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  • Writer's pictureJolanta Nowobilski

Three 6-Ingredient, Quick Delicious Vegan Lunches You Have To Meal Prep For Work

"You always have the healthiest lunches and they always smell so good," one of my coworkers compliments, peering into my container. The truth is I care less about eating healthy and more about the fact that I'm saving time and money and it's delicious. I'm on my feet in my job so when I get to the kitchen, I want to spend as little time and energy prepping my food.

These recipes are plant-based, scrumptious, and require very little active time. For this post, I wanted to focus on six or fewer ingredients because when it comes to food less is more. Fewer ingredients can mean more savings. I am not counting oil, salt, pepper, or water in the ingredient list.

To make some of these recipes more cost-effective, you can switch out the grains and proteins with what you have or need to use up. The quinoa in the Tex Mex Quinoa Salad can be switched for any other grain, following package instructions. For the Teriyaki Tempeh with Mushrooms, the tempeh can be swapped with canned chickpeas. Oven times may vary for the chickpeas. I always encourage my readers to adjust to their needs and preferences because your kitchen is supposed to work for you, not the other way around!

Tex Mex Quinoa Salad with Corn and Black Beans, topped with cilantro leaves

Tex Mex Quinoa Salad

This recipe is the easiest of them all because it is cooked in the microwave and prepped in one bowl. If you're not in the mood to chop anything, this salad is still delicious without the onions and cilantro.

- 1 cup quinoa

- 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

- 15 oz can corn, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups thawed frozen corn)

- 16 oz or 1.75 cups of your favorite salsa

- 1/2 red onion

- 1 head cilantro

- 1 tablespoon neutral oil

- salt, to preference

- avocado, optional (see note)

  1. Combine the quinoa and 2 cups water in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with an inverted plate. Heat the mixture in the microwave on full for 15 -20 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking chop the cilantro finely and dice the red onion.

  2. When the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, take the bowl out of the microwave and fluff it up with a fork with oil to separate the grains.

  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, mixing until evenly combined.

Note: This salad works well with avocado. I like to add a pre-packaged avocado cup to my lunch kit because it seems I can never get a ripe enough avocado for when I want it.

Teriyaki Tempeh with Mushrooms

This recipe doesn't count as "Takeout Fakeout", but it definitely does count as an umami-rich, quick lunch (or weeknight dinner). If you want extra veggies, this dish tastes great with a side of steamed greens.

- 2 packs of tempeh

- 8 oz of sliced mushrooms

- 3/4 cup of your favorite brand of thickened teriyaki sauce ( I used the Panda Express brand, not sponsored)

- a glug of oil

- salt, to preference

- sesame seeds, to garnish, optional

- chili crisp, to garnish, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

  2. Cut tempeh into bite-sized pieces and place on the baking tray with sliced mushrooms. Add a glug of oil and your preferred amount of salt to the tempeh and mushrooms, tossing until everything is coated evenly.

  3. Once the oven is up to temperature, add your baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tempeh and mushrooms are golden brown.

  4. Take the baking tray out of the oven and add your favorite teriyaki sauce. Stir until combined. Serve warm or let cool before storing in the fridge. Serve with optional garnishes.

Sheet Pan Sausage & Pepper Gnocchi

An easy sheet pan dinner? Sign me up! This tray bake is great for meal prep because you can prep other meals while this is going in the oven.

- 17.5 oz package of your favorite gnocchi

- 4 Italian-style vegan sausages, cut into rounds

- 2 bell peppers, roughly diced

- 1/2 onion, sliced thinly

- 1 tablespoon dried oregano

- oil, salt, and pepper, to preference

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

  2. Toss all ingredients on the baking tray, mixing until combined evenly. Spread the mixture as evenly as possible, making sure everything has contact with the pan.

  3. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the gnocchi is golden brown. Remove the tray from the oven. Serve warm or let cool before storing.

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