Find affordable vegetarian lunch ideas made with vegetables, plant-based protein and easy sides. These 10 ideas are great for kid’s lunches and adult lunches—for home or at work.
Vegetarian Lunch Ideas
Relying on vegetarian protein and ingredients is an affordable way to assemble nutritious lunches—and there are so many delicious options for kids and adults. These 10 ideas are easy to make, filling and satisfying with a mix of nutrients, and perfect for packed lunches or lunches at home.
Each of these ideas is meant to be an option for the kids and for us adults. There are a lot of ways to vary these ideas for your own personal preferences, so feel free to use them as starting points for your own lunches.
See below to find my favorite vegetarian lunches.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Eating from at least 2-3 food groups at each meal can help keep us full and nourished—and that’s especially true for vegetarian lunches. Aim to include some protein and healthy fats for a satisfying lunch.
Easy vegetarian lunch options including hard-cooked eggs with crackers, nut or seed butter sandwiches with jam, hummus wraps, DIY Lunchables (without meat), DIY Uncrustables, pasta salad, hummus and crackers or bread, cheese and cracker plate, rice and bean burritos, bean and cheese quesadillas, and more are easy options.
This post includes many options that might work for you! To me, the best thing to make for lunch is food that is easy to prepare, yummy to eat, and easy to pack if you need to send it to school or work.
Spread hummus (which is blended chickpeas) onto a whole grain tortilla. Place cheese and thinly sliced veggies into the center. Roll up into a simple wrap. Serve the ingredients of this side-by-side cut into small pieces for younger kids who need more help chewing complex textures.
Pair soft bread with easy fillings like thinly sliced cucumber and cream cheese, hummus and shredded carrot or tomatoes, Nutella and jam, raspberries and lemon curd, PB&J, chickpea salad, and more to make these fun tea sandwiches. Use gluten-free bread as needed.
Pesto Pasta Salad
Served cold or at room temperature, this easy pasta salad is a perfect make-ahead lunch option to share with kids. The pasta, beans, and cheese help make sure this is plenty satisfying.
Pair a bagel, either mini size or regular, with cream cheese and jam, just cream cheese, hard-cooked egg, peanut butter or sunflower seed butter, or hummus to make a simple sandwich.
Easy Baked Tofu
Bake up a batch of protein-rich tofu and pair with crackers and fruit (or over a salad for yourself) for an easy meal to share. This can be served warmed out of the oven or leftover out of the fridge.
Pizza Bites (with Veggies)
Wrap pizza dough around veggies and cheese to bake up a batch of pizza bites to share with the kids. We like them with broccoli, but carrot and other veggies also work. Pack in a thermos or warm to serve at home.
Mac and Cheese with Peas
Pair a box of mac and cheese with frozen peas for a filling (and easy!) lunch option. (You may also like this Mac and Cheese Bites idea, too.)
Bake eggs, cheese, and veggies in a mini muffin tin for these bite-size frittatas. They are delicious warmed or at room temperature, and they make an easy meal when paired with crackers and fruit.
Blend up a simple creamy sauce with a base of avocado, then toss with a favorite pasta. Add some beans or peas, or serve with a simple smoothie to make this idea more filling.
I love a muffin lunch where you surround a muffin with easy sides like fruit, raw veggies, and cheese (or a smoothie or milk). You can use any muffin you prefer, though these Strawberry Muffins are great.
Easy Lunch Sides and Snacks to Add
You can add any fruit you like, or try these easy sides to round out a lunch.
Roasted sweet potatoes, soups packed in a thermos, black beans with a little salsa for flavor, sliced red bell pepper and dip like ranch, yogurt with a little jam or fruit sauce, cucumber slices, any other leftovers you happen to have, applesauce, whole grain crackers, or fruit salad.
Best Tips for Vegetarian Lunches
- Aim to include 2-3 food groups in a vegetarian lunch to cover nutrient needs.
- Aim to include some vegetarian protein and healthy fats to help the meal satisfy.
- Include a drink such as milk or water.
- Add lunch snacks or easy sides like diced fruit, applesauce, crackers, or nondairy milk to round out these lunch ideas.
- Pack in a lunch box or serve at home.
- Make these meals vegan by omitting the dairy or using a vegan cheese alternative.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this idea, so please comment below to share!
Favorite Vegetarian Lunch Ideas
- 1 whole wheat flour tortilla (fajita size; or other type of tortilla)
- ¼ cup hummus
- 1-2 slices cheese (such as cheddar or American or crumbled feta)
- ¼ cup shredded lettuce
- ¼ cup thinly sliced cucumber
- 2 slices tomatoes (optional)
- Place the wrap onto a cutting board or clean work surface. If it's not at room temperature, warm it in the microwave for 15 seconds.
- Spread on the hummus to about ½ inch away from the edges.
- Add the cheese, if using, and veggies in a little line in the middle.
- Starting on one side, roll up as tightly as you can. Move the veggies back to the center if they move a little as you work to tightly secure them inside the wrap. The hummus will help hold the tortilla in place.
- Cut in half with a serrated knife or cut into a few spirals. Serve or pack in a lunch.
- If your tortilla isn’t at room temperature, warm it for 15 seconds in the microwave or briefly in a pan over medium heat to help it become a little more pliable—and easy to roll.
- I prefer to use a fajita-size tortilla in this recipe. You can use whole-wheat or flour.
- Trade in crumbled goat cheese or feta for the sliced cheddar cheese if you prefer.
- Use thinly sliced veggies that you and the kids like.
- Serve deconstructed for younger eaters who may find the texture of a full wrap too hard to hold and bite.
- Add more flavor with a drizzle of Italian or Caesar dressing.
- Add desired lunch sides to round out the meal.
This post was first published August 2022.