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5 Easy Vegan Lunches for Work (That Aren’t Leftovers from Last Night)

Today’s five easy vegan lunches for work are here to solve every busy vegan’s dilemma: what do I eat at work for lunch? Especially if vegan takeout or leftovers aren’t available.

To help you out, today I’m sharing five vegan lunch ideas on the go that helped me deal with this issue when I started working full time – I’m sure you’ll find them useful too.

5 vegan lunches for work that aren't last night's leftovers

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As you know, I’ve started a full-time job a few months ago after almost three years of staying at home.

Right away I had to say goodbye to the freedom of being able to cook whatever I wanted for lunch, and faced the necessity of planning out my meals and snacks for the day to bring to work.

Going out to eat at lunch is not really an option for me – there are hardly any veg-friendly lunch places here on Whidbey Island except for a few that don’t always offer healthier food.

Besides, since we are watching our expenses, I figured that bringing my own vegan lunches for work was the best way to go.

At first, I tried to make sure to only cook meals that could yield leftovers for dinner, but soon realized that this wasn’t always going to work.

I didn’t want to stress every night over what to make for lunch at work for the following day.

Pretty soon I came up with these five easy vegan work lunch ideas that only need minimum prep (the night before or in the morning), and don’t call for lots of fancy ingredients.

Now I can have healthy plant-based meals at work AND save money on avoiding takeout. Being vegan doesn’t have to be complicated!

5 Easy Vegan Lunches for Work that Are Not Takeout or Leftovers

1. Simple Grain Bowl.

Simple grain bowls are one of my favorite packable vegan lunches because I almost always have these ingredients on hand.

My favorite grain for this bowl is either rice or quinoa, but sometimes I get more adventurous with buckwheat or millet.

MAKE IT: Cooked grain of choice + a handful of beans + chopped raw broccoli and carrots + a sprinkling of spices of choice. Put everything into a microwave-safe container (I like Pyrex glass ones with lids), and pop into the microwave at work for 60-90 seconds. Stir and enjoy!

5 easy vegan lunches for work: simple grain and veggie bowl

My trusty little rice cooker prepares the grains while I’m getting ready in the morning, but it may be easier for some of us to cook grains the night before. (I use an older version of a Wolfgang Puck rice cooker similar to this one.)

UPDATE September 2018: I’ve since upgraded to an Instant Pot, which allows me to cook larger amounts of grains at once.

The best part of this grain bowl: raw broccoli and carrots get steamed very nicely when microwaved with cooked grains, so the whole dish has a nice mouth feel.

Try the combo of rice and broccoli + carrots heated up in the microwave together as a side dish option.

Also, you can just use fresh vegetables of any kind – tomatoes, peppers, onions, olives, etc. – and top the reheated rice and beans for a different spin on this portable grain bowl.

2. Salad with Beans and a Squeeze of Lime Juice

Salad is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of healthy foods. Unfortunately, salads often have a drawback: we get hungry again pretty quickly after eating them.

This is why I’ve added beans and a side of pita triangles to my work lunch salads to “beef them up”.

MAKE IT: Lettuce + fresh vegetables of choice + handful of beans + a lime wedge, all packed into a storage container with a lid (Pyrex comes in handy again!). Also, grab a pita to make this meal more filling.

Healthy vegan work lunch ideas: a simple salad with beans

What’s the deal with a lime wedge, you may ask?

I’ve always found that it was hard to find a good way to transport homemade salad dressing to work.

Interestingly, when I went plant-based, I fell in love with the taste of fresh salads with the simplest, oil-free dressings – or no dressing at all except for a drizzle of lime or lemon juice.

This is how the idea of packing a lime wedge with my portable salads was born – it’s so easy, plus there’s no need to figure out the way to carry dressing to work.

3. Veggie and Hummus Sandwich.

Veggie and hummus sandwich is a classic vegan lunch staple. You can customize these sandwiches in countless ways based on the vegetables and/or other ingredients you use.

