A few years ago I successfully completed Veganuary. I then did another month of only eating plant-based food. And although I didn’t become a full-time vegan, I found it much easier than I thought it would be and also made some long-term changes to how and what I eat.
And then I went camping and wanted to plan vegan camping food for the trip.
- Why choose vegan camping food?
- 10 scrumptious vegan camping meals to try
Why choose vegan camping food?
I think there’s a misconception that preparing and eating plant-based camping meals is a right old pain in the backside. Surely it’s much easier to chuck some sausages on the BBQ and be done with it?
Actually, vegan camping food can often be much easier to plan and cook than meaty dishes.
Firstly, most vegan ingredients don’t need chilling. That means more room in the cooler for liquid-based refreshments! But it also means you don’t need to worry so much about eating things before they spoil or go off.
Of course, fresh fruit and vegetables need to be kept cool, out of the sun and locked away from critters and bugs. But so long as you keep an eye on them, most fruit and veg will last a good few days without the need for cooling.
And then there’s vegan dairy and meat alternatives. These will need cooling. But because the bulk of your vegan camping food is non-perishable, you won’t need a huge cooler.
Secondly, if you’re not so hot on camp cooking, it doesn’t matter so much if things go awry when cooking vegan camping meals. Cooking meat, on the other hand, needs to be done properly to avoid adding bathroom-based activities to your camping schedule!
10 scrumptious vegan camping meals to try
With all that in mind, we asked a bunch of vegan cooks and campers to share their favourite vegan camping food ideas. And whether you follow a plant-based diet or not, this selection of scrummy meat-free, vegan camping meals will be sure to satisfy even the most dedicated carnivores out there. Go on, I dare you!!
Recommended by: Emily McDonald — plant-based adventurer
This is just like chicken or egg salad but is SO easy because it doesn’t require any cooking. You can make this ahead of time, and I love having this on hand as one of my staples in my camping cooler.
Chickpea Salad Recipe
This simple recipe is a filling and easy to make lunch that everyone will enjoy.
- 1 can of chickpeas
- ½ yellow onion diced
- 2 to 3 tbs vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tbs Dijon or yellow mustard
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Garlic powder to taste
- 1 tbs of lemon juice
- 1 small Bell pepper diced
- Hot sauce to taste
- Optional: chopped green olives, pickles, celery.
- Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas and pour them into a bowl or Tupperware container.
- Use the back of a fork and mash the chickpeas for two minutes or until about half of them are smashed. Smashing the chickpeas is optional, but it gives the dish more of the “egg” salad consistency.
- Add of mayonnaise and mustard. Then add in the chopped veggies.
- Optional: add chopped celery, olives, or pickles.
- Stir it up and season to taste with garlic powder, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and hot sauce.
- Add the chickpea salad to the top of toast, in a wrap, on a bed of salad greens, in a sandwich, or just eat it with crackers.
TIP: Prepare your food in tupperware instead of a bowl because it saves dishes, and you can easily save anything you don’t finish by just putting on the lid.
TIP: Double this recipe and use two cans of chickpeas, so you always have extra on hand. It makes a great snack to dip crackers into!
Fluffy Vegan Pancakes
Recommended by: Gilian Manassee — Owner of sustainable travel blog
I love this easy pancake recipe which makes up the best breakfast when camping in the wild. And they’re so fluffy!
Fluffy Vegan Pancake Recipe
Top with fresh fruit for a healthy breakfast, or slather it in chocolate spread and banana for camping treat!
Mix the dry ingredients at home (in a jar or bag):
1 cups oats or flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- a pinch of salt
Bring the wet ingredients separately:
1 cup plant-based milk
- ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
- For your camping breakfast, you simply have to mix the wet ingredients with the dry mix and stir it well. And of course, you should bring a camping pan and a portable stove to fry them.
- They taste delicious simply with some powdered sugar or cinnamon on top. You can also pimp them with chocolate spread or jam.
