Weeknight Cooking

8 Vegan Dinners that Moonlight as Lunches

August 28, 2014

Vegan lunches can -- and should -- be a lot more interesting than bare salads or carrot sticks and hummus. New Veganism columnist Gena Hamshaw will be sharing inspiration for midday meals that stave off both hunger and boredom.

Today: If you're a student -- or just a busy person -- you'll want some fall dinners that double as next-day lunches. Here are Gena's favorites.

Brown Bag Lunches

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In 2010, I decided to go back to school for a degree in healthcare. I thought it would take me a year or two. Nearly five years and fourteen classes later, I’m still a student, still working my way through a parade of prerequisites, and still devouring a steady rotation of tasty, dependable, and portable student meals. 

Packing lunches and dinners has become second nature at this point, but every autumn presents me with a new excuse to get excited about back-to-school meals. The meals that tend to work best for me fall into two major categories: 1) dinners that make for awesome leftovers, and 2) sturdy salads (those that are just as tasty on the second day, or that keep their crunch after a long morning in my backpack). 

More: Going back to school? Be sure you've got the right stuff.

Here are some of the dishes I’m most eager to rediscover this fall, as I hunker down for a new semester. They include tempeh kabobs that fit perfectly in a lunchbox, veggie burgers that you can pack alongside fresh vegetables and a hearty, sprouted grain bun, pizza that’s even better cold, and two salads that actually do stay fresh overnight. I pack up these meals with an assortment of reliable snacks: hummus, trail mix, fresh fruit, and some no-bake snack bars, of course. 

Tempeh Kebabs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Black Bean and Corn Burgers

Vegan Summer Succotash

Raw Kale Salad with Lentils and Sweet Apricot Vinaigrette

Arugula Pizza with Vegan Pesto

Lemon Herb Quinoa with Hemp Seeds, Spring Peas, and Basil

Snow Pea, Cabbage, and Mizuna Salad with Marinated and Seared Tempeh

Zucchini Quinoa Burgers

Photos by James Ransom

Choosing RawGena's new book Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat is a thorough, relatable guide to incorporating raw and vegan foods into any diet. It's full of no-fuss recipes for every meal, ranging from fully raw to mostly cooked, plus plenty of snacks and desserts to keep everyone happy.

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Gena Hamshaw is a certified nutritionist, recipe developer, and food blogger. She shares her latest culinary adventures at The Full Helping. She's the author of two cookbooks, Food52 Vegan (2015) and Choosing Raw (2014). She enjoys yoga, sweet potatoes, cashews, and things that are smothered in sauce.