Is yummy vegan camping food possible? You bet it is!
I don’t know about you, but it’s been a LONG time since I’ve been camping. Like 20+ years long.
My family and I used to go when my sis and I were little, and then at some point, my mom got kinda got sick of the whole sleeping on the ground thing and our camping trips came to a halt.
So when my boyfriend asked me if I wanted to go camping in Shenandoah National Park when it reopened in June, I felt a mix of emotions. On one hand, I was excited to get out and do something different. (I’m sure a lot of us are craving a little bit of newness after a few months in quarantine, right?!) I also got excited at the idea of spending some time in nature and away from my computer. On the other hand, I kind of felt a little…. nervous.
Nervous to camp?! What? That doesn’t seem like it makes all that much sense. I guess I have a lot of routines and habits and like to flow through my mornings in a certain kind of way. And I kinda just wasn’t sure if I could hack it camping like I could as a kid. As a kid, I was carefree and loved poking the campfire with a giant stick. How would I do it as an adult? Am I allowed to completely shut off from the outside world and just play in a campfire? What would happen to my morning routines?
Turns out- you can just get lost in simple things as an adult and camping is actually kind of the best place to do a peaceful morning routine. It’s quiet, the birds are chirping and it’s the perfect place to focus on whatever it is that you want to focus on- whether that’s your morning routine, poking the campfire with a giant stick, or anything else that your inner kid would be proud of you for doing.
Side note- I’m currently in Florida at my mom’s house, and I was able to ask her what made my inner kid happy when I was little. She told me my favorite activity was mucking around and throwing food in the fire. I’m not sure if that meant that I was cooking marshmallows or literally throwing food in the fire, but, either way, I loved to camp as a kid.
I’m proud to say that when my boyfriend and I ventured to Shenandoah National Park a few weeks ago, I think I made my inner kid happy. I forgot about my schedule and need-to-know-what-the-plan-is-for-the-day mentality. Instead- I focused on the art of doing nothing and let my inner kid come out. I even learned that you can draw with charcoal on logs.
And instead of throwing food directly in the fire, I ended up cooking a lot of tasty vegan camping food over it. I even made a YouTube video about it. I included all the recipes I made on this trip, and all the tips and tricks I learned for having a successful camping trip when plant-based.
So let’s get to it. ????
How to Plan for your Camping Trip
First things first- you’ll need to figure out how much food you’ll need for the trip.
To do this, figure out how many people will be on the trip and the number of meals you’ll be eating during your trip.
For example- since it was just my boyfriend and I, and we would be camping from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning, we would need these meals covered:
- 2 breakfasts
- 2 lunches
- 2 dinners
Next, figure out the tools you’ll need.
To plan your actual vegan camping meals, you’ll first need to know what you are working with to cook on. Do you have a camping stove? Will you be cooking directly over the fire on the campground grill? Are you bringing a pot, skillet or griddle? Figuring this out first will make the process of picking recipes much easier.
Make a list of all the tools you’ll want to bring. I’ve built an Amazon idea list linking all of my favorite camping tools, utensils, and snacks.
Things to eat with:
Things to prep food on:
- cutting board
- paper towels, dishcloth
Tools for cooking:
Now you’re ready to start planning your vegan camping food meals. This is totally the most fun part! You get to nerd out and recipe search. A few ways I like to pick camping meals:
- take meals that I loved as a kid when camping and veganize them (like burgers and hot dogs)
- plan meals that highlight cooking over a campfire (a lot of the meals listed below wouldn’t really be possible over a regular stove- like tofu kabobs or veggie foil packets)
- pick recipes which you can do food prep for before you leave on the camping trip (this will make the cooking experience that much easier)
You can check out the recipe section below for vegan food camping ideas.
Pack Plant-Based Camping Staples
I mentioned some staples in this video to have on hand during your camping trip. A lot of these staples are great for snacks, makeshift meals, and for anytime when the campfire food is taking longer than expected to cook your dinner.
