Camping for many is about being one with nature, and this is important for a lot of people who follow a plant-based diet. There’s no reason why your meals on camping trips can’t be just as varied and delicious as the ones we eat at home. Many camping staples such as burgers, hot dogs, and toasted marshmallows seem inaccessible to those who don’t eat meat, but we’re here to show you that you can have the full camping experience, even on a vegan diet.
Camping trips are the favorite type of vacation for many, providing a true opportunity to reconnect with nature. Overnight backpacking is a popular choice these days, meaning it’s time to meal prep for some delicious dinner-times along the way. Read on to discover 18 amazing recipes that will revolutionize mealtimes on your next camping trip, vegan or otherwise.
What is a vegan diet?
A vegan or plant-based diet means eating only foods that come from plants, no animal products involved. Veganism varies, there are many different ways to follow a vegan diet, and while no single way is correct, there are general guidelines that most vegan diets follow. Eating no animal products means no meat, white or red, no fish, eggs, or dairy.
For some, it also means avoiding honey. Many of those who follow a vegan diet also apply it to other areas of their lives, for example, they choose not to wear clothes made of leather or use cosmetic products made with beeswax or tested on animals. Although many vegan diets consist of only very healthy foods, there’s still plenty of junk food options as well, so for those of you with a sweet tooth, don’t worry.
As of 2017, a staggering 6% of all Americans are vegan. This might not seem like a lot, but this figure rose 600% from three years previous, meaning more than 18 million Americans now follow a plant-based diet. Even those who don’t follow a vegan diet are trying to consume less meat, for a number of reasons.
Plant-based foods have been proven to be better for your health, and for the environment, so even the most stubborn of meat-eaters are now giving things like meat-free Mondays a try. For example, one study found that those following a plant-based diet were 60 percent less likely than people following diets rich in meat proteins to build up plaque in the arteries surrounding the heart. If you’re interested, check out Veganuary, a pledge to try to be vegan for the whole month of January.
What you’ll need for vegan camping meals
When preparing for your next camping trip, its good to plan ahead for your meals. Write down your meal plans in advance so you can grocery shop for everything you need, and stock up on some vegan camping staples. For your camping cooking supplies and equipment, we recommend you pack:
- A dining set or sets (plates, bowls, cutlery, cups, and mugs)
- Camping stove
- Grate for cooking on a campfire
- Roasting sticks (for marshmallows or hot dogs)
- Frying pan
- Medium-sized pot
- Large bowl for mixing or salad
- Cooking utensils
- Can opener
- Dish-doing supplies
- Water bottles (stay hydrated!)
Vegan camping staples, for your consideration
- Bananas, apples, any fruit of choice
- Condiments and sauces
- Plant-based milk
- Veggie dogs and veggie burgers
- Bread/hotdog buns
- Vegan graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows (for those must-have s’mores)
- Salt and pepper, nutritional yeast, any other seasonings
- Cooking spray or oil
- Canned chickpeas or other forms of canned beans
- Dried fruit and nuts
- Granola bars
- Salad ingredients
- Peanut butter
- Canned soup or boxed vegan mac n cheese, if you’re feeling lazy or the weather is less than delightful
Remember there are certain things where it pays to make them in advance. Pasta salad and potato salad are both really easy to make at home and transport with you to the campsite. You could also try your hand at some homemade granola bars or energy balls, which are a healthy way to get a great vegan energy boost.
18 delicious vegan camping recipes
Camping food has to fulfill three main requirements; convenience, portability, and longevity. You want to go for meals which don’t require too much preparation or need many dishes, as you’ll be on the trail when you’re eating them. You should also try to make your meals easily transportable, so not too heavy, and not too large. It’s also a good idea to use foods that don’t need to be refrigerated or are small enough to fit in a camping cooler easily.
Pancakes: Probably everyone’s favorite camping breakfast, pancakes are a must-have for those early campsite mornings. You can use a pre-made pancake mix, or make your own from flour or oats, baking powder, salt, stevia, and water. Try mixing the dry ingredients while you’re at home, so when you’re at the campsite you can just add water. Simply mix it up and cook your pancakes stove-top, try garnishing them with peanut butter to add some protein, or maybe some fresh berries, for some tasty vegan camping food.
