Back to School: Quick Vegetarian Recipes for Lunchboxes

Heart shaped sandwich lunch box with cumcumbers and hummus by (CC BY 2.0)

Is lunch your favorite subject in school? It is pretty important! If you’re going to get good grades, you need good brain fuel. That’s why I’ve compiled some of my favorite vegetarian recipes to share with you. With all the studying you do, there’s usually not enough time to pack a good lunch. These vegetarian recipes beg to differ. Here are my favorite vegetarian recipes for lunch that are quick and easy to make:

Vegetarian Recipes: Entrees

Since time immemorial the peanut butter and jelly sandwich has been the go-to for school lunch vegetarian recipes. While classic vegetarian recipes are classic for a reason, change is good. Here are a few good twists to make some new vegetarian recipes: peanut butter & banana, peanut butter & raisins (versions 1, 2, and 3).  If you’re a purist, here are a few minor tweaks to make this classic into the ultimate of vegetarian recipes. Another tip: grill the sandwich for warm, gooey goodness. You can also try out different types of nut butters (e.g. almond, cashew, or hazelnut) for new vegetarian recipes. For something more adventurous, check out these vegetarian recipes for peanut butter and fruit “sushi.”

Vegetarian Recipes for Lunch (Photo by Melissa)
Vegetarian Recipes for Lunch (Photo by

The chickpea salad sandwich in my post about Labor Day vegetarian recipes would make another great lunch. A cucumber and cream cheese sandwich also never disappoints.

If you love sandwiches but are getting sick of sliced bread, try these quick vegetarian recipes: less-than-5-minutes hummus and vegetable-stuffed pitas (try adding tabbouli or using flavored hummus for more punch) or these 10 different vegetarian recipes for wraps.

Vegetarian Recipes for Lunch (Photo by
Vegetarian Recipes for Lunch (Photo by

While noodle dishes and pasta salads are yummy and quick, be wary. Eating a lot of carbs in the middle of the day can leave you sleepy.

Vegetarian Recipes: Sides

Based on what your main dish is, make sure you include some other vegetarian recipes to cover all these food groups:

Vegetarian Recipes for Lunch (Photo by
Vegetarian Recipes for Lunch (Photo by

Fruit: There are 1,000s of vegetarian recipes for great fruit dishes. Nothing makes me so happy as a good fruit salad in my lunchbox, though. Remember to opt for in-season and organic varieties.

Vegetables: Vegetarian recipes for vegetable dishes are also abundant. Carrot fries, Brussel sprout chips, or a nice thermos of veggie soup always makes lunch memorable.

Calcium: You can add cheese, yogurt, hummus, almonds, beans, or tofu to various dishes for an extra calcium punch. For drinks, try fortified orange juice, plain old milk, or fortified rice, soy, or almond milk.

Proteins: Nuts, seeds, edamame, cheese, hummus, tofu, beans, and tempeh are all great protein sources. Work them into your favorite vegetarian recipes. My go-to: trail mix.

Whole Grains: Use whole-grain or whole white wheat breads, and pack granola bars, popcorn, trail mix with whole grain cereal, or oatmeal cookies.

Healthy Fats: Unhealthy fats are easy to find almost everywhere. Healthy fat comes in things like olives, avocados, almonds, and flax seed. An easy solution is to slip some flax seed oil into salad dressings or smoothies.

Vegetarian Recipes for Lunch (Photo by
Vegetarian Recipes for Lunch (Photo by

What are your favorite vegetarian recipes for lunch? Tell me about them in the Comments section!