Vegetarian Backpacking Meals You’ll Love
When people find out I’m a vegetarian and a hiker, one of the first questions they always ask is, “What do you eat when you’re hiking?” While I might not have the same choices as non-vegetarians, there are still plenty of delicious vegetarian backpacking meals available.
Whether you’re a vegetarian trying to find meals you can have on the trail, or you’re simply trying to cut back on the amount of meat you eat, you’ll find some healthy and delicious options for every meal when you check out these best vegetarian backpacking foods.
Best Vegetarian Breakfast Backpacking Meals
Starting your day with a good breakfast is incredibly important. You need plenty of energy to keep going throughout the day. Fortunately, you can find a variety of vegetarian backpacking breakfast meals that deliver plenty of protein.
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Summit Breakfast Scramble
If you’re OK with eating eggs, the Summit Breakfast Scramble is an excellent option. It’s packed with 17 grams of protein and has the perfect blend of scrambled eggs, red beans, peppers, and cheddar cheese.
Organic Cinnamon Apple, Oats, & Quinoa
If you prefer not to have eggs, that’s not a problem! You still have plenty of delicious options, such as organic cinnamon apple, oats, and quinoa. This is a hearty and warm breakfast that’s ideal for those chilly mornings.
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Granola is another great vegetarian breakfast item because it fills you up and gives you plenty of energy. You have two options if you want to bring some granola on your hiking trip.
First, you can simply pack a bag of granola cereal. This is a convenient option because you can eat it dry and it pulls double duty as a fantastic snack during the day.
If you prefer your granola warm, you can purchase this granola with milk and blueberries and enjoy it straight from the pouch. Or you can get this strawberry granola that you make with cold water.
You also have some options if you want to bring oatmeal for breakfast. These packets of instant oatmeal are small and convenient. Just keep in mind that you will need a bowl to make this oatmeal.
If you don’t feel like bringing along a bowl for your meals, you can just add water to this dehydrated oatmeal and eat it right from the bag.
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Best Vegetarian Lunch/Dinner Backpacking Meals
When it comes to main entrees, you’ll be absolutely shocked at the variety of choices you have. Whether you’re in the mood for something spicy or savory, you’ll definitely be able to find a tasty and filling vegetarian backpacking meal on this list!
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Bibimbap is a spicy Korean meal that contains white rice, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, and spinach. If you want to take this meal to the next level, roll it up in some tortillas!
Who says vegetarians have to eat boring food when they’re hiking? Not you! That’s because you’ll be enjoying this pad Thai that contains rice noodles, soy protein, vegetables, a sweet and spicy garlic sauce, and roasted peanuts.
Smoked Three Bean Chili
This smoked three bean chili is a classic meal on the trail. Not only is it warm and filling, but it also tastes delicious! Simply add boiling water and it’s ready to eat in just a few minutes.
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Three Bean Chili Mac
This three bean chili mac packs in an incredible 30 grams of protein in each pouch. It contains macaroni noodles, beans, and vegetables in a sweet chili sauce that’s warm and filling.
This chana masala meal is inspired by an Indian curry dish from the Punjab region. It contains chickpeas, rice, and a blend of chilies for a meal that’s sure to satisfy your hunger.
With a whopping 19 grams of protein, you’ll love how this lasagna fills you up. Plus, it’s absolutely perfect for vegetarians because it contains noodles, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, plant-based ground beef, and Italian seasonings.
Classic Marinara With Pasta
This classic marinara with pasta is another Italian vegetarian backpacking meal that you’ll love. It contains a brown rice pasta and Italian tomato sauce that combine to make the perfect comfort food.
Herbed Mushroom Risotto
You can enjoy some fancy eating on the trail with this herbed mushroom risotto. It contains traditional arborio rice, caramelized onions, basil pesto, and cremini mushrooms. Even better, although it has a nice, creamy base, the cream is actually made from nutritional yeast, so this meal is also vegan!
Cuban Rice Bowl
Since this Cuban rice bowl contains black beans, plantains, and rice, it delivers 15 grams of protein that can help you go that extra mile. Plus, it has big, bold flavors that will definitely hit the spot.
Cuban Coconut Rice and Black Beans
Another fantastic Cuban meal to consider is this Cuban coconut rice and black beans. It’s a delicious traditional meal of black beans and coconut rice flavored with cilantro and banana.
Mexican Quinoa Bowl
If you love mole poblano, this Mexican quinoa bowl is right up your alley. It contains butternut squash, tomatoes, corn, black beans, and quinoa all mixed together in a warm and satisfying mole poblano sauce.
Kale and White Bean Stew
If you’ve been hiking in cool or wet weather, one of the best ways to warm up is with a hearty stew. Fortunately, you don’t have to lug a pot and all the fixings with you. Instead, you just need to bring this kale and white bean stew.
