Last week I went on my first camping trip of the season, and it also was my first time going as a vegan! To be honest, I was a little bit nervous about being surrounded by all the glorious grilled meats that once made up my past memories of summer. The hardest challenge for me was giving up my mom’s delicious BBQ. My mom is most famous for her lemongrass marinaded beef short ribs and chicken wings. That is what my friends, family, and I enjoy all summer long at all our gatherings. This trip I was able to find vegan prawns from Happy Veggie, which I asked my mom to marinade in a vegan-friendly version of her lemongrass marinade. The vegan prawns are made from potatoes and soybeans, and look identical to cooked prawns, it even has the white and orange colour to them! They have the texture of both squid and prawn combined. They absorbed the lemongrass marinade perfectly and I gladly ate them, while my friends enjoyed my mom’s signature short ribs and chicken wings. Phew-that temptation was kicked to the curb!
As for the rest of my meals I prepared a lot of them ahead of time, making it easier to consume while in the wilderness 🙂 I prepared a beautiful fruit salad using pineapple, grapes, mango, apple, peach, and orange. Packing it in a tightly sealed Ziploc bag ensured it would remain fresh for the four days of camping. I discovered this amazing apple, cinnamon, and almond granola created by Love Crunch. Oh my goodness I have to tell you it is the best granola I have ever had. It is $6 for a bag of 500 grams. It is a bit on the more expensive side for granola, but oh boy is it worth every penny. For breakfast I would have a huge plate of my fruit salad, topped with my Love Crunch granola, an ounce of maple syrup, and a healthy amount of cinnamon. The maple syrup really helps the cinnamon adhere to the fruits. It was such a delicious, fresh, filling, and easy breakfast to have while camping.
Another menu item I prepared ahead of time was a nice big salad. I had a Ziploc bag of my arugula and green lettuce tossed together, and then a separate bag for the other salad toppings. The second bag consisted of whole cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and sliced red onions. I meant to throw in cranberries and/or sunflower seeds, but completely forgot. I brought one of my store bought vegan dressings, and also prepared a homemade vinaigrette using maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and a blend of italian dry herbs. Bringing both dressings was a great idea to keep my salads exciting for the next few days.
Right before leaving the city I had to make one very important stop at…Fairy Cakes! Fairy Cakes is a vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, peanut and nut-free bakery. I knew watching my friends have s’mores would give me major cravings for something sweet and chocolatey, even though I never enjoyed s’mores. I bought vegan chocolate chip cookies and nibbled on those every time I had a sugar craving. I do have to say the vegan chocolate chip cookies from Edible Flours in Kitsilano were far superior to these from Fairy Cakes. The only reason why I decided to try Fairy Cakes was because it is 5 minute drive, compared to a 20 minute drive to Edible Flours. Fairy Cakes’ cookies I found to not have that chewy softness you look for in a good chocolate chip cookie, as well they were a tad bit chintzy on the chocolate chips, and that is a BIG NO-NO! I honestly think there were 5-7 chocolate chips in each cookie, and that is just unacceptable! Edible Flours’ cookies were moist, soft, chewy, and filled with chocolate love. Both cookies are priced at $1.5/per cookie, but I will now vow to drive the extra 15 minutes to get cookies from the bakers who are doing it right!
Here are a few other food items I enjoyed while camping:
- Tofurky’s Spicy Italian Sausage: I really appreciated the italian seasoning on the sausage to give it bit more dimension. The one thing I did not like about it was the casing of the sausage. It was quite rubbery and would separate from the “meat” of the sausage once cooked. I paired my sausages with ketchup and Vegenaise.
- I purhcased bean burger patties from Happy Veggie for my trip as well. They had a good flavour to them and crisped up very nicely on the grill. I ate those with just a little bit of ketchup and was very satisfied.
- Grilled vegetables were a staple in my camping diet. I marinaded zucchini, portabello mushroom caps, and whole carrots in extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I paired those with a rich balsamic glaze and was a happy vegan camper!
- Steamed vegetable packets: I prepared sliced zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and onions in aluminium foil packages with slices of a homemade herb butter. This made it very easy to throw the vegetable packets on the grill and let them cook. The homemade herb butter consisted of a blend of dry herbs, lots of garlic, diced jalepenos, and of course Earth Balance’s vegan butter. I also used this herb butter to dress my corn on the cob…..mmmm they were scrumptious!
- For snacks:I prepared a homemade guacamole with tortilla chips and of course Lays’ All Dressed chips, which are surprisingly vegan-friendly.
All in all, I would say my first camping trip as a vegan was a huge success! 😀 I was eating great healthy food the entire trip, and not once was I worried I would not have enough food. I actually had a great time meal planning and finding new alternatives for my past love of BBQ meats.