Vegetarian Weekend Backpacking Menu

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This vegetarian backpacking meal plan is perfect for a weekend out on the trail!

To backpacking tents set up at Cathedral Lake

There are a lot of things to look forward to before setting off on a backpacking trip, but eating dehydrated trail food is not usually one of them.

It’s true that hunger is the best sauce and at the end of a long, strenuous day even the world’s most finicky of eaters will happily stuff their face with whatever freeze-dried food they can get their hands on.

In many ways, meals in the backcountry – just like the pack on your back – serve more as the price of admission than the main attraction. But that doesn’t need to be the case!

Not that there is anything wrong with going down the pre-prepared path–we’ve been known to pack (and enjoy!) freeze-dried backpacking food, too. But if you’re looking for something a little more customizable to your diet–not to mention a whole lot cheaper– we’ve got a few DIY meal ideas for your next weekend excursion.

Low on weight, big on flavor, these meals will give you the energy you need to explore while being something to look forward to in their own right. Extra bonus points: the whole menu is vegetarian… or vegan if you swap out the cheese at lunch!

Our Favorite Backpacking Kitchen Gear

Jetboil Stove (14-16 oz) – When we want hot water fast, we reach for our Jetboil. This stove is perfect for making coffee, instant oatmeal, or rehydrating a freeze-dried meal. The Mini-Mo also has decent enough simmer control to allow you to cook your own dehydrated meals right in the pot.

MSR Pocket Rocket (3 oz)-  This lightweight stove from MSR is our go-to method for cooking meals while backpacking. Just screw on to a fuel canister, open the valve, and light.

MSR Ceramic Solo Pot (7.5 oz): For two people, this MSR pot is perfect for cooking in the backcountry.

Morsel Spork (.5 oz): This utensil has a genius design that allows you to scrape every last bit out of your pot.

See our entire backpacking checklist here!

Weekend Backpacking Menu

Friday
Lunch: Cheese & crackers, dried fruit, nuts, Maple Glazed Trail Mix
Dinner: Backpacking Fried Rice

Saturday
Breakfast: Strawberry Almond Oatmeal (recipe below)
Lunch: Dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter & crackers, Sweet and Spicy Trail Mix
Dinner: Peanut Butter Noodles
Dessert: Backpacking Apple Crisp

Sunday
Breakfast: Jackfruit Coconut Oatmeal (recipe below)
Lunch: Granola bars, trail hummus and crackers

Breakfasts

We are big fans of oatmeal around here – it’s full of protein and fiber to keep you full and loaded with (good) carbs to get you energized for the day. Here are two of our favorite variations. You can find freeze-dried fruit at Trader Joe’s or on Amazon.

Oatmeal with almonds and freeze dried strawberries in a pot

Strawberry Almond Oatmeal

1 serving / 420 calories / 14.5g protein

Ingredients
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 oz freeze dried strawberries
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preparation
At home
Portion out the oats, strawberries, chopped almonds, sugar and salt, and place in a ziplock bag.

In Camp
In your cookpot, combine 1 ¼ cup water and all the dry ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for another minute or two and then turn off the flame and let it sit, covered, for 1-3 minutes until the oats have softened to your liking.

Backpacking Jackfruit Coconut Oatmeal

Jackfruit Coconut Oatmeal

If you can’t find jackfruit, you can sub with mango or pineapple.
1 serving / 384 calories / 8.5g protein

Ingredients
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 oz. freeze dried jackfruit
1 tablespoon powdered coconut milk
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preparation
At home
Portion out the oats, jackfruit, coconut milk powder, shredded coconut, sugar and salt, and place in a ziplock bag.

In Camp
In your cookpot, combine 1 ¼ cup water and all the dry ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for another minute or two and then turn off the flame and let it sit, covered, for 1-3 minutes until the oats have softened to your liking.


Backpacking Lunch Ideas

Backpacking Lunches

We’ve never been fans of pulling out the camp stove at lunchtime, so we always include an assortment of non-cook foods to refuel throughout the day.

Some great options are bars (Lara, Clif Bars, Kind bars, etc), nut butter packets, powdered hummus, crackers, dried fruits, nuts, and cheese.

Hard cheeses will keep for a few days in your pack, as will the wax-covered Baybel cheese rounds.

Be sure to pack plenty of trail mix to snack on throughout the day!

Dinners

After a long day of hiking up mountains, eat a high-calorie dinner with a balance of protein, healthy fats, and carbs.

If you’re looking for more meal ideas, we have an awesome selection of dehydrated vegetarian backpacking recipes as well as an entire guide on how to dehydrate food for backpacking. Additionally, in this post we share all the great vegan backpacking meals on the market.

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7 Comments

  1. Just found your blog via Faring Well! I love the vibes you have going on here 🙂 And I love this recipe for vegan bacon mac + cheese… it looks so good! And since it’s dairy-free I bet it’s really portable for a trip too 😉

  2. Thanks for the Babybell tip! I’m putting together my shopping list for a three day backpacking trip and I think those little suckers will save me. Do you have a specific type of cracker you’d recommend that will hold up to being shoved into a bear vault?

    1. Looove me some Babybel cheese in the backcountry! As for crackers, my faves are the Bite Sized Everything crackers from Trader Joe’s, or their Pita Bite Crackers. They are fairly sturdy, so they don’t totally crumble. While I usually pack my bear barrel by day, I do keep more fragile food like crackers at the top so I don’t smush them when I’m cramming everything in. Hope you have a great trip!!

    2. Follow up: I just found another cracker at Trader Joe’s that can definitely hold its own in a bear barrel: Cranberry Coconut Snacking Crackers. I hadn’t seen them before today but I grabbed them for lunch and they are great. Sturdy but not too hard, and the bits of cranberry in them are kind of fun. Definitely would recommend them!

  3. Sammy Keyes says:

    I am testing out backpack dinners at home because I want to get more creative out in nature! Two thumbs up for the “Dan Dan Style Soba Noodles”. Adding the extra pasta helped a lot! Thank you for the ideas 🙂

  4. Combining the 2 oatmeal recipes to make Coconut Strawberry Oatmeal and it smells sooo good! I’ve never used powdered coconut milk but I’m so happy I discovered it!!! I might just eat this oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow morning!!!

    1. That sounds amazing! We actually made a coconut & strawberry breakfast quinoa for Adventure Journal a few months back, and the flavors are awesome together.
      Coconut milk powder is a pretty amazing ingredient. I love that you don’t have to open a whole can if you just want to add a little bit of the flavor into something.