Vegan or vegetarian brown bag lunch ideas?

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Z'sMama

Joined: Aug 09
Posts: 280

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Posted: 22 Sep 2013, 21:06
Hi there! I am trying to pack lunches these days and wondered if anyone had any healthy, yummy, portable, vegan or vegetarian recipes to share? I have been into beans lately, last week it was lentil stew (lentils, olive oil, tomato sauce, garlic and a pint glass of water simmered for 30 min or so, til the lentils are tender). This week I have made a big batch of chickpeas and am planning on playing around with different spice/herb/veggie combinations for salads. I tend to cook a big batch of something on Sundays and eat it most of he week. Other ideas? Thanks!
Hoser

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 2,051

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Posted: 23 Sep 2013, 02:18
I'm far from vegetarian, but I try to make vegetables a big part of my diet, and I make lots of vegetarian dishes. I also tend to cook in big batches on Sundays.

Winter squashes make excellent hearty soups. Butternut squash soup is stupid easy to make-- saute an onion, then simmer the onion, a bunch of cubed squash, and broth until the squash is cooked through, then puree it. That's the canvas recipe that you can paint all sorts of variations on. I happen to like cooking a couple of tart apples with the squash and seasoning with curry spices.

Spaghetti squash can be done this way too. Make a big batch of whatever sauce you want, cook the squash, and then fill containers with individual servings. You can also do this with a mushroom ragout. I just found a recipe for spaghetti squash with a white bean mushroom ragout, but I'm not going to link to it because the site has really obnoxious ads.

Frittatas are easy to make vegetarian, and you can create an infinite variety of them.

Mark Bittman has an asparagus and edamame stir fry in his Food Matters cookbook. You can stir fry all sorts of fun combinations of vegetables.

Curry Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpeas. 'nuff said. Also, asparagus-stuffed portobellos.

Black bean salads might be right up your alley. Again, there are endless varieties.
Hoser

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 2,051

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Posted: 23 Sep 2013, 02:26
Tonight I made a big batch of mushroom and beef stew. It was completely vegetarian save for the beef, and I tried to make it mushroom-focused with beef as a small component, rather than focusing on the beef. I suspect the recipe would have been equally workable if I'd left the meat out entirely. So, add vegetable stews to the list.
bugzbetty

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 88

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Posted: 23 Sep 2013, 04:39
How about lentil salad? Cook & drain lentils, mix with 1 cup chopped tomatoes, some pretty colored diced peppers, fresh basil & top with a dressing of 1 Tablespoon olive oil + 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar. Do you eat cheese? If so, add some cubes of mozzarella.
Z'sMama

Joined: Aug 09
Posts: 280

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Posted: 23 Sep 2013, 10:47
Great ideas - hadn't thought of the spaghetti squash OR the frittatas, but of course! Brilliant. Thanks a million. I am not a vegetarian either, I am just experimenting with Bittman's VB6 as it seems a sensible balanced way to get the veggies in and reduce the amount of animal products I consume.
NCNOLE

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 1,218

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Posted: 23 Sep 2013, 12:48
I start lunch and dinner w/ a large spinach salad (topped w/ cucumbers, banana peppers, avocado, tomatoes, sometimes peppers and onions or sometimes I top with mandarin oranges, pears, nuts, craisins). I use balsamic vinegar most days in place of traditional dressing.

Some lunch variations: edamame (I buy in bulk at Sam's), sweet potato burgers (from scratch), black bean burgers (scratch), tempeh "salad", tofu "cottage cheese" with fruit; Avocado and tomato sandwich, cucumber sandwich.
Wraps (I love flat out brand wraps): grilled peppers w/ onions and seasoned with garlic powder or lemon pepper add balsamic vinegar and maybe some mustard. Sometimes I'll have a fruit wrap with either strawberries and vegan cream cheese alternative or peanut butter (PB2); blueberries pair nicely with the pho-cream cheese, blackberries and raspberries work well too. Sometimes I'll have a peanut butter and banana sandwich (but only if I am at home and can make fresh and hot).
Hummus works well with vegetables in a wrap or without the wrap. Black bean wrap with avocado - or sometimes black beans mixed with peppers and/or salsa and avocado. If I don't want to use the calories, then I often have the fruit and/or veggies without the wrap and just season like I would with the wrap.
Edamame with brocolli and peanut sauce. Any leftover veggies that I won't need for dinner.

