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The Best Vegetarian Hiking Food - Snacks, Backpacking Meals & More

November 19, 2023

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As a vegetarian, it can be difficult to find hiking food that provides fuel for long hiking days and strenuous adventures. After years of hiking as a vegetarian, I’m bringing you all of my favorite hiking snacks and camping meals! Keep reading to get ideas for healthy hiking snacks, vegetarian backpacking meals, campfire cooking, and more.

This blog is sponsored by SnapDragon Apples. As always, opinions are my own.


Healthy Hiking Snacks for Vegetarians

Here are some ideas for satisfying snacks to fuel any day hike.

Apples

I love apples! They are a satisfying snack that provide the perfect amount of sweetness and tartness. Plus, you don’t need to keep them refrigerated, so they’re easy to carry on the go!

Lydia standing under trees with hanging moss in Texas. She holds a red apple.Lydia sits looking at a view of Red River Gorge holding an apple.

You must try SnapDragon Apples the next time you hit the trails. These apples have a bit of tartness and a satisfying crunch. The apples could be described as spicy-sweet because you’ll get that perfect crunch along with the sweetness. You may even detect a hint of vanilla in the flavor.

Apples will provide energy and fuel for your adventures, whether you’re hiking in the Utah desert or the Colorado mountains.

SnapDragon apples are grown in New York from a collective of family-owned farms across the state. They are all grown in New York, but you can find them all across the US. You can find them at Costco, Public, H-E-B, Aldi, Safeway, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Wegman’s and many more stores. Be sure to look for them on your next trip to the grocery.

SnapDragon Apples are the official apple of the Buffalo Bills!

Spreading peanut butter on a slice of apple while on a hike.Holding up an apple slice with a bit of peanut butter on it.

When it comes to hiking, apples provide a boost of energy. If you’d like to add more protein to your snack, peanut butter also makes a fantastic addition! Either way, apples are always my go-to snack for the trails.

Vegan Jerky

Vegan jerky is a great protein-filled snack that keeps well and is easy to throw into your hiking backpack. Jerky also comes in fun flavors, such as teriyaki and BBQ. Personally, I really like Noble Jerky, who offers all plant-based jerky.

In my opinion, jerky is a great candidate to make vegetarian because it’s something that is already heavily processed. If you enjoy a savory snack while hiking, it’s worth trying this out.

Protein Bars

Protein bars are always a great go-to for a snack that are easy to pack and full of protein. You probably already have ones that you love, but my personal favorites are Kate’s Real Food, Clif Bars and Built Bars. They offer a long shelf life, so it’s easy to stock up and keep them on hand.

Peanut Butter Bagels

My go-to hiking lunch is a peanut butter bagel! (I don’t really like jelly, but that’s of course an option too!) Compared to traditional sandwich bread, I find that bagels are a much more sturdy type of bread to hold the peanut butter and that they’re more filling. A peanut butter bagel paired with an apple is what you’ll typically see me eating on the trail.

Hummus and Veggie Sandwich

Holding up a sandwich with veggies, hummus and cheese in the desert.

If I need a road trip lunch and I’m bringing a cooler, I love to make a hummus and veggie sandwich. I tend to go with sourdough bread, red pepper hummus, sliced red bell peppers, red onion and lettuce! You can even add a slice of cheese.

Pro Tip: Slice up your veggies at home before heading out on a road trip or camping trip.

Savory Snacks

I absolutely love carrying some kind of crunchy and savory snack during my hikes. For me, I love to switch between cheez its, Goldfish, Dot’s Pretzels, nuts or some kind of trail mix. I like to switch it up regularly so I don’t get bored.

Pro Tip: Pack your food in reusable food bags to reduce waste.


Vegetarian Backpacking Meals

Personally, I really enjoy a freeze-dried backpacking meal if I’m headed on a backpacking trip. They are always satisfying after a long day of hiking, and so simple to make. There are so many to choose from, so I recommend visiting your local REI or other outdoor store and looking at the vegetarian options.

A couple of my favorite vegetarian options are the Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai and the Good To-Go Mushroom Risotto.

For dessert, I like the Trailtopia Cheesecake, which includes chocolate, strawberries and grahams.


Vegetarian Camping Meals

Here are a few ideas for camping meals that are vegetarian and delicious!

Charcuterie Board

Holding up a charcuterie board next to a campfire. The board has 3 cheeses, crackers, apple slices and dried cranberries.Lydia sitting next to a campfire and warming her hands while holding a mug.

A charcuterie board is an easy and fun way to prepare food while you’re out camping! It’s always a crowd pleaser. To create the perfect board, add some sliced SnapDragon apples, a few different cheeses (I like a mix of hard and soft), some jam and crackers. You could also add things like dried cranberries or nuts. Pick your own adventure!

Camping Quesadillas

These are easy and quick to make using a camp stove. When it comes to picking a tortilla, I absolutely love Rise ‘n Puff Tortillas. They are full of flavor and super easy to make. For my quesadillas, I add finely shredded cheese and vegetarian refried beans, and dip them in salsa!

Curry Cauliflower Grill Packets

One of my go-to camping recipes for years has been a cauliflower curry! You’ll cook up cauliflower, curry powder, potatoes, onions, cherry tomatoes, peas and oil in a foil packet and place it on the fire. To balance the flavors, mix yogurt and lemon juice to create a sauce to serve with the cooked curry.

This dish is flavorful, quite filling and delicious. You can also cook everything in a pot on a camp stove or directly on the fire. I find the pot to be a bit easier than using the foil packets.

Sesame Noodles

Whether you prefer a jacket of ramen or udon noodles, a noodle dish packed with flavors is easy to make while you’re camping! I love to add green onions, sesame seeds and cilantro to the noodles to pack in some flavor.

Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is another easy and delicious go-to meal! Pick your favorite melty cheese and a hearty bread. If you’d like to elevate the sandwich, add some slices of SnapDragon apples!

An Easy Camping Dessert

What’s more fun than making a delicious dessert to complete your camping trip? A baked apple tart can be made directly on the campfire using foil packets. You’ll slice up your SnapDragon apples and add a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon or apple pie seasoning. Then you’ll make a crumb mixture that includes melted butter, quick oats, flour, cinnamon and brown sugar.

Mixing up apples with sugar in a bowl next to a campfire.An apple tart with inside a foil packet, topped with ice cream. A bag of SnapDragon apples sits on the table in the background.

Mix those together and seal them in a foil packet to cook on the campfire. The result is a deliciously sweet apple tart that is sure to please everyone. This is a great thing to enjoy with a group around the campfire before heading to bed.


Tips for Choosing your Hiking Food

  • To make sure you’re prepared for anything, you should always pack more food than you think you need when heading out on a day hike or backpacking trip. It’s better to have a little extra than to be hungry if things don’t go to plan.

  • Make sure to pack out all of your food scraps and waste! This includes apple cores, which can take a long time to biodegrade and do not belong in all environments.

  • Research the bear safety in the area you’re visiting. For example, a bear canister may be required to store your food and scented items if you’re backpacking in an area with a lot of bear activity.


Final Thoughts

Whether you’re new to being vegetarian, new to hiking or just looking for some fresh ideas, I hope this guide helps you discover some new hiking snacks and camping meals. Being a vegetarian means your choices are a little bit limited, but there are still plenty of options out there to help you stay full and satisfied.

Make sure to look for SnapDragon apples at your local grocer and take them out to enjoy on your next hike.


For more Hiking tips, check out these blogs:

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