Vegan Irish Stew
Recommended by: Brian and Tina Ahern — Plant-based campers and blog owners
This recipe was perfect for us on our most recent fall camping trip where the temperatures hovered around 40ºF. The Irish Stew warmed us up and filled us up, especially since we served it with sourdough bread. Any kind of bread, rolls or even crackers would be delicious with the stew.
While we decided to chop the vegetables at the campsite, it would be very easy to chop the vegetables at home and pack the ingredients into containers for your camping trip, saving time on the spot. All told, it took us less than 30 minutes to prepare the stew, and the aroma of it cooking on the camp stove made our mouths water with anticipation!
Vegan Irish Stew Recipe
Warming and hearty. The perfect kind of vegan camping food for autumn adventures.
- 2-3 tbs. vegan butter
- 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, medium-sized, diced
- 1⁄2 onion, white or yellow, chopped
- 1⁄4 large head green cabbage, chopped
- 2 vegan sausages, chopped (We used Field Roast brand, smoked apple & sage flavor)
- 1 can diced tomatoes + 1 full can water*
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Place skillet on camp stove on medium-high heat
- Add 2 tbs. vegan butter and allow it to melt
- Add chopped onion and cabbage and stir to combine, adding 1 more tbs butter if needed to
prevent sticking. Stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
- Add chopped sausage and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes until the cabbage and onion
become softer and the sausage begins to brown.
- Add diced potatoes and stir to combine, coating potatoes with melted butter.
- Add 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can of water*. Stir well and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Once the mixture begins to boil, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes or
until diced potatoes are done.
- Remove from heat and serve in bowls, topping each serving with chopped parsley.
- If you like your stew “soupy” add additional water to reach your desired consistency.
Recommended by: Ty and Sam Laarman — Owners and authors of travel blog
One of our favorite vegan campfire meals is fajitas. They are super easy to cook at the campsite in foil over a fire, grill or in a skillet on a camp stove. Part of the recipe can even be prepped beforehand if you’re bringing a cooler along. But this isn’t necessary! The recipe can be easily doubled and personalized for groups of people.
Camp Fajitas Recipe
A tasty and filling vegan campfire favourite
- 2 Bell Peppers (thin slices)
- 1/2 Sweet Onion (thin slices)
- A Protein such as 1 Cup Chickpeas or Black Peas (rinsed), or Vegan Chicken Strips.
- 1-2 tbs Fajita Seasoning
- 2 tbs Olive oil
- Optional additions: More Veggies! Sometimes we add Cauliflower or Portobello Mushrooms, just make sure to add a few more minutes to the cooking time
- Optional toppings: Avocado, Vegan Sour Cream (we like Tofutti), Vegan Cheese Shreds, Cilantro
- Prepping beforehand? Chop your vegetables and rinse your beans. Add to a Tupperware or Ziploc bag with fajita seasoning and shake it up before throwing it in the cooler.
- Chop your vegetables and mix them with the oil and black beans (or other protein of choice)
- Fry in a skillet over a fire or camp stove until pepper and onions are cooked.
- Don’t have a skillet? Mix your veggies, add the oil, and wrap in foil. Cook for 7-10 minutes (checking they don’t burn!)
- Scoop some of your fajita mix on a tortilla and add toppings! OR Make it a bowl and crunch up some tortilla chips instead!
Mushroom and Aubergine Chilli
Recommended by: Joey Homes — Editor of Cool of the Wild
This vegan camp chilli recipe is the perfect example of how vegan camping food can be a preferable option that is just as tasty (if not more so) than a chilli con carne. Plus, camping just isn’t camping without a big one-pot chilli for your family to tuck into round the campfire.
Mushroom and Aubergine Chilli Recipe
A hearty dish with a meaty texture that feels as filling as it is!