Nut butter and banana roll-ups: For a delicious sweet morning treat, take some peanut butter (or any other nut butter of your choice) and spread on a tortilla wrap, add some banana slices and roll it up. Try adding some cinnamon or cloves for a bit of extra flavor.
Oats: Whether you go for traditional oatmeal or the newly popular overnight oats, these carbohydrates are great for slow-release energy throughout your day, perfect for hiking. Cook them up on your stove with water or plant milk, and add fruit, seeds, nut butter, maple syrup, dried fruit, whatever takes your fancy. For overnight oats, you can even prep them in advance before your trip, so they’ll be ready and waiting when you wake up in the morning. Mashed banana makes a great addition to overnight oats for some natural sweetness.
Vegan breakfast scramble: This one-pan dish couldn’t be easier to make, and is protein-packed and full of flavor. Choose chickpeas or tofu as your base, and make use of all the veggies you have that need using up, this one’s especially good for the last day of your trip, you can just throw in everything that’s left! Simply fry everything up in a pan, add some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor, plenty of salt and pepper, garlic, Tumeric, and just a dash of soy sauce. If you have some left over, roll it up in a tortilla with avocado and sweet chili sauce for a killer burrito lunch.
Vegan hummus wrap: This vegan camping food staple can really do anything, we would add hummus to every meal if we could. Fill up a tortilla with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrot, and some avocado slices. Of course, you can spread on some hummus with a generous hand, and try adding some beetroot for a true rainbow wrap, or any other veggies you have lying around.
Corn on the cob: There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking around the campfire, and what better to use it for than corn on the cob. Skewer your corn on a roasting stick and hold it over the fire until it’s cooked, or chop it into chunks and wrap it up in tinfoil with some vegan butter and place them over the fire on a grate. Either way, add a little salt for a delicious sweet and salty meal that’s guaranteed to bring back some childhood memories.
One-pot red lentil sloppy joes: As the name suggests, all you need is one pot. Cook together onions, garlic, and pepper with oil. Add lentils and water and simmer until soft, then mix in tomato paste, mustard, apple cider vinegar, vegan Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, and salt. All this can be done on the trail, but it’s even easier to make ahead at home. Once you’re there, simply reheat and serve on toasted buns for a plant-based twist on a summer classic.
Soup and a sandwich: This one’s an easy but fulfilling campsite classic. Just bring a can of your favorite veggie soup to heat up on your stove, and serve with a hummus, avocado, tempeh and salad sandwich. Add a dash of hot sauce for a flavourful and spicy kick.
Veggie burgers or dogs and salad: A vegan alternative for everyone’s go-to camping meal choice, veggie burgers or veggie dogs can be made yourself or store-bought, and ensure everyone feels included at the barbecue, whether they’re vegan or not. For store-bought, you can try Field Roast sausages and burgers, or grilled portobello mushrooms make another delicious option. The best way to cook them is of course over the campfire, either on a grill or roasting stick, then add to some lightly toasted bread with your favorite sauce and relish. On the side, a fresh summer salad is perfect. Try adding in some chickpeas, red onion, nuts or fruits to make it a bit more exciting, and complete with balsamic or a vegan ranch dressing, available at Trader Joe’s.
Veggie foil packets: An easy and delicious dish to prepare on the campfire is some veggie foil packets, and bonus- there’s no dishes to clean afterward. You can use a variety of vegetables, some great choices are carrots, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and onions, if you have some pre-boiled potatoes they make a great addition. Just mix them together in a foil packet with some olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper. You can serve this meal with some brown rice or quinoa to make it a bit more substantial.
Veggie and tofu kebabs: Anything you can stick on a skewer and grill over the campfire is an excellent choice for camping. Again, you can use any vegetables you have, we recommend red onions and peppers for both color and flavor, and some marinated tofu. Just roast them over the flames until they’re tender but a little crispy, and enjoy. There are lots of variations to try out, so everyone on your camping trip can personalize their own kebab. Make sure to safely put out your campfire afterward.
