Last updated on September 4th, 2021 at 02:36 pm
These simple healthy cold lunch ideas will solve all your clean eating problems (if you have any). Get inspired with these easy vegetarian lunch recipes that you can take to work or to school, they are delicious, nourishing, many gluten-free and vegan.
No Microwave At Work? No Problem!
If you feel sick every time you think you need to eat “lean protein with veggies”, (especially when you’re vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian)…If you look at that pale chicken breast with soggy broccoli you packed for lunch 3 days ago with nothing but disgust…I’m here to tell you: There’s hope, my friend. There is hope.
As Shakira once said, you can have it all – flavor, healthy body, free time and hips that don’t lie. (just so you know – usually hips are huge liars).
These meatless clean eating lunch ideas will make you feel good and not like the universe hates you. They’re not boring and take less than 30 minutes to make.
Cold lunches are great if you don’t have a microwave at work, at school or are afraid that incubating your food in a microwave will turn it into a radioactive mess. Definitely not talking about myself here.
So, COLD lunches it is.
How To Meal Prep Lunches For The Week
If you want to eat healthy throughout the week, it is worth doing some sort of meal prep on Sunday. Otherwise, convenience can easily take over and leave you with chips in your mouth for lunch. I am not the biggest fan of meal prep food, but I like making some things ahead of time to make quick and easy lunches in no time. Here’s what you can do to prepare for the week and make eating healthy for lunch easier.
Plan your meals.
Meal planning can help a lot with staying on track with your diet and also can help you save money and reduce food waste. Start by collecting some recipes like the ones below and calculate how much and what you would need to make those lunches. You can use meal planning for dinner and breakfast too. If you need more help meal planning and want to get organized, you can get my weekly meal planner template with a grocery list printable and recipe card template here. Make sure to use the code ntb20 for 20% off.
Wash and chop up produce.
You can prepare by having your fresh produce ready to go. For example, you can chop up some cabbage, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, whatever non-juicy fruits and vegetables you like. Once chopped, you can easily add them to make salads, bowls or wraps. Pack the chopped vegetables in an airtight container in the fridge and they will be good for the next 3 days.
Prepare dressings and dips.
The two things I usually like to make for the week are hummus and tzatziki. I keep my dressings pretty easy – some salt, some olive oil and some lemon juice are what I prefer in my salads. But if you do have some favorite healthy dressing recipes that you would like to use, feel free to make them ahead. Most will stay good in an airtight container for at least 3 days in the fridge.
Roasted vegetables are such a great addition to salads, bowls and wraps. They just make them more interesting and tasty. So, roast some vegetables in the oven like I did here and use them to make delicious healthy lunches.
Cook grains and legumes
Cook some rice, quinoa, bulgur, millet, lentils – whatever grains and legumes you would like to have in your salads or lunch bowls. I usually use pre-cooked chickpeas and black beans when I cook, just because it’s much easier, but I do make my lentils, rice and quinoa ahead and it saves so much time.
Healthy Vegetarian Lunch Bowls
Okay, there’s a reason this one’s one of my most popular recipes on the blog. It’s amazing. It’s easy to make, works for meal prep and is full of flavor. With a salad, hummus, tzatziki and olives this vegan bowl is delicious, fresh and filling. The recipe is here.
Full of flavor and so easy to make! Roast some vegetables, add some black beans, mashed avocado salad and lunch is ready. Recipe here.
These vegan quinoa power bowls are great to meal prep for the entire week. The recipe takes a little longer, but it’s so worth it. You can find it here.
Well, I know it says breakfast, but you can definitely have this for lunch too! Use hard-boiled eggs, cooked rice and your chopped vegetables – you’ll assemble it in no time. Recipe here.
This healthy Mediterranean lunch bowl is ready in just about 20 minutes and is filled with spicy chickpeas, avocado, hummus, a fresh tomato cucumber salad, cabbage and olives. It’s delicious and great for meal prep! Recipe here.
This is an easy, throw-together, sushi bowl and uses quinoa instead of rice, because quinoa is more nutrient-dense and pretty awesome. You can pack dressing, veggies and quinoa separately, but if you make this in the morning – it’s not gonna spoil until lunch even if you put everything together. Recipe here.
