The ultimate vegan camping food guide with tips and recipes for your next plant-based adventure in the wild
Camping gives you the chance to truly embrace your natural surroundings. Nestle down to tell tales from the day’s events, with dirt under your nails and muck on your face.
The only thing that could make this experience better is a warming bowl of nom to chow on around the fire.
Unfortunately for us plant-based munchers, that used to be easier said than done because vegan camping food was once hard to come by. This is no longer the case.
Over the last few years, we’ve been trying, testing and devouring crazy amounts of plant-based grub that’s perfect for camping. Keep reading to find recipe inspiration, vegan camping tips, spice mixes and LOADS more!
Jump straight to:
- Things to consider when choosing your vegan camping food
- The types of foods you need in your camping meals
- Our top tips for vegan camping
- Vegan snacks and staples for your trip
- Breakfast camping ideas
- Camping meals for lunch
- Recipes for camping dinners
- Vegan camping questions answered – FAQ
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6 things to consider when picking the best vegan camping food for your trip
What you put in is what you get out. Nourish your body with wholesome healthy grub and you’ll be full of energy through the day. Fill your body with crap and that’s exactly how you’ll feel.
This is especially important as spending time in the outdoors often involves some form of physical exertion. Be sure to plan nutritional camping meals with a good mix of carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals.
For multi-day camping trips you’ll want to find the right balance between having ample food and not being weighed down.
If you’re car camping or cycle touring this becomes less of an issue as you can load up your car or bike and bring extra provisions, just in case. If, on the other hand, you’re carrying all your food and gear with you on your back, you need to get the balance just right.
Camping meal planning is the key!
It doesn’t have to be an exact eating schedule but some forward planning will help to limit excess and also grumbly bellies.
Planning a trip where weight is a concern? Check out our Vegan Backpacking Food Guide for lightweight recipes and ideas for the trail.
So now you’re brainstorming all your vegan camp food, but where do you put it?
Not having a fridge or kitchen in the back of your tent means you should opt for non-perishable camping food that can take a bashing and is relatively easy to cook.
If you’re car camping or have a campervan, bring a cool box to store things and help keep them fresh. Plus, some campsites do have fridges you can use but it’s best not to rely on this option as they’re rare. If you’re wild camping, then it’s extra important to go simple and light.
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1.4 Weather & Location
In the heat, tents can get mighty hot. In the cold temperatures can be… cold. Bringing foods that can withstand the changes in temperature is key to a good trip, as you don’t want hot plant milk or frozen veggies.
Certain camp foods are also better suited to different climates e.g. BBQs are nice in good weather but not so great for rainy periods. In the cold, you might appreciate hot camping foods whilst the summer lighter dishes might be what you’re craving.
For the location, it’s best to think whether you’re bringing all your food with you or will be picking up stuff along the way.
1.5 Your camping gear and amenities
The three main options are:
- Campfire cooking – this could be cooking on a personal BBQ or one at a campsite with charcoal, or even a wood fire. These are awesome but harder to control the temperature you’re cooking with.
- Cooking on a camping grill – like a mobile kitchen cooker, with one or two stoves. The easiest to cook on but harder to bring.
- Cooking on a camping stove – cheap and cheerful. You can’t cook much at a time but it’s lightweight and might be the only option to fit in your pack.
If you’ve got limited gear it’s better to stick with more simple vegan camping food options. If you’re RV camping and well kitted out, you can go to town!
Here are some basic camping cooking equipment you might need:
- Small camping stove
- Camping gas
- Cutlery set
- Chopping knife
- Cooking pots
- If you’re wanting to have a wood or charcoal fire, you’ll need extra stuff
2. Make sure you’re getting the right nutrition with your vegan food ideas
It’s always nice to be filled up with goodness, but it’s especially true when you’re swimming in lakes, clambering up boulders or summiting peaks. This means you need to consider what types of foods you’re taking and making sure they have the right nutrients.
Your main source of fuel will come from carbohydrates so make sure you include these in your camping recipes. Not just any old carbs though, make sure they’re complex carbs as these release their energy slowly, giving you the stamina to take on the day. Some examples we often take:
- Wholemeal bread
- Wholewheat pasta
- Multigrain cereals
That crucial stuff that helps your muscles recover after a day in the outdoors. Despite popular belief, there are tons of plant-based protein options that provide more than enough nutrients.
