Here are 25 vegan school lunches that your kids are guaranteed to love. They are tasty, easy to transport in lunchboxes and for little hands to hold, and best of all, they are healthy. Many are soy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free, and labeled accordingly.
School's on, and if you're a mom, you are feeling exactly as I do right now: relieved.
Whoever it was that said school was invented to keep moms sane knew what they were talking about, right? I mean, as much as you love their little souls, kids can eat into your day and your brain with incredible efficiency.
Jay loves his school, as much as I love sending him to it, but there's one aspect of school that always causes me some concern: what he'll eat once he's out there.
Every parent knows that when you send your kid to school, there are no guarantees about what will go into their tummies in the hours that they are there. You might pack the healthiest, most delicious lunch -- according to you -- and chances are it will end up in the trash or traded with someone else for a PBJ sandwich.
As a vegan, I have other things to think about too. Jay's school has a diverse group of students, including many who are vegetarian. But the county still does not offer vegetarian options in the lunch lines every day, leave alone healthy vegan school lunches. When there is a vegetarian dish on the menu, it's either something unhealthy, like pizza, or it is smothered in an inordinate amount of cheese.
Over years of trial and error, I have learned -- the hard way -- about foods Jay will and will not eat.
Kids, obviously, do not worry about what's good for them, and when it comes to the lunchbox, the primary deciding factor, for them, is taste. So rule number one, when I made up this list of lunches that my nine-year-old loves and that I think might help those of you with your own picky eaters, is that the food had to be absolutely, unequivocally, delicious.
For me, as mom, there are other factors just as, if not more, important. The food has to be --
My 25 Vegan School Lunches Your Kids Will Love meet all of these criteria, and they are not very likely to end up in the cafeteria trash. This is an updated version of a post I shared last year, and I've added new recipes I've tried in his lunchbox over the last year. All meals are easy to put together, because on a weeknight I will not be bothered with cooking elaborate meals for lunch the next day. When possible, I do take help, like store-bought vegan meatballs for the Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe or puff pastry. All of the recipes are adult-friendly, because they do a great job balancing healthy with tasty. They are easy to eat by hand, like the hand pies and pita packets, or can be scooped up easily by little hands using spoons and forks. And for those with kids who have food sensitivities, I have indicated if the recipe is nut-free, soy-free, and/or gluten-free.
25 Vegan School Lunches Your Kids Will Love
- Vegan Pizza Rolls
- Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs (nut-free, soy-free, sauce is gluten-free)
- Lentil Marinara (soy-free, nut-free, can be made with gluten-free pasta
- Vegan Irish Hand Pies (nut-free and soy-free except tamari)
- Vegan Curried Lentil Hand Pies (nut free and soy free)
- Masala Khichdi (wholegrain, gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free)
- Chipotle Vegan Burritos with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- Vegan Tandoori Naan Burger (burger and naan bread are soy-free)
- Garlicky Zucchini Quinoa Cakes (gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free)
- Baked Keema Samosas (nut-free)
- Vegetable Fried Rice
- Pita Packets (nut-free)
- Chickpea Mushroom Turnovers (nut-free and soy-free)
- Vegetable Frankie
- Baked Chimichangas with Filo
- Vegan Tater Tot Casserole
- Bhel, Savory Brown Rice Crispies With Veggies (gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free)
- Tawa Pulao (gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free)
- Quinoa Lentil Salad (gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free)
- Aloo Paratha
- Chickpea and Kale Stuffed Empanadas (soy-free and nut-free)
- Sprouted Mung Bean Burgers (gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free)
- Vegetable Cutlets (soy-free)
- Keema-Stuffed Naan Calzones (nut-free)
- Instant Pot Spaghetti with "Meaty" Marinara