Eating vegetarian on a normal day can be hard enough, but eating vegetarian while camping can be a downright struggle if you think of normal camping food. Burgers and hotdogs aren't very vegetarian friendly and you can't live on chips the whole trip.
The good news is that there are actually a lot of vegetarian foods that you can cook while camping. You don't have to be reduced to foraging for roots and berries. You just have to think outside of what is traditional campfire food.
Grilled vegetables are easy to make. So are nachos, pasta, beans, rice, and quesadillas. So with some planning, vegetarians won't have to starve while camping.
Vegetarian Camping Meals
|Dinners||Lunches & Snacks||Breakfast|
• Skewers and kabobs
• Grilled vegetables and fruit
• Toast and eggs
• Vegetable foil packs
• Nachos with beans or veggie chili
• Grilled tofu
• Sandwiches and wraps
• Spaghetti (Pasta Primavera)
• Veggie burgers
• Beans and rice
• Campfire tacos
Camp Cooking Methods
The way you are planning on cooking during the trip will affect what you can cook. For example, if you are just using a fire with no grill over the top, you won't be able to cook food in pots. If you will be using a portable grill or at a campsite that has a grill, you will have a much wider choice in what you can fix.
So make sure you know how you will be cooking your food ahead of time. Bring the necessary pots, skillets, toasting forks, aluminum foil, can opener, and so on. Don't forget silverware, plates, and cups.
Caution: pots will be hotter over a fire than with a normal stove. Make sure to use oven mitts or a towel when lifting pots and pans so you won't burn yourself.
You can clean the pot with bleach wipes, so you don't have to bring the whole kitchen out into the woods with you.
Foil dinners are great for camping. You can use them with any type of fire, grill, or even in an oven. You wrap up a meal for each individual, which is great for picky eaters or if part of the group is vegetarian and part is not.
Each person can pick exactly what goes in their food. In addition, you can make a different meal each time, so it doesn’t get boring.
Just about any type of vegetable or even fruit can go into the pack. Meat eaters can even add meat to theirs if they want.
How to Make a Foil Pack Dinner
- To make a foil dinner, pull off a long piece of aluminum foil. Place the food in the middle of the foil. Add seasoning. Italian herbs and olive oil make a tasty seasoning. You can also use just butter and some salt and pepper for flavoring. Add some type of oil or butter to it so that it won’t dry out too much as it cooks.
- Potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, onions, pieces of corn, cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots are good vegetables to put into the pack. Pineapples, cherries, and apples also taste good grilled. Tofu is another great addition for protein.
- You can wrap a whole potato or an ear of corn in foil and grill it as well.
- If you don't have a grill, the pack can just go beside the fire. Don't touch the packs with your bare hands once they have been cooking. Try to turn them often so the food will be evenly cooked.
- Foil packs are also great to use for cookouts, which are another difficult time for vegetarians to find things to eat. The packs can be thrown on the grill along with the other food. The foil protects the food from contacting the meat.
Skewers and Kabobs
Kabobs and skewers are another easy way to cook food while camping. You can lay the kabob on the grill or put it in the edge of the fire if you don’t have a grill.
Make sure you wrap the skewer in multiple layers of foil if it is going in the fire.
Cut the vegetables (and fruits) into pieces that are a few inches across. Make sure they are small enough to cook well, but big enough that they won’t fall off the skewer.
You can mix the vegetables together on the same stick or you can make the whole skewer the same type of fruit or veggie if you have items that will cook for different lengths of time.
Stick the skewer through the pieces. Leave a bit of space between each piece so the vegetables can cook thoroughly. Wrap the skewer with foil for the best flavor and to hold in any seasonings. Add salt, pepper, olive oil or butter, any sprinkles of herbs, and anything else you want to use for seasoning. Then place the skewer onto the grill.
It will need to cook approximately 10-15 minutes. Cook until tender and lightly browned.
This is a list of food that cooks well and tastes delicious when prepared over a fire or on a grill. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comment box.
- cherry tomatoes
These vegetables are good for grill packs but not for skewers.