If you want the full scoop, check out our guide on the Best Vegan Protein Sources
2.3 Fats (they’re good, honest!)
The right fats are essential for a healthy balanced diet, especially unsaturated fats as these give you lots of energy. Things such as:
- Nuts & seeds
- Nut oils, like walnut or sesame
2.4 Vitamins and Minerals
Most foods have some form of vitamins and minerals but some are more nutritious than others. These are some super fruits and veggies you should think about taking:
- Red peppers
- Leafy greens such as kale or spinach
If you’re tight on space and want to carry as little weight as possible, there are tons of pastes and powders you can incorporate into your vegan camping recipes too, such as:
- Miso paste
- Nutritional yeast
- Camu Camu
- Vegan protein powder
You can add things like matcha, protein powder or spirulina into your morning porridge, incorporate some turmeric into your evening stew or miso into a soup. Nowadays, a lot of these things can be found in supermarkets or ordered from health food shops.
Don’t overlook your daily dose of B12 which doesn’t naturally occur in vegan wholefoods. You can find read a little more about why it’s so important and what are the best sources of B12 for vegans
3. Simple vegan camping tips perfect for first trips
To help make the most of your time outdoors, here are a few tips to consider:
- Plan your meals beforehand so you know how much of everything to bring
- Write a camping grocery list, to avoid missing things or buying excess, and check it’ll be available if you’re shopping close to your camping spot
- Stock up on staple items (good for when the hunger pangs kick in)
- Prep snacks beforehand
- Take enough, but not too much!
- Use minimal crockery to save on washing up in the outdoors
If you’re worried about the camping aspect, this Beginner’s Guide to Camping has all you need to go with confidence!
4. A sample of our vegan-friendly camping grocery list
Before we get into the recipes, there are some staples we’ll always pack and help to create lots of versatile and tasty vegan dishes. We may not take all of these every time but it gives you an idea:
- Nuts – raw or salted
- Dried fruit – we always have raisins but also figs, prunes or apricots
- Protein bars, cereal bars, granola bars
- Seed mix – we either make out own mix of flax seeds, sunflower seed and pumpkin seeds or buy a pre-made mix if on the road
- Peanut butter
- Green tea
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable stock cubes
- Smash (instant mash potatoes)
- Fresh fruit and veg
- Garlic granules
- Nutritional yeast
- Homemade seasoning sachets (see recipes below for our homemade spice mixes)
- Shop-brought seasoning sachet
- Rice crackers
- Tortilla wraps
- Instant noodles
- Tinned tomatoes
- Tinned pulses such as chickpeas, lentils or beans
- Dried soya chunks (USA)
- Maple syrup
These are the perfect foundation ingredients, then you can add other things to make a bigger variety of wholesome vegan camping meals. Keep reading for recipe and meal ideas!
All our favourite vegan camping foods, recipes and spice mixes!
5. Vegan snacks and staples for your camping trip
We like to make a few easy-munching snacks at home before heading out, as they’re especially good when you need a quick energy boost. Things like:
You can have a big batch cooking session and bring them all in tupperware containers for when you’re feeling peckish.
If you’re planning a trip filled with lots of outdoor pursuits, this list of awesome vegan energy foods can help keep you fuelled up.
6. Vegan Camping Breakfast Ideas
When you unzip your tent to dewy grass, with the sound of birds in the air and the sun gradually rising on the horizon, there’s only one thing on your mind… breakfast!
Most likely, you’ll want something delicious, that can be whipped up and devoured with minimal fuss and will jump-start your day in the wild. These camping breakfasts do just that!
Porridge (oatmeal) – It’s easy, tasty, cheap, healthy and customisable – what more could you want from your morning meal? Use oats and water as your base with a teaspoon of sugar if you like, then add in your extras, cook to your desired consistency and hey presto!
A combo of dried or fresh fruit, seeds and nut butter will give your breakfast a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, protein and energy for the day ahead. Here are some of porridge recipe combos:
- Raisins, peanut butter, banana, seeds (J’s favourite)
- Apple, cinnamon, almond butter
- Pear, cocoa powder and walnuts
- Banana, desiccated coconut, seeds
- Stewed berries and cinnamon
- Banana, matcha, seeds
- Peach, nutmeg, sunflower seeds
Tofu scramble recipe – If you fancy something savoury and protein-packed, this vegan tofu scramble is just the ticket. Mash a pack of tofu with a spoon then heat gently with some salt, pepper, garlic granules and 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast for flavour. Stir in some spinach and mushrooms then serve on fresh bread or in a tortilla wrap.
Vegan pancake recipe – The perfect morning treat and another camping breakfast idea that is completely customisable. For the ultimate pancake experience, slice some banana on top once in the pan before flipping. Serve with maple syrup, a generous hand-full of blueberries and a sprinkle of seeds.
Vegan French toast recipe – If you’re feeling fancy, then this is just the recipe to tickle your taste buds.
- Mash one banana in a bowl.
