Stuck in a lunch rut or sick of restaurant food? Free your mind from thinking about how to satisfy your midday belly rumble with some easy make-ahead cold lunch ideas that work well for both school or work, are undetectably healthy and fully vegan.
Not only can regular restaurant visits to grab lunch get really costly over time, especially for those who want to transition to a vegan diet or try to eat healthier, it can be hard to find appropriate meals.
Take back your power by making some simple yet scrumptious plant-powered filling wraps, salads or colorful bowls that help you save money, empty calories and a whole lot of brainpower.
One of the worst things you can do as an inspiring vegan or health foodie is to not be prepared. Just winging it at the restaurant once or twice is totally fine but you really want to get into a sustainable, enjoyable and health-promoting eating routine.
While it’s pretty easy to come up with quick, healthy and delicious breakfast ideas (find our 10+ favorites here), lunch is oftentimes a different story.
You don’t necessarily have the option to heat up your food or even leave your desk at all, but you need something to sustain you for the rest of the day — minus the sugar crashes, preferably.Easy + Healthy Protein Snacks →
Luckily, there are many delicious and easy to make cold lunch ideas that are fully plant-based and also fully scrumptious — filling you up for hours with tons of essential nutrients while keeping your food cost low and supporting healthy weight maintenance.
Even if you’re not vegan, you should definitely look into some plant-based packable lunch options because plants don’t go bad as quickly as animal products.
The following hand-picked portable vegan lunches can mostly be made in advance, are suitable for different dietary preferences and oftentimes work for kids, too!
You don’t need awesome kitchen skills or fancy equipment for any of them — most of our easy cold lunch ideas are put together in less than half an hour and help you feel energized throughout the day.
Basic Vegan Portable Lunch Tips
If you’re used to grabbing lunch near your office or university most days, here are some basic tips for portable cold lunch ideas!Quick & Simple Vegan Beginner Recipes →
The Best Portable Cold Lunch Ideas
Now, let’s go over our favorite vegan portable cold lunch ideas that range from basic sandwiches to crunchy wraps, bite-sized muffins or rolls and colorful satisfying salads that can be made days in advance.
Creamy Potato SaladRecipe by Nutriciously →
This (almost) classic potato salad is made with a creamy homemade vegan cashew mayo, crunchy celery, dill pickles and onions — all completely oil-free, gluten-free and whole food plant-based. Customizable and nourishing, it keeps well for almost a week in the fridge and tastes best within the first 3-4 days.
Easy Bean BurritosRecipe by Nutriciously →
Everything that you can wrap up and take with you is the perfect portable lunch in our books! These homemade vegan bean burritos are no different. Using leftover cooked rice, canned beans and a few chopped veggies, they come together in no time and are super satiating and healthy! They really tick all boxes.
Vegan Mexican Salad JarsRecipe by Sandhya’s Kitchen →
These pretty Mexican Salads in glass jars have serious potential to become your next go-to meal prepable lunch! Loaded with homemade salsa, kidney beans, corn, guacamole and lettuce, they are really delicious, customizable and bursting with nutrition. The best part? They keep well for up to a week.
Easy Eggplant SandwichesRecipe by Little Sunny Kitchen →
A tasty plant-powered sandwich is the perfect cold lunch idea! This one features layers of smoky eggplant and fresh vegetables which are packed in panini bread, then toasted till perfection. Ideal for lunchboxes, picnics, and lunches on the go!
Mediterranean Pasta SaladRecipe by Nutriciously →
Bursting with color, flavor and nutrition, this delicious 30-minute vegan pasta salad Mediterranean-style is actually completely gluten-free and comes with a creamy yogurt garlic dressing. It’s a scrumptious, undetectably vegan classic cold lunch, easily customizable and very refreshing.
Moroccan Collard WrapsRecipe by Nutriciously →
Get ready to make any picky eater fall in love with healthy food — these collard green wraps are great vehicles to add more fresh vegetables to anyone’s diet in a very creative and delicious way. Crunchy leaves with satiating starches, some veggies and a creamy vegan yogurt sauce! The perfect finger food or to-go lunch.
Rainbow Pesto Hummus SandwichesRecipe by Sweet Simple Vegan →
Not only are vegan sandwiches life but when combined with some crunchy nuts, fresh apples and energy bites, you have yourself a fun, versatile and well-rounded lunchbox! Check out Jasmine and Chris’ rainbow sandwich as well as a couple of other portable cold lunch ideas.
