The last couple of days I have been searching the web for backpacking meal ideas that are vegan, low-waste, and flastic-free. At home I try to maintain a low-waste lifestyle, so it makes little sense to go into nature and carry with me a backpack full of pre-packaged foods.
Most meal ideas I could find online included a great variety of dehydrated foods. Problem is, I do not own a dehydrator and dehydrating food in the oven for hours does not seem a very environmentally sustainable option to me either. So, dehydrating my own food is not an option. However, the discovery that you can dehydrate hummus into a powder using the oven did blow my mind and is extremely tempting to try, despite the 2-4 hours cooking time.
This means I have to make do with foods that are dry (and thus lightweight) but easilly cooked and that I can buy in plastic-free packaging. So far my ingredient list includes: oats, couscous, bulgur, flour, noodles, seeds, nuts, lentils, dried fruit (rice). All these items I can get packaging free from a local refill/zero-waste store or from my cornershop in home-compostable packaging. Many zero-waste stores also stock a range of good snacks and sweets like banana chips, chilli/curry crackers, bombay mix, and gummies which are excellent on a long hike. I have not been able to find peanutbutter or hummus without packaging, so I buy a big glass jar or peanut butter and transfer it to a silicone pouch and I make fresh hummus at home and also take this with me in a silicone pouch.
My first draft of meal ideas are below, which I will update as I use and expand these meals. Besides these meals, I drink coffee and tea throughout the day. I also carry a spice-mix of salt, pepper, cumin powder, chili flakes, and turmeric powder to add to my meals for taste.
Porridge with peanutbutter (or banana), chia seeds, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, and nuts.
- Pancakes (ingredients: flour, oats, salt, water, oil) with banana/peanutbutter/hummus.
- Noodles with vegetable stock. Will add fresh veggies if I passed a shop that day.
- Left-over porridge from breakfast.
- Bulgur with red split lentils (the latter pre-soaked to reduce cooking time) and soya chunks. Will add fresh veggies if I passed a shop that day.
- Couscous with raisins (or other dried fruit), nuts, and soya chunks. Will add fresh veggies if I passed a shop that day.