- Beans or vegetarian chili
- Cheese (vegans can leave off the cheese or use daiya cheese alternative)
- Any other nacho topping you may want
Nachos are a great grill food. The best way to fix them is to use aluminum foil. Pull off a long piece of foil. Fold up the edges on all sides so that the nachos will stay in place.
If you are going to use beans or chili, you may want to heat them in a pot first. If you don’t have a pot, the beans will warm up when you melt the nachos.
Spread the chips on the foil. Pour the beans or chili on top. Sprinkle on the cheese. Add any other ingredients you desire on top. Remember to bring a can opener for the beans and a knife to cut any toppings.
Place the nachos on the grill. When the cheese is melted and the other ingredients are warm, remove the nachos. Allow them to cool a few minutes before eating. Add salsa for a yummy nacho treat.
Boiling Spaghetti Over a Campfire
Spaghetti (Pasta Primavera)
- Spaghetti sauce
- Vegetables (peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc)
Pasta can be cooked over a campfire easily as long as there is a grill. Simply boil the water and add the pasta. Make sure to bring a strainer or some tongs to pull the noodles out of the water when they are tender.
Boil the sauce in another pot. Add vegetables as desired. You can even make pasta with just veggies and not use marinara sauce. Or substitute alfredo sauce.
The pasta and sauce will have a grill fire taste plus the carbs in the pasta will give you the energy for hiking afterward.
Sandwiches and Wraps
Sandwiches and wraps are another option for camping. They can be easy to fix. This can be especially good if you can’t make a fire for some reason or if it rains.
Peanut butter and jelly, vegetable sandwiches, potato salad or egg salad sandwiches are all tasty options for sandwich days.
If you do have a fire, you can even make a sandwich and toast it over the fire. Grilled cheese sandwiches can be a quick and easy meal.
Toast and Eggs
Breakfast can be easy for vegetarians as well. Simply eat eggs and toast. If you are a vegan, skip the eggs. Cook soy or tofu bacon for protein.
Make an omelet over the fire or boil an egg in a pot. You can even scramble eggs in a skillet. Add peppers or other vegetables to the eggs for more flavor and nutrients.
Bread can be placed on a piece of aluminum foil and then laid onto the grill to make toast. If you don’t have a grill, you can put the bread on a toasting fork and hold it up to the fire. To keep the bread from getting too crunchy, add butter before you cook the bread.
Sometimes it is easier to eat the same thing everyone else is having. Fixing a veggie burger patty when everyone else is eating burgers can be a simple solution. There are many varieties of veggie burgers available. There are even vegetarian hotdogs.
Beans and Rice
The combination of beans and rice is a good way for vegetarians to get complete high fiber protein. Eating them while camping is a great way to fuel your body for all of your camping activities. On the plus side, it is a simple meal to fix as long as you have a grill and a couple of pots.
To make the rice, you will mainly need to boil water. That is simple to do on the grill. Then all you will need to do is follow the directions on the rice.
Many different types of beans are great tasting over a campfire. Black beans, brown beans, and refried beans are some of the best choices. The easiest way to cook them is to use canned beans and heat them in a pot.
Add pieces of vegetables such as peppers, onions, and tomatoes or tomato sauce for a more flavorful dish. You can even eat them in a shell or with chips or over a salad for a Mexican-themed flair.
Campfire Food Poll
- Beans (black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, or chili beans work best)
- Can of diced tomatoes
- Cayenne pepper
- Chili powder
- White ground pepper
- Hot sauce (optional)
Chili has been a long standing traditional campfire food. Make your own vegetarian chili during your camping trip. You will need a large pot to make chili.
There are several types of beans that are delicious in chili. Black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, or chili beans are the most common. You can even add more than one type of bean to the chili for a rich texture.
Vegetables that taste good in the chili are also subject to personal preference. Onions, bell peppers, spicy peppers, tomatoes, carrots, corn, or even lima beans are all typical chili vegetables. You can even add rice as well.
Combine the beans and the diced tomatoes in the pot. Chop the vegetables and then mix them into the pot. Add the spices and seasonings. Mix the chili well.
Place the pot on the fire. Bring the ingredients to a boil. If you can, let the chili simmer over a cooler fire to allow for a richer flavor.
Stir the chili frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Let it cool before eating. Eat with crackers or chips.