There’s one additional thing I often do when making my hummus sandwiches.

I add about 1 tablespoon of any cooked beans to the hummus, mash them with a fork, and sprinkle in some turmeric/other spices or add Sriracha.

This step is done at home when I’m packing everything. This spread is usually a little more filling than plain hummus, plus I don’t get tired of varying the flavors.

5 vegan lunch ideas on the go: veggie and hummus sandwich

MAKE IT: Pack 2 slices of whole-grain bread + a container with 2 Tbsp of hummus + any fresh vegetables of choice. At work, spread hummus on one slice of bread, top with veggies, and cover with the second bread slice. Hold tight and enjoy!

4. Veggie Wrap.

Veggie wraps are another versatile and easy vegan work lunch option. You can wrap just about anything into a tortilla – fresh or roasted veggies, beans, sauces or salad dressing, etc.

For my work lunches, I usually keep things pretty simple.

MAKE IT: Take a large whole-grain tortilla, put a couple of lettuce leaves on it, and top with any veggie toppings. Throw in some beans or leftover baked tofu/vegan meats, etc.

Roll it up, and wrap into a paper towel or wax paper to hold it together. The lettuce will keep the tortilla from getting soggy from all the vegetable juices.

Veggie Wrap

Another option: pack all of the wrap components separately, and assemble the wrap at work. I often do this if I don’t have a perfect lettuce leaf to protect the tortilla.

5. Chickpea Salad Sandwich.

My chickpea salad sandwich had become one of my husband’s favorite packable vegan lunches long before we moved to Washington State and I went back to work.

We also bring chickpea salad sandwiches with us almost every time we travel.

My version of a chickpea salad sandwich is very simple – it’s made with only five ingredients. I usually assemble our sandwiches at home in the morning, and wrap them in paper towels to help all of the ingredients stay together.

Tip: if you’re bringing fully assembled sandwiches to work, use toasted bread slices as they won’t get as soggy as regular bread.

Easy chickpea salad sandwich recipe with only 5 ingredients

Recently, I’ve been getting even more creative with my chickpea sandwiches. I layer the chickpea salad between nori seaweed sheets.

Okay, this may not be for everyone, but nori adds a slight seafood-y accent to the flavor of chickpeas. If you put your sandwich together a few hours before eating it, nori will soften and become easier to bite.

Question for you: Do you ever get creative with your vegan lunches for work? Are there any staples that you like to bring with you? Please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your ideas!

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author avatar
Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats
Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Eventually she embraced veganism as a way to be kinder to fellow living beings and the environment. Alina hopes that this blog helps its readers on their path to becoming vegan and making this world a better place.


Friday 10th of September 2021

For my chickpea salad, I put nori in the food processor to cut it into little bits, then add chickpeas to the nori and shred a bit to give them the texture of tuna.

Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Monday 13th of September 2021

Sounds good, Adam!

Billie St. Marie

Thursday 10th of June 2021

I was trying to print recipes. Not printable????

Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Thursday 10th of June 2021

Hi Billie! I don't have a printable version of these recipes to offer at the moment, but you've made a good point that I should make one in the future. Right now you have two options: 1) Print out the entire post, or just the pages that contain recipes (your printer settings allow you to scroll through the preview and select those); 2) Copy the words of each recipe, paste them in a Word (PC) or Pages (Mac) document, and print it out that way.


Thursday 16th of November 2017

Hello! I just searched for vegan lunch options for runners and found your blog. Love it!

I want to try the chick pea salad. Do you remove the skins from your chick peas before mashing?

Looking forward to exploring your blog more. Looks fantastic!

Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Thursday 16th of November 2017

Hi Gina! No need to remove the chickpea skins. Thank you for stopping by!


Thursday 7th of April 2016

Love the lime idea. I'll have to get into that. Salads and edamame on the side are my go to because i can steam the edamame easily in the bag at work.


Monday 24th of August 2015

Excellent!! Thank you sooo much for sharing