Food

24 Delicious Vegetarian Camping Foods for Your Next Weekend in the Woods

by Emily Pennington
Updated December 09, 2022

Best Vegetarian Camping Food
Photo: Matt Gross

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I’m gonna shoot straight for a minute — one of the main reasons I hike so many miles is to eat whatever the heck I want when I get there.

One of the best parts about camping and the requisite exercise that comes with it is the cornucopia of drool-worthy foods we often only allow ourselves to indulge in when we’re out in the wilderness.

But, if you’re a vegetarian, it can feel like a chore to sift through all of the meaty backpacking meals and skillet recipes to come up with something satisfactory for you and your mates. The good news is that, with so many people going plant-based these days, the world of camping food options has really opened up.

From protein-packed dinners to hot breakfasts and irresistible treats, here are our favorite easy meals and snacks for vegetarian campers and backpackers.

Tasty Camping Dinners

Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai

Imagine chowing down on your favorite Thai shop’s take-out noodles, only…you’re twelve miles into the backcountry without a soul in sight. That’s the magic of Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai.

The meal comes in a fun DIY-style kit, complete with crunchy peanuts, creamy peanut butter, and even packets of crystalized lime juice and Sriracha powder for extra flavor.

GOOD TO-GO Herbed Mushroom Risotto

 

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When I took my first bite of GOOD TO-GO’s creamy mushroom risotto, I did a double-take to check that it was actually vegan. I re-read the ingredients to find that, yes, this delectable blend of arborio rice, cremini mushrooms, white wine, and onion somehow mingle in just the right way to create incredible, restaurant-style risotto when you’re out in the woods.

Like most dinners on our list, all you have to do is boil some water on your camp stove, pour it in, wait, and serve. Pair with a lightweight can of Maker Pinot Noir and pretend you’re at an exclusive Italian restaurant with an epic view of the Milky Way.

Heather’s Choice African Peanut Stew

Heather’s Choice has really made a splash in the dehydrated camping food scene in the last couple of years, thanks to their use of high-quality ingredients, thoughtful chef-driven cuisine, and creative dishes like this African Peanut Stew.

Tasty and gluten-free, this hearty dinner is made with sweet potatoes, ginger, and curry, perfect for chilly nights in the wilderness. It’s an easy-peasy dish that’s sure to satisfy, whether you’re backpacking or car camping. Plus, thanks to the nutritionally-rich peanuts and sweet potatoes, the soup is packed with iron, calcium, fiber, and protein.

A Dozen Cousins Trini Chickpea Curry

 

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A Dozen Cousins is one of my favorite up-and-coming camping food brands because they manage to pack a fistful of flavor into their savory bean and chickpea products, plus they are a POC-owned company that’s increasing diversity in the outdoor space.

Never dehydrated and full of flavor, their Trini Chickpea Curry pairs nicely with a pre-cooked rice pack for a vegetarian dinner for two (or one, if you’re extra hungry). Not into curry? Check out their Creole Red Beans instead!

RightOnTrek Vegan Shepherd’s Stew

 

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I wish more people knew about RightOnTrek, because they manage to strike the perfect chord between backcountry cooking and easy, just-add-water meals. Their hearty (and filling) Vegan Shepherd’s Stew is a great example of this, made with warm mashed potatoes, green peas, and savory mushrooms.

One of the best things about this brand is the portion sizes. At 520 calories a pop, this delicious stew is sure to leave you satisfied, especially if you stir in a packet of olive oil. Plus, it’s packed with nutrients, with each serving delivering a whopping 50% of your daily iron value, 40% of potassium, and 43% of fiber.

DIY Chili Mac

backpacking vegetarian chili mac
Photo: Nataliya Arzamasova

Of course, if you’re car camping instead of backpacking, you could go the old-fashioned route and grab a few of your favorite items from the grocery store before heading out on your camping adventure. One of my favorite go-to meals is chili mac.

Start off with your favorite extra-creamy macaroni and cheese box (I like Annie’s because it’s organic, and I can at least pretend I’m being healthy), then, after you complete the final step and stir in the cheese, add a splash of extra water, a can of protein-rich vegetarian chili, and, if you’re feeling frisky, shredded cheese on top. Simmer and stir until hot and bubbling.

