Tis’ the season of impromptu backpacking and camping trips, weekends full of making bonfires, and getting more bug bites than I can count. But along with camping comes the usual bacon with breakfast, hot dogs cooked over the fire, and late night s'mores. For the most part “traditional” camping food does not cater well to us vegans. So how will I manage to go camping with all of my non-vegan friends this summer? The answer may be easier than you think.
First and foremost, I find it easiest to simply bring my own food. This helps you avoid the awkward situation of having nothing vegan to eat except the pack of hot dog buns. When you have a plethora of vegan food, you are able to fully relax rather than stress about what you’re going to have for dinner later that night.
For car camping: The beauty of car camping is that you can have a large stove to heat food and a cooler full of prepared meals.
Breakfast: I truly mean it when I say that I could eat oatmeal for breakfast everyday and never get sick of them. I find it easiest to make over night oats and pack them in my cooler. My go to ‘recipe’ is 1 cup of almond milk, 1 cup of oats, 1 tbsp of chia seeds, cinnamon, 1 small banana (mashed up or cut into slices), all topped with as much peanut butter as my heart desires. I simply mix this all up in a mason jar or Tupperware, store it in the cooler, and it’s ready to eat whenever I want it. If you prefer warm oats simply pack your ingredients in a Tupperware and cook it over the stove as you would at home.
Lunch: Sandwiches are always a crowd pleaser and they don’t need meat and cheese to taste delicious. A large majority of bread is vegan, but I always bring my own just in case someone got one that has milk or eggs in it. I opt for hummus as my spread and load up on veggies; spinach, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cucumber…the list is endless! When I’m not camping I eat A LOT of vegetables. I find that having a loaded veggie sandwich is an easy way to getting in lots of veggies without having to prep a salad whilst in nature.
Dinner: If you want to get the ‘full’ camping experience you can buy Field Roast hot dogs. These things are amazing and allow you to partake in the wiener roasting with your friends and family. As delicious as they may be, meat alternatives tend to be a bit expensive. So, what’s a cheap and easy option? Rice and beans! I cook rice and beans at home, add them to a Tupperware, and safely store them in a cooler. When you’re ready to eat all you have to do is heat them on a pan over stove or fire. I know what you’re thinking…how boring. But rice and beans are simply the base of my dinner. You can easy add steamed broccoli (prepped at home), onions and peppers, avocado, hummus, hot sauce, tomatoes…you get the idea.
Snacks: In my opinion snacking is essential for long days spent in the outdoors. My go to snacks are fruit (cherries are in season so they’re SUPER cheap, apples, bananas, nectarines, really whatever tickles your fancy), granola bars/ energy balls (check out my recipe for these under my “RECIPE” tab at the top), dried fruit (dates, apricots, figs), trial mix (nuts, seeds, and of course chocolate). All of these snacks are super easy to pack and are ideal if you go on any short hikes/ adventures during the day.
Dessert: It’s no doubt that s'mores are an essential part of camping. Yet sadly, Hershey’s chocolate has milk, Honey Maid graham crackers have honey, and marshmallows are full of gelatin. In other words they are a trifecta of non-vegan goodies. But have no fear! It is incredibly easy to find vegan substitutes. Simply opt for the plain graham crackers, buy some dark chocolate (be sure to read the label, certain brands still put milk in their dark chocolate…I know it’s just foolish), and get a bag of vegan marshmallows. I buy my marshmallows at a local health foods store. They may be a bit more expensive that their non-vegan counterpart, but one bag can last you a long time. The perks of being the only vegan is that no one will eat your ingredients, thus you get the whole bag to yourself!
These are my go to recipes and snacks when I’m out camping in the great outdoors. When I’m backpacking my meals look very different but that’s a story for another time. Just goes to show that being vegan doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to expensive! You may have to prep some rice and beans before hitting the road, but I think that’s a small price to pay for eating in a way that doesn’t harm or kill any animals. Wising you happy trails this summer from my tent to yours!