Vegetarian Lunch Ideas: One Sauce / Three Lunches Recipe


This post is about taking one favorite tomato sauce, and working it into three different lunches. The lunches I had in mind are work, school, or on-the-go type lunches that don’t require reheating. The basic idea is you tweak the main sauce a bit day by day, and create a pasta bowl (day one), a lazy chana masala (day two), and a spicy dipping sauce for quinoa patties (day three). The video goes into all the specifics, and you can see how I pull together a handful of weekday friendly lunches (with some diversity) using a lot of the basic ingredients many of you already keep on hand. The general idea is this – even if you’re busy, these lunches aren’t crazy to throw together, especially if you plan ahead a bit.

Vegetarian Lunch Ideas

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Related, meal prep has a tendency to make my head explode a little. I love the idea, but find it overwhelming. I’m always trying to find middle ground, and to simplify, but not-oversimplify 😉 So, I’ll include a few tips that work for me here. The main thing that keeps things easy is the following:

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EVERY WEEKEND: Good to keep on hand

– Cook a favorite grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc.)
– Cook a favorite pulse or bean (lentils, mung beans, etc.)
– Hard-boil 6 – 12 eggs (if you eat eggs)*
– Wash, cut, & prep a few quick-cooking vegetables (kale, broccoli, asparagus)

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If you’re into this general idea, please let me know(!), and I can show you how I build off other core recipes or ideas (for example, I do a week based on my favorite saag paneer). Hope you find some of this helpful! -h

– More Quick Recipes



HS: If you don’t eat eggs (and many don’t consider eggs vegetarian), please feel free to substitute another protein-rich ingredient you prefer – tempeh, tofu, or more lentils.

FEATURED RECIPE: FIVE MINUTE TOMATO SAUCE (recipe here)

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LUNCH ONE: Red Garlic Kale Pasta

Five Minute Tomato Sauce
– Cooked Pasta (short pasta)
– Big handful of chopped kale
– Lentils
– Hard-boiled egg*
– Dates
– Nuts (or toss 1 cup toasted pistachios w/ 2 sheets of crumbled, toasted nori // 2T. nutritional yeast // 1t. chile flakes // salt // drizzle of olive oil)

Bonus: scallions / olives // toasted almonds // olive oil

LUNCH TWO: Easy Chana Masala

– 1 cup Five Minute Tomato Sauce // Stir in 2 teaspoons garam masala & 1 tablespoon chopped ginger

– 1 cup chopped kale
– 1 cup chickpeas
– Brown rice or quinoa
– Plain yogurt whisked with a bit of salt & 2 garlic cloves smashed into a paste.

– toasted naan or pita chips // toss w/ olive oil or clarified butter, salt & toasted at 350F until golden and crisp.
– treat: Anna’s Daughter Rye Crisps / dark chocolate
– orange segments

Bonus: toasted coconut // scallions // cilantro // avocado & lime

LUNCH THREE: Baby Quinoa Patties

Five Minute Tomato Sauce seasoned with chile sauce (sriracha sauce)

-Baby Quinoa Patties **

– Plain yogurt whisked with a bit of salt & 2 garlic cloves smashed into a paste.

– Lentils

– A handful of shredded kale, massaged with a big squeeze of lime juice, pinch of salt, and topped with nuts (below).

– Nuts (or toss toasted pistachios w/ a bit of crumbled, toasted nori // nutritional yeast // chile flakes // salt // olive oil)

Bonus: Avocado // Cilantro

*To hard-boil Eggs: Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by half an inch or so. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn off the heat and cover. Let the pot sit for ten minutes. In the meantime, prepare a large bowl of ice water. When the eggs are done cooking, use a slotted spoon to place them into the ice bath. When the eggs are cool, remove them and crack and peel.

**Baby Quinoa Patties: Combine 2 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa, 4 large beaten eggs, and 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt in a medium bowl. Stir in 1 finely chopped onion. Add 1 cup of breadcrumbs (or rolled quinoa, or instant oats), stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes. Form into little patties, and pan-fry in a bit of clarified butter or coconut oil over medium heat, flipping once along the way until both sides are golden brown and the patties are cooked through.

Prep time: 40 min
Cook time: 30 min

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