How do you know someone’s vegan? They’ll probably tell you — or write a bunch of blog posts about it. I know this is a travel blog but a big part of my travels is finding delicious plant foods everywhere I go. Besides, eating plants is the best way to care for your body, animals, and the environment. And it’s surprisingly easy to do it even when you’re out in the wild (or a nice campsite in the middle of Wisconsin).
To have the best possible camping experience as a vegan, here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks:
- Plan ahead! Write down a meal plan and a grocery list ahead of time.
- Keep meals as simple as possible. Plan meals that require some of the same ingredients so you don’t have to buy a million little items for one trip.
- Prepare some food ahead of time. You don’t want to be sitting around a fire waiting for rice to cook after a long day of hiking. If you have food prepared all you have to do is heat it up and eat.
- Bring a propane stove if you don’t want to start a fire for every meal. The one we used was probably 15 years old but it still did the trick.
Here’s what I bring on my camping trips:
- camping dining set
- cast iron skillet
- propane stove
- food storage containers for leftovers
- pot for boiling water
- AeroPress coffee maker
- cooking utensils: spatula, large spoon, tongs
- plastic bin for doing dishes
- eco-friendly dish soap
- towels and washcloths
Now for the food!
Vegan Camping Breakfast Ideas
I prefer breakfast to be as stress-free as possible. I don’t want to wake up and have to cook a gourmet breakfast that will take hours to clean up. My ideal breakfast is quick and uses one dish or less so that I have more time to sit around with a cup of coffee and enjoy the morning.
Oatmeal is so easy for camping and can be customized to fit everyone’s tastes. It cooks quickly and you can make big batches for leftovers. I love making my oatmeal with cinnamon, chia seeds, coconut sugar, and tons of almond milk.
You can also make overnight oats to make breakfast even easier. All you have to do is add oats, plant milk, and all your fixings to a jar and let it soak overnight.
I am a huge potato person. I will eat potatoes for every single meal of the day if I have the chance to. To make a really easy hash I just chop up potatoes into cubes and throw them in a foil pack with some other veggies and spices. I like using red onions, broccoli, zucchini, and garlic salt for a super basic hash. The best part is you don’t even need to use oil as long as you don’t overcook it.
Okay this one is really basic and almost feels like cheating but if you’re low on time just bring along some pre-baked items. I love bagels and vegan cream cheese or muffins for a quick and easy breakfast. These oil-free muffins from Feasting on Fruit look incredible.
Vegan Camping Lunch Ideas
When I’m camping I like to be out hiking during the day. This means I have to pack something to take for lunch ahead of time. I like to make extra food at dinner time and stick it in a reusable container for lunch the next day. If you’re like me and you’re a leftover kind of gal feel free to use some of the dinner ideas below.
If I happen to be on the campsite and have time to make lunch I prefer it to be quick and easy to clean up. My go-to lunches are sandwiches or potatoes.
Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
This is one of those things that can easily be prepped ahead of time. I like to throw a can of chickpeas in a bowl with avocado, brown mustard, garlic powder, red onions, chopped pickles and celery, and some salt. Then I mash it until it’s sticky but still a little chunky. You can eat the mixture on a sandwich, wrap, or just straight out of the container.
I don’t like to bother with cans while I’m camping. Trader Joe’s has some awesome boxed soups that are perfect for camping. I like their vegan lentil soup.
Loaded Baked Potatoes
Oh potatoes. You have such a significant place in my heart. That’s probably why you show up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on this post. But seriously, potatoes are so easy and versatile and they taste good with every single topping.
My go-to loaded potato is actually really simple. I bake a potato in foil and stuff it with hummus and salsa and call it a day. If I’m feeling crazy I’ll cook up some onions and broccoli and throw it on top. Some other great toppings are black beans, green onions, vegan cheese, BBQ sauce, and literally anything else that can be put on top of another thing.
PB&J (or AB&J)
A classic for a reason. If my boyfriend didn’t have a peanut allergy I would eat a lot more of these yummy sandwiches. Almond butter and jelly sandwiches are a great alternative to the classic.
Vegan Camping Dinner Ideas
Dinner is where I like to get a little bit more creative. I still keep my meals pretty simple but I usually make a few sides as well. Of course I always save room for a beer and dessert.
Gnocchi or Pasta
If you can’t have a fire, boil up some water and you can have a delicious meal in minutes. Gnocchi is the most underrated form of pasta. It’s delicious and it cooks in less than 4 minutes. All you need to do is boil water, drop in the little balls of joy and wait for them to float to the top. Then coat them in your favorite pasta sauce, pour yourself a glass of wine, and call it a night.
For an equally easy meal that takes a little more time, cook up any type of pasta. I personally love the red lentil pasta from Trader Joe’s. For some extra nutrition, mix in some spinach and zucchini with your sauce. I also highly recommend making some campfire garlic bread to go on the side.
Foil Veggie Packs
This is the easiest meal to make while camping. Basically, throw everything you love in a piece of tinfoil, put it on the fire and forget about it until it’s time to eat.
Potatoes are the main ingredient in mine so I don’t get hungry an hour later. From there you can throw in anything else you have on hand. Potatoes, broccoli, onion, and cauliflower make a delicious dinner. Throw on some garlic salt and pepper for the easiest meal of your life.
These are the easiest meals to make at home on a busy day. Start with a base of rice and black beans. Cook some veggies to throw on top. Cover it all with some salsa and you have yourself a fiesta.
I like to take pre-cooked rice while camping. You can make this ahead of time and put it in a plastic bag or just buy it cooked from the grocery store. You can use any canned beans you like or prep some homemade refried beans ahead of time.
Veggie Burgers or Dogs
A camping classic — hot dogs and burgers. Make your own ahead of time or go with store-bought. I recently tried the Tofurky Italian Sausages and life will never be the same. Pack some buns and ketchup for a quick and easy meal.
Unless you’re making your own, this probably isn’t the healthiest dinner on the list. Balance it out with a side salad or some grilled veggies. I love the taste of corn on the cob cooked over a campfire. Zucchini also cooks well over the fire wrapped in foil.
Vegan Camping Dessert Ideas
The campfire classic dessert. You absolutely cannot go wrong with s’mores and they’re surprisingly easy to vegan-ify. There are lots of brands of vegan marshmallows on the market. I recommend the Trader Joe’s brand or Dandies
It’s so easy to find vegan chocolate. Most high quality dark chocolates are made without milk products. If you’re not a dark chocolate lover you can find vegan milk chocolate from Enjoy Life
Campfire banana boats are a serious dessert game-changer. Grab some foil, a banana, and any toppings you like. Think dark chocolate, coconut, almond butter, granola, etc.
Slice a banana lengthwise through the skin. Be careful not to slice all the way through or things may get a little messy. Load your toppings in, wrap it in foil, and cook it on the fire for 10-15 minutes. The result will be a sweet gooey treat that you can eat with a fork.
Now Get Camping!
Hopefully these meal ideas gave you some inspiration to create a super awesome vegan camping meal plan. You don’t need a lot to create a full trip’s worth of plant based foods. Plan ahead and stick to the basics. I definitely don’t make all of these foods on each trip I go on.
I’d love to hear what are your favorite camping foods?