20 Vegan Lunch Ideas To Satisfy Those Afternoon Cravings

Eating vegan is like a work of art. It takes practice and imagination to cook up delicious vegan lunch ideas, desserts, and soups. Because vegan grub omits everything made with animal products, it's essential to get clever with your cooking. That's where this list comes in.

Granted, eating a vegan diet isn't the easiest — especially when you’re just getting started. It takes practice to understand (and remember) what you can and cannot eat. By cutting out all animal products, you're skipping foods that may be great sources of a certain vitamins and nutrients. For example, vegans need to focus on getting enough protein in their diet. Fortunately, there are definitely ways to eat more protein without meat. Nutritional yeast and nut butters are both ideal options.

So, why a list of vegan lunches? For starters, a nutritious lunch is essential for keeping you moving and grooving throughout the day. Without it, you'll inevitably hit that mid-day slump in the most uncomfortable way. And since we're all boss ladies that have things to do, a healthy work lunch is so needed.

Hungry? Yeah, me too. Here are my top 20 favorites that will even impress your non-vegan friends. Get ready to dig in!

1. Vegan Butternut Squash Jambalaya

While most jambalaya recipes involve shrimp, chicken, and sausage, Naturally Ella has figured out a way to make it vegan. All hail the butternut squash, home to serious flavor and color.

2. Creamy Coconut Cashew Spaghetti Squash "Alfredo" with Roasted Cauliflower

Cashews are a vegan's best friend. When blended, these nutritious nuts create an amazingly smooth and rich cream. The end result? A solution to that craving for cheesy sauces. Learn how to make a coconut cashew "alfredo" with Half Baked Harvest.

3. Chipotle Black Bean Burgers

For a sandwich that will keep you full all day, try these flavorful chipotle burgers by Ari's Menu. Once you make a batch, all you need to do is re-heat and assemble for the next few days. Lunch has never been so easy.

4. Mint & Mango Marinated Zucchini Spaghetti

Here's another veggie spaghetti that your vegan heart will swoon over. Made with zucchini, this recipe by Green Kitchen Stories combines cooling mint and sweet mango for a distinct flavor combo. It's the type of dish that would probably taste amazing cold, making it a quick lunch option.

5. Avocado Pasta

Creamy avocado sauce is a staple when it comes to vegan grub. Made with the simplest of ingredients, avocado pasta is equal parts creamy and satisfying. Make in 20 minutes with some help from Damn Delicious.

6. Mushroom Curry Barley Soup

Thanks to the mushrooms and barley, this soup recipe by Wild Greens and Sardines will satisfy your stomach all day. Once you make a huge pot, simply re-heat the leftovers and enjoy.

7. Greek Falafel Melts with Green Tahini Special Sauce

There's something about Greek falafel that makes my foodie heart skip a beat. For a simple (and vegan) way to make them, try this recipe by Half Baked Harvest. It's full of protein and topped off with a spicy "special sauce." Just be sure to leave out the parmesan (use nutritional yeast) and honey (use maple syrup) to make it vegan.

8. Herb Pistachio Falafel

While I'm on the topic of falafel, Green Kitchen Stories has created a version made with herbs and pistachios. I'm loving the green color; it feels healthy just to simply look at them. For a vegan topping, use a soy yogurt or cashew sauce.

9. Vegan Latin Bowl

This dish by A Cozy Kitchen is like the burrito bowl's cooler older vegan cousin. I'm not sure which one I love more... the roasted plantains or the watermelon radishes. I'll just go with both.

10. Lemony Rice Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Almonds, and Herbs

When it comes to healthy vegan food, it helps to find more than one opportunity to add flavor. This rice recipe by Big Girls Small Kitchen is a prime example. Instead of pairing your roasted veggies or falafel with some plain jane rice, try this tasty version for something way more exciting.

11. Portobello & Peach Burger

Portobello mushrooms are ideal for adding bulk to any meal; they also happen to make an amazing focal point for meatless burgers. For a sweet spring-themed meal, take a tip from Green Kitchen Stories and combine it with grilled peaches.

12. Coconut-Vegetable Rice Pilaf

You'll sound like a real fancy gal when you make this vegan rice pilaf by Big Girls Small Kitchen. I'm also starting to think that coconut deserves more credit than it gets.

13. Spring Vegetable Stew

Who says stews need to be full of meat? Big Girls Small Kitchen shows you how to make a spring veggie version featuring potato, corn, and asparagus.

14. Vegan Broccoli Leak Soup

If you're looking for a light meal, try Big Girls Small Kitchen's creamy broccoli leak soup. It's like the lunchtime version of a green smoothie.

15. Simple Chickpea and Eggplant Curry

When it comes to healthy comfort food, nothing beats a big bowl of warm curry. This version by Half Baked Harvest uses almond milk and veggies to make a hearty dish. Simply omit the chicken and you're good to go.

16. Firey Szechuan Peanut and Chili Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini pasta is back with spicy, firey twist. Half Baked Harvest shares that it only takes 20 minutes to make, too. How's that for a fast and easy vegan lunch?

17. Green Pizza with Cauliflower Base

Cauliflower pizza crust is a thing, thanks to the brilliant minds of the Internet. Green Kitchen Stories demonstrates how to use shredded cauliflower to make pizza, along with tips for using an egg alternative for a vegan version.

18. Spicy Vegan Chili

A Cozy Kitchen proves that chili doesn't have to be all about ground beef and cheese. Ten points for the spicy factor. If you still want to top it off with sour cream, try a soy version.

19. Tofu Pizza

When I found this recipe, I couldn't help but pause for a second. How have I never thought of this? When you're craving cheese but want a vegan option, tofu can save the day. The consistency is creamy and soft, just like cheese. Thanks for the tip, Big Girls Small Kitchen.

20. Beet Gnocchi with Meyers Lemon Pesto

One look at this gnocchi by What's Cooking Good Looking and my head is spinning with questions. Honestly, I didn't even know beets could be transformed into gnocchi. Definitely adding this to my to-do list. And can we just talk about that vibrant color? Love.

For more fun food ideas, check out Bustle on YouTube.

Bustle on YouTube

Images: Naturally Ella; Half Baked Harvest; Ari's Menu; Green Kitchen Stories; Damn Delicious; Wild Greens and Sardines; Half Baked Harvest; Green Kitchen Stories; A Cozy Kitchen; Big Girls Small Kitchen; Green Kitchen Stories; Big Girls Small Kitchen; Big Girls Small Kitchen; Big Girls Small Kitchen; Half Baked Harvest; Half Baked Harvest; Green Kitchen Stories; A Cozy Kitchen; Big Girls Kitchen; What's Cooking Good Looking