woman in KÜHL shirt slicing yellow pepper bell

Camping Vegan Style: Ideas for Plant-Based Camp Food

Backpacking Camping Hiking
on
April 30, 2021

Opt for meatless products while camping to reset your mind as well as your body! A plant-based diet consists of vegetables, grains, and other foods that do not derive from animals. There are many types of plant-based diets, from the more extreme raw vegan diet to the flexitarian diet, when people aim to significantly reduce their meat intake (versus eliminating it completely).  Whichever interpretation suits you, eating a diet rich in plant-based foods has a variety of physical benefits. Plant-based meals sharpen your mind and energize your body, especially after a good night’s sleep under the stars. 

A Plant-Based Diet May: 

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce your intake of saturated fat, which contributes to heart issues 
  • Prevent Type 2 Diabetes 
  • Improve cholesterol 
  • Reduce risk of stroke 
  • Improve cognitive function

If you want to implement a vegan menu for your next camping trip, look no further. There are endless options for plant-based and vegan meals to pack along with your Essential Outdoor Supplies

Have questions regarding how to prepare, store, and cook foods while camping? 
Click here to read The Complete Camping Food Guide: Prep, Storage, and More.

Easy Vegan Swaps

If you have a favorite non-vegan recipe, chances are you can swap out non-vegan ingredients for plant-based alternatives. Here’s an overview of easy swaps you can utilize to transform almost any meal into one that’s plant-based. 

Instead of eggs, use:

  • Applesauce 
  • Flaxseed and water
  • Chia seeds 
  • Tofu 
  • Pumpkin puree 
  • Bananas

Instead of meat, use:

  • Beans 
  • Tofu 
  • Tempeh 
  • Veggies 
  • Plant-based meats

Instead of butter, use:

  • Mashed avocado
  • Plant-basted butter
  • Hummus
  • Non-dairy butter 
  • Cooking oil

Instead of cheese, use:

  • Nutritional yeast 
  • Hummus 
  • Vegan pesto 
  • Smoked tofu 
  • Plant-based cheese

Plant-Based Foods with High Protein

Many people new to plant-based diets are concerned about consuming enough protein in a diet that doesn’t contain meat. There are many plant-based foods that are rich sources of protein, including the following:

  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Edamame 
  • Almost all legumes (beans and peas) 
  • Nuts and seeds 
  • Quinoa 
  • Oats 
  • Protein-rich veggies (such as broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, and more)  
brown tempeh on skewers with lemon
Tempeh is very rich in protein and can be made with skewers. Add sesame and spicy peanut dip! Photo by Ella Olsson.

10 Vegan Snacks 

1. Fruits and Veggies 

This one is obvious, but a banana, apple, bag of carrots, and other ready-to-go produce is easy, light, and most importantly, nutrient-dense. 

2. Pita and Hummus 

Hummus is a filling snack that is packed with protein. Pair with pita, crackers, or veggies, like bell peppers and carrots. Make sure you have a cooler as hummus needs to be refrigerated. 

3. Nuts and Seeds 

Nuts and seeds are quite filling, and boast tons of protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. You’ll also find plenty of iron, zinc, fiber, and magnesium, depending on what nut or seed you choose. Macadamias, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are great for camping trips. 

4. Tortilla Chips, Salsa, and Guacamole 

Skip the queso, and this beloved snack is completely vegan and delicious. Make your own guacamole for optimum freshness. Avocado is known for its good-for-you monounsaturated fats, fiber, and vitamins C, E, K, and B6. 

5. Granola Bars 

Most granola bars are vegan, but make sure to check the ingredients. Some may contain traces of milk, or honey. Since bees produce honey, it’s technically not plant-based, but whether or not you eat it will depend on how strict you are with your diet. 

6. Potato Chips 

Many kettle cooked chips are vegan, as well as Original Lays and even Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos. Most health food stores will have a plethora of vegan chips, but always check the label to make sure the chips don’t contain any cheese, whey, or lard. You’ll be surprised at how often these ingredients sneak their way into flavors you might not expect. 

7. Dried fruit 

This non-perishable sweet snack is a great way to fuel your body while hiking and camping. 

dried peach slices in a glass jar
Dried fruit is lightweight, easy to pack and absolutely delicious on a trail. Photo by Fati Mohebbi.

