When it comes to hiking and staying the night out in wilderness, novice campers tend to have a misconception that good food will be hard to come by, that they will have to resort to plain, cold sandwiches for the entire trip, or that it’s impossible to make a full-fledged meal without an oven or microwave. While packing for a camping trip and making sure that you have everything you need can be a little stressful (after all, if an item is overlooked, there aren’t exactly bodegas in the wilderness for you to run to) there are actually plenty of easy-to-make meals you can bring along that will not only satisfy your hunger but excite your taste buds! They’re even meatless and dairy-free!
There are obvious options like meatless one-pot chilis and stews as well as more unique entrées like shelf-stable Indian curries and veggie burgers that can be made out of a bag. Check out these 15 lunches and dinners that are super easy to prepare, even in the middle of nature. These meals will make sure that you can traverse the toughest of trails with plenty of energy and come home to a nice meal when the day is done.
Cucina and Amore Artichoke and Roasted Peppers Quinoa Meal
Cucina and Amore Artichoke and Roasted Peppers Quinoa Meal is an ideal protein-rich lunch or dinner product to keep on hand. Since it’s already fully cooked and does not need to be refrigerated or frozen, you can stash this package in your bag or office or bring it along camping as a meal you can simply grab and start munching whenever hunger strikes. As one Amazon reviewer points out, once this package is opened you can’t reseal it for later consumption, but other than that reviewers seem to dig this convenient meal. You can get six packages for a little under $25.
Backpacker's Pantry Chana Masala
Backpacker’s Pantry Chana Masala allows you to enjoy the satisfying goodness of Indian food on your camping trip. This entrée consists of precooked long grain white rice, chickpeas, coconut milk powder, tomato, sea salt, and spices. Each bag yields two 13-ounce servings and is shelf stable for up to 84 months (incase you don’t end up eating it the first time you pack it). To enjoy this meal, you simply have to add boiling water. Reviewers are reporting that this meal is flavorful, very filling (despite the fact that there isn’t much curry sauce with it), and yields large servings. Some reviewers even report that this is one of the best vegetarian options in regards convenient camping meals currently on the market. To try it out yourself, you can get one bag (two large servings) for about $6.
Seitenbacher Veggie Burger
Think the only veggie burgers on the market are in the freezer aisle? Think again. Seitenbacher Veggie Burger Mix is made with spelt oats, onions, soy kernels, sea salt, paprika, carrots, chives, and spices and comes in a convenient package that does not need to be refrigerated and is perfect for camping trips. As Amazon reviewers relay, this product is healthy and convenient. They also share that all you need is a pan and water to make patties, and each package comes out to about three burgers. You can get seven of these pouches for about $21.
Rudi's Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
While it is an extra item to carry, hamburger buns are a nice touch with veggie patties, and help to make it feel like a full-fledged meal. Rudi’s Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns are made primarily with organic whole wheat flour and contains five grams of protein per bun, that means ten in total for one top bun and one bottom bun. Not too shabby! With this seven-pack bulk order, you can get each four-burger package for a little over $8.50.
Cook Simple Cowboy Chili
To make Cooksimple Cowboy Chili you need three things: a can of tomatoes, a pot, and a fire. Considering you’re likely to have all of these items while camping, this product makes for an easy dinner. The gluten, corn, nut, and soy free mix is made primarily from quinoa, black beans, zucchini, and spinach. Reviewers report adding extra protein to it, adding a bit of seasoning to spice it up, and even cooking it with beer. If you want to try putting your own culinary flair to it, you can purchase one six-ounce box for $9.
Just Tomatoes Just Veggies
Having a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables on a camping trip is the ideal situation. However, the reality of the matter is that carrying fresh produce can be a huge burden. As an alternative, consider buying Just Tomatoes Just Veggies. Made with vine-ripened tomatoes, peas, carrots, corn, and bell peppers, this mix is all dried and ready to be snacked on. Just Tomatoes even suggests adding this gluten-free mix to soups, baked potatoes, and sauces for some extra flavor. Reviewers have enjoyed this mix on backpacking trips, as a way to get picky eaters to eat vegetables, and even as pet food! You can get two eight-ounce packages for a little over $13.50
Chef-Man Mexican Strips
For a quick protein source that you can add to pretty much any entrée, consider looking into Chef-Man Mexican Strips. This vegan meal is pre-cooked and ready-to-eat, gluten-free, and non-GMO. It is made primarily with water, non-GMO soy protein concentrate, tahini sesame paste, dehydrated vegetables (onion, garlic), protein isolate, chickpeas, red beans, and spices. Reviewers are saying that this meal is filling and tasty although “Middle Eastern” might be a better way of describing the flavor. You can get one meal for $10, two for $17, or four for $36.
