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If you’ve decided to give up grains, eating meat at every meal can be a bit of a shock. While some primal eaters are okay with meat for all their meals, others may prefer to eat veg when possible — and workday lunches are a great place to do this. It may seem like you have to choose between Paleo recipes and raw vegan recipes, but it’s actually possible to almost do BOTH. If you’re trying to cut back on carbs but don’t want to overdo it on animal products, this list of low-carb, grain-free vegan recipes is going to be your new best friend. Make them ahead of time and take them to work for a quick, healthy meal.
1. Sweet Potato Noodles With Brussels Sprouts and Lentil Ragu: If you’re not going to be eating any grains OR meat, you’re going to need to bend the rules slightly. While strict Paleo doesn’t include legumes such as lentils, it’s important to get some protein into your diet if you’re going to be eating veg. This delicious recipe is healthful, protein-packed, and totally free of grains and refined starches. (via Inspiralized)
2. Cashew Satay Spiralized Vegetable Stir Fry: Now, THIS recipe is Paleo-friendly, as it uses only nuts and vegetables. To make sure it’s totally compliant, be sure to use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce. (via Cotter Crunch)
3. Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad: This plant-based version of the classic Caesar salad will satisfy herbivores. It’s not completely Paleo, as it includes nutritional yeast, but it is grain-free thanks to the chickpea croutons. (via Oh She Glows)
4. Sesame Sweet Potato Noodles: This flavor-packed recipe makes use of the healthy, nutritious, and ever-delicious sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a great source of grain-free carbohydrates that are gentle on your digestive system — and have the sometimes evasive (in low-carb diets, anyway) comfort-food factor. (via The Organic Dietician)
5. Asian Cucumber Sesame Salad: Speaking of sesame-flavored dishes, this salad is simply BURSTING with bright colors and flavors. It’s made with cucumbers, carrots, red bell peppers, onions, ginger, cilantro, and lime juice. And, of course, sesame seeds. (via A Saucy Kitchen)
6. Cauliflower Mash: While white potatoes are technically Paleo-friendly, they do have a decent amount of carbs and a pretty small nutritional value (unlike sweet potatoes, which have TONS of nutrients). And besides, all the butter that usually goes into mashed potatoes is neither vegan nor Paleo. But no worries: This cauliflower mash recipe fixes all of that. (via The Healthy Chef)
7. Vegan Pesto Zucchini Noodles With Asparagus: Zoodles are one of our favorite things pretty much always, and this recipe combines them with a flavorful vegan pesto. You’ll be getting some protein from the pine nuts in the pesto recipe. (via Inspiralized)
8. Split Pea and Cauliflower Curry With Roasted Rutabaga Noodles: Sure, you’ve heard of sweet potato noodles and zucchini noodles. But have you ever tried RUTABAGA noodles? Give this recipe a go — it also features a warming curry made with ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, and coconut milk. Remove the split peas if you’re really trying to be compliant. (via Inspiralized)
9. Vegan Shepherd’s Pie: Shepherd’s pie is warm and comforting, and skipping the animal products won’t change that. This vegan version of the wintertime classic is made with just 10 ingredients: potatoes, lentils, onions, garlic, vegetable stock, thyme, mixed frozen veggies, vegan butter, salt, and pepper. (via Minimalist Baker)
10. Avocado and Tomato Zucchini Noodle Salad With Basil Vinaigrette: Avocados are a very healthy source of fat for vegans, and they give dishes a rich, creamy texture and flavorful kick that’s hard to beat. Spiralize some zucchini noodles and top them with tomatoes, avos, and this delicious basil vinaigrette recipe. Don’t add the peas if you want to be strictly Paleo. (via Inspiralized)
11. Curried Cauliflower Rice Kale Soup: We only included one soup recipe on our list, but there are TONS of ways to make vegan and Paleo-friendly soups. Case in point: this soup, which uses cauliflower rice in lieu of traditional rice to create a hearty, warming, and healthy dish. (via Cotter Crunch)
12. Roasted Fall Vegetable Salad With Curry Dressing: Curry-spiced dressing balances out the sweetness of root veggies and squash in this hearty salad. Kale and Brussels sprouts are massaged until tender to form a nutritious base for the meal. (via Feasting at Home)
13. Instant Pot Cauliflower Mushroom Risotto: Cauliflower is a low-carb subsitute for arborio rice that comes in handy when a craving for Italian food strikes (i.e. constantly). This risotto is super creamy thanks to coconut milk and tapioca starch, while shiitake mushrooms fill the dish with savory flavor. (via What Great Grandma Ate)
14. Butternut Noodles With Cashew Alfredo: Long tangles of butternut squash noodles make for a lunch you’ll slurp right up. A decadent vegan cashew Alfredo sauce coats each bite with flavor. (via Inspiralized)
15. Orange Glazed Cabbage With Hazelnuts: Crunchy hazelnuts, mint chiffonade, and orange zest dot the tops of these hearty roasted cabbage “steaks.” Tangy balsamic-orange glaze keeps you going back for more. (via Every Last Bite)
16. Sweet Potato Pumpkin Fritters: These grain-free fritters pack up neatly in your lunchbox. (via Tasting Page)
Follow us on Pinterest for more healthy recipe ideas, from vegan to Paleo and everything in between.
(Additional reporting by Justina Huddleston)