I usually have carrots along with the salad and then another vegetable. Wraps are easy, but I kind of feel like I'm in a rut. I keep lunch around 400-500 calories. I work 10 hour days and go to the gym after work, so I need to get a lot of food to keep me full and still have some calories left for after the gym.
I try to plan my meals for the week. I cook up all my veggies on Sunday and usually run out mid week and then eat frozen veggies (I just buy the steamer packs and eat the whole bag instead of just 1-2 servings - I sometimes take those to work too).
Basically, I love veggies, so I just load up on them!

AnnThom

Joined: Sep 13
Posts: 66

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Posted: 23 Sep 2013, 14:27
I didn't see portabella mushrooms on your list. Either pan cooking them in balsamic vinegar or grilling them is really good. I treat them like a beef to make broc/mushroom stir fry with water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Our grocery has a mixed season called steakhouse. I put that on the mushroom along with the vinegar. Another great veggie is roasted beets with garlic. The greens of beets mixed with spinach and swiss chard in a apple cider vinegar and olive oil is a great dish too. The beet greens are a little sweet to counter the bitter of spinach. Enjoy!
Z'sMama

Joined: Aug 09
Posts: 280

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Posted: 23 Sep 2013, 21:51
All good ideas. Especially like the black bean, avocado, salsa wrap idea! And hummus wraps...would be great with some roasted veggies, hot sauce and pickled turnip which I happen to have in the fridge right now. And there are lots of things I could do with roasted beets. Any soup/stew suggestions? It is getting cold here. Thanks everybody.
bugzbetty

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 88

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Posted: 24 Sep 2013, 05:01
Spinach-Feta Cheese Soup
(Modified/simplified from Miami Mediterranean Diet by Michael D.Ozner, M.D.)

10 ounce bag fresh spinach
1 can vegetable broth
(sometimes I substitute a small can of chicken with broth or a can of beef broth with 3 slices crumbled bacon)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
10 oz package frozen lima beans, thawed
1\3 cup couscous
6 oz feta cheese
juice of 1 lemon
4-6 cups water
salt, pepper, fresh parsley to season

Saute onion in oil. Add diced potatoes, garlic and sprinkle with cumin to coat. Cook till potatoes are tender. Add a can of broth, lemon juice, and 4 or more cups water. Cut spinach into ribbons and add to pot along with couscous,lima beans and carrot. Cook until beans are tender then stir in feta cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with parsley.

Vegetarian version has approx. 226 calories per 1 cup serving.
Z'sMama

Joined: Aug 09
Posts: 280

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Posted: 24 Sep 2013, 07:06
OMG that sounds good.
Self...

Joined: Apr 13
Posts: 21

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Posted: 24 Sep 2013, 12:19
My personal go-to lunch is a slice of whole wheat toast, slathered with hummus and topped with sliced raw onion, red pepper, cucumber, raw spinach, and some kosher salt and lemon juice sprinkled on top. It's like an open face sandwich and it gets kind of messy when you eat it...but it tastes delicious and it fills me up.

Also, I was recently looking for more vegetarian lunch ideas and I found some good ideas in these posts. Lots of good recipes to try:

http://www.thekitchn.com/10-vegan-lunch-ideas-114283

http://www.thekitchn.com/no-refrigerator-no-problem-8-ideas-for-vegetarian-lunches-from-the-freezer-177570
Temma Alexa

Joined: Sep 13
Posts: 9

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Posted: 13 Oct 2013, 11:51
These fritters are a the tricky way to get kids eating their veggies. You can use different combinations of vegetables but the ones like potato and pumpkins have to be precooked. You could also add chopped fresh herbs of your choice. I serve my fritters with some fresh parsley and spicy tomato salsa.

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk, or other dairy-free milk,
1 corn cob, cut the corn kernels off the cob,
1/2 peas and beans each, crushed and chopped finely,
1/2 carrot, grated
2 cauliflower florets, finely chopped,
1/4 cup tofu or cottage cheese,
1 spring onion, finely sliced
Salt and pepper

Mix the flour and milk to form a batter.

