Vegetarian Lunch Ideas

by Wendy Copley on July 31, 2012

Vegetarian Lunch Ideas

A few months ago, my husband and I decided that we want to try to eat less meat. We don’t want to give up meat entirely, but for a number of reasons — health, budget, the environment — we are working toward a diet that is more heavily composed of plant-based foods. But when I look at the vegetarian lunches I’ve been packing for our kids, I can see that I’m in a terrible rut. It’s all baked tofu and PB&J around these parts!

Yesterday I asked what people pack for vegetarian lunches in the Wendolonia Facebook group and I got so many great suggestions that I thought it might be useful to share them here. Here they are:


  • avocado and cheese
  • bagel and cream cheese
  • cheese with pesto
  • cheese with tapenade
  • cream cheese mixed with chopped black olives
  • cream cheese and cucumber
  • cream cheese and jam
  • egg salad
  • grated cheese and pickle in a pita
  • grilled cheese (served at room temperature)
  • nut butter sandwiches
  • sunflower butter sandwiches (great for nut-free schools)
  • string cheese in a hot dog bun
  • tortilla and bean pinwheels

Main Dishes

  • bean burritos
  • black beans and chips for dipping
  • celery and peanut butter
  • cheese
  • cheese and crackers
  • French toast with syrup for dipping
  • green salad with nuts and cheese
  • guacamole with chips
  • hard boiled egg
  • hummus with flatbreads
  • lentils
  • mini-frittata
  • muffins with tofu baked in for extra protein
  • pasta salad with all kinds of mix-ins!
  • pizza
  • quesadillas
  • quinoa
  • vegetarian meatballs
  • vegetarian sushi
  • waffle, cut Into strips
  • yogurt
  • zucchini cakes (similar to crab cakes)

Warm Dishes (to send in a thermos)

  • spaghetti with marinara
  • stir fries
  • vegetarian fried rice
  • vegetarian soups

(Find lots of other lunch box ideas in the Lunch Box Idea List.)

Do you pack vegetarian lunches? Please add your brilliant ideas to the comments!

Many thanks to all of the people who made these excellent suggestions on the Wendolonia Facebook page: Abby Berns, Anna Guerdjikova, Deanna Blum Koenigsberg, Denise Hladik Dickert, Diane Squires-Naguib, Erica Mills, Lisa from Help A Mother Out, Jan Locke, Jenny Goldsberry, Jill Gorman, Kerry Cooper Muntz, Kristyn Johnson Gish, Lise LaTorre, Monica Walker Droguett, Patti MacKenzie, Rachel Beard, Rachel Langford Ciftci, Sola Sou, Tamar E Cohen, Tanya Bryan, Venia Moye Conte, Whitney Moss, and possibly a few other people who chimed in after I wrote this post. You guys rock!

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  • RookieMom Whitney

    I just love how, due to Facebook, so many contributors have maiden names, even if they don’t usually go by three names.

  • Kelly

    I just stumbled upon your blog last week and I’m in love! You’ve totally inspired me to make great lunches for my little guy and my hubby and myself! We eat mostly vegetarian so I really appreciate this post!

  • Thanks so much for this! Neither I nor my son eat much meat (we just don’t like the taste of it…) and he is starting kindergarten this fall. Bookmarking this list now!

  • My son became a vegetarian at 3 so, except for cheese pizza day at school, all of his lunches are packed. I’ve been getting into a rut as well, so thank you! Anyway, one addition to the thermos lunches is one of his favorites: Indian dal with rice. He said the rice doesn’t get too soggy in the thermos.

  • Monika

    Thank you for sharing your creativity! I’m enthralled and inspired to make great snack packs for my two-year old daughter, Sofia. This summer we visited family in Sacramento, but made the pilgrimage to Ichiban Kan to stock up on picks, shapes, and organizing containers. It’s so satisfying to make home-food alternatives to “Lunchables”. I would definitely love the Trio red to try. Awesome, blog, too!

  • Joanna Koon

    I’m bookmarking this page, because we try to eat vegetarian a few days out of the week – waffle strips – that is a GREAT idea, My husband would definitely love that.

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