Vegetarian Lunch Ideas That Go Beyond Grilled Cheese

Recipes By Elena Boaghi |

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, and we’re all for saving a dollar or two 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 (because bread and cheese = the best vegetarian foods, right?). These recipes look so good, even your meat-obsessed friends will want a bite.

Gimme all of 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.

We know what you’re thinking—a salad? How original. But this one is anything but boring, 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 a lemon-tahini dressing and you’re ready to dig in.

You’re gonna love this Asian-style salad. The spicy-sweet dressing is made with Sriracha, maple syrup, lemon juice, and olive oil, and gives the salad a zesty flavor. The base veggies include ones you probably forget to use (but totally love), such as bean sprouts and radishes.

Grain bowls were trendy AF this year, 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 to it, with peppers, zucchini, chickpeas, and cauliflower mixed into quinoa.

Lentils are kind of a rock star when it comes to filling vegetarian meals. The legumes are packed with fiber, protein, and iron, which translates to a satisfying meal. You can add them to your lunchtime routine with this casserole, stuffed with leeks, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and cheddar cheese.

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. Plus, it makes for such a colorful meal. You’re gonna want to Snapchat this one.

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 and spread the good stuff on a piece of pita bread, then top with red kidney beans and a dollop of vegan sour cream. If you’re OK with dairy, Greek yogurt works too.

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