Cheap Vegan Food Ideas for When a Spontaneous Adventure Calls

Home » Cheap Vegan Food Ideas for When a Spontaneous Adventure Calls

Things that I love: mountains, adventures, and road trips. Things I also love: health & wellness, coffee, and all things vegan.  Finding balance between my outdoor hobbies and my passion for conscious living can seriously be downright exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing better than spending afternoons meal prepping for upcoming backcountry trips and dehydrating food for weeks of travelling, however, there’s times where it’s simply impossible to be entirely prepared for an outing in the great outdoors.

I really enjoy being spontaneous, the last thing I would ever want to do is to pass up the opportunity for a camping trip, but as a vegan, receiving short notice of such an activity is absolutely stress inducing– am I right???

There’s been so many times where I’ve found myself booking it to the grocery store to gather a week’s worth of food and having to ‘hope for the best’. I want to eliminate this utterly overwhelming experience for you and simplify the process so that when spontaneous adventures pop up, you can say yes every time.

Let’s say you’re heading out for five days of front country camping. You’ll have access to water, a camping stove, and fuel the entire time, but you won’t have a cooler because ice is not available.

You get to the grocery store, where do you even start?

Ok, let’s nail this together.


(remember these will be CHEAP & NOT SO GLAMOROUS)


The most important meal of the day. Reality is, you’re going to have to get acquainted with oatmeal- do this however you need to, just make sure you do so. Whether you buy those pre-packaged flavoured Quaker packets, or a bag of gluten free quick oats, it’s easy to dress up oatmeal to make it taste good to get it down.

My suggestion of what to eat for breakfast:

-1 cup of quick oats

-1 tbs chia seeds 

Organic Ground Black Chia Seeds

-2 tbs hemp hearts

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds, Natural, 454g Bag - Packaging May Vary

-1.5 tbs peanut butter (make sure it’s natural)

-cinnamon to taste

-1 banana (a bunch of bananas may or may not last you all five days, but it’s nice to have some fruit when and if you can)

-Mix all together

BAM that’s like 600 calories right there.

Also don’t forget the coffee!

    Plastic Pour-Over Coffeemaker, 1-Cup

  • There’s things I will cheap out on and there’s some things I just can’t justify needing to save a buck or two on- coffee is one. I have tried and I have tried but I can’t stomach a cup of Folger’s, so I usually grab a tin of illy Ground- Drip Medium Roast. It’s $13 CAD but makes a damn good cup of joe and it’s great because it’s pre-ground!

Ground Medium Roast Drip Coffee 8.8 oz Can Front View


Personally, when I’m camping somewhere, I am usually doing activities in the afternoon so ‘lunch’ is generally a combination of snacks throughout the day. Here are my go-to, if I’m really in a pinch, snacks:

-Rice Cakes

Image result for quaker rice cakes

  • I usually rotate between having them with an avocado or peanut butter with banana
  • Sub out the rice cakes for sprouted bread and make a sandwich if you’re looking for more calories.

– unsweetened Apple sauce

Clif Builder bars (most are vegan, my favourite is the mint chocolate)

CLIF BAR - Energy Bar - Cool Mint Chocolate - With Caffeine (68 Gram Protein Bar, 12 Count)

  • I like these because they have 20 grams of protein and 31 grams of carbohydrates

– Good ol’ trail mix. If your grocery store has a bulk section make the trail mix yourself. If not, try to grab a pre-mixed bag without its contents being covered in sugar!


Keep in mind that I said this information would be not so glamorous. I am a huge advocate of cooking legumes and beans, and avoiding the canned versions of these foods when I can.  However, sometimes we have to make sacrifices to do the activities we love, so we have to be okay with not eating exactly how we typically eat at home. For dinner, remember we want QUICK & CHEAP dinners that won’t use up too much of our fuel.

Things you will need to make this come to life:

MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Stove

  • Utensils
  • Fuel and lighter
  • Can opener (we are front country camping here, it’s worth the weight)
  • One of those multi-spice packs
    • I like this one:

      -there’s paprika, salt, pepper, garlic salt, cayenne, and curry. You can find it at MEC. I wish it had cumin, my suggestion is to pack a little bit of cumin and parsley if you can as well.


  • Canned lentils and chickpeas
    • if you don’t want to use canned lentils, regular lentils are easy enough to cook but take a bit longer, pack extra fuel if you choose this method!
  • Couscous
  • Olive oil

Couscous is great because you don’t have to boil it, you just have to add hot water to it. For that reason (and because it’s cheap), this is a good base for dinners

  • I like to spice the couscous with cayenne, paprika, cumin, and garlic salt. How ever you choose to do your couscous, make sure it’s flavourful, couscous can be so dry if it’s not done right!
  • Add olive oil as well!

In addition to the couscous, add the chickpeas and lentils. Because it’s from a can try your best to rinse the chickpeas and lentils. You could spice the chickpeas separately with paprika, cayenne, olive oil, salt, and pepper, or just throw it all in with your couscous mix. Make sure you heat up the chickpeas and lentils in your pot!

If you don’t want to have this combination every night, bring pasta along to boil. Bring a tomato sauce if you can, add in the lentils and flavour with garlic salt, olive oil, pepper, and parsley. You have yourself a Vegan Bolognese!

If you are a dessert person and really need a sweet after dinner, Oreos are vegan!!

Unwind from the day with an herbal tea and some stargazing!

There you have it folks, cheap and fast vegan food ideas for when you’re in a pinch! Stay tuned as I will be putting together a FULL vegan meal plan for packing in the backcountry!

Happy adventuring 🌱





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