Thursday, February 7, 2013

Getting Started Ideas for Vegetarian Lunches

I put together some suggestions for vegetarian lunch options.  Many of these meatless lunches are cold lunches, which you can easily take to work or school, even if there is no means to heat your lunch. 

Veggie Sandwich made with Morning Star Chipotle Black Bean Burger
and guacamole, egg, and tomato.  (Personal Photo)
Veggie sandwiches with veggie patties:  There are a number of companies, such as Morningstar, Gardenburger, and Bocaburger, that make veggie burger patties.  Most of the Morningstar burgers have texturized vegetable protein (TVP), and some of the Boca have wheat gluten.  I prefer the Gardenburgers, which are mostly brown rice and vegetables.  Dress your burger up like a hamburger, or get creative with avocado, hummus, or pesto. 

  Beet Sandwich on sourdough with feta cheese, mushrooms,
and spinach.  (Personal Photo)
         Eggplant Parmesan sandwich made from one round of leftover eggplant
from my carry out supper.  (Personal Photo)
Other veggie sandwiches:  At first it can be a little daunting to think of meatless sandwiches options.  Once you put your head to it though, the possibilities are endless.  Try grilled vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, and portabella mushrooms.  Sautéed dark greens with cheese on a crusty bread makes a good sandwich.  Visit my article on veggie sandwiches for over 50 sandwich ideas. 

                              Spinach Salad with a side of red skin potato salad.  (Personal Photo)
Lettuce Salads:  Some restaurants only have bland, basic salads to offer diners seeking vegetarian options.  Don’t let that turn you against salads.  Create your own diverse salad bar-style salad at home.  Start with some romaine lettuce, spinach, or mixed greens.  Round up all the usual suspects such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, then keep a few favorite salad treats on hand, like kalamata olives, beets, and sunflower seeds.  Serve your green salad with a big scoop of pasta salad or potato salad on the side. 


Weight Watchers bean slaw.  (Personal Photo)

Cabbage Salads & Slaw:  There is a Weight Watchers slaw I really like with cabbage, white beans, and Swiss cheese.  My mom used to make slaw with cabbage, apples, and raisins.  I recently bought an interesting salad kit from Costco.  It had finely chopped cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and included pumpkins seeds, dried cranberries, and poppy seed dressing.  See also my Salads and Cold Foods board at Pinterest. 

My homemade vegetable soup.  (Personal Photo)

Soups:  One of my favorite soup meals is great tomato soup, such as La Madeline’s Tomato Basil Soup, with rice.  I also like Campbell’s Vegetarian Vegetable, with extra corn added.  My absolute favorite soup, and one of my favorite meals of any kind, is my own homemadevegetable soup.  I also like to make split pea soup with diced potatoes.  Loaded potato soup is also tasty, without the bacon of course. 

Pasta salad with cucumbers, tomato, sweet onion, yogurt
and mayo.  (Personal Photo)

Cold pasta dishes:  My favorite cold pasta dish is spiral or shell pasta, with diced sweet onion, cucumber, and tomatoes, mayo, and Greek yogurt.  I could eat myself silly on this stuff. 

  Mock tuna salad made with walnuts and sweet relish. 
 (Personal Photo)
Mock tuna salad:  I found a few mocktuna salad recipes on YouTube.  I made one of them, which featured garbanzo beans.  My favorite however is made with walnuts.  I put a little purple onion, sweet pickle relish, mayo, and a pinch of cumin. 

Green beans, corn, mashed potatoes with parsnip puree and brown gravy,
and cabbage and carrot slaw (Personal Photo)
Vegetable plate:  Make a meal of three to five vegetable selections.  Choose from broccoli, green beans, asparagus, leafy greens, cabbage, and squash.  Pick butterbeans, pinto beans, blackeyed peas, or navy beans for some protein.  Add a root vegetable, such as potato, turnips, beets, parsnips, or carrots.  Maybe throw in some brown rice, a chunk of homemade bread, or for a special treat, some fried apples. 

  Grilled onions, peppers and squash.  (Personal Photo)
Grilled vegetables:  If you’re looking for something light, there are many vegetables that do nicely on the grill.  Try eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red or green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, or asparagus. 


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