Skip to Content

Zero Waste Seasonal Summer Lunches

Plant Based Recipes

Last Updated on November 18, 2022

I find myself constantly struggling between ideas and reality.

I was originally drawn to zero waste by photos of everything neatly arrayed, lots of white, and the sleek idea of minimalism. It was a picture perfect world where everything is calm, organized, and stowed away.

Possessions are used with the utmost care and treated with high levels of respect. The things that have made it into the lifestyle are practically elevated. There’s almost a ritual behind using and putting them away.

It’s like living in a virtual Pinterest board where everything is in perfect condition. However, much as I would love to achieve that gold star level of perfectionism and cleanliness, I’m afraid I’m lazy.

Most days I get home from work and bust off to rehearsal in 30 minutes. When I finally come home at 10pm I throw all my rehearsal gear down and plop on the couch.

Occasionally I put things away, but more often than not I forget to fold the laundry and I don’t always put away the dishes. I try to prep basic breakfast and lunches over the weekend.

But, I typically find myself staring at the fridge 10 minutes before we need to leave, trying to organize it all. Have any of you experienced this?

Justin and I work together, but we don’t eat the same things. I’m vegan Monday-Friday and Justin is not. Neither of us like eating the same thing more than twice.

We have a pattern that works well for us. Our typical lunches are: one out to eat, one salad, two sandwiches, and one leftover. There’s flexibility for it to happen any time during the week, but this provides a nice framework on how to buy groceries.

I try to throw as many colorful and delicious veggies I can in my meals. I think eating plant based is so important for your health and the environment.

I want to share with you some of my favorite lunches that can be made in 15 minutes or less. This is the first installment in a vegan lunch series. I like to make this for sandwich day. It will keep you full and it makes a second serving to save for salad day or to share.

Mediterranean Lunch

  •              ¼ cup of cucumber diced
  •              ¼ cup of red onion diced
  •              ¼ cup of crumbly vegan cheese (or use feta)
  •              ¼ cup of olives sliced
  •              20 cherry tomatoes cut in half (I like red and yellow mixed)
  •              2 tablespoons of olive oil (I use garlic)
  •                Pinch of salt & pepper

Toss all the ingredients in a pint sized mason jar. Give it a shake. You can eat it right away, but I prefer to let it marinate a couple of hours or even overnight before eating. It really depends on how well I’ve prepared.  


  •          ½ cup of pre-cooked chickpeas
  •             1 juice of lemon
  •             1 clove of garlic
  •             1 tsp salt
  •             1 tsp pepper
  •             1 tablespoon of olive oil
  •             Pinch of cumin, curry, and chili powder (or whatever spices you enjoy)

Blend all of the ingredients together.

This is a great late summer recipe. By eating seasonally, your food will taste better and have to travel less distance making it so much fresher.

Garbanzo beans can easily be found in bulk at a health food store or even in the Hispanic food aisle at the regular grocery store. I cook garbanzo beans in large batches, freeze on a cookie sheet in a single layer and then transfer to mason jars to store in the freezer for up to 1 year.

You can typically find olives and feta at the salad bar in most grocery stores. If the store tares you can ask if they will serve it directly into your glass jar. If not you can use a plastic container, just remember to immediately transfer it to a glass jar when you get home.

Wash the plastic bowl and bring it back for the next time. Everything I’m eating is in season now. Cucumbers, red onion, and even cherry tomatoes can be found in huge bins and the farmers markets.

What are some of your favorite lunches or quick meals

Join The Conversation

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Hi Kathryn, I love you and your blog, you’re really helping me in my zero waste transition. But the reason I’m writing is not my love for you 😀
    It’s that I just made the hummus (it’s delicious!) and then I realized you didn’t write how to store it. I’ve made a lot of it and put it in a glass jar obviously. And now? Does it go well in the fridge? Even if it takes a while to use it up? How many days can I keep it in the fridge? Is it better in the freezer?
    Waiting for your answer <3

    1. I am so glad you’re enjoying it! It will keep for a week in a jar in the fridge. (I’ve kept it longer, to be honest. If it smells good and tastes good, I still eat it…)
      You can also separate it and freeze part of it for later if you can’t eat all of it within the week… I never have that problem though. 😉