Going into college, I fully thought my days of packing a lunch were behind me. As I’ve found out, that was a completely inaccurate assumption. I pack my lunch all the time. Last fall I was rarely home during lunch hour between my part-time job and classes, so if I didn’t pack a lunch, I didn’t eat; now, in DC, eating out is ridiculously expensive and definitely a “once-in-a-while” deal.
However, I hate packing the same thing every day, and I’m also not a big fan of the traditional sandwich-and-chips route. So today I’m sharing a few of my easy (vegan) lunches – none of which need to be heated up! Also, as much as I’d love to share pictures with these, for some reason I am completely incapable of making my home-cooked food look photogenic. It tastes great but always looks kinda weird, lol.
I’m a huge fan of tacos, but you know what I’m an even bigger fan of? Asian-inspired tacos. My favorite method of taco prep is marinating strips of tofu in teriyaki sauce and then cooking them in the oven until they’re crispy, and then topping them with broccoli slaw mixed with more teriyaki and an additional veggie of your choice (carrots and cucumbers both go great).
The ability to eat this without warming it up is entirely dependent on your opinions about cold pizza, but I’m a huge fan so that’s not a problem for me. Since I don’t use cheese and hate the taste of fake-cheese, my pizzas almost always consist of pesto sauce (I like to make it from scratch – #fancy – but you can buy store-bought pesto too), roasted tomatoes, cilantro, and portabella mushrooms.
I’ll be totally honest, I’m terrible at making salads. I’m usually too lazy to get creative with ingredients and just end up adding lettuce to a bowl with some dressing. If I do feel inspired, though, I usually go for dried cranberries, walnuts, and some sweet vinaigrette dressing. (To be honest, if I’m in a salad mood I pick up one from Trader Joe’s. The Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa, and Wheatberry one rocks my socks.) This is definitely one area I plan on getting better at, though.
I know I mentioned I’m not a fan of traditional lunch sandwiches, so give me a second while I explain why this item is still on my list. I don’t like PB&J or ham&cheese (the second one for obvious reasons), but a well-crafted sandwich is a major win. Top combo on this one is hummus, shredded carrots, cucumber, and lettuce.
5. Odds and ends
An alternate title for this can be “whatever’s left in the fridge.” Grocery shopping on a regular basis is hard, y’all. I also like being able to snack throughout the day, so throwing a fruit, a veggie, a bag of crackers, and a protein bar into a lunch box sounds like a solid lunch plan to me. It’s also the least labor-intensive out of all of these, so if you spaced on packing a lunch until 10 minutes before you have to leave, this one does the trick.
And of course, being the sweet tooth that I am, no lunch is complete without a little bit of dark chocolate. Unreal dark chocolate almond butter cups are my current go-to because they taste so good and come adorably individually wrapped (also they’re vegan). Happy lunching!