Quinoa Veggie BowlsRecipe by Nutriciously →
Truth be told, most of our meals are actually just random vegan bowls featuring seasonal produce and our current favorite staples! This simple quinoa veggie bowl is pretty high in plant-based protein, comes with a lot of crunchy veggies and can be dressed up with any sauce of your choice (store separately until you actually eat your bowl!).
Sweet Potato Bean BowlsRecipe by Salt & Lavender →
These southwest sweet potato vegan meal prep bowls are a healthy and efficient meal prep idea. You can have 4 delicious meals ready in under 45 minutes! Customizable, healthy, satisfying and perfect for portable vegan lunches.
Vegetable Loaded Sushi DonutsRecipe by Recipes From A Pantry →
Here’s a super fun and pretty way to switch up your cold lunches! Gluten-free vegan rice-based sushi doughnuts made with different veggies or even some fruit for a sweet version. They are versatile, perfectly portable and kid-friendly.
Vegan Tuna Salad SandwichRecipe by Keeping The Peas →
Who doesn’t love a good scrumptious whole food plant-based sandwich? The vegan mock tuna salad is made with crunchy celery, protein-rich chickpeas and just a couple more pantry staples. Spread on whole-grain bread and stuff with leafy greens of your choice.
Vegan Protein Pesto PastaRecipe by Nutriciously →
Pasta is always the right choice in our books! Our super green veggie-rich pesto pasta is made without any oil, rich in protein and can be enjoyed freshly made as a warm dinner or as a quick leftover cold lunch the next day.
Chipotle Veggie Burrito BowlRecipe by My Pure Plants →
This colorful and filling burrito bowl features tasty fajitas veggies, black beans, cilantro, brown rice, tomato corn salsa and more plant-based goodness — including guacamole, lettuce, spicy soy curls and vegan sour cream! We love this vegan meal prep lunch idea.
Peanut Crunch Mason Jar SaladRecipe by A Virtual Vegan →
Preparing a scrumptious portable vegan lunch doesn’t get much easier than this protein-packed peanut crunch salad! Prettily arranged in glass mason jars, they keep well in the fridge for up to a week without getting soggy when layered the right way. Convenient, delicious and full of texture!
Raw Pad Thai SaladRecipe by Nutriciously →
Move over boring green salads, it’s time to devour this delicious raw vegan pad Thai with crunchy veggies, creamy sauce and flavorful toppings. Complete with some fresh edamame beans or baked tofu, this cold lunch idea is perfect for a light and portable midday meal.
Savory Vegan MuffinsRecipe by My Vegan Minimalist →
It doesn’t get much more portable than grabbing a few muffins! No cutlery needed. Secretly featuring some veggies and topped with crunchy pumpkin seeds, these savory vegan muffins are herb-infused, made with whole-grain flour and come together easily. If you’re up for a sweet and healthy version, check out our fluffy blueberry muffins here.
Sweet Potato Quinoa SaladRecipe by Karissa’s Kitchen →
This colorful 6-ingredient plant-based salad is sure to leave you feeling full and satisfied! Drizzled with some maple mustard dressing and filled with baked sweet potatoes, cooked quinoa and flavorful arugula, it’s super delicious and meal prep friendly.
Vegan Sabich SandwichRecipe by My Goodness Kitchen →
Another great vegan sandwich idea is this scrumptious bean and potato-stuffed sabich. Originated in Israel, it is made without any eggs but packs a whole lot of flavor and texture — we’re talking vegan mayo, harissa paste, hummus, dill pickles and more.
Plant-Based Sausage RollsRecipe by Whole Food Bellies →
These freezer-friendly vegan sausage rolls are stuffed with a delicious mixture of eggplant, cannellini beans, garlic, onions and parsley. Make them ahead of time to enjoy hot or cold together with a side salad wherever you go!
Rainbow Veggie PinwheelsRecipe by My Plant-Based Family →
We love delicious finger food for a cold vegan lunch any day of the week! These veggie-stuffed and beautifully colored pinwheels can be made with your favorite vegetables, vegan spread like hummus or cashew cream cheese and cut up the day you pack them.
Vegan Broccoli SaladRecipe by Okonomi Kitchen →
If you’re up for a veggie-forward and super healthy cold lunch, this vegan salad is for you! Made with crunchy broccoli, apples, dried cranberries, candied walnuts, onions and vegan bacon all dressed in a creamy dairy-free dressing, it’s perfect for a scrumptious portable meal.
Sundried Tomato Pesto PastaRecipe by Sarah’s Vegan Guide →
This simple vegan pesto pasta is made with just a handful of ingredients such as cashews, chickpeas, arugula and lemon juice that are served with your pasta of choice. The best part? Not only is this filling portable lunch nutrient-rich but also ready in about 15 minutes.