8. Oreos 

Believe it or not, Oreos are actually vegan. While they may not be the healthiest choice, indulge in moderation! 

9. Veggie Jerky  

There are plenty of plant-based options to choose from, including jerky made from kelp, portobello, and even banana. Veggie jerky is an easy, smart and savory snack option. 

 10. Dark Chocolate 

Not all dark chocolate is vegan, so always check the ingredients label. But in general, follow this rule of thumb: the higher the cocoa percentage, the more likely it’s vegan. Super dark chocolate often does not use milk, so satisfy your sweet tooth guilt-free. 

15 Easy Vegan Meal Ideas for Camping  

While vegan ingredient swaps are helpful to know, you don’t need to rely on non-vegan recipes. There are many completely vegan recipes to choose from.  If you are dispersed camping or backpacking, stick to meals that require fewer ingredients and pans. No matter where you decide to pitch your tent, here are 15 easy vegan recipes that will make plant-based cooking a breeze while you bask in the great outdoors.

Vegan Camping Breakfast

1. Oatmeal 

Everyone knows oatmeal is hearty and quick to make, but eating it plain can taste quite boring. Add your favorite ingredients to spice up a regular bowl of oatmeal. 

Spice Up Your Oatmeal with These Ingredients:  

  • Fresh fruit, like bananas, blueberries, or strawberries 
  • Nuts and seeds 
  • Spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg 
  • Dark chocolate chips 
  • Nut butters 
  • Maple syrup 
  • Jelly and jam 

2. Fluffy Vegan Pancakes 

While most people use eggs when cooking pancakes, it’s simple to avoid this ingredient. You’ll be surprised by how little you notice this missing ingredient. If possible, store the powdered and liquid mixture separate in airtight tupperware so it’s ready to go while camping. 

brown vegan pancakes with walnuts on white plate
Homemade vegan banana walnut pancakes. Photo by Veganbaking.net.

` Ingredients (for 2 servings) 

  • 0.5 cup non-dairy milk of choice 
  • 0.5 cup flour 
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Optional: Non-dairy butter, maple, and fresh fruit syrup to serve 

Instructions

  1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder with milk and vanilla extract until smooth. 
  2. Let batter sit for a few minutes.
  3. Pour onto a nonstick pan at medium heat.
  4. When the top bubbles, flip over. 
  5. Serve as you please. 

3. Tofu Scramble 

Eggs are one of the food items that many vegans struggle to give up. While you can’t replicate a runny yolk, it’s quite easy to replicate scrambled eggs using tofu. Here’s how. 

Ingredients 

  • Tofu 
  • Oil 
  • Seasonings (salt, turmeric, nutritional yeast) 
  • Veggies of choice 
  • Optional: Burrito or taco tortilla, salsa, avocado 

Instructions

  1. Heat oil on a skillet and add bell peppers, onions, and seasoning.
  2. Once veggies are beginning to soften, add tofu and break up as much as possible to replicate the texture of eggs. Season with turmeric and nutritional yeast to give the tofu a yellowish color and savory flavor. 
  3. Enjoy in a bowl, or even as a make-ahead burrito! 

4. Cereal 

Cereal is one of the easiest breakfast options for plant-based eaters. Swap dairy milk for a milk alternative, and pour into a bowl. As always, make sure to check the label as many kinds of cereal include hidden plant-based ingredients that you might not expect it. In addition to avoiding cereals that use animal products, try to avoid cereals with more than 5 grams of sugar per serving. 

5. Bagels and Vegan Cream Cheese 

brown bagels on gray tray
Bring bagels with vegan cream cheese or avocado for an easy vegan camping breakfast. Photo by Aneta Voborilova.

Another easy and filling option, vegan cream cheese is available at most grocery stores and tastes convincingly close to the real thing. Toast your bagel on the stove, or just have it plain. Top it with avocado, capers, or onions if you are craving a more “deluxe” meal. 

