in. Just avoid anything that’s already pre-dressed – like from a deli.
  • Lean Protein: Some of my favorites include hardboiled eggs (use more of the whites vs. the yolks), beans, lentils or nuts and seeds
  • Seasoning: To season your salad, use salt & pepper – they do wonders for flavor, and 2 tsp olive oil with 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Spreads: You can add in hummus or guacamole for extra flavor! Just stick to 1-2 tbsp per salad serving.
  • What to Avoid: Avoid croutons, chips, dried fruit, and pre-made dressing – they are generally high in calories, low in nutrients and high in processed ingredients and/or sugar
  • In Moderation: If you’re using cheese, just watch the portions! 2-3 tbsp is enough for 1 salad.

Soups and Stews That Make Great Leftovers

When it comes to soups, I recommend making a big batch one evening and using it a couple times during the week. It packs really well in a thermos for kids (or adults too honestly!), or you can pack it alongside other lunch items in my favorite bento box that incorporates hot and cold items in the same box!

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese
The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
This recipe blew my husband, the veggie-chili-skeptic, away. He no longer responded with “this isn’t chili,” but instead said “this is really good!” He even went back for seconds. It’s got the deep flavor of traditional meat chilis, but is much healthier and vegetarian friendly.
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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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lebanese lentil soup with spinach, served in a white bowl with cilantro on top
Lebanese Lentil Soup
A rich and flavorful Lebanese Lentil Soup made with spinach and served with a dollop of cool yogurt and cilantro is hearty, healthy, and easy dish to pull together for a weeknight meal.
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thai sweet potato soup with poblano peppers served in a white bowl, top view
Spicy Thai Sweet Potato Soup
This spicy Thai Sweet Potato Soup gets an extra kick with the addition of poblano peppers. It combines the flavors of a traditional curry with some unconventional spices and seasoning for a rich and healthy soup with a real depth of flavor.
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vegetarian stew recipe with beans and rice, served on a white plate with a spoon
Vegetarian Stew Recipe with Beans and Rice
This Vegetarian Stew recipe with beans and rice is healthy and hearty. It's a budget-friendly, family-friendly, plant-based meal that the whole family will enjoy!
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Bowls, Grains, and Pastas

Bowls are great because you can just throw them together and they travel really well. Grains and pastas can both be wonderful bases for healthy and filling meals! All of these taste great hot or cold, so they work well in kids’ lunchboxes especially if they don’t have a place to reheat their lunch.

Top shot of two jackfruit burrito bowls
BBQ Jackfruit Burrito Bowls
Caramelized BBQ Jackfruit on a bed of Mexican-style rice, with refried beans, smashed avocado, and topped with a crunchy carrot and red cabbage slaw makes for a healthy and hearty dinner!
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Vegetarian Pasta Bake with Italian Herbs
This cheesy, healthy, Vegetarian Pasta Bake recipe is so easy to make and packed full of tasty, nutritious ingredients. Lightened up with roasted veggies, paired with a rich tomato sauce, it's a meal that the whole family will enjoy!
View this recipe
pesto without pine nuts served over whole wheat pasta on a white plate with a fork and knife
Pesto Without Pine Nuts: Whole Wheat Penne with Walnut Sage Pesto
This healthy pesto without pine nuts is the perfect pasta dish for a quick and easy weeknight meal. The walnut and sage pesto is packed full of earthy flavors and is lower in fat and calories than the store bought.
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Cheesy Quinoa and Black Bean Casserole
A lightened-up, healthy quinoa bake that you can enjoy completely guilt-free. Reminiscent of enchiladas, slightly spicy and super satisfying, full of black beans, veggies, and cheesy goodness.
View this recipe
whole wheat pasta recipe topped with spinach, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese on a white plate, with a fork
Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe
This easy, tasty, healthy Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe is easy to make when you're in a hurry! Full of flavor and loaded with veggies, this family friendly supper will be a sure fire hit!
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Looking for More Recipes? Check Out These Other Vegetarian Lunch Ideas!

And that’s it! 20 ways to completely makeover your lunchbox that will leave you and your family feeling satisfied, happy and full!

Posted In…

Entrees ·

From healthy versions of favorites to cozy curries, these main courses are sure to bring some new recipes to your family’s table.

40 responses to “20 Easy, Healthy, Vegetarian Lunch Ideas”

  1. I have a picky eater and making school lunches are a nightmare. I’ve tried many things. Have to keep at it trying different things. Some of these look good.

  2. These look yummy! I tend to pack pb&j most days, but will have to try some of these to change it up. I think my youngest would like the pb and banana sandwich. I never thought to send a deconstructed hamburger for lunch!

    • Thank you so much Patrice! I can’t wait to hear how your kids like these lunch ideas! And yes – I’m all about deconstructing things for little hands — makes for less messy eating that’s still tasty and satisfying! 🙂

    • Haha! That’s awesome – and yes! These are great lunch options for adults too 🙂 Thanks Tammy – enjoy!

  3. thanks for the ideas…peanut butter sandwich looks like a melt in mouth…yumm…
    i have never grilled a PBJ sandwich before…now i am thinking of buying a panini press to make it goey…your pictures are really a treat :-))

    • Thanks Jyo!! And yes omg – grilled PBJ is seriously the best ever. You don’t need a panini press to make it either, you can just use a regular pan and a spatula – just flip it over when one side is done and press down with the spatula on the side facing up to make it flat and crispy! Enjoy!

  4. Where can I find this Ezekiel bread? I have a trader Joe’s and a sprouts near me. That ends the healthy store list.

    • Oh! Trader Joe’s has an Ezekiel bread knockoff – it’s basically the same thing – they have a whole “sprouted wheat bread” section – just look for it in the bread section (they have a ton of varieties, so just pick the one you like 🙂 ). I’m not sure if Sprouts has Ezekiel – since they’re a health food store I’d guess that they would, but Whole Foods definitely has Ezekiel. Hope that helps!

  5. Thanks for these amazing recipes – and great pictures! I’m suddenly hungry at 11.23 pm!! I do healthy recipes on my website – do check out our recipes; would be great to connect!

    • Thanks Vandana! So glad you like them! I’ll be sure to check out your website too – looking forward to connecting more through our blogs!

  6. Thank you so much for posting these meals! I’ve been trying to make a weekly meal plan that includes a short grocery list and minimal prep/cook time. Your blog has made this really easy! Thanks again! 🙂

    • Yay!! No problem at all – I’m so glad it’s helpful! Good luck with your weekly meal plan – let me know how it goes! 🙂

  7. Some fantastic ideas and quick meals at that.. Nor reason that ‘Healthy’ has to take ‘longer’ to prepare. I’m going to be trying the peanut butter sandwich reinvented today.. Thank you Anjali…

  8. Makeover #1 is making my mouth water … it looks so good! There’s something about a colorful sandwich … just makes one happy to take a bite! Thank you for sharing … I can’t wait to try some of your ideas!

    • Totally agree – I try to make my meals as colorful as possible, they’re so much more fun to eat that way! Hope you enjoy these recipes when you try them! 🙂

  9. Thanks for this, Anjali! The first one is actually my most favorite sandwich, ever (with some kettle cooked jalapeno chips on the side. :)) Also, in addition to the hummus I add pesto. It’s so flavorful my stomach is actually grumbling just thinking about it!

    • Oooh those additions sound fab 🙂 I like eating it with the Baked Kettle BBQ chips since they’re slightly more guilt-free – but I’ll have to try the jalapeno chips soon!!

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