Stir through the veggies and season well with salt and pepper.

Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add a little oil. Add a tablespoon of the mixture to the pan at a time, shaping into small rounds. Cook the fritters until brown on one side then flip over carefully and cook the other side.
Drain on kitchen paper and serve .
Z'sMama

Joined: Aug 09
Posts: 280

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Posted: 15 Oct 2013, 09:31
neat, thanks.
NCNOLE

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 1,218

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Posted: 15 Oct 2013, 10:08
I've joined or "liked" some facebook pages that give recipes daily.
Temma Alexa

Joined: Sep 13
Posts: 9

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Posted: 16 Oct 2013, 12:03
I was recently speaking to a Indian friend and she was gave me a simple way of how they cook the vegetables.She believes that if the veges are fresh you shouldn't add to many spices.

The recipe she gave me was as follows;
1 cup french beans steamed
1 tsp oil for tempering
2 tbsp of chopped shallots
a green chilly
curry leaves 4-5
and salt to taste

Method;

Heat oil, add curry leaves,chilly, and shallots
cook a little bit,then add the steamed french beans.
Cover and let it cook for 5 mins. Add salt to taste.

I'm thinking of making it with cooked potatoes, hope my niece like it. What I like about the recipe is their is hardly any oil .

If anyone tries it please let me know.
Sunshine6442

Joined: Apr 11
Posts: 99

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Posted: 22 Oct 2013, 06:49
Garlic Sesame Spinach
1 tbsp of olive oil
4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
1lb of fresh spinach, stemmed and lightly washed
1 tsp of sesame seeds oil
2 tbs. of sesame seeds
1/4 tsp of kosher salt, if desired
1.4 tsp of ground pepper

Chickpea & Tomato Salad

Toss together 1 can of drained chickpeas with 3 cups of freshly chopped tomatoes.
1/4 cup of fresh dill, and 1/4 cup of fresh basil both chopped
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil and 1 clove of minced garlic
Let stand 15 minutes, then season with a sprinkle of sea salt optional and some pepper
In a large skillet heat oil garlic and red pepper flakes and saute 30 seconds. Add spinach and use tongs to stir fry about 2 minutes or until the spinach wilts. Add sesame oil, cook for a minute. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, the salt and pepper. 6 carbs 90 calories.

Kidney Bean Salad
1 can of kidney beans, drained
1 Tablespoon of Relish
1 1/2 Teaspoons of grated onion
2 Tbs. of mayonnaise
Dash of salt and pepper

Mix all together and chill a few hours. Stir before serving. When ready to serve cut a tomato open like a flower and put kidney bean mixture on top or just serve alone as a side.
Z'sMama

Joined: Aug 09
Posts: 280

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Posted: 23 Oct 2013, 09:25
thank you!
JustADreamer

Joined: Feb 12
Posts: 62

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Posted: 23 Oct 2013, 10:12
Sometimes, I like to go light and easy. If you get some good, bakery fresh sourdough bread and top it with and avocado (maybe some other veggies too, but those are interchangeable) and a homemade vinaigrette made from red wine vinegar, fresh herbs, olive oil, garlic, crushed black peppercorns, and a bit of lemon juice you will have a light, tasty lunch.
L3@H
~*Alta alatis patent...*~
AnnThom

Joined: Sep 13
Posts: 66

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Posted: 23 Oct 2013, 12:01
Just made my own new lunch. 6oz tuna in water, half small avocado and 1 tsp of hickory smoked mustard mixed together. It tasted great.
JasminEmeral...

Joined: Nov 11
Posts: 69

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Posted: 12 Nov 2013, 18:47
I kind of live on vegetable soup at the moment, since it's unseasonably cold. My partner makes it from these directions that i gave him; "Put veges in a pot with water".
He seriously does a good job though. Its basically a celery soup and comes to about 250cal for a massive bowl. It has mixed spice, parsley and a little salt, but the basis is celery (pretty much the whole bunch), carrots, potato, sweet potato, zicchini, corn and green beans.
I usually chuck a fist-full of red lentils in when i make it, but he's not fond of lentils.



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