Related read: 17 Easy Camping Side Dishes for Campfire Snacking

Delicious Camping Breakfasts

Heather’s Choice Morning Glory Oatmeal

Designed to mimic the deliciously contrasting flavors of a morning glory muffin (carrots and raisins), this Morning Glory Oatmeal by Heather’s Choice has become one of my all-time favorite backcountry breakfasts.

With gluten-free rolled oats, pineapple, whole milk, ginger, and pecans, it’s as flavor-packed as it is full of protein (13 grams, to be precise).

Mountain House Veggie Chorizo Breakfast Scramble

 

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Sometimes, you just don’t feel like packing a crate full of eggs in your cooler and fretting about whether or not they’ll break on the bumpy ride to camp. Thankfully, Mountain House has come up with a solution for that.

They pair slightly spicy veggie chorizo with freeze-dried eggs (trust us, they’re better than they sound), then toss in diced potatoes and bell peppers to create a hearty breakfast scramble you can enjoy anywhere – just add boiling water.

PEAK REFUEL Mountain Berry Granola

 

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PEAK REFUEL has a pretty impressive slate of shelf-stable camping foods fit for hungry hikers, and their Mountain Berry Granola is one of the best and tastiest for backpackers on the go.

Just add cold water to the ready-made pouch, and in no time, you’ll be enjoying a sweet breakfast of rolled-oat granola, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and rice milk. Oh yeah, and each two-serving pack is loaded with 13 grams of protein to start your day off right.

Michele’s Granola, Lemon Pistachio

When I want to splurge on the good stuff before a long car camping trip, I always pick up a package of Michele’s Granola from my neighborhood Whole Foods, then toss my favorite plant milk into the cooler.

Their Lemon Pistachio blend is naturally grain, soy, and dairy-free, making it a worthy choice for those with allergies. Made with organic oats, sliced almonds, pistachios, and organic lemon juice, it’s a breakfast that’s reminiscent of a crispy lemon bar dessert.

Fuel For Fire Protein Smoothies

If you’re more of a “get up and go” person rather than a “I want breakfast” person, then Fuel For Fire’s grab-and-go protein smoothies might be for you.

With a bevy of flavors to choose from (think banana cocoa, mixed berry, and tropical) and 10 grams of protein per serving, these fruit-filled pouches make it easy to complete your food pyramid, even when you’re hundreds of miles from home.

Related read: 10 Amazingly Simple Camping Recipes for Kids

Trail-Tested Camping Lunches

Pita and Hummus

pita and hummus backpacking
PITA PARTY. Photo: Drew McArthur

There’s something to be said for keeping things simple, and pita bread with hummus is one of the most portable and nutrient-packed camping lunches I’ve found. Not only does the hummus pack in some much-needed protein on the trail, but you also don’t have to worry about your sandwich getting smushed because pitas are, well, flat.

If you’re really counting your pack’s weight, some companies make dehydrated hummus that you can whip up with cold water, but I’ve found that Sabras single-serve packs are much tastier.

Deli-Style Sandwiches

tofu sandwich
Photo: Kseniia Borovenko

Who said that vegetarians can’t enjoy a deli-style sammie on the go? When I was van-lifing around the country in 2020, one of my go-to lunches was a sliced Tofurkey sandwich on sourdough bread with a piece or two of real provolone cheese.

You can dress it up any way you want, adding avocado, mayonnaise, or baby spinach to get a few greens on the road. It’s easy to make and kid-friendly.

Snack Attack (Almond Butter, Dried Fruit, and a Cheese Stick)

 

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Oftentimes, especially when out backpacking, my lunch becomes a jumble of different snacks from various food groups so that I don’t get a post-meal lull and need to nap in the backcountry.

A classic example of this would be pairing something fatty, all-natural, and filling (like Justin’s Nut Butter) with a fruit or vegetable (like SOLELY’s organic pineapple rings) and a vegetarian protein (like organic string cheese). Feel free to mix it up and add a salted nut mix or crunchy kale chips. The most important thing is that you get a mix of vitamins, healthy fats, and proteins when you’re out in the wild.