- Add a can of coconut milk, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt then whisk.
- Dip in your bread, if you have a loaf cut them extra thick, then coat on each side for a minute or so.
- Then fry on each side in a warm pan, about 3 minutes on each side or until it’s golden.
- Serve with syrup and fresh berries.
7. Vegan Camping Lunch Ideas
Lunches might be a single meal or spread out over the course of the day if you’re having more of a relaxed one at the campsite. And we’ll likely bring plenty of vegan snacks to graze too! These are our go-to lunch ideas:
Sandwiches/rolls/baguette/wrap – A great choice as you can stuff them with what you like and they can take a battering when you’re exploring in the wild. Some of our favourite combinations include:
- Peanut butter, jam and banana
- Roast veggies, smoked tofu and hummus
- Chestnut spread, almond butter and banana
- Tahini, red pepper and hot sauce
Soup – Quick and simple, you can just heat up a tin of soup and serve it with bread. If you’re spending more time at the campsite, you could even make a vegetable broth by adding assorted veggies, stock, lentils/pulses and seasoning to water and cooing until the veggies have softened.
Corn on the cob – Wack the cobs on a BBQ and turn occasionally so they cook through. A super tasty topping combo is butter, salt, garlic and paprika!
Wherever you’re camping, it’s important to make your time outside as sustainable as possible. We put together a detailed Eco Camping Guide to give you some ideas!
8. Vegan Camping Meals for Dinner
Dinners can be more of a wholesome affair to replenish your weary bod and replace some of those nutrients you’ve craved exerting yourself all day.
If you’re especially tired, opt for a one-pot camping recipe – less prep and washing up!
Taking different spice mixes can also help you make a bunch of different meals out of similar ingredients – it’s great for variety. Check out the camping dinner ideas and then our favourite spice mixes are just after.
Peanut curry with mushrooms and chickpeas – This is one of our favourite one-pot vegan campfire dinners. It nurtures aching muscles, is crammed with protein and is super easy to create.
Whip it up in 15 minutes with ingredients that are easy to find all over the world. The perfect dish for life on the road!
Miso soup – A dish that’s a little lighter and ideal for replacing some of those lost electrolytes. Just add two tablespoons of miso paste to a pot of boiling water along with a stock cube, some dried seaweed, rice noddles plus your veggies of choice and tofu.
Chilli – When it comes to chilli, J is the master and his special seasoning mix can transform an ordinary tin of tomatoes into a culinary masterpiece.
We usually make an extra-large helping of the seasoning mix and use it for different dishes as it’s a similar mix as the peanut curry.
- For the seasoning mix for two people: one and a half teaspoons of cumin, one and a half teaspoons of smoked paprika, one teaspoon of coriander, half a teaspoon of garlic granules and a teaspoon of chilli powder (or alter to your preferred level of spice).
- Add the spice mix along with a stock cube to a tin of chopped tomatoes.
- Throw in some kidney beans and veggies such as mushrooms and pepper, then serve in tortillas, couscous or dunk some crusty bread.
Baked sweet potatoes – These are great as you simply wrap the potatoes well in foil then nestle them amongst the embers in your campfire.
Enjoy a beer and simply turn the potatoes occasionally to ensure they cook evenly (about 30 minutes in total). We like to serve these with J’s chilli listed above.
Veggie and tofu kebabs – A favourite of ours to grill on the fire or BBQ that can be shoved straight into your gob without the need for cutlery. These skewers can be eaten as they are or served with couscous for a more filling dish. Make sure to add J’s marinade!
- Make a marinade of maple syrup, soy sauce, smoked paprika, garlic puree or granules and a squeeze of lime (the lime can be omitted).
- Coat your veggies and tofu in the marinade for at least 20 minutes then load up your skewers and cook.
Vegan dahl – This creamy vegan camping meal is just the ticket to warm your cockles as the cool night air encroaches.
- In a pan combine a can of coconut milk with a can of lentils (or two, we often have two but this may be large for some), add one and a half teaspoons of cumin powder, one and a half teaspoons of coriander powder, half a teaspoon of turmeric, a teaspoon of garlic granuels and a teaspoon of curry powder with a stock cube.
- You can also add veggies to the pot such as kale and mushrooms then serve with crusty bread.
Easy one-pot pasta – A super easy camping dinner for when you’re pooped and just want to consume.
Simply boil pasta and stir in a shop brought sauce or vegan pesto. Once the pasta has almost cooked, drain then return to the pan with your chosen sauce and stir in some veggies such as courgette or pepper for good measure.
Green bean, lemon and basil pasta – If you want something a little fancier than shop brought pasta sauce then this is the dish.
- Boil you pasta and 5 minutes before it’s done, add chopped green beans.
