How to Pack a Vegan Lunchbox

December  5, 2013

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: Gena shows us that packing lunch is all about compartmentalizing.

Vegan Lunch on Food52

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I went back to school three years ago. It had been a long time since I’d been a full-time student, and the rhythms of campus life felt foreign to me at first -- including the art of packing a lunchbox. 

Fortunately, I had learned a lot about food since my undergraduate days. While PB&J sandwiches, snack bars, hummus wraps, and other conventional student staples make frequent appearances in my packed lunches, I’ve also learned to incorporate tasty vegan leftovers, simple grain dishes, homemade trail mixes and snacks, and even some fresh greens into my portable meals. I’m on a student hiatus this year, but the habits I formed in the last three have helped me to plan better desk lunches for work, too.

Today’s lunch is a good example: I packed up a simple rice dish (2 cups cooked rice, 1 package of defrosted, organic chopped spinach, lemon juice, olive oil, dried dill, salt), some mashed sweet potatoes, and about a cup of arugula into my lunch tins. Alongside, I packed a whole avocado, which I cut up at work. And no lunchbox would be complete for me without an afternoon snack — in this case, homemade trail mix with almonds, goji berries, and pistachios. 

Photo by Gena Hamshaw

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Carrie Watts
    Carrie Watts
  • Ellen Francis
    Ellen Francis
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.


Carrie W. January 20, 2014
Thanks for sharing your ideas. I'm trying to make healthy and simple lunches, but it seems to always get so complicated! I'm wondering, do you heat up the rice and and mashed sweet potatoes or eat them cold? Please keep the suggestions coming!
Ellen F. December 5, 2013
I'm looking forward to following this series of vegan lunches! I'm still finishing my hearty delicious vegan breakfast---Vegan American Princess Mexican Tofu Scramble, fit for Beyonce and Jay Z! ...http://veganamericanprincess.com/beyonce-jayz-mexican-breakfast-tofu-scramble/