Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Today’s post comes from Brittany Thatcher and Jill Legault of Quetico Provincial Park.

Going meatless on hiking trips, canoe trips, or any outdoor adventure can be easy, nutritious, and delicious!

Vegetables and plant-based products can provide you with the energy and protein needed for successful trips.


staff with food barrelBrittany crossing the last transport of a week-long trip to monitor songbirds for the Quetico Foundation. The food barrel was finally light!

Without a doubt, traveling in the wild can be physically and mentally demanding at times.

Making sure you plan and prepare nutritious meals is essential to boost your physical activity, keep your body warm, and stay mentally fit on multi-day trips.

Having a complete balance of proteins (beans, eggs, vegetables), carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread) and fats (oils, nuts, seeds) will ensure your basic needs are met.

Calorie intake when traveling is important and may need to be increased compared to usual intake due to increased physical activity. Carbohydrates make up the majority, followed by fats and proteins.

egg breakfastA big scrambled egg is a perfect first breakfast

With all of these factors in mind, the possibilities for making tasty vegetarian dishes and snacks are endless!

Foods with higher protein content

dairy, GRAMrains, legumas, and YesSeeds offer excellent sources of protein.

Although not a vegetarian, Jill likes to feed her students (often much taller) nutrient-dense foods, as she suspects many do not eat vegetables in any other context.

Separately, these groups do not contain all eight amino acids, but a combination of two consecutive food groups creates complete proteins (d & GRAM; GRAM & l; l & Yes). The phrase “dNo GRAMand love Yesick” is a great way to help remember these pairs in order.

Complete examples of protein combinations:

  • dairy and GRAMrains: for example, macaroni and cheese, or dried milk and granola
  • GRAMrains and legumes: for example, wrapped peanut butter, beans and rice, or hummus and crackers
  • legumas and YesSeeds: for example, mixed nuts and seeds.

Additionally, choosing protein-rich vegetables to add to dishes will help boost energy and nutrition.

Some of the vegetables with the highest protein content are broccoli, spinach, and other dark leafy greens.

Other alternatives to meat

The best thing about the following meat alternatives is that they take on the flavor of whatever you’re cooking. So you can be the master of your own flavor creations!

tofu It is a soy-based product, rich in protein and a staple in many vegetarian diets. Whether eaten raw or cooked in stir-fries, curries or soups, it is easy to prepare and can be cooked with grains (such as rice) to create a complete protein blend.

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Dehydrated or vacuum-sealed tofu is ideal for any trip as it doesn’t need to be refrigerated until it is opened.

The next time you find yourself in the tofu aisle, consider smoked tofu to add more flavor to dishes.

DVT o Textured Vegetable Protein is also a soy-based product that is a light and economical meat substitute. Usually pre-dehydrated when purchased, it comes in a variety of shapes and textures, such as flakes or small pieces.

TVP is great with chili and stews of all kinds!

tempeh It is similar to both tofu and TVP, however, it is fermented soybeans and is more cake-like in shape. Firm and packed with protein, tempeh has a light nutty flavor and can be thinly sliced, marinated, and fried like your favorite cut of meat.

Alternatively, it can be crumbled to resemble the shape and texture of ground beef, making it excellent in tacos or even shepherd’s pie.

Nutritional yeast It is deactivated yeast that comes in flakes or powder. It’s a really light way to add a complete protein. Unlike other meat alternatives, it has a strong cheesy and nutty flavor.

Brittany and Jill are In fact good taking photos of each other eating

It’s delicious and easy to mix with your next pesto pasta, creamy soup mix, or macaroni and cheese. You can also mix it with a country pizza or popcorn over a campfire. Hmm!


Dehydration is a great way to reduce weight while preventing deterioration.

While you can dehydrate almost anything, there are a couple of foods you should try that will enhance your country cooking.

Sauces like salsa and ketchup are a great way to start dehydrating. They can easily take on a chewy texture and turn back into a sauce with a little boiling water.

Dehydrating sauces are also perfect for traveling in parks where the use of cups and bottles is prohibited. It’s a great way to add flavor to your egg breakfast burrito or reduce the weight of everyone’s favorite campfire pizzas!

hummus Adds a burst of flavor and protein to camp lunches and snacks. Make the hummus from scratch or just buy it ready-made; both can become dehydrated.

To obtain a dehydrated hummus with a good powder consistency, we consider that it is necessary to mix it after dehydration. Dried hummus is also available commercially. Not only is it lightweight, but it’s also extremely quick to prepare – just add water to dip and spread!

Mixed vegetables It can be added to almost any meal to increase nutrition and flavor. An easy method is to dehydrate frozen vegetables in bulk.

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A dehydrated mix of carrots, peas, and corn, for example, is great in several dishes and is easy to rehydrate in the same pot while cooking noodles or rice.

The general rule of thumb is one cup of dehydrated vegetables to one cup of water.

Complete meals such as chili or stew are excellent for dehydrating in the field.

Pre-cooking meals relieves much of the stress of cooking after a long day of paddling, hauling, or hiking. Having complete meals pre-assembled means the only step required is adding water and heating it – quick, easy and efficient.

Dried ratatouille and spicy peanut stew with sweet potato

Ready to go eat vegetables in the forest? Here are some recipes to try:

Spicy Peanut Noodle Bowl

(servings per person)

  • 1 package of ramen noodles
  • 1/4 cup dehydrated vegetable mix

Sauce (pre-mixed at home)

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha

Addresses: Boil the dehydrated vegetable mixture and flavor packet ramen until cooked. Add sauce and enjoy!

Curried Lentil Dahl

(servings per person)

Jill captured Brittany crying while chopping onions one night in Metacryst Lake, Quetico. Dinner was worth it!

  • 1/4 cup chopped red lentils
  • 1/2 cup instant rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk (dehydrated)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon ready-made tamarind sauce
  • pinch of salt

Addresses: Cook instant rice as directed and let sit. Boil the split lentils until tender (5 to 7 minutes) and set aside. Sauté onions in oil, then add curry powder, salt, coconut milk, and lentils. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over rice with tamarind sauce.

Dehydrated Spanish Rice

(servings per person)

  • 1/4 cup TVP
  • 1/2 cup instant rice
  • 1/4 cup dried bell peppers and jalapenos
  • 1/4 cup dried corn
  • 1/4 cup dry sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese

Addresses: Combine all ingredients except cheese in a pot. Add 1 1/2 cups of water. Let rest for 5 minutes. Turn on the stove and let it boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let rest for another 10 minutes. Add the cheese and enjoy.

Pasta with extra cheese pesto

(servings per person)

  • 1/2 package. egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Addresses: Cook noodles as directed. Add the dehydrated vegetable mixture to the boiling water one minute before the noodles are ready. To drain. Add pesto, cheese, walnuts and nutritional yeast. Hmm!

staff eating saladEveryone appreciates a salad on the first few nights of travel, while vegetables are still an option. We loaded this one with pumpkin seeds, almonds, cranberries and poppy seed dressing.

Lazy and light shepherd’s pie

(servings per person)

  • 1 cup instant mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup TVP
  • 1/2 cup dehydrated vegetable mix
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite herb blend (oregano, basil, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper)

Addresses: Combine TVP and vegetables in a bowl. Carefully pour ¾ cup boiling water into the bowl. Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Cook instant potatoes in a separate pot as directed. Combine all the ingredients. Enjoy the warm, fluffy goodness!