PROBAR Meal On-The-Go

 

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If you’ve had a hearty breakfast and you just want to grab a bar for lunch and be done, PROBAR makes a superfood-packed treat that fits in the palm of your hand.

Chock-full of muscle-building protein, organic whole foods, and fiber, these Meal On-The-Go bars are as filling as they are nutritious, and they come in memorable flavors like s’mores, blueberry muffin, and banana nut bread.

Related read: 19 of the Tastiest Hiking Snacks to Fuel Your Adventures

Munch-Worthy Camping Snacks

Bobo’s Oat Bites

 

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A welcomed alternative to the brand’s larger, cookie-like oat bars, Bobo’s Oat Bites are a tinier treat that’s great for when you’ve got a case of the trail munchies but don’t want to spoil your dinner.

Whether you pick something desserty like a chocolate almond brownie or the more fruit-forward strawberry stuff’d, your taste buds will thank you for this plant-based, non-GMO nutrition hit.

Pear’s Snacks – Everything Bagel Cashews

 

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We know you can’t lug a Brooklyn deli up and down the passes of Yosemite’s high country, but these Everything Bagel Cashews from Pear’s Snacks are sure to curb that craving for bagels and schmear.

Seasoned with their proprietary blend of salt, sesame, poppy seeds, onion, garlic, and caraway seeds, this vegan mix is a salve for anyone craving salty snacks.

Blake’s Seed-Based Sunflower Seeds

Blake’s Seed-Based is designed around the notion that even snackers with nut allergies deserve to have safe, savory, and munch-worthy options. Plus, their sunflower seeds are so popular that they often sell out online.

Feeling brave? Try their Hot & Spicy blend. Or, play it safe with Blake’s classic Himalayan sea salt flavor. Every packet of their sunflower seeds is not only scrumptious, but also packs in 6 grams of naturally-occurring plant protein.

RIND Straw-Peary Dried Fruit

 

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The ethos behind RIND is simple: cut food waste by leaving the nutritious rinds on dried fruit. The result? Tasty, fiber-rich fruit blends that would make any health-conscious camper smile.

After taste-testing several of their flavors, I can safely say that Straw-Peary is my favorite, a mix of sweet strawberries and yummy pears.

Endangered Species Chocolate Bars

If you’re backpacking and want to cut weight or simply don’t have the patience or energy to roast up a batch of s’mores, elevate your chocolate game with Endangered Species chocolates. Not only will you be treating yourself, but you’ll also be helping animal conservation efforts across the world – the brand has donated over $2.6 million to its global partners since 2016.

Best of all is the flavor options. From tart raspberries to fudgy peanut butter to cinnamon, cayenne, and cherries, and even plain ol’ dark chocolate, there’s sure to be an option for everyone in your camp.

Related read: 40+ Camping Food Ideas That Don’t Need Refrigeration

Must-Have Flask-Fillers

Hirsch Whiskey

 

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When you’re out backpacking and every ounce matters, it’s a good idea to fill your flask with quality whiskey. Hirsch’s The Horizon is one of the best on the market today.

A smooth bourbon blend of traditional mash-bill and 6% high-rye mash bill creates the perfect swig to cap off a perfect hike. Fans say it’s got notes of buttered popcorn and toffee. Trust us, it’s delicious.

Maker Wines

Wine lovers who dig car camping or aren’t counting grams when out on the trail will flip for Maker Wines’ hand-picked small winery specialties, served up in chic, well-designed cans.

Not only is Maker a female-founded company, but it’s also on the cutting edge of increasing diversity and sustainability within the wine industry. The brand partners with small producers and uses more eco-friendly packaging than traditional glass bottle vineyards.

503 Distilling Canned Cocktails

 

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On my last road trip through Portland, I made a point to sniff out the best canned old fashioned cocktail I could find, and 503 Distilling has created something truly special with their Mount Hood mix.

Crafted from 40-proof rye whiskey, maple syrup, and hazelnut bitters, it’s a decidedly Pacific Northwest take on a vintage cocktail staple.

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