Vegan Camping Lunch

6. Sandwiches

A good ole’ PB&J is an easy vegan treat that you can make ahead of time and will keep for days. Sweet and savory, a PB&J is a great camp food, but venture beyond this classic for more options. In this day and age, the grocery store is full of vegan alternatives to meat and cheese, making it simple to prepare a totally vegan deli sandwich. Keep in mind, vegan meats and cheeses are highly processed. Try to use these “meats” minimally and include plenty of veggies. 

Vegan Deli Sandwich Ingredients 

  • Vegan “ham” or “turkey”  
  • Mustard 
  • Vegan mayo
  • Onions 
  • Lettuce
  • Sprouts 
  • Avocado
  • Vegan sliced cheese

7. Wraps 

You can make almost any sandwich into a wrap! A PB&J or deli wrap will do, but a Mediterranean wrap will pamper your taste buds during a long day of hiking, biking, or boating. 

Mediterranean Wrap Ingredients 

  • Tortilla (or pita) 
  • Hummus 
  • Canned chickpeas 
  • Olives 
  • Cucumbers
  • Grape tomatoes 
  • Spinach  

8. Hearty Salads

Chop up your favorite veggies; add your favorite beans and grains; and top with a vegan dressing, such as olive oil and vinegar or even simple lemon juice. A salad can be conveniently brought along to your day’s adventure in secure tupperware. Make sure the lid is tight, as any leakage in your backpack can make quite a mess. 

Plant Based Camp Food 2
Chopping up the ingredients for a refreshing salad in the outdoors in Kagawong, Canada. Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel.

Vegan Cobb Salad Ingredients 

  • Romaine lettuce 
  • McCormick’s bacon bits (Surprisingly, yes, these are vegan!) 
  • Chickpeas 
  • Corn 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Radish 
  • Red onion 
  • Avocado 
  • Vegan ranch dressing 

9. Tacos 

If you’re spending a portion of the day at the campsite, make tacos for lunch! Tacos are relatively light on the stomach but packed with flavor. Fill tacos with whatever veggies you please. When cooked correctly, seasoned jackfruit can have a similar texture to shredded meat. Sweet potato and black bean tacos are another favorite; this vegan twise on tacos is filling, flavorful, and ridiculously healthy. Bonus, none of these ingredients need to be refrigerated. 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos Ingredients 

  • Taco tortilla 
  • Sweet potato
  • Canned black beans 
  • Cilantro 
  • Yellow onion 
  • Avocado 
  • Hot sauce 

Instructions 

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add sweet potato chunks, chopped into small cubes. 
  2. Stir until tender.
  3. Add canned black beans. 
  4. Assemble into tortilla. 
  5. Top off with chopped onion, sliced avocado, and hot sauce. 

Vegan Camping Dinner

 10. Two-Ingredient, One-Pot Spaghetti and Red Sauce 

Using just one pot, make an easy dinner that’s as tasty as it is filling. After a long day of activities, this meal will come together with almost no effort. 

man standing next to table with portable stove outdoors
For an easy and delicious dinner, you simply need red sauce and your favorite spaghetti. Products shown: Free Radikl™ Pant, Influx™ Hoody.

Ingredients 

  • Spaghetti 
  • Red sauce 
  • Optional: Seasonings (salt, oregano, or nutritional yeast) 

Instructions 

  1. Boil water.
  2. Cook spaghetti until tender. 
  3. Drain water. 
  4. Add canned marinara sauce and seasoning. 

 11. Campfire Potatoes and Veggie Foil Packet

Feeling a bit lazy? Campfire foil packets have minimal setup with basically no clean-up! Simply wrap whatever veggies and potatoes you want in foil, and place the packets fireside on hot coals. There’s something about cooking your meal straight on your campfire that is sure to please any outdoor enthusiast. 

Ingredients 

  • Olive oil 
  • Potatoes 
  • Veggies of choice (broccoli, bell pepper, corn on the cob) 

Instructions 

  1. Use at least two layers of foil as one layer will be flimsy and likely to rip open. 
  2. Mix oil, potatoes, veggies, and seasoning, and add to foil. If using a large potato, such as Russet, chop into one-inch chunks. Otherwise use baby red potatoes or fingerlings.
  3. Completely wrap food in the foil securely.  
  4. Place packs directly on top of hot coals. 
  5. Flip over the packets about 20 minutes through, and let cook for another 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. 

