Looking to find the best vegetarian lunch ideas that are quick and easy? You’ve come to the right place!
We’ve selected 35 of our best vibrant, fresh, and healthy vegetarian meals – most of which you can even serve for dinner.
Find your favorite recipe by browsing through this list, and take your pick: meat–free meals, salads, sandwiches, wraps, pasta, and many more. Plus, most of these recipes are ready in less than 20 mins making them perfect as a lunchbox or office lunch!
Whether you’re a beginner vegetarian, omnivore, or flexitarian, we’re sure you’ll find your new lunch favorite on this list!
1. Chickpea tuna sandwich
Chickpea tuna is a quick and easy vegetarian lunch idea made with mashed chickpeas. It’s the perfect replacement for tuna in a sandwich, to fill a baked sweet potato, and perfect as a quick lunch.
2. Tomato feta salad
Cucumber tomato salad is a refreshing vegetarian lunch idea! Enjoy this crunchy and easy recipe as a summer side dish or add some protein to it and upgrade it to a quick and healthy main.
3. Pasta alla Norma (eggplant pasta)
Our pasta alla Norma (eggplant pasta) is a classic Sicilian pasta dish made with a rich and creamy tomato sauce, tender roasted eggplants, and fresh basil.
4. Sweet potato salad
Have this sweet potato salad for lunch, a quick and healthy make-ahead dinner, or bring it to potlucks and picnics. This is one of our favorite ways of eating sweet potatoes, paired with leafy greens, avocado, and a creamy maple syrup dressing, it’s a wholesome and happy lunch salad.
5. Rice salad
Rice salad is the perfect vegetarian summer dish, easy to prepare in advance, and perfect for bringing with you for a picnic outdoors. It’s great for meal-prepping for the week, and as a putlock meal as it keeps well in the fridge for days.
5. White bean dip sandwich
Use this white bean dip for veggies, but also as a delicious hummus spread in sandwiches, wraps, or as a quick pasta sauce. It’s a quick way to make a healthy vegetarian lunch sandwich!
6. Fried tofu steaks in mushrooms
Pan-fried tofu with mushrooms is a quick and delicious recipe that is perfect for everyday, last-minute lunch or dinner.
7. Chickpea salad with quinoa
This vegan chickpea salad is an easy and nutritious dish. Make it in just 15 minutes with simple, fresh ingredients and a refreshing lemon vinaigrette.
8. Pasta salad
Pasta salad is the ideal lunchtime meal because it’s quick to prepare and delicious to eat. It’s also great to make in advance to have as a ready-to-go meal to eat at any time.
9. Couscous with vegetables
Couscous with vegetables is one of the happiest vegetarian lunch ideas! This is an easy recipe that you can make in less than 30 minutes, with seasonal veggies and herbs. It’s also highly meal–prep–friendly, as you can make a big batch and save it in the fridge for the upcoming week.
10. Zucchini salad with parmesan
Fresh, bright, and crunchy, this zucchini salad is the ultimate summer salad. It’s perfect for picnics, potlucks, and as a light lunch when paired with parmesan and a slice of bread.
11. Tofu ‘chicken’ salad
This tofu salad recipe is a crunchy and healthy bowl perfect for lunch or dinner. Low in calories, high in flavor and filling. Make this today and you’ll feel satiated yet light after eating.
12. Avocado Toast
Learn how to make the creamiest, most delicious avocado spread to eat in sandwiches and on toast or serve as a dip with warm pita bread and veggie sticks. Add fresh tomatoes or roasted chickpeas on top for a colorful and nourishing lunch toast.
Panzanella is an Italian bread salad with simple summer vegetables and leftover stale bread soaked in water. It’s an easy vegetarian lunch idea, and you can add your favorite plant-based protein to it.
14. Zucchini soup with croutons
Make this delicious zucchini soup in less than 20 minutes with fresh zucchini and a few other simple ingredients you already have at home. You’ll be impressed by its flavor, creaminess and simplicity.
15. Eggplant salad
Eggplant salad is an easy and delicious recipe made with roasted or air-fried eggplant, chickpeas, and crunchy seasonal vegetables. It’s perfect as a make-ahead meal, for potlucks, and picnics.
16. Protein-packed chickpea frittata
This chickpea frittata is crisp on the outside, soft, and moist on the inside, and for some reason, it feels like eating a regular egg frittata. Packed with protein from chickpea flour, this frittata is tasty, satiating and gluten–free too.
