Meatless Monday Inspiration: 5 Vegetarian Lunches from Your Favorite Takeout Spots

Posted by on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 with 2 Comments

Meatless Monday, the popular eat-vegetarian-once-a-week movement, is awesome: eating more plant-based foods can be better for your waistline, your environmental footprint, and even your lifespan. And while preparing your own vegetarian meals at home for breakfast and dinner is relatively easy, many Meatless Monday participants find that vegetarian lunches for work present the biggest challenge of the day. When everyone else is bonding in the break room over pizza delivery or planning their big takeout order, pulling a Tupperware container of salad out of the fridge can be a little depressing… and while it may be good for your body, that’s not the ideal way to mentally start your workweek.

That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best vegetarian options for office lunches from the typical office’s go-to takeout and delivery spots. All contain the hallmarks of a satisfying vegetarian meal: hearty proteins, plenty of fiber, and — of course — flavor!

black bean burrito

Does this look like rabbit food to you?
Image source: Flickr user Jennifer

1) Mexican

Black beans are your new best friend (note that pinto are often made with pork fat). Order up a burrito stuffed full of sautéed peppers and onions, black beans, brown rice, and topped with guacamole for extra fiber — you won’t even miss the chicken. If there’s an option for whole wheat tortillas, take it, as many flour tortillas are loaded with empty calories; otherwise, you may be better off ordering bowl-style.

baingan bharta

Baingan bharta, a dish of mashed eggplant, makes for an unusual yet delicious vegetarian Indian lunch.
Image source: Flickr user rovingl

2) Indian 

Vegetarianism is much more common in many parts of India than the U.S., so you’ve already got a leg up here! Our favorite vegetarian Indian pick is baingan bharta, a dish made from eggplant mashed with onions, tomatoes, and a whole lot of spices. The only thing missing is protein, so add a dish of dal, made from hearty lentils — one of the best vegetarian protein sources out there.

veggie sandwich with hummus

Hummus adds protein, avocado adds healthy fats, and the whole grain bread adds fiber. The result is a satisfying veggie sandwich!
Image source: Flickr user Jennifer

3) Sandwich Shops

Whole grain bread and a pile of vegetables may not sound like a meal, but when you add creamy hummus and avocado slices, you might be surprised at how satisfying a veggie sandwich can be! Upgrade the nutritionally worthless bag of chips to a cup of vegetarian chili or lentil soup for even more protein.

veggie sushi rolls

Sushi does not necessarily equal fish.
Image source: Flickr user Kari Sullivan

4) Sushi 

If you think all sushi contains fish, you’re in for a delicious surprise! Vegetarian sushi rolls are just like the ones you’re used to ordering, only instead of tuna or salmon inside, they stick to veggies like avocado, cucumber, asparagus, and carrots. We’d start with an avocado roll and a cucumber roll (called kappa maki), along with a dish of edamame to make sure you get enough protein on your plate.

margherita pizza with mushrooms

Build a better vegetarian pizza by adding artisan toppings!
Image source: Flickr user jeffreyw

5) Pizza 

While it’s easy to order half a pie without meat from most pizza joints, you might find yourself wistfully longing after your coworkers’ sausage-topped supreme. Instead of simply removing the meat, add a special artisan topping to your vegetarian pizza: think fresh herbs, arugula, gourmet mushrooms, indulgent buffalo mozzarella, or even a drizzle of honey.

When it comes to easy, convenient takeout and delivery, will help make sure your vegetarian lunches are anything but ordinary. After all, Meatless Monday is really about discovering how delicious plant-based foods can really be — which of these wholesome dishes will you try first?

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

2 responses to “Meatless Monday Inspiration: 5 Vegetarian Lunches from Your Favorite Takeout Spots”

  1. Jamseon says:

    I really love this idea, I’m not sure how I haven’t heard about it before! I can see this as being a great, inexpensive option for catering lunches. One thing that I find so interesting, though, is not just the food. I think this would bring about some great conversation among my employees and guests about food choices. By simply switching out meat items one day a week, you can have a substantial effect on both the environment as well as your health.

    I also see this as a great opportunity to get people to try things they may not have had before. It could be fun to serve non-traditional Indian and Mexican dishes that our guests may not have heard of. However, I feel like it would still be important to serve at least one option that is familiar, just to be sure that no one is alienated.

    • Sara says:

      Thanks Jameson – agreed, you want to have a variety of new & exciting and more familiar. Not everyone wants to try new things, especially on a Monday 😉