 12. Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry 

Originating in China, tofu is found in many Asian foods, including stir fry dishes. Tofu contains a good source of protein, all nine amino acids, iron, calcium, and more. Incorporating tofu into your camp stove stir fry helps create meat-like texture. Pair with one to three veggies of choice, and enjoy. 

Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry Ingredients 

  • Extra firm tofu 
  • Garlic 
  • Ginger 
  • Soy sauce 
  • Sesame oil 
  • Veggies of choice (green beans, onions, mushrooms) 

Instructions  

  1. Heat a few tablespoons of sesame oil in a pan at medium heat. 
  2. Cube extra firm tofu, and add to pan. 
  3. Drizzle about one tablespoon of soy sauce over tofu. 
  4. Let tofu simmer and cook. 
  5. Once the tofu is cooked, set aside
  6. Cook veggies of choice with chopped garlic and ginger. 
  7. Carefully add tofu (to avoid breakage).
  8. Serve with rice, noodles, or quinoa. Add soy sauce and sriracha to taste.

13. Skewers 

Marinate veggies and tofu with your favorite sauce, place on the grill, and enjoy. Barbecue, teriyaki, lemon, or even a vegan Italian dressing make great marinades. Pack with colorful veggies for a vibrant summer favorite. 

two climbers in KÜHL clothing grilling kebabs in outdoors
You can’t go wrong with your favorite veggies on a grill! Product shown: Renegade™ Rock Pant, KÜHL Engineered™ Krew.

BBQ Tofu Skewers Ingredients 

  • Extra firm tofu 
  • BBQ sauce 
  • Zucchini 
  • Mushrooms 
  • Bell peppers
  • Cherry tomatoes 
  • Purple onion 

Instructions 

  1. Marinate tofu and veggies in BBQ sauce for at least one hour if possible. 
  2. Thread tofu and veggies onto skewer. 
  3. Grill for about 10 minutes, or until throughout cooked.
  4. Use any leftover marinade as a dipping sauce. 
  5. Serve with couscous or dairy-free potato salad.

14. Beans and Rice 

Beans and rice is a versatile dish that draw influences from many countries and cultures, including Italy, Mexico, India, and the United States. A staple of Louisiana cuisine is creole food, including Creole-style red beans and rice. While this recipe may not be entirely authentic, the camping version of this spicy dish will refuel you for adventures ahead. 

Creole-Style Red Beans and Rice Ingredients 

  • Canned red kidney beans 
  • Basmati rice 
  • Yellow onion
  • Bell pepper 
  • Celery 
  • Pack of Creole (or Cajun) seasoning 
  • Veggie broth 
  • Hot sauce to taste 

Instructions 

  1. Heat oil in a large pot and add chopped bell pepper, onion, celery, and seasoning, stirring for a few minutes. 
  2. Drain beans, and add to the pot, along with uncooked rice. 
  3. Add in about one cup of veggie broth.
  4. Reduce heat to a low, cover the pan, and let ingredients steam. 
  5. After about 20 minutes, the broth should evaporate and the rice should be fluffy.  

15. Veggie Burgers 

This classic campsite meal can easily be made vegan by swapping out meat patties for veggie patties. There are plenty of burger substitutes available, from sweet potato-based to faux meat. Black bean patties are a tasty, healthy alternative to traditional beef burgers, and are loaded with potassium, fiber, and protein. Place on the stove, and add your favorite burger toppings. While camping, the easiest option is to buy patties at the store, but you can also make your own patties.

Classic Black Bean Burger Ingredients 

  • Bun 
  • Store-bought black bean patty 
  • Lettuce 
  • Onion
  • Ketchup 
  • Avocado 
  • Optional: Vegan cheese 

Shop Sustainably 

Whether you’re looking to omit animal products from your diet entirely, or you’re exploring how to reduce the amount of meat you consume, eating plant-based meals will benefit your health as well as the environment. Protect our planet by shopping sustainably, including the food you eat and the clothing you wear. Choosing to purchase high-quality garments will extend the life of your clothing, and reduce clothing waste. Read the KÜHL standards to learn more about the main positive practices we respect.

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