Vegan Wonder

Fuel Your Workday with These Protein-Packed Vegan Lunches

Whether you’re a full-time vegan or just looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, it can be a challenge to find lunch options that keep you fueled and satisfied throughout the day. As a vegetarian nutritionist, I often work with clients who struggle with getting enough protein in their diets. Protein is essential for maintaining energy and productivity, supporting muscle recovery and growth, and promoting overall health and wellbeing.

Aim for at least 30 grams of protein at each meal, including lunch. These tasty, protein-packed vegan lunch options will power you through your busy schedule.

Grain Bowls: A Balanced Meal in a Bowl

Grain bowls are a great option for a nutrient-dense lunch. They are packed with fiber, healthy carbs, healthy fats, protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Plus, they can be easily customized to your taste preferences.

Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Bowl

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted seasonal vegetables
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • 2 tbsp tahini dressing

Quinoa is a complete protein, which makes it a great base for a vegan lunch. Roast a variety of seasonal vegetables, such as carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, and butternut squash. Drizzle with tahini dressing made with equal parts tahini, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, water, and garlic powder.

Lentil and Brown Rice Bowl

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 cup sautéed greens (kale, spinach, chard)
  • 1/4 cup toasted nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews)

Lentils are another plant-based source of protein. Use French green lentils or red lentils for this recipe. Cook the brown rice according to package instructions. Sauté a variety of greens, such as kale, spinach, and chard, in a pan with a little oil and garlic. Top the bowl with toasted nuts for added crunch and nutrition.

Hearty Vegan Wraps

If you’d rather have a wrap than a salad or grain bowl, this protein-packed vegan wrap recipe will keep you full and energized throughout the afternoon. Use a whole wheat or sprouted grain tortilla for added fiber.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Wrap

  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 medium roasted sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/4 avocado, mashed
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla

Mash the avocado and spread it on the tortilla. Top with cooked black beans and cubed roasted sweet potato. Wrap it up and enjoy!

Tofu and Veggie Stir-Fry Wrap

  • 1/2 block marinated and baked tofu
  • 2 cups crunchy stir-fried vegetables (bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, snow peas)
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla

Marinate the tofu in a mixture of soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, and sesame oil. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Sauté a variety of crunchy vegetables in a pan with a little oil and garlic. Wrap everything up in a whole wheat tortilla.

Protein-Packed Salads

While grain bowls are a great option for a filling lunch, sometimes a salad is what you’re craving. These protein-packed vegan salad recipes will leave you feeling satisfied and nourished.

Chickpea and Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup crunchy vegetables (carrots, bell peppers, cucumber)
  • 2 tbsp tahini dressing

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Whisk together the tahini dressing with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, garlic powder, and water.

Tempeh and Kale Caesar Salad

  • 1/2 block tempeh, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup croutons
  • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese

Marinate the tempeh in a mixture of soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes. Wash and dry the kale. Make a batch of homemade vegan Caesar dressing with silken tofu, garlic, lemon juice, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and nutritional yeast. Toss everything together and top with croutons and vegan parmesan cheese.

Snacks and Sides to Complement Your Vegan Lunch

If you need a little something extra to get you through the afternoon, try one of these vegan snacks or sides.

  • Roasted edamame
  • Hummus with veggie sticks
  • Trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit

Meal Prep Tips for Effortless Vegan Lunches

Here are some meal prep tips to make your vegan lunches a breeze.

  • Batch cook grains and proteins (quinoa, brown rice, lentils, chickpeas) for the week. Store them in the fridge and use them as the base for your grain bowls and salads.
  • Prep vegetables and fruits ahead of time. Cut up carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, and zucchini, and store them in containers in the fridge. Wash and spin dry greens and store them in a large container.
  • Make dressings, hummus, and tahini sauce in advance. Store them in the fridge in small containers.
  • Use reusable containers or beeswax wraps to store your lunches for the week.