Grilled sweet potato fajitas: Including both sweet and savory, this comfort food classic shows that vegan food can be just as delicious as anything else. To save time at the campsite, cut and marinate the sweet potatoes at home and pack them in an airtight container or bag. Black beans also make a great addition to this recipe. To marinate the sweet potatoes, chop them as desired and mix with oil, chili powder, salt and soy sauce. Then once you’re at the campsite, fry them up with peppers, onion, garlic, and more seasoning. To serve, wrap up in some lightly toasted tortillas and add a squeeze of lime.
Pasta with veggies: If you can’t build a campfire, pasta is an easy option to make on a stove. You can even freeze-dry it if you’re backpacking, for some space-saving efficiency. Cook this meal in one pot to save on washing up, just boil the pasta first and drain, then heat up your sauce and vegetables straight in with the pasta. To make some fantastic vegan garlic bread for on the side spread a baguette with vegan butter and plenty of minced garlic and nutritional yeast. Then you can just grill it on the camping stove in a pan or skillet, and some rosemary would add a tasty twist.
Trail mix: A hiking classic that’s already vegan, you can make your own trail mix so easily at home. That way you can make sure to add in extras of all your favorites. We love to add cashews, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds or cacao nibs if you’re feeling fancy, or alternatively some chopped dark chocolate.
Veggies and hummus: For a savory snack, chop carrots, cucumber, and pepper into sticks to dip in your favorite store-bought or homemade hummus.
Granola bars: Homemade granola bars are great for campers who need a little energy boost mid-hike. Make them while you’re at home and just wrap in baking parchment for your trip. For a super healthy five-ingredient bar, mix 1 cup of dates, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 peanut or almond butter, 1 cup of roasted almonds, 1 1/2 cups of rolled oats, and some extra little flavor treats, like chocolate chips or dried banana. Blitz the dates in a blender before you add them in, then simply transfer the mix into a baking tray and let it go firm, then cut into bars. Sprinkle some chia seeds on top for extra protein.
Vegan S’mores: A camping trip wouldn’t be complete without s’mores, and there’s no reason for vegans to miss out. You’ll need to find some vegan marshmallows, to roast over the campfire on skewers, and then sandwich between graham crackers with a piece of chocolate.
Grilled fruit: Grilled fruit is a super easy and simple dessert or snack, perfect for summer evenings. You can pick any fruit that’s in season, for example, peaches and nectarines make a great choice. Just slice them up, brush with a little maple syrup, and grill until slightly soft. The maple syrup and sugars within the fruit will caramelize on the grill, and to serve, top them with a little cinnamon and some chopped nuts. You could even make a quick chocolate dipping sauce by melting a little from your s’mores.
There are so many options for delicious vegan camping food, so your next trip back into nature can be plant-based. There are so many benefits to a plant-based diet, and for campers who really care about preserving our environment, making your trip plant-based is much more eco-friendly. Making an effort to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet can be really beneficial to the planet, with something as simple as meat-free Mondays having a positive impact on your greenhouse gas emissions, and your health as well.
From veggie burgers to vegan s’mores, almost every camping classic you can think of can be made vegan, so there’s no reason to miss out on your next trip this summer. Some awesome camping food ideas not included here like guacamole and tacos make easy meals for summer days, there are so many possibilities. It’s advisable to plan ahead and do a little meal prepping, just to make sure your camping trip goes smoothly.
Remember to pack your vegan camping essentials; oats, plant milk, veggies, and seasonings are must-haves. Don’t feel overwhelmed, it’s really very easy to make delicious vegan camping recipes, and one benefit of plant-based foods is it’s pretty hard to get food poisoning, so that’s one less thing to worry about. Hopefully, all these recipe ideas have pointed you in the right direction for your next trip, and if you need a destination too, check out the best camping spots in Florida. Get packed, prepped and ready, and happy camping to you!