It’s made with kale, white beans, olive oil, fennel, rosemary, and garlic for a nutrient-rich meal packed with protein.
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Three Sisters Stew
This Three Sisters stew is another one of the best vegetarian backpacking meals. The Three Sisters are the Native American trinity of corn, squash, and beans. This stew combines those three ingredients with quinoa and brown rice for a nutritious and protein-packed meal.
Louisiana Red Beans and Rice
This Louisiana red beans and rice meal is a true Cajun classic. It contains red beans and rice tossed with spices and a Creole sauce. If you’re hiking with a meat eater, they can easily add sausage to their bowl and everyone’s happy!
Indian Vegetable Korma
The flavors in this Indian vegetable korma are absolutely fantastic. It contains chickpeas, carrots, parsnips, green beans, and sweet peas in a creamy tomato and yogurt sauce.
This Kathmandu curry is exactly what you need after a long hike. It contains lentils, brown rice, potatoes, peas, carrots, and curry seasoning for a hearty and satisfying meal.
Three Cheese Mac and Cheese
This deliciously creamy three cheese mac and cheese is one of those classic backpacking meals that always seems to hit the spot. It’s also a great choice if you happen to be doing some hiking with kids and want something you know they’ll eat without any complaints.
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Best Vegetarian Backpacking Snacks
Snacks are an important thing to pack whether you’re going on a day hike or a backpacking trip. You need to take in calories throughout the day to keep up your energy. Fortunately, just because you don’t eat meat, that doesn’t mean you can’t find some great vegetarian backpacking snacks.
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I absolutely love these Greenbelly meal bars. Not only do they taste great, but they’re packed with some serious calories. My favorite flavor is dark chocolate banana, but you can also get cranberry almond, peanut apricot, spiced caramel apple, and more.
These PROBAR meal bars are another excellent option for a snack. They come in an insane variety of flavors, such as oatmeal chocolate chip, blueberry muffin, and mocha almond fudge. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that they taste delicious!
I love to bring along fresh fruit on our hiking trips. For ease of packing, I tend to skip fruits that can get damaged easily, like bananas and grapes, and go for things that are easier to carry, such as apples and oranges.
Of course, just because I don’t bring fresh bananas with me on the trail, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy them as a snack. Instead, I simply pack some dried fruit!
Nut butters are a great source of protein, but they’re not always easy to transport. Unless you get these Trail Butter squeeze pouches. These nut butters come in delicious flavors like maple syrup with sea salt and dark chocolate with coffee. You can spread them on your oatmeal or fruit, or simply squeeze them right from their resealable pouches.
Trail mix is always a good bet if you’re looking for a vegetarian hiking snack that will fill you up and give you enough energy to keep going. The great thing about trail mix is that you can customize it to your tastes.
My son is allergic to peanuts, so we hit up the bulk section at our grocery store and get dried fruits, chocolate pieces, almonds, and cashews. Of course, if allergies aren’t an issue and you need something quick and easy, you can simply purchase a bag of traditional trail mix.
Jerky is a popular snack on the trail, but obviously for us vegetarians it’s a no-go. But that’s OK, because we have plant-based jerky!
If you’ve never tried plant-based jerky before, I highly recommend you give it a shot. My meat-eating husband says the texture and taste are as close to the real thing as he’s ever tried.
Plus, with 10 grams of fiber per stick, it’s a great way to get the energy you need.
Best Vegetarian Backpacking Desserts
Now, let’s be completely honest here. Sometimes the best part of arriving at camp after a long day of hiking isn’t having dinner, it’s having dessert! Fortunately, being vegetarian doesn’t mean missing out on any mouthwatering desserts.
Ice Cream Sandwich
What? An ice cream sandwich on the trail? Yep, you better believe it. You don’t need a refrigerator for this freeze-dried ice cream sandwich. But you still get to enjoy a sweet treat.
My personal favorite is the mint chocolate chip ice cream bar, but you can also get it in vanilla if that’s your preferred flavor of ice cream.
Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
This dark chocolate cheesecake is a decadent treat on the trail. All you have to do is add cold, stir for a few minutes, let it sit for another few minutes, and you’re all set to enjoy one the best desserts you can have on the hiking trail.
Just because you’re backpacking, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the finer things in life, like creme brulee for dessert! When you’re ready to savor this classic French dessert, stir in some cold water and let it sit for a few minutes. It even comes with a burnt sugar topping for the complete experience!
The Best Vegetarian Backpacking Meals
If you’re looking for vegetarian meals that are easy to make when you’re hiking, you don’t have to settle for boring ramen noodles and instant potatoes. Instead, treat yourself to one of these best vegetarian backpacking meals!
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