- nut butter
- granola bars
- dried fruit
Vegan Camping Food Meal Ideas
I broke each of these lists down in greater detail in the YouTube video. 🙂
- fresh fruit
- steel cut oats cooked with water on camping stove or over fire
- overnight oats (this is one of my favorite recipes)
- granola and milk (I love this kind of granola-it’s sweetened only with dates)
- chickpea or tofu scramble
- sliced potato hashbrowns
- veggie burgers (recipe below)
- chickpea salad sandwiches
- hummus wraps
- tofu kabobs (recipe below)
- veggie foil packets (recipe below)
- baked potato
- pasta & marinara sauce
- chocolate banana foil packet (recipe below)
- chips & dip
- dried fruit
- granola bars
Steel Cut Oats (serves 2)
- 1/2 cup steel cut oats
- 1 cup water
- dash of salt
- mix in’s: stevia, nut butter, fruit, nuts
- Bring water to a boil using camping stove or in a pot over the fire.
- Once boiling, add oats to water. When oats begin to thicken, reduce heat on camping stove, or move pot away from direct flame and allow oats to simmer.
- Simmer, stirring frequently, until oats are fully cooked and water has been absorbed- about 20-25 minutes.
Easy Veggie Burgers
- 1 package of pre-made veggie burgers (this kind is my favorite- they’re clean, organic, gluten-free and vegan and taste so good!)
- buns (I like these gluten-free vegan buns)
- cheese (we used this and it was delicious)
- ketchup (just tried this ketchup and am loving it- it doesn’t contain any added sweeteners)
- Prior to your camping trip- prep any veggies you’re bringing for the burgers. Wash, dry, and slice tomatoes, onions, romaine lettuce, etc.
- Cook veggie burgers over the fire: either on top of a grate lined with foil or inside of a grill basket. Watch carefully until done, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add buns to foil-covered grate and warm.
- Add a slice of vegan cheese to bun to begin melting cheese.
- Assemble burgers and add your favorite toppings!
Tofu Veggie Kabobs
- 1 package organic extra firm tofu, drained and pressed to release any extra water
- veggies: mushrooms, bell peppers, onion
- marshmallow sticks
- Prior to camping, prep your veggies and tofu. Drain and press liquid out of tofu by wrapping in a dishcloth and placing a heavy pot on top of tofu for at least 30 minutes. Then, cube tofu and put in a container. Chop veggies into large chunks that will work for kabobs.
- Once you have a fire going, thread tofu and veggies onto marshmallow stick.
- Roast over fire until tofu begins to brown.
Veggie Foil Packets
- 1 few tbsp vegan butter
- chopped veggies (red onion, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms)
- extra firm tofu (optional)
- plant-based sausage (optional- we used this kind)
- Prep your veggies and tofu or plant-based sausage prior to the camping trip. Chop veggies. Prepare tofu by draining, wrapping in a dish towel, and pressing out any water by placing a heavy pot on top of wrapped tofu for 30 minutes.
- Once camping, make a large foil packet (check out this video for a glimpse of how to do it.
- Spread vegan butter on bottom of foil packet.
- Fill with veggies and tofu or plant-based sausage if using.
- Add a few more dollops of vegan butter and season with salt and pepper.
- Wrap up veggie foil packet. You want the packet to be completely enclosed and secured, so you can easily flip it.
- Place on foil-lined grill grate and cook for 30-40 minutes until veggies, plant-based protein, and potatoes are done.
Chocolate Banana Foil Packet
- ripe banana
- dark chocolate (I used my naturally-sweetened plant-based dark chocolate recipe)
- any additional toppings you’d like to use (I used granola)
- Make a foil packet to secure banana in.
- Leaving the banana peel on, cut a long slit throughout the length of the banana, also slicing the banana.
- Stuff sliced banana with vegan dark chocolate and anything else you’d like to top it with.
- Grill for 10-15 minutes, until chocolate looks melted.
If you go camping and decide to make any of these recipes, tag me on Instagram! I’d love to see your creation. Happy camping!!