- Cheese (cheddar or Monterey jack cheese is best)
To make a quesadilla over a fire, you will need a grill. Pull off a piece of aluminum foil big enough to fit under the tortilla. Place one tortilla on the foil. A light coating of oil or butter on the foil will keep the tortilla from getting too crispy. (If you have a skillet, cook the quesadilla in the skillet using oil).
Add cheese and any vegetables you want onto the tortilla. Do not layer the ingredients too thickly or they won’t cook well. Place another tortilla on top.
Lay the tortilla onto the grill and allow it to cook for a few minutes. Flip the quesadilla and allow it to cook until the cheese is melted.
Let the quesadilla cool. Serve with salsa or sour cream if desired.
Don't Forget Dessert!
- Camping Dessert Recipes and Ideas
Make campfire cakes in oranges, melt sweet treats in banana boats, and mix up some fun new s'mores recipes. There tons of other ideas for quick and simple camping desserts that you can make over the fire.
More Helful Ideas for Vegetarians
- How to Eat Vegetarian at Fast Food Restaurants
Tips for eating vegetarian at fast food restaurants. Finding vegetarian menu items that are available at national chains. List of items vegetarians should avoid.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Abbie on July 03, 2016:
This was so helpful! I'm about to go camping in Glacier National Park for 10 days and have been wanting to plan my meals ahead of time. I camped in Yellowstone last year but was not prepared to be eating camp food as a vegetarian for a few days. It was rice and beans and mac n cheese every day. Thanks for the help! I really look forward to trying some of these new recipes when I leave in a couple of days!
Angie on November 15, 2014:
Veggie kabobs and foil packets are well and good but they are side dishes not main entrees. Vegetarians need protein too!!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on September 23, 2014:
xolelwa - I hope you found a recipe here that sounds good for you.
WiccanSage - It can be much easier to eat vegetarian when camping. Less worry with coolers and storage. Thanks!
Carrie - Marshmallows aren't vegetarian. But you are right about good alternatives. Homemade marshmallows are also tasty.
Oldskool903 - It can be a more peaceful lifestyle and healthier for some people. I definitely recommend cutting back on meat and eating less processed and factory foods.
David Flores on August 22, 2014:
Such a cool unique article. Also very well written. I have recently been thinking about trying a vegetarian diet. A good friend of mine told me he feels much more peaceful with himself. It could be a mental thing but I wouldn't mind giving it a shot.
Carrie on July 30, 2014:
I hate to rain on the smore parade but mosrmarshmallows are not vegetarian. There are some great vegan ones out there. Dandies and Sweet and Sarah being two great brands. Also it's not hard to make vegan marshmallows at home. A bit sticky yes but not complicated.
Mackenzie Sage Wright on April 15, 2014:
I'm not a veg but I always prefer veg meals on a camping trip-- I hate to worry about meat coolers temperature and potential contamination and everything. It just makes it easier to me to bring assorted, cleaned veggies & fruits, breads, PB & beans. Love your campfire nacho idea. Nice hub.
xolelwa on April 08, 2014:
i really need an advise cause i don't eat noodles and i don't know how am i going to survive on the camp
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on February 18, 2013:
Jake - Thanks for the tip. That's helpful to know.
Jake on February 17, 2013:
"For example, if you are just using a fire with no grill over the top, you won't be able to cook food in pots."
You can cook with a pot/frying pan if you leave the fire to die, until most of the flames are gone and there's a big pile of embers. Sit the pot/pan on top of the embers and you have a cooking environment that's just as effective as a stove. To get the fire going again, just shake the embers around a little with a stick.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on January 23, 2013:
Marie - Protein packed vegetarian meals for hiking are definitely a bit trickier. Have you tried vegetarian jerky? You can find it on Amazon and at some health food stores. It may taste a bit different than your dried veggies. Have you checked the camping food section of sporting good stores? Sometimes they have dehydrated vegetarian meals that are pretty tasty. Protein bars and supplements would be the only other thing I could think of for that time of camping.
Being a vegetarian can be tough in some situations, and that type of hiking/backpacking is one of them. Good luck. Eating meat again can be a difficult decision, but sometimes it is the right one. Hope you find some tasty meals for the trail.
