September has arrived and we all know what that means ... back to school time!
That dreaded time of year where you spend days, maybe weeks shopping for the perfect outfits and shoes to match, all the right school supplies, backpacks and ...oh yeah - lunchboxes!!
Here's a fun guide to Veggify your lunches this year!
Let's start with the main course.
Whatever the age of the student, a sandwich is usually the most common main course in a lunchbox, click here for a complete list of different vegetarian sandwich options. Some of my favorites are:
Crispy Tofu Sandwiches
Grilled Portobello Flank Steak Sandwiches
Chopped Tofu Sandwich
Mixed Bean and Avocado Burritos
Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches
Remember, if you want to avoid the bread, any of the above sandwich fillings would be amazing over a bed of lettuce as a great lunch salad. Speaking of salads ... we've got lots of great salad options as well! Some of my favorite lunchbox salads are:
Quinoa Salad with Grilled Onions, Asparagus and Orange Segments
Couscous Salad with Baby Spinach, Grapes and Asparagus
Basic Mixed Bean Salad
3. Tarts and Quiches:
Other fun options as a lunch box main meal could be: Mushroom and Cheddar Mini Quiches and Mini Pizza Bites - these are especially fun for small children, as they are mini and therefore fun to eat! You can also make a Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata and split it up over a few lunches. Some slices of Spinach and Zaatar Crispy Tart or Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart with a salad would be great. These can all be made in advance and frozen, so you have easy lunches prepped and ready. Make big batches of the frittata or tarts and cut into squares and freeze, the mini quiches and pizza bites freeze as they are. This way when scrambling for a quick lunch just grab one of these in the morning, it will defrost by lunchtime.
Don't forget about soups! Soups make great, healthy lunch options, especially on cold days. Some great ones to pack in a lunchbox are: Black Bean Soup, Vegan Creamy Broccoli Soup, Lentil, Barley and Spinach Soup, Mushroom Cabbage and Barley Soup, Classic Middle Eastern Lentil Soup. You can also make big batches of any soup and freeze them in pucks to have quick grab n go lunches.
As for snacks, don't worry we've got lots of ideas!
Pack some chopped veggies such as carrots, celery, peppers and broccoli or crackers with fun dips such as: Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper and Cumin Hummus, Thai Sweet Potato Coconut Spread, Black Bean and Mango Salsa, Veggie Pate, or Tzaziki.
Make a batch of any of these treats and freeze them for healthy grab n go snacks such as Carrot Apple Mini Loaves, Feta-sundried tomato muffins, Date and Nut Snack Bars, Rita's Easy and Healthy Banana-Oatmeal Snacks, Cheddar-Chipotle Cornbread, Zucchini Muffins.
Other fun "munching" snacks include: Chinese 5 Spice Crunchy Chickpeas, Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Walnuts, Sambusek Bel Tawa (Spicy Chickpea Pockets), Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn.
Hopefully you will use some of these ideas when searching for the perfect lunch! Whatever you pack, I wish you all a great school year and bon appetit!
The Vegetarian Gourmet