The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Cheap, Easy Vegan Camping Food

Posted on August 19, 2011 by The VRG Blog Editor

I’m spending a month this summer working on a trail crew. I said I’d help plan meals. What are some cheap, easy vegan foods that work for camping?

Vegan marshmallows roasting over the fire are a picture-perfect camping treat. But are you looking for more filling, less pricey alternatives for your next camping trip? The foods below helped sustain me and nine other hungry trail workers this summer, on a budget of less than $5 per person per day.

Oatmeal: If you’re only planning for a few days, oatmeal packets are convenient because they come in a variety of flavors. For a longer trip or more people, though, buying instant oatmeal in bulk saves money. Try adding peanut butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and/or dried fruit.

Soy milk: Since most soy milk only needs refrigeration after it’s been opened, two or three people should be able to finish a carton before it goes bad. You may also want to try powdered soy milk, which is fine as an ingredient but tastes grainy and watery to me if I just add water.

Bread: My trail crew baked sandwich bread each night for the next day’s lunch. If you have time and a small oven-box that sits on your camp stove, this is a fun way to save money. We used a simple yeast bread recipe—just yeast, sugar, water, flour, and salt—and sometimes mixed in ingredients like cinnamon and raisins for pizzazz. Of course, store-bought sandwich bread is an option as well.

Gorp: A camping classic, gorp technically stands for “good old raisins and peanuts,” but often refers to a delicious mixture of nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, and anything else you’d like to add.

Fruits and vegetables: Some types of produce, like apples, citruses, onions, potatoes, and carrots, seem to hold up better than others. My group also ate blueberries, cherries, watermelon, celery, broccoli, corn, and bell peppers. Canned and dried fruits and veggies are great, too.

Peanut butter: Peanut butter is a staple of any camping trip because you can put it on almost anything for more nourishment and flavor—sandwiches, of course, but also apples, tortillas, hot or cold cereal, celery, carrots, chocolate, pasta…

Gado-gado: Although I can’t attest to the authenticity of this dish, the peanutty pasta that we called gado-gado was one of my favorite dinners. To make it, cook pasta in one pot and sauté vegetables (like onions, carrots, broccoli, and peppers) in a pan. Mix peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, and hot water until you have a sauce with your desired taste and consistency. Drain the pasta, and add the veggies and sauce, plus crumbled tofu if you’d like.

Burritos: When you’re camping, almost anything is fair game to roll up in a tortilla, but I’d recommend rice, beans, salsa, and sautéed veggies such as onions, carrots, corn, canned tomatoes, and/or bell peppers. If you have leftover tortillas, try making breakfast or dessert quesadillas by heating a tortilla with some combination of peanut butter, fruit, and chocolate chips folded inside.

One of the main challenges of camp cooking is the lack of refrigeration. In my experience, some foods that I would refrigerate at home lasted for several days or more at room temperature. However, if you have any concern at all about the safety of a food item, don’t eat it.

Written by Sarah Alper, a VRG volunteer and lifelong vegan

1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 27 09 13 02:47

    How To Make Your Next Campout Vegan Friendly - Natural Foods Daily

4 to “Cheap, Easy Vegan Camping Food”

  1. frank m. says:

    All GOFoods products are suitable for vegetarians as they do not contain any meat products. Instead, the company uses textured vegetable protein (TVP) to provide the taste and texture of meat. Vegetarian is a term that mainly describes a person that does not eat or believe in eating meat, fish, or fowl.

    Vegetarians can enjoy health benefits such as lower levels of cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and less incidence of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and osteoporosis. However, protein is still required in their daily diet and can be obtained from alternative sources such as legumes, grains, and nuts.

  2. Megan says:

    I’d just like to point out you have to be careful with oatmeal packets and chocolate especially if you are vegan. I am vegetarian but also lactose intolerant. I can not eat oatmeal packets or chocolate because of the milk.

  3. Tara says:

    We are heading out on a camping trip as a relatively newly vegan family of 5 (3 kids ages 6,5 and almost 2). Read a great recipe thats vegan and easy call 5 can chili.
    can of diced tomatoes, can of corn, can of kidney beans, can of pinto or chili beans, 1/4 c BBQ sauce and 1 Tbsp chili powder, add tobasco or hot sauce as desired. mix it all up and heat in a pot over the camp stove. sounds easy, filling and somewhat healthy!

  4. KC says:

    My favorites:

    Smores with vegan marshmallows and ricemilk chocolate and graham crackers (I personally am not opposed to honey so I guess I’m not a “true” vegan.)

    Veggie skewers roasted over the fire- with zucchini, onion, potato, carrot, and tomato. (Replaced my old camping staple of hot dogs.)

    Sweet potato chili made ahead of time(if you have a camp stove to reheat the pot.

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