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 1 thumb of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 medium aubergine, cubed
- 10 button mushrooms, diced
- 1 can kidney beans, drained
- 1 can tomatoes
- Vegan cheese (optional)
- Add a splash of oil to a large saucepan, allow to heat then add the chilli, ginger and spring onions. Cook gently on a medium heat for a couple of minutes.
- Add the spices to the pan, stir and add a splash of water to create a paste.
- Stir in the aubergines and add a cup of boiling water with the stock cube dissolved into it.
- Put a lid on the pan and leave to simmer on a medium heat for 5 mins.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan, and splash of red wine if you happen to have some to hand! (optional). Stir and leave to cook for another 5 mins.
- Add the canned beans and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and leave to simmer without the lid until the liquid has reduced slightly, around 10 mins.
- Top with cheese (optional).
- Serve with rice, polenta or warmed pita bread.
Recommended by: Alexandra Shytsman — Recipe developer, campsite chef and food blogger
Everybody knows that pasta is the easiest go-to camping meal. This chickpea tomato pasta elevates the concept by incorporating canned chickpeas, dried herbs, and a ton of fresh basil. Aside from the fresh basil, all the ingredients in this recipe will store very well at camp.
Chickpea Pasta Recipe
A hearty, camping-friendly version of the classic pasta e ceci.
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
- 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small red or yellow onion, diced
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp dried oregano (see note below)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 tsp maple syrup, honey, or granulated sugar (optional, see note below)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound penne (or another short pasta)
- 1 generous cup basil leaves, gently torn
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
- Place half of the chickpeas in a shallow bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, mash until they turn into a chunky paste. Combine with the remaining whole chickpeas and set aside.
- Heat 3 tbs of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the onion with a pinch of salt. Cook until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Then add 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves, 1 tsp oregano, and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds more.
- To the skillet, add the tomato sauce, 1 tsp sweetener of your choice, a few grinds of black pepper, and all of the chickpeas. Stir to combine and cover tightly with a lid. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Generously salt the boiling water and cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water before draining.
- Drain the pasta and return it back to the pot. Add the tomato-chickpea mixture, 1 cup torn basil leaves, a few more grinds of black pepper, and the reserved pasta water. Stir to combine, taste, and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve immediately.
Vegan Walking Tacos
Recommended by: Bonnie Conner — owner and author of vegan lifestyle blog
Walking tacos, also known as Frito pies, chili pies, or Frito boats, are ideal for sitting around the campfire as you don’t need to balance a plate on your lap! They are super easy to make and fun for the kids to get involved in, too. This recipe offers a vegan spin on the childhood favorite that many of us grew up with.
Vegan Walking Tacos Recipe
A filling meal that easily comes together by quickly cooking chili beans and gathering up a variety of toppings.
- 6 small bags corn chips or Fritos
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 tbs taco seasoning
- 1 fresh jalapeño half diced, half sliced
- 5 lettuce leaves diced
- 2 tomatoes diced
- ½ white onion diced
- 2 avocados sliced
- 1 lime sliced
- 1 cup salsa
- ¼ cup cilantro
- Drain half of the liquid from each can of beans. Add the beans, half of a jalapeño that has been diced, and taco seasoning to a cast-iron skillet.
- Put the skillet over a low fire pit flame or medium heat on the stove. Stir the beans occasionally as they cook for 10 minutes.
- While the beans are cooking, prepare all of the other toppings. Slice the limes, avocados, and jalapeños. Dice the tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and cilantro.
- After the beans have cooked for 10 minutes, mash them with a fork to your desired consistency. If the beans are too thick, you can stir in some water. Continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
- Gently crush the chips while the bags are still closed. Cut or tear one end of each bag. Layer the beans and any other desired toppings right into the chip bags. Enjoy your walking taco with a fork as you walk around!
Vegan Yogurt Bowls with Fresh Fruit and Granola
Recommended by: Kristen Bor – Founder of Bearfoot Theory
These non-dairy yogurt bowls are great for camping because they’re easy to whip up, don’t require any cooking, and provide healthy fuel to start your day off right. You can also use pretty much any fruit you have on hand and improvise the toppings based on your preferences and what you have with you.