Whole Wheat Pizza RollsRecipe by Nutriciously →
No more unhealthy and fatty takeout pizza for lunch! These easy and wholesome vegan pizza rolls are undetectably loaded with pureed veggies in a flavorful tomato sauce and can be enjoyed with some vegan ricotta or high-protein bean sauce as a dip.
Farro Vegetable SaladRecipe by Pinch and Swirl →
Grain salads are definitely among our favorite meal prep-friendly lunch ideas! This farro veggie salad is loaded with crunchy massaged kale, radishes, cucumber, zucchini and juicy tomatoes. Topped with pecans, lemon and peanut butter (jup!), it’s highly customizable and nutritious.
Mini Chickpea Frittata MuffinsRecipe by Simple Veganista →
These cute vegan mini frittata muffins are made with gluten-free chickpea flour, bell pepper, corn, baby spinach, onion and herbs. They double as healthy breakfast and lunch options (you could even have them for brinner!) and not only are they very satiating and weight loss-friendly, but also really easy to make.
Simple Vegan Orzo SaladRecipe by My Darling Vegan →
If you’re looking for a super simple and refreshing packable cold lunch, then this orzo salad is for you! Featuring cucumbers, arugula, parsley and mint, it’s really nutrient-dense yet filling thanks to the cooked grains. Serve with a simple lemon juice dressing or any other of your choice!
Tofu Satay Quinoa SaladRecipe by Euphoric Vegan →
Let’s bring something entirely different to the table! This Thai quinoa salad with a tangy lemongrass tamarind dressing, fresh herbs and crunchy veggies is rounded up with some grilled tofu skewers and creamy satay sauce — not just beautiful to look at but super healthy and filling, too.
Vegan BLT SandwichRecipe by Be Plant Well →
This vegan BLT sandwich is made with smoky maple tempeh “bacon” and comes together in a breeze! This classic gone plant-based is super scrumptious and can also be made with some avocado or red onion. Lots of complex carbs, plant-based protein and crunchy veggies to get you through the day.
Spring Roll Tortilla WrapsRecipe by Cadry’s Kitchen →
We firmly believe that everything tastes better when put in a wrap! This easy recipe offers you the vibrant flavors of a fresh spring roll or summer roll, but it comes with the portability of a sturdy and satiating whole wheat tortilla. Perfect for lunch on the go!
Red Rice Salad With TahiniRecipe by The Minimalist Vegan →
Talk about vegan lunch ideas you can prepare in bulk! This chewy red rice salad can be made days in advance, using leftover cooked rice and a large can of chickpeas. Complete with fresh crunchy veggies and a creamy tahini dressing, it is everything we want a portable lunch to be.
Rainbow Vegetable SandwichRecipe by Veggie Desserts →
Did we mention that we love simple vegetable sandwiches? This beautiful rainbow-colored cold vegan lunch idea calls for creamy hummus, tomato, radishes, carrot, bell pepper, lettuce and shredded red cabbage but can be totally customized to your preferences! Serve on its own or alongside some soup.
White Bean Pita PocketsRecipe by Veggie Inspired →
These handy filled pita pockets are made in just 5 minutes and feature fiber-rich white beans, crunchy cucumber and bell pepper, some herbs as well as a tangy dairy-free yogurt dressing (which we absolutely love!). Similar to wraps or sandwiches, these pita pockets are really customizable and fill you up for hours on end.
Fresh Spring RollsRecipe by Emily Kyle Nutrition →
This is how you can create beautiful and naturally gluten-free wraps or rolls to bring with you for lunch! These fresh spring rolls are veggie-packed, bursting with flavor and nutrition and use rice paper instead of wheat flour wraps. Ready in about 15 minutes (once you get the hang of it), these rolls go especially with an Asian-inspired dip or sauce!
Watermelon Mason Jar SaladRecipe by Eating by Elaine →
If melons are in season, then you need to try this beautiful and refreshing watermelon mason jar salad! Perfect as a portable cold lunch, this recipe can be made ahead of time and layered without the worry of your greens getting soggy.
Vegan Breakfast BurritosRecipe by Delicious Everyday →
For those of you who don’t have time to eat a decent breakfast at home (or love having breakfast-type meals any time of the day), these simple yet filling breakfast burritos could be the perfect portable lunch idea! Protein-rich vegan scrambled eggs, fresh veggies and tons of spices all neatly wrapped up for you.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best cold lunch ideas! Let us know in the comments which recipe you liked the most and what vegan dish you like to bring to work or school with you. Feel free to Pin this article here.