9 Protein-Packed Vegan Lunch Ideas That Only Take 5 Minutes To Prep

Photo: Rainbow Plant Life
Whether you’re commuting five days a week, figuring out a new job schedule, or have a ever-growing (and never-ending) to-do list, nourishing yourself with a satisfying lunch is one of the first things that can fall to the wayside during a hectic day. But thanks to a little batch cooking, some leftovers in need of rescue, or just the right protein-packed ingredients in your pantry, you really can pull together a nutritious plant-based lunch that requires just five minutes of prep time.

Keep in mind that all these easy vegan lunch ideas are perfect for folks that don’t exactly have the time or energy to deal with a massive kitchen mess in the middle of the day, too (read: all of us). And if you're someone who prefers to meal prep the night before so you can simply grab your lunch and go in the morning, there are plenty of options here for you as well. Don’t care to put any thought into tomorrow’s lunch ahead of time? We got you: All of these protein-packed meals and vegan lunch ideas can be ready long before your inbox even begins to flood.

9 easy vegan lunch ideas you can make in 5 minutes or less


1. Hummus and Veggie Sandwich

Photo: Simple Veganista

There’s something so nostalgic about a hearty sandwich at lunchtime, and this plant-based take from Simple Veganista features creamy hummus and avocado, fresh veggies, and crunchy sprouts on your favorite nutrient-rich bread. Choosing a whole-grain loaf or a nut and seed-based gluten-free bread will give you a satisfying foundation packed with protein, fiber, and fat, while the toppings offer plenty of texture, flavor, and well, require zero effort to prepare. For even more protein and healthy fats, you could layer on some tempeh bacon or another leftover plant protein from the week.

Get the recipe: Hummus and Veggie Sandwich

2. Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Salad

Photo: Sweet Potato Soul

You’ve likely seen chickpea “tuna” salad sandwiches all over social media as an easy yet delicious lunch that comes together in minutes. We love Sweet Potato Soul’s take on the deli favorite, as it is packed with flavor and thoughtfully made to taste as close to the real thing as possible (thanks, nori flakes!). Serve on a hearty, wholesome bread for extra protein. Plus, it's a great high-protein vegan breakfast addition to add to the mix when you want to mix things up from your usual avo toast rotation. "Tuna" salad sandwich not quite your vibe? Eat like a vegan athlete's diet and try a vegan chicken sandwich instead. No matter your choice, you simply can't go wrong.

On that note, in case you're wondering what vegans eat for protein, there are tons of options. Some of our favorite, registered dietitian-approved picks of vegan-and vegetarian-friendly complete protein (foods that contain adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids) include tempeh, quinoa, tofu, and edamame, to name a few. So, when constructing the perfect vegan lunch, it may be a good idea to include one (or all!) of these foods in the mix.

Get the recipe: Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Salad


3. Soba Noodle Bowl with Tahini Sauce and Veggies

Photo: Naturally Ella

Soba noodles are an MVP among easy vegan lunch ideas (we particularly love the buckwheat kind), as they cook in just three minutes and offer a sneaky source of protein and B vitamins. Doubling the tahini sauce in Naturally Ella's recipe will allow you to use it throughout the week on salads and grain bowls—talk about a win-win.

Get the recipe: Zucchini Soba Bowl with Tahini Sauce

4. Mediterranean Bowl

Photo: Beauty Bites

Don’t care for meal prep? There’s no need, so long as you think ahead with some batch cooking. Leftover rice, quinoa, or other grains from last night’s dinner makes a perfect foundation for a speedy yet satisfying lunch. Here, leftover quinoa gets transformed into a wholesome meal with a quick cucumber and tomato salad, olives, chickpeas, and your favorite Mediterranean-style toppings like hummus and/or tzatziki (Trader Joe’s makes a great vegan version). And FYI for meal prep fans: Beauty Bites says this bowl stays fresh for up to three days in advance.

Get the recipe: 5 Minute Mediterranean Bowl


5. Chickpea Chopped Salad

Photo: Tasty as Fit

This bright, zesty salad from Tasty as Fit tastes like spring as it’s made with the season’s freshest produce and gets tossed in a deliciously creamy dill dressing. You can always blend up the dressing ahead of time to make assembly a breeze come 12 p.m., but the meal will still come together in minutes if you don’t. Try topping this salad with crumbled vegan feta for extra deliciousness; you can also scoop it into a warm pita (which is perfect for taking on the go).

Get the recipe: Chickpea Chopped Salad

6. Balsamic Tofu, Quinoa, and Strawberry Summer Salad

Photo: The Full Helping

The Full Helping's recipe simply requires a little chopping and mixing with some light prep work beforehand. Get your veggies and strawberries ready to go while the quinoa cooks, snag your marinated tofu from the fridge, and lunch is served! You can also mix and match with what produce is currently in season for the most cost-effective and tasty take on this hearty salad.

Get the recipe: Balsamic Tofu, Quinoa, and Strawberry Summer Salad

Sheet-Pan Meals

7. Loaded Summer Vegan Nachos

Photo: Food Heaven

Nachos may have been a five-minute meal staple in college, but Food Heaven’s take on them is a whole lot more nutrient-dense and satisfying. Beans and a super-easy cashew sour cream recipe ramp up the protein and fiber count, while avocado and fresh veggies also offer a colorful boost of vitamins and minerals. It doesn’t have to be summertime to enjoy this dish, and you can always improvise with whatever’s currently in season. Plus, if you're hosting a shindig, you might want to pair these nachos with a side of vegan deviled eggs to really impress your guests.

Get the recipe: Loaded Summer Vegan Nachos

8. Tandoori Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Photo: Rainbow Plant Life

It’s not just leftover grains that can shine as a workday lunch staple (or make a mean vegan sheet pan dinner)—popping several sweet potatoes in the oven on a Sunday night can set you up for a string of delicious meals throughout the week. This recipe from Rainbow Plant Life is packed with warm, spicy, aromatic flavors thanks to the cilantro sauce, homemade Tandoori spice blend, and the vegan raita. To cut down on time, you can choose to use a store-bought tandoori seasoning blend if you prefer.

Get the recipe: Tandoori Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


9. Vegan Veggie Soup

Photo: It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken

When in doubt, there’s always a way to stretch what’s already in your fridge to create a cozy soup recipe, like this one by It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken, that’s prepped and simmering in minutes. Here, some canned beans, dried spices, and some everyday veggies are turned into a nutrient-packed, comforting lunch that will serve you well all week long. Make too much? Turn it into a delicious vegan freezer meal and freeze your leftovers until you're ready to dig in on the next chilly night.

Get the recipe: Go-To Vegan Soup

Hungry for more quick and nutritious meals? Check our delicious high-protein vegan breakfast ideas.

Top vegan and vegetarian protein sources according to a registered dietitian:

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