The Veggie Table: Vegetarian Bagged Lunches
Growing up, I always brought a bagged lunch to school and stuck with what I liked: a turkey sandwich, apple, pretzels and a drink. I still pack my lunch daily, but these days it’s to bring to work, and it’s always vegetarian. Here are some of my favorite veg lunches to try if you’re looking for new meat-free bagged lunch options to bring to work, or to pack for your kids as a new school year is upon us. Don’t forget to include an ice pack or frozen beverage to keep your lunch cool.
I like variety when it comes to my sandwiches, both on the inside and outside. So instead of the standard slices of whole wheat bread, I use whole wheat tortillas, pita pockets, English muffins, and sandwich thins to stuff with sandwich fillings. Love making wraps? Roll one with spicy hummus, soy cheese, and layers of veggies like roasted red peppers, spinach, and zucchini slices. Try a tomato basil sandwich on crusty bakery bread using fresh tomato slices, thin strips of basil, and a slice of mozzarella cheese or babaganoush spread, if you don’t eat cheese. Use leftover grilled veggies in a pressed panini with pesto spread. Or stuff a pita pocket with homemade tofu salad and some crunchy romaine lettuce. If you love using leftovers like I do, roll rice and beans into a burrito topped with spicy salsa, or use last night’s stir fry to make an Asian wrap.
Sometimes packed lunches feel fancier if you make a spread of healthy ingredients. I like packing small containers of hummus, cut veggies, whole wheat crackers, grapes, and edamame to eat when I’m not in the mood for a standard sandwich. Kids love lunch like this too since they get to eat with their hands!
When the weather starts to cool down, I crave steamy, hearty soups and stews. I bring my favorite minestrone or lentil soup to lunch in an insulated thermos that keeps it hot until my lunch break. Or you can pack your soup in a microwavable glass container to heat when you’re ready to eat.
When you’re packing your veg lunch, think outside the lunch box to make a midday meal that satisfies you.