17. Avocado salad with chickpeas
Avocado salad is creamy, crunchy, and refreshing, and it’s all you need for a quick lunch or light dinner during the hot summer months. Serve it with a 5-minute couscous bowl, or slices of toasted bread for a wholesome lunch idea.
18. Piadina with rucola and melted cheese
Piadina is a thin yeast-free Italian flatbread that you can fill with fresh leaves, pesto, and dairy–free melted cheese, and enjoy for a light lunch, snack, or dinner. Similar to a burrito, you can also stuff is with guacamole, black bean salad, and rice for a Mexican-inspired lunch idea.
19. Cheesy zucchini pasta
Zucchini pasta, as in pasta with zucchini, is a creamy and easy one-pot recipe you can make as a quick lunch or dinner for the whole family. The cooking method is simple, and with grated fresh zucchini, fresh lemon, and pine nuts, you can create a spring–friendly and crowd–pleasing meal.
20. Easy eggplant caponata on bread
Caponata is an Italian eggplant salad with a delicious sweet and sour flavor. We make it with roasted eggplant (instead of deep-fried) in less than 45 minutes. Perfect as lunch on a slice of toasted bread or on spaghetti.
21. Stuffed eggplant
Stuffed eggplant boats are a modern healthy recipe you can make for an easy lunch or dinner with your family and friends. It’s without meat and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
22. Focaccia with tomato
Our focaccia bread is golden and crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. And with our no-knead recipe, you won’t even make your hands dirty. Top it with cherry tomatoes, Italian herbs, and sea salt for an irresistible and true Italian focaccia experience.
23. Zucchini pesto and spaghetti
Zucchini pesto might seem unusual but it’s a delicious, light, and creamy pesto sauce you can make in 5 minutes with simple ingredients. Mix it with bowtie pasta, and sprinkle it with almonds and fresh leaves of basil for a restaurant–worthy lunch idea.
24. Quick aglio e olio in 15 minutes
This is the original recipe for garlic and oil pasta, a delicious Italian meal also known as spaghetti aglio e olio. It’s a perfect vegetarian lunch idea as it’s without meat, and ready in just 15 minutes.
25. Zucchini boats
You are going to love our zucchini boats because they are filled with an earthy lentil tomato mixture that tastes so good you won’t believe there’s no meat in it. They can be eaten warm or at room temperature for lunch and served with a side salad and a drizzle of sour cream.
26. Tofu soup in 20 minutes
This tofu soup is quick, tasty, and easy! You can make it in 20 minutes, with simple ingredients and seasonal veggies any time of the year. Serve as an appetizer, or make it a meal by adding rice noodles.
27. Tomato risotto
Tomato risotto is the perfect recipe for a delicious and fulfilling family lunch and dinner. Kids will love this recipe, and picky eaters will devour it straight out of the pan.
28. Orange tofu ‘chicken’
This easy vegan dish is the best alternative to orange chicken. We use crispy oven-baked tofu coated in a sticky, sweet, and sour orange sauce. It’s tasty, tangy, and delicious.
29. Vegan cream cheese on bruschetta
This tofu vegan cream cheese is made with 5 simple ingredients and it’s smooth, velvety, and perfect to use as a starter, dip, or spread in a sandwich. Mix your cream cheese with fresh herbs, or a veggie of your choice for a colorful lunch or appetizer idea.
30. Marinated tofu on bread or rice
Marinated tofu is one of the easiest foods to cook. Our recipe is quick and tasty, and you can make it in less than 30 minutes with simple ingredients. It’s perfectly paired with toasted bread, vegan mayonnaise, and slices of tomatoes.
31. Red pepper pesto on toasted bread
Red pepper pesto is rich, creamy, tangy, and easy as it’s made with jarred bell peppers. Serve this 5-minute pesto as a red sauce with pasta, or as a spread on bread, or in a sandwich with leafy greens.
32. Easy spinach pesto with spaghetti
We use tofu to make the spinach pesto recipe creamy and nutritious. You can use the pesto with your favorite pasta, spread it on a sandwich, or as a pizza topping. It’s a quick and creamy vegetarian lunch idea.
33. Creamy 25-minute mushroom pasta
Vegan mushroom pasta is a quick and creamy pasta recipe, that you can make in just 30 mins! It’s a simple, yet incredibly delicious and flavorful vegetarian lunch idea.
34. Microwave loaded sweet potato
35. Chickpea pasta salad
You’ll love this healthy chickpea pasta salad recipe because it’s tasty, nourishing, and fulfilling, with wholesome plant-based protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. It’s one of the most satiating and wholesome vegetarian lunch ideas.
