Last updated on January 5th, 2020 at 09:09 am
Eating clean can be a pain in the taste buds. But these 11 healthy cold lunch ideas will solve all your clean eating problems. These easy lunch recipes are vegetarian and gluten-free, 10 of them are also vegan.
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.
Like Shakira 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 cold clean eating lunch ideas will make you feel good and not like the universe hates you. They’re not boring and take 30 minutes or less to make.
These Clean Eating Cold Lunches Are
- actually super healthy (unlike soggy broccoli with chicken breast)
- rich in flavor
Cold lunches are also great, if you don’t have a microwave at work or are afraid that the microwave will turn your food into a radioactive mess. I’m just sayin’ – you can read all kinds of things on the INTERNET. And as we know, if it’s on the internet, it’s probably true, no?
So, COLD lunches it is.
Okay, I’ll start.
10 Healthy Cold Lunches You’ll *Actually* Want To Eat
Most of the lunches on this list keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, because they use a lot of fresh ingredients that spoil fast (therefore 5 days might be a little too long). So if you’d like to meal prep – do this twice a week. For example Sunday evening and Wednesday evening. With salads – add condiments right before eating.
1. 5-Minute Mediterranean Bowl
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.
2. Almost Raw Lettuce “Tacos”
Almost raw lettuce tacos – 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.
3. Healthy Mashed Chickpea Salad
Mashed Chickpea Salad, recipe here.
This is a low-carb vegan lunch, that is packed with antioxidants and is high-protein and high-fiber to make sure you feel satisfied and don’t binge eat later. This 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.
4. Quinoa Detox Salad
Avocado Quinoa Salad, 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.
5. Avocado, Cucumber, Quinoa Salad
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 below.
This healthy avocado quinoa salad with cucumbers, basil and sesame seeds is vegan and gluten-free! Filling and super tasty this easy quinoa recipe is perfect for lunch or dinner!
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, cooked
- 1 avocado, medium/large
- 1 cucumber, chopped or ribboned (or 2 small ones)
- 1 carrot, ribboned/grated
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
- handful basil leaves, chopped
- 2 scallions, thinly chopped
- 2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp tamari sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- For the dressing: In a small bowl whisk together tamari, sesame oil, vinegar and garlic.
- Ribbon the carrot and cucumber using a peeler – you basically peel the vegetable until there’s nothing left to peel. If you’re feeling lazy, you can also grate the carrot and chop the cucumber as I did at the end for this recipe.
- In a salad bowl combine cooked quinoa, the avocado (peeled, seeded and chopped), cucumbers, carrot, parsley and basil.
- Mix in the dressing and top with the roasted sesame seeds.
6. Vegan Lettuce Wraps
Quinoa and bean lettuce wraps, recipe here.
This recipe is so underrated. It’s one of my favorites and it’s the very reason, why I, till this very day, believe lettuce wraps work.
Made with quinoa, a spicy bean dip, a basil avocado dip and a fresh “salad” this is absolutely delicious. This recipe does use garlic in the bean dip, so if you don’t want to smell like garlic – either don’t add any or add a little bit of garlic powder.
Pack dips and quinoa separately + 3-4 lettuce leaves. Alternatively you can also place everything into a bowl and eat like this, but I prefer the lettuce wrap thing.
7. Healthy Avocado Chickpea Salad
Avocado chickpea salad, recipe here.
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.
8. Spicy Lentil Frittata
Spicy Lentil Frittata, recipe here.
Now, this is the only recipe that actually requires animal products – eggs. And lentils with eggs might sound disgusting if you’ve never tried it, but it’s the other surprise of the millennium for me. Super satisfying and super tasty. If you know how to make a frittata without breaking it apart – then do it. I don’t so I usually just pretend I can and scramble everything together and call it frittata.
Other than that, this filling can make it into muffin cups. Then it’s easy and ready to go – 2 muffins would usually be enough.
This healthy lunch idea is gluten-free, vegetarian, high-fiber and high-protein.
9. Quinoa Sushi Bowl
Quinoa sushi bowl, 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.
10. Quick Hummus Wraps
Super easy hummus wraps, 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!
11. Spicy Lentil Mini Pitas
Spicy Lentil Mini Pitas, 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!
And that is it, 11 healthy cold lunches that are vegetarian and gluten-free and you can take to work or wherever you go.
Hope you enjoy these healthy ideas and if you do, subscribe to my email list for more healthy recipes, ideas and tips!
See you next week 😉
Oh and if you’re looking for healthy snacks, check these out.