Before I launched this blog, I posted what sorts of topics my friends would enjoy reading about. One of my friends asked for vegetarian lunch ideas. Well, as you may have noticed I’m not vegetarian. However, most of my lunches end up being bean/nut/fruit/veggie based. The turkey sandwich has been done. And on my budget there is no way I’m spending $7/week on lunch meat when I can spend $1 on 4 cups of dried beans and make hummus. It’s portable, makes a delicious spread for a vegetarian sandwich, or dip for veggies and chips. And it’s not a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Vegetarian lunch win!
Black Bean + Black Sesame Hummus
The black sesame paste adds a very distinct flavor to this hummus, but regular sesame paste can easily be substituted. This hummus also pairs really well with chips and slices of fresh fruit.
2 cups dried black beans (yields 4 cups cooked) or 4 cups cooked beans
2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
2-4 T olive oil (to create smooth texture)
1-2 T black sesame paste
juice of 1 lime
water (as needed to help with blending)
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
If using dried beans, the night before soak dried beans overnight in six cups water. The following morning, cook beans (I like cooking mine in a rice cooker – very easy!).
When beans are done or if you’re using canned, in a blender or food processor, combine beans, garlic, 2 T olive oil, lime, and sesame paste. Blend until smooth, adding olive oil and water as needed. When desired consistency is reached, add salt, pepper, and cayenne.
And then proceed to make this for lunch.
I swear, the blueberries make this.
More vegetarian lunch ideas
These are just some lunches I’ve tried and liked. All take less than 10 minutes to prep and pack, and some can be made ahead of time, so you can be out the door and on your way!
1. Leftovers Gotta’ love microwaveable tupperware. If you already cooking 100% vegetarian, this is the easiest way to have an easy, no fuss lunch the next day. Simply double your dinner portion and store ½ in tupperware.
2. Salads Add your favorite toppings + hard boiled egg/beans/nuts/cheese for protein
3. Veggie Nachos Bring your bag of chips, beans, avocado, salsa, and cheese and simply pile on a plate/tupperware bowl and microwave until cheese is melted. Lunchtime fiesta!
4. Lentils with pasta or rice I resort to this vegetarian meal because 1. it takes very little effort and time to prepare and 2. costs me about $5 for a week of lunches. I buy dried lentils, which are easily prepared in a rice cooker and you can make a big batch to store in the fridge for a week. Pasta/rice can be cooked the day of or day or two before and stored in the fridge. Adding veggies, spices, etc. adds flavor.
5. Microwaved sweet potato If I have access to a microwave I will bring an uncooked sweet potato and microwave it for ~5 min. Top with cheese/black beans/lentils/pecans/dried cranberries/chopped apple and you’ve got a meal.
6. PB+J Well, he had to make an appearance one way or another. As much as I love a PB+J I can only take so many. I like to dress mine up when I need a change of pace. I would suggest trying a new nut butter – sunflower/almond/cashew butter for a new twist. I also like to add sunflower or pumpkin seeds/granola/apples/dried fruit in the middle for extra crunch. Or what about trying a new bread? Cinnamon raisin, sourdough, toasted bagel, tortilla, who knew PB+J was so diverse?!
Eat your vegetarian heart out.