National Vegetarian Week lunchbox ideas

Meat free meals to take to work or school

Vegetarian lunchbox ideas

Sticking to a vegetarian diet is easy enough when you have plenty of time to shop for the right ingredients, prepare fresh fruit and vegetables and cook up delicious dishes in the kitchen at home. Unfortunately, grabbing a tasty meat-free meal on the go can be much more tricky, with limited choice often pushing you to the usual bland, repetitive vegetarian menu options.

So to save you or your vegetarian little ones from boring lunches this National Vegetarian Week, we’ve shared five flavour-packed meat-free lunchbox ideas that are perfect for taking to school or work.

Serve up a slice

Roasted vegetable tarts or pizza slices are the perfect portable choice and can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. Simply spread ready roll puff pastry or pizza dough onto a baking sheet and decorate with your choice of fresh vegetables, herbs and spices, then drizzle with a little olive oil to bring out the perfect caramelised flavours when you bake your tart in the oven. Why not go for a traditional Italian combination of sliced tomatoes, peppers, olives and basil, or give your lunch a Greek twist by crumbling feta cheese over slices of aubergine and courgette.

Summer has arrived

Take culinary inspiration from the Far East by creating your own vegan Vietnamese summer rolls from scratch. Start by finely chopping red cabbage, carrots, spring onions and cucumber and mixing together with chopped peanuts, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, chilli and fresh basil and mint.

Next, take a round rice paper wrapper, available from most Asian food stores or larger supermarkets, and sprinkle with water until it becomes pliable, but not totally soft. Spoon an inch-thick line of the vegetable mix along the centre of the rice paper, leaving an inch gap at either end, then roll one side of the wrapper over the line, fold in either end and continue rolling to seal into a cylindrical shape. Make up 3-4 rolls per person then store in the fridge overnight ready to take to school or work the next day.

Beautiful burgers

Swap the usual fast-food veggie burgers for a super-charged flavour sensation. Mash chickpeas with middle-eastern spices then form into a burger patty. Dip the patty in oil followed by breadcrumbs and sesame seeds, then lightly fry on the hob alongside strips of halloumi. Layer your patty onto a burger bun with sliced tomatoes, fresh salad, smooth avocado and salty halloumi strips for the ultimate veggie burger.

Pastry perfection

Only ever thought of samosas as a side-dish at the local Indian takeaway? Think again! These triangular pastry parcels are the perfect portable way to pack a whole manner of succulent vegetables and tantalising spices into your next lunch break. Fry up a mixture of diced potatoes, carrots, onion and peas blended with curry powder, then dollop a spoonful onto one end of a long rectangular strip of filo pastry. Carefully fold one corner in to form a triangle shape over the mixture, wetting the edge of the pastry to seal the edges, then continue flipping the triangle along the length of the sheet until you reach the end. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden and crisp, then leave to cool ready to pack for lunch.

Category: Advice