Healthy Vegetarian Lunch Salads
Salads with chickpeas are so filling and so tasty. This one is not completely vegan, but if you get rid of the feta cheese – you’re good to go. It’s filled with fiber and antioxidants and is a very tasty, refreshing healthy lunch. I prep the ingredients the night before and then throw them all together in the morning with the dressing. Keeps well like this until lunch. Recipe here.
This is a super healthy quinoa salad with avocado and tons of antioxidants. By far, my favorite quinoa salad. I have a similar quinoa salad here, but this one is to die for. I wouldn’t do too much meal prep with this, since the ingredients are very fresh, but to make this quicker during the week pre-cook your quinoa. The rest you can slice and put together in the morning (takes about 7-8 min). Pack dressing (olive oil, lemon juice) separately from the salad and mix it all together right before it’s time to eat.
If you’ve got a can of black beans to use, you will love this refreshing black bean salad. It’s ready in 10 minutes. Recipe here.
This is a tasty healthy vegetarian corn and avocado salad with grilled zucchini, olives and feta cheese – perfect summer salad. Recipe here.
Super tasty light, but filling vegan salad with avocado, cucumber and quinoa. The dressing for this salad is made with sesame oil and tamari and perfectly complements the fresh ingredients. The recipe is here.
Use some cooked quinoa, roasted peppers and cauliflower to make this delicious Mediterranean salad. Recipe here.
Healthy Vegetarian Wraps, Quesadillas & Sandwiches
I love sandwiches for lunch! I mean, what’s not to like? They’re filling, satisfying and so good. This one is made with egg, pickles, spinach and avocado and is so good. You’re kinda sad when it’s done. Recipe here.
Such an easy idea and so good! You can definitely use the filling for a wrap too! Add in some more greens and more vegetables and your lunch is ready! Recipe here.
This vegan lunch is packed with antioxidants and is high-protein and high-fiber to make sure you feel satisfied and don’t binge eat later. The chickpea salad keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days and is good for lunch as is. When it’s lunchtime – wrap in lettuce or put on a toast. Recipe here.
This vegan wrap recipe is healthy, filling, loaded with vegetables and super delicious! All you need to make this is some hummus, a tortilla and vegetables! Recipe here.
All you really need to do is prep the spicy turmeric lentils and the vegan cream cheese, slice some veggies and get the pitas. This will work also with lettuce for a low-carb/easy gluten-free version or just mixed as a bowl. For lunch – put all the components separately in a lunch box like this one until it’s time to eat and then enjoy! Recipe here.
If you love sandwiches, if you love avocado, this is going to be your new favorite lunch! Recipe here.
The big surprise of the millennium is that I LOVE, I repeat, I LOVE raw lettuce wraps. Well, these are almost raw.
Made with nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and vegetables + some tomato paste (the only not raw thing) – these have become one of my favorite recipes lately. If you’re looking for a quick lunch or dinner, these almost raw lettuce tacos are also low-carb, super flavorful and done almost immediately, because you basically put a bunch of things into a food processor and then wrap it in lettuce. Now if you’re taking this to lunch, you might wanna get rid of the garlic, or at least use a little bit of garlic powder to smell fresh and clean like a flower after you eat them. They keep in the fridge about 3 days (add tomatoes later). Wouldn’t freeze them though. For lunch – pack about 3 lettuce leaves and the mixture separately in a lunch box.
This quesadilla is made with mashed black beans, avocado, spices and vegetables! It is such a tasty easy meatless recipe that you can make in about 10 minutes! Recipe here.
And that is it, 20 healthy cold lunches that are vegetarian and you can take to work or wherever you go. Hope you enjoy these healthy food ideas!
More Healthy Food Recipes
For the hummus wrap
- 1 tortilla
- 1 radish, chopped
- handful lettuce
- 1/3 cucumber, in slices
- handful arugula
- 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
- a few basil leaves
- 1/4 bell pepper, in strips
- 1/2 scallion, chopped
- 3 tbsp hummus
- Spread 2-3 tbsp of the hummus over the tortilla.
- In the middle of the tortilla arrange onions, cucumbers, radishes, parsley, basil, lettuce, arugula and peppers.
- Wrap and enjoy!
You can use any vegetables you like - thinly sliced cabbage and carrots, even beet, everything will work.
To make it even better - add some grilled or roasted vegetables!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 260mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g