Whether you’re going on an overnight hike or a weeklong adventure, backpacking as a vegan can be tricky. Many dehydrated foods include animal products, like powdered eggs or dried meat. But with a bit of forethought and preparation, you can enjoy delicious, plant-based meals along the trail.
Vegan thru-hiker Cotezi, who runs a popular YouTube channel and Instagram account, always plans ahead. When she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, she researched restaurants and gear shops on her route ahead of time to ensure they had vegan options. “That way you can supplement your boxed food for any dedicated stretch with foods and snacks picked up in town, ” she says. Cotezi also carries greens powders on the road to make sure she’s getting plenty of vitamins and minerals.
“Dehydrated snacks for vegans “re coming” a long way, and new options are popping up all the time, ” says hiker and British Columbia-based traveler Mikaela Gregory. “My advice for packaged food is that it’s best to have a mix of ones you’ve tried and know you love, plus a few new options, since there can be some big misses. That can be a huge letdown after a long day of hiking.”
The best style to ensure you’re going to eat well on road, though, is to prep your own dehydrated snacks. Here are three great options to make before you head out.
DIY Oatmeal Packets
After two years of eating prepackaged, artificially flavored quick-cooking oats, Gregory considered giving up the breakfast staple for good. “But I was hard-pressed to think of a better breakfast food that provides long-lasting energy and good fiber, ” she says.
The solution she came up with was homemade oatmeal packets with flavor profiles she enjoys, like mocha or blueberry maple. “I detected the variety really helpful for longer hikes and was able to sneak in lots of healthy ingredients, including hemp hearts, chia seeds, and coconut sugar, ” Gregory says. This recipe makes four servings.
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/3 beaker hemp hearts
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Blueberry maple: 4 tablespoons dried blueberries and 4 teaspoons maple sugar
Chocolate cherry: 4 tablespoons vegan dark-chocolate chips and 4 tablespoons dried cherries
Peanut butter chocolate: 4 tablespoons powdered peanut butter and 4 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips
Mocha: 4 teaspoons instant coffee and 4 tablespoons chocolate chips
Combine ingredients for the big-batch recipe: the oats, chia seeds, hemp hearts, coconut sugar, and salt. Add your preferred seasonings. Divide into four separate freezer containers. When you’re ready to eat, heat over a camp stove with 1.5 beakers of water per serving( or six beakers of water for the whole batch ).
Simple Vegan Ramen Bomb
This recipe from Cotezi is a bit more involved than standard beans and rice. She recommends it for short-distance hikes that allow for extras like fresh veggies, or try it right after you’ve restocked at a trailhead on a thru-hike. The salty, tasty ramen bomb swaps clear soup broth for a thick stew packed with flavor and calories, giving your taste buds something different from typical trail fare.
1 package vegan ramen noodles
1 serving freeze-dried tofu
4 to 5 small, fresh broccoli florets
3 to 4 small mushrooms
1/4 beaker mashed-potato snowflakes
Hot sauce( optional)
Bring 2.5 cups of water to simmer. Add ramen noodles, bouillon, tofu, and veggies. Boil for four minutes( covered, if possible ). Slowly stir in mashed-potato snowflakes until the broth becomes thick. Add optional hot sauce.
Basil Pesto with Tortillas or Rice
Kim Safdy founded Outdoor Herbivore to offer vegan options for backpackers and athletes who need plenty of plant-based calories in easy-to-make packages. She loves this delicious vegan pesto-sauce mix and adds it to noodles, potatoes, rehydrated vegetables, or rice–and it makes a delicious dip, too.
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons basil flakes
2 tablespoons tomato powder or sun-dried tomato flakes
1 tablespoon spinach snowflakes
1 tablespoon parsley snowflakes
1 tablespoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon tarragon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon olive-oil packet( optional)
Precooked rice or tortilla pieces
Place dry ingredients in a sealed container. When on the road, mix them with 1/4 cup water and the olive-oil packet. Safdy likes to enjoy this as a dip sauce with plain corn tortillas( crisp the tortillas over the campfire for added crunch ), or for a heftier meal, she’ll eat it over rehydrated tofu and rice.
Read more: outsideonline.com