Marie on November 04, 2012:
Your recipes looks very tasty and delicious, but i wonder if you have ideas for veggie-cooking for trekking or travelling in nature, where you don't have acces to shopping for a larger amount of days, and therefore only can have fresh vegetable for the first few days??
I study outdoor activities and our trips differ from 5 days to 2 weeks, where we have to carry food for 3 meals a day plus all additional camp gear on our backs. Thus the code is dry foods and light weight.
I've been a vegetarian for 7 years, and though i've been struggling with the thougth of returning to eating meat due to healt issues for the last year or so, i would never eat the typical "sausages with powder-mashed potatoes" or canned-meat you'd get on the last days of the trip.
Its oatmeal for breakfast, and up until now i've been eating tofu, (that I prepare from home), cup-soups mixed with quinoa, soy-flakes/granulates and cous-cous, (that same diet can get a bit boring) I dry all sorts of vegetables in the oven and with that i can spice op the meal a bit, or make lunch differ from dinner in taste, but its really the protein thats my problem.(!?)
You need so much power and energy when hiking many kms a day with up to 20kgs on your back. Snacks like nuts and dried fruits arent enough. ...then add snow or windy weather and the energy-need is even greater.
By the way I very much liked reading your thoughts on starting to eat meat again. I find myself in a similar situation. I kind of know that eventually I will have to eat meat, but for the moment I just keep putting it off...
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on October 02, 2012:
jbrock2041 - Thanks! Hope your camping trip was great. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to come up with.
jbrock2041 from Park City, UT on August 31, 2012:
Lots of great ideas here. I am going camping this weekend so I'm glad I came across this hub. It's funny sometimes camping recipes seem so simple yet we don't think of them until someone else has already tried them.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on February 02, 2012:
urmilashukla23 - Thanks! Camping season will be here soon...
Urmila from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on January 30, 2012:
Great article! I love this Hub. I am a vegetarian and I like the camping recipes ideas you have provided here. Thank you so much for sharing it. Voted up!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on December 08, 2011:
cclitgirl - Thanks and glad you found it helpful!
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on December 08, 2011:
YES! This article is awesome! I'm bookmarking it now. :)
Voted up and VERY useful.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on December 08, 2011:
livelonger - Thanks and when you do camp, I hope your food is delicious.
Jason Menayan from San Francisco on December 08, 2011:
Fantastic suggestions...I don't camp much, but when I do, I want to make sure I can eat reasonably well (I'm a vegetarian). Thank you!
fucsia on August 03, 2011:
Thanks for sharing these good ideas!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 15, 2011:
Thanks for the fabulous compliments akirchner! Glad you enjoyed the hub.
Audrey Kirchner from Washington on July 15, 2011:
Absolutely great recipes and presentation - it's been decades since I camped but I remember the concepts and you are spot on! Love the pics and the layout too!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 13, 2011:
Thanks for the comments.
kat11 - I was a girl scout, so I ate plenty of smores. Thanks!
kat11 from Illinois on July 13, 2011:
Wow after reading the recipes and looking at the photos it reminded me of the scouting days I did with my children.It also made me hungry. Thanks for the great recipes.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 13, 2011:
Really good information. Thanks!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 08, 2011:
Thank you Simone! All of the recipes are super simple. Foil packs are great to make in the oven at home. It makes the veggies taste so flavorful. Wish I could camp more too so I could create more hubs about it.
Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on July 08, 2011:
cocopreme, you're brilliant! Gosh, I've GOT to go camping again just so I can try some of these fabulous recipes out! I've never had a go at campfire cooking with foil packs before. It looks like loads of fun. The photos you've included are super helpful, too! They make me realize this is all super doable. Oh, I'm so excited! Thanks for creating this Hub!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 08, 2011:
Thank you for the comments Tiffany and Ben. Foil wraps are a very delicious meal, especially for vegetarians.
Ben Zoltak from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on July 08, 2011:
looks like vegi burgers are in the lead! may try the foil wraps soon for some vegi friends well done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tiffany Regan from Colorado on July 07, 2011:
Thank you for the great ideas. The recipes look delicious!