- Drain, then return to the pan adding a dash of lemon, fresh or dried basil, garlic (again you can use fresh or granules), chilli flakes, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
Persian couscous – If you like to take your taste buds around the world, then add this recipe to your camping repertoire.
- Pour the desired amount of couscous into a pan. Boil the amount of water needed to just cover the couscous and add a stock cube. Once the water has boiled, pour over the couscous then cover.
- In a pan heat oil then add your veggies of choice, I recommend peppers, courgette and mushroom. Add a tin of chickpeas and a tablespoon of sumac, mint, salt and pepper and saute until the veggies are cooked.
- Once cooked, fluff the couscous with a fork, stir in the veggies and serve.
BBQ – On a warm summer’s evening there’s not much better than roasting some skewers, veggie sausages and burgers on the barbeque. Use the veggie and tofu skewer recipe from earlier, along with some corn and you’ve got yourself a feast.
Stir-fried noodles – Another easy vegan one-pot dish tasty with a kick of flavour to awaken your taste buds. It requires a few different sauces so isn’t ideal if you’re tight on space but it’s 100% worth it if you have the room.
- Boil your noodles until they’ve almost cooked, then drain.
- In a pan, heat a tablespoon of sesame oil then add two tablespoons of soy sauce, two tablespoons of sriracha, half a teaspoon of chilli flakes, plus three heaped tablespoons of peanut butter.
- Once these have mixed, add cubed tofu and mushroom.
- Allow the veggies and tofu to cook a bit before adding your noodles back into the mix and combine before serving.
Are there any other vegan camping recipes you love? Drop us a comment and tell us!
9. Vegan Camping Spice Mixes
Camping meals need to be minimal fuss. Recipes you can whip up in a jiffy with less than 10 ingredients. Spice mixes mean you don’t have to compromise on flavour.
Take a selection of spice mixes on your next camping trip and transform that tin of tomatoes or coconut milk into a mouth-watering meal!
Each spice mix is enough for a pot for two. If you know you’ll be camping for a few days, times the mixture by the number of nights you want to use it. Then simply sprinkle a serving into your pot whilst cooking.
- Curry – Mix one and a half teaspoons of cumin powder, one and a half teaspoons of coriander powder, half a teaspoon of turmeric, a teaspoon of chilli powder (or alter to your preferred level of spice) and a teaspoon of curry powder.
- Chilli – Combine one and a half teaspoons of cumin, one and a half teaspoons of smoked paprika, one teaspoon of coriander, half a teaspoon of garlic granules and a teaspoon of chilli powder again you can alter to suit your preference.
- Caribbean – Mix one teaspoon of all spice, one teaspoon of garlic powder, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, a quarter teaspoon of cloves, a teaspoon of ginger and a half teaspoon of nutmeg
- Cajun – Combine one teaspoon of cayenne pepper, one teaspoon of coriander, one teaspoon of cumin, one teaspoon of garlic powder, one teaspoon of onion powder, a teaspoon of oregano, half a teaspoon of rosemary, a teaspoon of smoked paprika and half a teaspoon of thyme.
- Italian – Incorporate one teaspoon of dried basil, one teaspoon of garlic powder, one teaspoon of onion powder, one teaspoon of oregano, half a teaspoon of parsley, half a teaspoon of rosemary, half a teaspoon of sage and half a teaspoon of thyme.
Camping questions answered – FAQ
For breakfast, you can have things like cereal or breads with jams/spreads. At lunch, you can easily make sandwiches/rolls/wraps, put together some cold salads with vegetables and pulses or bring deli items.
Energy balls are great, vegan flapjack is always good and trail mix is a favourite. For savoury camping snacks, you could try salted nut and seed mix, roast some popcorn on a campfire or make some guacamole and share with tortilla chips.
It’s a really good idea to go with a good amount of reusable zip-lock bags and a variety of Tupperware containers. All of your food could then be kept in a cooler if you have room to bring one or in a campsite fridge.
Porridge is brilliant for breakfast and vegan pancake are easier than you might think. Sandwiches, wraps and rolls can be made quickly for lunch. For dinner, the easy pasta recipe above will be ready in no time whilst a Mexican chilli is great too.
What did you think of the recipes? Need any extra advice? Maybe you know some other great vegan food for camping? Hit us up in the comment below!
Vegan Camping Food Guide, Recipe Inspiration & Meal Ideas
Camping is one of the best ways to truly immerse yourself in your natural surroundings. Stepping away from the usual routines and stresses of life enables you to appreciate these outdoor spaces and experiences. Hopefully this guide will help you vegan adventurers to get out there and embrace these incredible landscapes!