As a vegetarian, I always get asked the question, “What do vegetarians eat for lunch?” from my co-workers around noontime. A lot of people can confuse being a vegetarian with simply not incorporating meat into their meals. While the prospect of a no-meat lunch may seem pretty boring and bland to some, there are many delicious vegetarian lunch ideas that will pack your lunch time meal full of vitamins, antioxidants, and other healthy vegetarian staples.
A vegetarian diet incorporates plenty of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains— all of which are generally low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. If you are a vegetarian, or looking to become one, here are some great vegetarian lunch ideas that will turns heads and incite taste buds of vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
Vegetarian Lunch Ideas
Vegetarian lunches do not have to lack anything aside from meat. Here are some mouth-watering and easy to make vegetarian lunches for any day of the week.
Thai Peanut Noodle Bowl
You will need:
- 2 ounces of uncooked whole-wheat pasta.
- 1tablespoon of peanut butter.
- 1 lime for juice.
- 1 garlic clove, minced.
- One 11-inch piece of ginger to be peeled and grated.
- ½ cup of frozen shelled edamame.
- 2 cups of frozen stir-fry vegetables.
- 1 tablespoon of chopped peanuts.
- 2 scallions, sliced.
- Cook your pasta according to the directions on the bag.
- Take a skillet and sauté the peanut butter, lime juice, garlic, and ginger for 1 minute.
- Add your edamame and vegetables and cook for 12 minutes until your vegetables are tender.
- Pour these contents over pasta.
- Top your dish with peanuts and scallions and enjoy.
Omelet Soufflé with Zucchini, Artichoke, and Cheddar
You will need:
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- 8 ounces of zucchini that is cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
- A can of artichoke hearts to be drained and quartered.
- 1 cup of chopped tomatoes.
- 12 large egg whites.
- 4 large eggs that are lightly beaten.
- ¼ of a teaspoon of salt.
- 1/8 of a teaspoon of black pepper.
- 1 and 1/3cups of shredded low-fat cheddar cheese.
- In a large nonstick pan or skillet, heat the oil in over medium-high heat.
- To the oil, add your zucchini, artichokes, and tomatoes. Cook these contents for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. Cook and stir until the vegetables are crisp and tender. Set this pan aside.
- Take your egg whites and beat them well with a hand mixer. Add the whole eggs, salt and pepper to your egg whites and stir well.
- Take an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the egg mixture. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the eggs are lightly browned at the bottom.
- With a spatula, slide omelet onto a plate. Then, take the omelet and place it back onto the pan and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until contents are golden.
- Take your vegetable mixture and cheese and place it over half the egg. Fold the contents over and press down lightly with the spatula until you notice that the cheese melts.
Farfalle Pasta with Watercress, Cherry Tomatoes, and Feta Cheese
- 8 ounces of farfalle pasta.
- 1 cup of crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese.
- 2 pints of cherry tomatoes chopped into halves.
- 3 cups of watercress leaves.
- ¼ of a teaspoon of black pepper.
- Prepare your pasta according to the directions on the package.
- Place your cheese in a large bowl and top it off with watercress. Before draining your pasta, take a 1/4th cup of cooking water from your pot and pour it so that it covers the watercress. You want your watercress to wilt slightly and the cheese to get soft.
- Place your tomatoes in a colander. Drain your cooked pasta over the tomatoes for a quicker preparation.
- Toss your tomatoes and pasta with the watercress and cheese. Sprinkle with your choices of garish and enjoy!
Tofu with Black Beans & Garlic
You will need:
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 can of black beans to be rinsed and drained.
- 1 tablespoon of fresh minced garlic.
- 1/3 cup of sliced extra-firm tofu.
- 2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger.
- 3 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
- Cooked brown rice
- In a nonstick skillet heat your oil.
- Add beans and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
- Add in your tofu and ginger. Sitr frequently for 2 minutes until cooked.
- Add in your hoisin sauce and stir thoroughly.
- Serve your tofu over cooked brown rice or white rice, and dig in!
You will need:
- ¼ cup of shelled raw pumpkin seeds.
- 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- 2 pounds of winter squash. You will need to peel, seed, and cut your squash into 1/2-inch pieces to make about 4 cups.
- ½ of a cup of dried cranberries or raisins.
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
- ½ of a teaspoon of ground cumin
- ½ of a teaspoon of curry powder
- 1 can of vegetable or chicken broth
- 4 cups of brown rice
- Your choice of condiments, such as: sliced bananas, pineapple chunks, sliced green onions, or chutney. Feel free to be as creative as you would like to suit your taste buds.
- Toast your pumpkin seeds in a large skillet over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they become puffed and lightly browned.
- Once they are done cooking, remove the seeds from the skillet and set them aside.
- In the same skillet, cook your ginger in hot oil over medium heat. Stir the ginger for about 1 minute.
- Increase the heat up to medium-high and add in your squash. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the squash begins to brown.
- With your squash, add the cranberries, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and curry powder and cook for 1 more minute.
- Slowly add your broth to the squash mixture and bring your skillet to a slight boil.
- Once the broth is added and stirred, reduce the heat and allow your ingredients to cook, covered, for around 10 to 15 minutes until you notice that the squash is beginning to tender.
- Once your squash looks done, spoon your meal over your choice of white or brown rice and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Add condiments if desired.
Additional Tips for Vegetarian Lunch Ideas
In addition to these recipes, you have to remember to keep yourself and your family’s palate entertained. Here are a few other ideas for spicing up your lunch meals on a regular basis.
- Try some wholesome and healthy homemade muffins for a post-lunch treat or a yummy additional to your meal.
- If you have children, consider wrapping salad contents in a pita bread, a brown rice wrap, or wheat wrap to make it more appealing.
- Peanut butter and jelly is a great vegetarian option, but try to be creative. Consider other nut butters such as: cashew, almond, or sunflower butters along with low-sugar fruit spreads or apple butter.
Get Your Lunch On
With these helpful vegetarian lunch ideas, you will be sure to make your midday meal one to look forward to. If you are interested in any other vegetarian ideas, consider this course and join other students from around the world looking to expand their vegetarian options.