Earth Balance Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese has been considered an easy dinner option for a long time now and it’s not different when camping! Earth Balance Cheddar Mac and Cheese is made with bite-sized macaroni pasta and a creamy lactose and casein free cheese sauce. Each box contains eight grams of protein and is made simply by boiling the pasta and then mixing in the sauce. If the Amazon reviews are any indication, it seems like this mac and cheese is definitely worth a try! Some even say that it tastes just like the traditional dairy kind. You can get 12 boxes of the cheesy pasta for $34.
Go Picnic Sunbutter and Crackers Pack
Instead of packing 10 different items to get you through lunch, consider checking out Go Picnic Sunbutter and Crackers Pack. This gluten-free ready-to-eat meal contains five snacks: a cup of sunflower butter, multigrain crackers, unsweetened applesauce, fruit leather, and two chocolate chip cookies. None of the products contain high fructose corn syrup, GMOs, artificial colors or flavors, or MSG. In total, the meal provides nine grams of protein and 57 grams of carbs. Reviewers are saying that although this meal kit is a bit high in sodium, it is tasty, very convenient, and contains wholesome snacks. To try it out yourself, you can get a pack of six boxes for a little over $20.
Edward & Son’s Organic Mashed Potatoes
For a hearty potato dish that doesn’t get cold as quickly as french fries, check out Edward & Son’s Organic Mashed Potatoes. This instant mix is made from four ingredients: organic potato flakes, organic onion powder, sea salt, and organic black pepper. It is gluten-free and organic and only requires a pot of boiling water to enjoy, some vegan non-dairy milk (shelf-stable in the case of camping) and a bit of vegan butter (which can be kept in a cooler). Reviewers are saying that this instant mix is tasty, a very convenient way to make mashed potatoes when you’re crunched on time and is a healthy option compared to other instant mixes that utilize preservatives and additives. You can get a pack of six 3.5-ounce boxes for about $19.
Mountain House Fire Roasted Vegetable Blend
Transform ho-hum camping food into delicious meals fit for royalty with the Mountain House Fire Roasted Vegetable Blend. Infused with a smoky flavor, this versatile combination of grilled vegetables can be used as a side dish with any of your meals, tossed with pasta or layered in a sandwich. Specifically, this mix includes corn, black beans, fire-roasted red and green bell peppers and fire-roasted onion. Reviews are almost unanimous for this product – all seem to agree that the food is tasty and easy-to-prepare but comes in a pretty small portion. Most reviewers seem to be using this mix as a way to pump up stews, pasta dishes, and chilis. You can get one package for $4.
Dr. McDougall’s Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup
After a long day of hiking, a comforting meal is a must. Dr. McDougall’s Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup contains noodles, carrots, onions, and corn, in a savory low-sodium broth similar to those made with chicken stock. Each 1.4-ounce package is 140 calories, six grams of protein, and four grams of fiber. If you’re used to a high-sodium soup, this healthier alternative may not seem as tasty, but many Amazon reviewers seem to like it. If you want to try it for yourself, this six-pack bulk order costs just $10.
Field Roast Grain Frankfurters
Hot dogs around the campfire is a tried and true favorite. Recreate this campfire meal vegan-style with Field Roast Grain Meat Frankfurters. These hot dogs are made primarily from filtered water, vital wheat gluten, and safflower oil, and are seasoned with tomato pasta, paprika, sea salt, onions, and garlic. Unlike regular hot dogs, these veggie sausages contain zero cholesterol. They pack in just as much protein as meat, though, with 21 grams of protein per serving. According to Field Roast, you can either cook these on the grill, sauté them in a pan, or steam in the oven or microwave. Reviewers are raving about their umami flavor, hearty texture, and quick preparation. One reviewer even said these were the best veggie dogs they ever tried! To see if these franks live up to the hype, you can get one 16-ounce package for a little under $5.50.
Ruhil’s Ready-to-Eat Lahori Cholle
The only thing better than a meal that only needs a pot of boiling water to make is a meal that is ready to eat straight out of the package! Ruhil’s Ready-to-Eat Lahori Cholle is made primarily with water, chickpeas, onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, and cashews. It is gluten-free, MSG-free, and preservative-free. It is shelf-stable for up to two years. Reviewers are reporting that this meal is satisfying, nutritious, and easy-to-make, although some noted that it is a bit oily. You can get a pack of three meals for $10.
Westsoy Cubed Seitan
For a seitan product that can go from package to pan in mere seconds, check out Westsoy Cubed Seitan. This product is marinated in a bit of soy sauce, dusted with chickpea flour, and brushed with garlic, making it a seamless addition across many cuisines. Each serving (1/3 cup) contains 21 grams of protein and just 120 calories. Reviewers are cooking with this seitan in several different ways, including curry spices, marinara sauce, or a medley of vegetables. It seems like the options are pretty limitless with this one. You can get 12 eight-ounce packages for a little over $50.
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