This is a well-balanced plant-based breakfast that provides fiber, carbs, and calcium to fuel your day. Throw on some chopped nuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and/or flax seeds for an extra boost of protein and omega-3s.
Vegan Yogurt Bowl with Fresh Fruit and Granola Recipe
A well-balanced plant-based breakfast, that’s easy, quick and healthy
- 1 cup non-dairy yogurt
- 1 cup fresh fruits or berries (bananas, strawberries, blueberries, or whatever is in season)
- 1/2 cup granola
- 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp hemp seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp flax seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp shredded coconut (optional)
- 1 tsp vegan dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
- Spoon a healthy dollop of yogurt in a bowl.
- Top with fruit and granola.
- Sprinkle over any or all of the optional toppings.
Red Lentil Lemon Soup
Recommended by: Stephanie Harris-Uyidi — Chef and host of Appetite for Adventure!
This plant-based and vegan soup is Middle Eastern inspired and can be cooked in just 30 minutes. Red lentils store well at camp, cook quickly and have a slightly sweet flavor. They are rich in fiber and protein and packed with folate, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
Red Lentil Lemon Soup Recipe
The soup is easy to divide and can be cooked on a portable stove or dutch oven.
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1 medium Spanish onion, diced
- 2 large stalks celery, diced small
- 2 large carrots, diced small
- 1 tbs coriander powder
- 1 tbs cumin powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbs turmeric
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- 2 springs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup red lentils
- ½ medium or 3 tbs preserved lemon, skin only, diced. If you don’t have access to preserved lemon add a wide piece of fresh lemon peel.
- 1 tsp red pepper flake
- 1 medium Meyer lemon, juice only
- Serving option: Toasted pita bread
- In a medium sized heavy bottom pot add the olive oil, onion, celery and carrot. Cook until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Toss in the ground coriander, cumin, paprika and turmeric and cook for another minute. Keep in mind that turmeric can stain cooking utensils and counter tops so take care.
- Pour in the water, vegetable broth and add the tomato paste, thyme and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the red lentils, preserved lemon and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- Turn off the heat and mash the lentils against the side of the pan for a minute or two. The soup should remain slightly chunky, and mashing will smooth it out just a bit.
- Add a little more water if the soup is too thick then squeeze the juice of the Meyer lemon over the soup. Stir and serve immediately with toasted pita if desired.
TIP: Mix the spices in a small jar before you go camping. You can also pre-dice the onion, celery and carrots and store in a tupperware.
Recommended by: Clare McGinley — cooking obsessed traveler
Using this recipe you could make many things. If you just use potatoes, salt and pepper then you’ve got hash browns, veggie pakoras to go with curries. All sorts. Have a play with seasoning and veggies and it’ll be hard to not make something delicious. Happy cooking!
Savoury Pancake Recipe
These pancakes are simple, versatile and cheap. And they are very adaptible to whatever veggies you have hanging around / available.
- Flour (1 cup = 4 pancakes)
- Plant-based milk
- Seasoning of your choice
- Veggies of your choice
- Start with the flour and slowly add milk until the texture is like thick pancake batter.
- Add seasoning and a handful of vegetables. I prefer alot more veggie to batter ratio! Essentially the batter is just a glue to hold the vegetables together.
- Heat up some oil in a pan and chuck on a lump of your veggie batter mix.
- Cook on both sides until the pancake is browned and crispy on both sides
The above image is a corn fritter I did as a breakfast dish with salad, sweet chilli and guacamole. With the batter I mixed in corn, diced spring onion, capsicum, grated sweet potatoe plus some salt and pepper.
Now if that delicious selection of vegan camping food doesn’t temp you to try cooking some plant-based meals on your next trip, then I don’t know what will!
Happy cooking, happy herbivores!