These Vegetarian Backpacking Meals Will Help You Go The Distance
We stood at the base of the glacier, ice axes in hand, staring at the mountain of snow before us. Wide-eyed, we waited for our adventure to begin.
In 2013, I spent 40 incredible days backpacking in the backcountry of the Wyoming wilderness with Solid Rock Outdoor Ministries (SROM). I hauled 65-85 pounds of food and gear on my back each day. And a man with his team of horses met us at each checkpoint to deliver our next week’s worth of supplies.
Re-ration days meant fresh food, which we loved. But it also meant heavier packs. Every ounce of food had to be hauled for miles until it was consumed.
Among other things, the course helped me understand the value of choosing foods that filled up my belly but didn’t weigh down my pack.
These vegetarian backpacking meals are the perfect essentials to get you to wherever your guidebook leads, so you can spend more time enjoying the views and less time staring at the same bowl of ramen.
Starting your day with a full, protein-packed breakfast is important. When there are miles of trail between you and your next destination, you need the energy to get where you want to go.
Before you go backpacking or plan your next adventure, check out these super easy breakfast ideas.
Just because you’re sleeping under the stars doesn’t mean you have to rough it during your morning meal. Let breakfast be a tasty treat as you start your day with a blueberry chocolate smoothie. It’s packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals to fuel you through those steep inclines and full descents.
– Protein-Packed Oatmeal
A classic, quick and easy backpacker’s breakfast is oatmeal. Technically, you just need oats and boiling water. And sure, you could eat it plain, but why torture yourself? Instead, add some of these tasty ingredients to liven up your boring ol’ mush.
Toss in some brown sugar, cinnamon, or freeze-dried fruits, and give yourself something to enjoy. Nut butters are also a great way to sneak in some extra protein before you start your trip up the mountain. And the fiber will keep you regular before you start moving.
I really like adding a crunchy texture to my oatmeal. I always love walnuts or pecans, but when it comes to backcountry cooking, I’m not super picky. And if I forget to plan ahead, I’ll just throw a handful of trail mix into my oatmeal. It’s delightful.
There are lots of breakfast bars and granola bars on the grocery store shelves. But if you flip over the packages, you’ll probably find an ingredient list with tons of extra sugar and other additives. When you make your own bars, you’re in control of the types of fruits, nuts, seeds, and sweeteners you use. Add your favorites to make it something you’ll really like.
No eggs? No problem. Try these delicious, vegan-friendly pancakes for a punch of protein to start your day. Get ready to chase those mountains or sit back and enjoy your rest day. You’ve earned it!
Which kind of backpacker are you? The kind that hauls through the day, stopping only for quick breaks and eats lunch on the go? Or the kind that finds a scenic spot and enjoys the rest and relaxation of a warm lunchtime meal?
Don’t worry, I have some lunchtime ideas for both types.
If you’re tired of munching on trail mix for lunch, try these quick and easy backpacking meal ideas:
Get ready for your new favorite hummus flavor! Try using dehydrated chickpeas in this recipe to decrease the weight of your pack. Dip crackers, pretzels, red peppers, or other veggies into the hummus and enjoy your lunchtime rest and relaxation.
Did you know hard cheeses, like cheddar and aged gouda, don’t need to be refrigerated? According to the USDA, they can last for several weeks outside of the fridge without going bad. They may look a little oily if they’re out in the sun, but that’s totally normal.
Cheese is a great source of calcium and protein in your backpacking meals.
After a long hike and a brisk dip in the lake, put your feet up and enjoy a vegetarian charcuterie platter. Complete your cheese board with some yummy vegan jerky, fresh peppers, pretzels, crackers, and some almonds or your favorite type of nuts and seeds. You deserve to treat yourself before embarking on the second half of your hike.
Sriracha Tuno and Everything Bagel
Tuno is a plant-based alternative to tuna. It’s vegan-friendly, shelf-stable, gluten-free, and ocean-friendly. It’s full of plant-based protein and is great for on-the-go lunches. Tear open the package and serve it on an everything bagel for a delicious meal.
Pro tip: Bagels are great for backpacking because they won’t smoosh in your bag as easily as a loaf of bread.
If sriracha is a little too spicy for you, try another one of these yummy Tuno flavors.
70 calories per serving
– Peanut Butter and Apple Quesadilla
Like bagels, tortillas won’t get all mashed up in your backpack under the weight of your gear and supplies. Layer your tortilla with peanut butter and apple slices for a sweet and savory lunchtime treat. Peanut butter is always a great source of protein. And the apples add some extra vitamin C and fiber.
