There are plenty of reasons to try out a vegetarian diet or at least incorporate more veggies into your day.
Aside from the nutritional benefits of getting more of these whole foods onto your plate, eating more plant-based meals helps the environment and is typically less expensive. We’re all for saving a dollar whenever possible.
We might be preaching to the choir here, but you really can’t go wrong with more vegetables in your life.
So whether you’re already a die-hard veg-head or just want to try out Meatless Mondays, these vegetarian lunches ensure you won’t get into a pasta and grilled cheese rut.
These recipes look so good that even your meat-obsessed friends will want a bite.
1. Mediterranean pasta salad with arugula and feta
Often relegated to the realm of boring potluck dishes, pasta salad might not be on your radar for an amazing lunch. But with zesty flavor and fresh ingredients, this Mediterranean version puts Aunt Doris’ tepid salad in the shade.
Arugula, cucumber, tomato, and avocado add veggie goodness while tangy feta and a lemony dressing round out the Mediterranean vibe.
2. Ultimate hummus and veggie sandwich
Gimme all the veggies! If your usual lunch consists of a turkey or ham-and-cheese sandwich, this stacked sandwich is here to spice things up.
It’s got hummus, spinach, grated carrot, tomato, avo, onion, and alfalfa sprouts (the most underrated sandwich topping). Trust us, you won’t miss the deli meat.
3. 10-minute healthy cauliflower rice
If you’re looking to add more veggies to your diet, the search stops here. In this easy lunch medley, even the rice is a vegetable!
A few quick pulses in the food processor turn a head of cauliflower into rice-like pieces (or you can start with store-bought cauliflower rice to make things even simpler).
Add a heaping helping of other veggies, like broccoli, peas, and carrots, plus a couple of eggs for protein, and then flavor it with pantry staples ginger and soy sauce. Voila! Veggie lunch in 10 minutes.
4. Crispy chickpea kale salad
We know what you’re thinking — a salad? How original. But this one is anything but dull, and it’ll keep you full till dinner.
Here’s how to make it: Massage some kale (weird but SO key), throw on some roasted chickpeas and cooked quinoa, and top with avocado slices and a hard-boiled egg.
Drizzle on a lemon-tahini dressing and you’re ready to dig in.
5. Rainbow veggie flatbread pizza
This veggie pizza gets a convenient boost with the help of naan flatbreads, eliminating the lengthy rising, stretching, and baking time you’d normally spend on crust. (Choose whole-wheat naan for extra fiber!)
Not only is this lunch a snap to make, it’s gorgeously colorful, with veggies stratified in “Roy G. Biv” order for a pretty rainbow presentation. Prepare for oohs and aahs from officemates.
6. Sweet potato and black bean burritos with chipotle sauce
We’d never snub a Chipotle burrito, but the chain’s portions can get a little out of control. Psst… you can actually DIY a burrito that rivals anything Chipotle has to offer (and includes real chipotle chiles).
These hearty burritos are packed with sweet potatoes, black beans, cheese, and a fiery sauce. Bring the spice level up or down by playing with the amounts of chipotle and jalapeño. (And be sure to keep some mints handy if you eat this one at work.)
7. Asian crispy tofu salad
You’re gonna love this Asian-style salad. A spicy-sweet dressing made with sriracha, maple syrup, lemon juice, and olive oil gives the salad a tangy flavor.
Meanwhile, the base veggies include ones you probably forget to use (but totally love), such as bean sprouts and radishes.
8. Lightened-up broccoli cheddar soup
Lunchtime soup can be so much tastier (and healthier) than the kind you plop out of a can.
A bowl of this chunky broccoli cheddar soup is filled with broccoli, carrots, and even cauliflower, plus plenty of sharp cheddar. By leaving out milk and cream, though, the recipe keeps things on the lighter side.
Make a whole pot and let it tide you over for yummy homemade lunches all week long.
9. Roasted veggie tzatziki grain bowl
Grain bowls are trendy AF these days, and there’s a reason: They’re the perfect lunch. You get lots of veggies; some filling, healthy carbs; and usually some sort of tasty dressing.
This tzatziki bowl is no exception and has a super Mediterranean feel, with peppers, zucchini, chickpeas, and cauliflower mixed into quinoa.
10. Vegetable spring rolls with peanut sauce
Making spring rolls might seem intimidating — will you accidentally tear them and end up with a busted lunch? — but a little practice is all it takes to get the hang of wrapping up restaurant-quality rolls.
Leave your perfectionism behind and enjoy the fun of stretching the springy, see-through rice paper wrappers around carrots, cabbage, peppers, and fresh herbs. And don’t skip the peanut sauce!
11. Chunky portobello mushroom burgers
Add to your daily dose with these savory plant-based burgers, which also contain ample protein and fiber from black beans.
This recipe makes six burgers. If you won’t be chowing down on all of them right away, stash a few in the freezer to cook another time.
12. Very veggie lentil bake
Add them to your lunchtime routine with this casserole stuffed with leeks, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and cheddar cheese.
13. Korean barbecue tempeh wraps
Hitting a midday slump? Bring a bit of (delicious) novelty to the noon hour with these Korean barbecue tempeh wraps.
Bathe the sturdy soy protein in a Korean-style sauce, and then wrap it up with kimchi and veggies in a whole-wheat tortilla. Pack it for lunch and you’ll get all the spicy, satisfying flavors of Korean takeout without leaving your desk.
14. Kale and beet buckwheat salad
You make quinoa all the time, so why not give buckwheat a shot for once? It’s so hearty and filling AND tastes amazing when paired with kale, beets, carrots, and broccoli. The combo is so colorful, you’re gonna want to Insta this one.
15. Easy baked veggie quesadillas
Quesadillas are a marvelous veggie catchall. With gooey cheese holding them together, there’s almost no vegetable that can’t make itself comfortable within their melty margins.
These Mexican-style quesadillas feature black beans, red bell pepper, red onion, corn, and a blend of south-of-the-border spices, but feel free to tinker with ingredients to customize!
16. Toasted avocado and bean pitas
If you love avo toast in the morning (who doesn’t?!), you’ll definitely be a fan of this lunchtime sandwich that’s almost as simple to make.
Here’s how you do it: Mash avocados, spread the good stuff on a piece of pita bread, and then top it with red kidney beans and a dollop of vegan sour cream. If you’re OK with dairy, Greek yogurt works too.
17. Summer vegetable skillet hash
A one-dish meal that’s packed with nutrients and bursting with summertime veggies? Sign us up! This skillet hash features sautéed garden-fresh tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, and corn (among other ingredients) topped with pillowy poached eggs.
Hash keeps surprisingly well in the fridge, so this one works for both work-from-home and in-person workdays.
Lunchtime faves like soups, sandwiches, and salads are prime real estate for adding veggies to your diet. While you’re at it, you can even skip the meat! (Just be sure to choose vegetarian lunches with a good source of protein.)
Using these recipes as a jumping-off point, you’ll turn the question “What can I eat for a meatless lunch?” from a head-scratcher to a midday delight.