Meatless meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner
It doesn’t have to be difficult to introduce plant-based meals to your diet! If you’re a beginner vegetarian, or slowly starting to cook meat-free, do your research. As with any other diet or lifestyle, make sure that you get a healthy dose of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. For even more inspiration, see our favorite collections here:
- Breakfast: get breakfast ready in 5 minutes with this scrambled tofu or overnight bircher muesli. Or simply check out our best vegan breakfast recipes.
- Brunch: missing weekend brunch ideas? You’ll love this vegan french toast and vegan crepes. Brunch can be fun and vibrant, see our brunch ideas here.
- Lunch: for a nutritious lunch on-to-go, try this Moroccan carrot salad, cauliflower lentil salad, or 10-minute chickpea salad. Or get inspiration from our vegan lunch ideas.
- Dinner: you can easily make an inviting and meat-free dinner for your family! Simply try our vegan fish, tofu curry, vegan orange chicken, or this cheesy eggplant parmigiana.
How to store these vegetarian lunch ideas
- How to store: you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave. On the second day, these meals will be stickier and less creamy.
- How to freeze: you can also freeze the vegetarian lunch ideas for up to 3 months. To freeze, let it cool down first, then transfer them to a freezer-friendly container, leaving some space to allow it to expand. Thaw in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop. Before serving, garnish with fresh herbs, and optionally a drizzle of olive oil.
What should I cook as a vegetarian?
Eating vegetarian is easily made versatile and flavorful by incorporating vegetables and whole foods into your diet.
You can choose many amazing dishes from Italian, Asian, Indian, or Middle Eastern cuisine that are already naturally vegetarian.
For many, a great place to start when cooking vegetarian is with familiar dishes, such as pasta, meat substitutes, and chicken replacements. For inspiration, take a peek at some of our favorite recipes:
- Easy pasta recipes, such as vegetarian meatballs, bolognese, and Alfredo sauce recipes.
- Replacing chicken and beef with different Tofu recipes
- Replacing eggs with various chickpea recipe ideas
- Add creaminess to salads and protein with these top vegan sauce recipes.
- Satisfy sweet cravings by making these indulgent vegan cakes
Give yourself time to try new herbs, flavor combinations, and ingredients. Slowly, you’ll find your favorite meals, and learn new tricks in the kitchen.
Get started with one of these vegetarian lunch ideas, and get to know your plant-based favorite recipes one by one.
It’s your journey, so you can take the time you need to ease into a vegetarian lifestyle (or simply test a plant-based dinner now and then).
If you have questions or doubts, send us a message in the comments below. We’re happy to support you and answer questions in any way we can!
For many more 30-minute meal ideas, check out our 30-minute meal category page.
35 Vegetarian Lunch Ideas
- Large nonstick pan
- 20 ounces mushrooms white, brown, champignon, portobello, etc
- ¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms (optional) + 1/3 cup of hot water to soak them
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 for the mushrooms, 2 for the tofu
- 8 ounces tofu firm
- ⅓ cup flour
- ⅓ cup white wine or vegetable broth
- ⅓ cup vegetable broth or water
- 1 handful parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
COOK THE MUSHROOMS
- Soak the dried porcini mushroom with hot water for 10 minutes.Note: adding dried porcini mushrooms is optional. Dried mushrooms help boost the mushroom flavour of the dish.
- To a large skillet (non-stick preferably), add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, crushed garlic, and sliced mushrooms. Cook on high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the soaked dried mushrooms and their soaking water. Season with salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes, or until there's no excess water in the pan.
- When the mushrooms are cooked, and most of their excess water has evaporated, transfer them to a bowl.
COOK THE TOFU
- While the mushrooms cook, slice the tofu into ⅙ to ¼ inch (0.5 cm) slices. There's no need to press it or pat it dry.We get 6 slices from 8 ounces of firm tofu (about half of a 16-ounce tofu block) and serve 3 slices per person.Add all-purpose flour to a plate, then coat each slice of tofu in the flour.
- On the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add the tofu slices. Cook the tofu slices on medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, turning them once.
- When the tofu is almost ready, add the white wine to the pan and let it evaporate.
- Add the mushrooms to the tofu, add the vegetable broth and chopped parsley, and finish cooking for another 2 minutes.
- We recommend serving three slices of tofu per person, with some mushrooms on the side.
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Hi! We are Nico & Louise
Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.
Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.