– Veggie Wrap
There’s no recipe necessary for this classic veggie wrap. Simply choose your favorite tortilla, slather it with your favorite hummus, and add on whatever veggies you have on hand. Try peppers, cucumbers, onion slices, and maybe some spinach. Add a little kick of sriracha, and you have yourself a yummy meal to get you through the next few miles of your adventure.
If you’re settled at camp before the lunchtime cravings hit, fill up with this yummy meal. It’s a spicy blend of beans and sauce. The soy protein will trick your fellow hikers into thinking it’s a beef-filled meal. But it’s 100% vegan-friendly. And it’s gluten-free too. Add this meal to your list of must-haves for your next camping trip.
280 calories per serving
I totally understand when you get to camp, the last thing you want to do is conjure up the perfect meal with a million ingredients and a complex recipe to follow.
Cooking should always be delicious, healthy, and easy. You want to spend more time enjoying your surroundings and less time glaring at the cookbook.
For your next camping trip, try these vegetarian backpacking dinners. They’re so good, they might become your favorite, everyday staples, whether you’re in the backcountry wilderness or relaxing in the AC after a long day at work.
All you need to do is warm up these premade meals and you’re good to go. Stock up for your next backpacking trip or load up your pantry for the week ahead.
Because they’re ready to go, you don’t have to wait for any freeze-dried foods to hydrate or soak overnight. Toss them in your pack and open when hungry. It’s that easy. These vegetarian backpacking meals are must-haves before you hit the trail.
This healthy, pre-made meal is a great way to end your day. It’s made with brown rice, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and capers. And, man oh man, is it delish! It’s full of plant-based proteins to fill your body with the strength it needs to take on the next day’s challenges. Thanks to this Greek Bowl, you’re ready for whatever comes your way. Go get ‘em!
380 calories per serving
You might not get the chance to hike the famous Kalau Trail in Hawaii with its incredible views of the Na Pall Coast. But as you devour this Hawaiin Bowl by Loma Linda, you can imagine yourself overlooking the crystal blue waters and pristine white beaches.
Pineapple, bell pepper, peas, ginger and plant-based protein make up this tropical meal, which may just inspire your next vacation getaway. Did you hear that? I think Hawaii is calling.
360 calories per pouch
Whether you’re hiking through the Green Tunnel of the Appalachian Trail or making your way around the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, you can dig into this filling meal after putting in the miles. Reminisce over the views you soaked in or start planning your next adventure. Vegetarian backpacking foods just got a whole lot tastier.
190 calories per serving
Hey, you! Step away from the boring ol’ ramen. And make the switch to this protein-packed pasta dish instead. It’s loaded with traditional Mediterranean flavors and seasonings. It’s pre-made and ready to be devoured. Just warm it up, and you’re ready to go. Your taste buds will thank you.
200 calories per serving
This isn’t your standard, freeze-dried rice and beans dinner. Loma Linda’s Southwest Chipotle Bowl is loaded with plant-based protein. And it has a spicy kick of flavor that will warm you up as you wrap up your day.
The best part of Loma Linda’s pre-made meals is that you don’t have to waste time meal-prepping, chopping, dicing, or prepping ingredients. Dinnertime is a snap. And the cleanup is easy too. You’re going to love these meals!
260 calories per serving
Just because you’re out in the middle of nowhere doesn’t mean you have to skip dessert. Check out these vegetarian backpacking treats. They’re your reward for a day well spent.
You definitely won’t feel like you’re roughing it after you bake up your own, personal-sized chocolate cake. Soft and gooey. Delicious and warm. Is backpacking food allowed to be this heavenly? It’s the perfect reward for a challenging and fun-filled day.
Nothing screams fall like a warm bowl of cinnamon apple crisp. And somehow, it always tastes better when you enjoy it in the great outdoors. If you hit the trail this fall, don’t forget the ingredients for this yummy dessert. Cooked in foil, it’s a cinch to clean up. That means more time to enjoy the view.
Put those berries you found along the trail to good use. This berry crumble is simply delish! Top it off with a toasted marshmallow or add a spoonful of marshmallow fluff, and you have yourself a real winner. It’s a lightweight dessert that tastes like perfection. And it’s super easy to make too.
When it comes to backcountry mornings, there’s nothing better than starting your day with a hot cup of coffee.
But now you can leave your French press at home. It’s taking up too much space anyway. Instead, opt for Kaffree Roma’s instant coffee to start (or end) your day. Just add hot water. There’s no need to use boiling water unless you haven’t purified it yet. Add a little sugar or mix in some powdered milk.
Because it’s decaf, you can enjoy a cup any time of day. It’s a roasted blend of all natural ingredients. Whether you’re waking up in the backcountry or sitting at your dining room table, start your day with a cup of Kaffree Roma coffee.