Best Vegan Food and Snacks for Mountain Adventures
Written By: SportsShoes
Our SportsShoes x Montane ambassador, Hero Douglas, shares her best vegan food and snacks for mountain adventures.
My nutrition for hikes used to be woefully lacking and to be blunt; I didn’t take enough food to sustain me on a day in the hills. I was a bit stubborn about realising this, and often thought, my exhaustion was due to physically pushing myself when in fact it was partly caused by a lack of food! This became horribly apparent when I set off to walk the Haute Route in the summer holidays during my first year at uni. I made a few mistakes on this trip! For some unfathomable reason I thought a hairdryer and a few books were vital backpack accessories for long mountain days often with 2000 meters of ascent! These unnecessary items were ditched at the first hut and that night I remember even contemplating cutting my toothbrush handle down to reduce weight. Another of my skint student brainwaves was to save pennies by not buying a pack lunch! I was so starved I ended up sucking my toothpaste tube for sustenance and worryingly it tasted delicious!
Another food issue was the huts I’d booked to stay in didn’t seem to understand that I was vegan not veggie so cream, butter or cheese was in every dish meaning I had to live on chips, plain pasta with the odd tomato or salad leaf on the side if I was lucky. I’ve now realised food is as important as kit for any adventure.
- Mountain Breakfasts
- Breakfast at home
- Easy Camping Breakfasts
- Drinks and Snacks
- Lunch on the mountain
- Easy Camping Dinners
1. Mountain Breakfasts
I try to eat hearty breakfasts before or during mountain trips. It’s my favourite meal of the day and I’d definitely prefer an after-run breakfast/brunch café date than a dinner one. I also try to not think about my weight. I trust that if I’m active and have a diet of home-made food then I can eat what I want, when I want and still stay healthy.
2. Breakfast at home
- Biona toasted organic rye bread with chia and flax seed loaf (or sprouted wholegrain or sourdough toast) topped with mashed avocado, finely chopped spring onion, tomato, a bit of chilli, lemon juice and virgin olive oil.
- Porridge made with organic whole grain oats, chia seeds and goji berries slow cooked on the stove with oat milk (or done overnight in an aga/slow cooker). I then add things I might have like: grated apple, mashed banana, cinnamon, black berries, a mixture of oven baked nuts and seeds and finely chopped dates. I might also drizzle some date or maple syrup on top and a dollop of a yogurt alternative like Alpro vanilla.
- A vegan omelette made with chickpea flour and liquid from chickpea can (aquafaba), seasoned with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. The filling might be sautéed mushrooms, garlic, onion, parsley and any leftover veg (potatoes are good). Once the veg is fried I put it aside and cover the frying pan with the chickpea mixture then cook for a minute or two until it’s set and add the veg and fold gently.
- Potato bhaji is my most favourite breakfast and uses up any leftover potatoes. Add in finely chopped onion, a little garlic and cook till soft, then add the mustard seeds until they pop, put in some turmeric, chilli, cumin and the chopped precooked potatoes and a small amount of water. Once heated through I sprinkle a little coriander on top and eat it with a shop bought vegan warmed chapati, flat bread or naan. I’ll also might add spinach or chickpeas to the potatoes.
- Left over dinner is always a good breakfast to my mind!
- Smoothie with any combination of fruit and veg and some oats or chia seeds and perhaps a probiotic vegan shot.
- I love having a glass of fresh carrot and orange juice with ginger alongside my breakfast.
- I always drink about 500ml of water first thing.
3. Easy Camping Breakfasts
It’s really important to have lightweight food that is nutrient rich to keep you going in the hills and getting a good breakfast is vital. I use small dry bags to store dry foods like homemade muesli, pasta, rice and then reusable plastic leakproof bags for wet ingredients like baked beans or tofu. I also always store all my food in a large dry bag just in case there is leaking crisis.
- Homemade porridge made with oats, a few scoops of Wild Nutrition vegan protein powder, flaxseeds, chia seeds, goji berries, chopped nuts, dried fruit, organic coconut milk powder (I will have a supply of this ready mixed in a bag) and then simmer with water while stirring for a good five minutes.
- Chopped vegan sausages cooked in a pot with baked beans, chickpeas, seaweed (Clearspring Organic Seaveg Crispies are good) and herb salt. When I’m organised I pre-make this and take it in a sealable reusable food bag.
- Peanut butter and banana baguette (always yummy).
- Scrambled tofu made by mashing some tofu and then frying in some oil with a little nutritional yeast, garlic salt and turmeric. I have it on baguette when camping.
4. Drinks and Snacks
- Waterfall water drunk through filter straw (like Life Straw)
- Tea and coffee bags and I take coconut milk powder
- Instant oat latte sachet
- Nutmilk hot chocolate (sachets from Hotel Chocolat)
- Wild Nutrition vegan protein powder mixed with water for easy refuelling (tastes a bit grim but just chug it down and you’ll be skipping up the hills).
SNACKS (I take a lot with me):
- Flapjacks made with wholegrain oats, vegan butter (I use Vegan block), sultanas, Biona stem ginger with some of the syrup poured in as well (this is my secret ingredient in everything!), date syrup or golden syrup and some organic molasses and maybe a mashed banana or two.
- Energy bar from Outdoor Provisions, banana chips, homemade trail mix, nuts, apple rings, etc..
- Baby food! I always have a stash of fruit smoothie baby pouches at home to grab if I’m heading into the hills. They are easy to pack and have a screw on lid so I can have a quick energy fix when needed.
- Almond cookies made from almond butter, a little wholewheat flour, brown sugar, chickpea water, baking powder, vanilla essence, oats and dark chocolate in small pieces. Mix all the ingredients to get right consistency and then cook for about 15 minutes till they’ve risen and are a little crispy on the outside. If you have some maple syrup add that or vanilla essence, cinnamon, ground almonds, etc… If you put nice things in then generally they taste nice!
- Premade pancakes (mix together flour, salt, baking powder, aquafaba, oat milk, oil and wait 20 minutes then fry) spread with cocoa hazel peanut butter then roll up and when you want to eat add a chopped banana or if having at home add vegan vanilla ice cream.
- Energy balls are so easy just put a selection of almonds, pecans, walnuts unsweetened cocoa, ground flax seeds, oats, Medjool dates (without stone) melted unrefined coconut oil and blend then make into balls and coat with desiccated coconut.
- Oven baked kale or sea weed crisps also great for sprinkling on main meals to add a tasty crispy topping.
5. Lunch on the mountain
Baguette with roast veg, a drizzle of tahini and homemade humous (blend organic chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, ground cumin, tahini and add red pepper, olives or jalapeño peppers for a twist).
My favourite premade foods include Bol creamy Malaysian Laksa Ramen which you can just cook on a camping stove. I take this out of the pot and put in a food bag to cut down on weight.
I also love the Higgidy porcini mushroom & spinach vegan rolls.
I’m not so keen on Huel but as I bought a mountain of it have it for easy meals so might take a portions of the mac & cheeze. It’s easy as you just add water and cook for slightly bland calorie boost.
Waitrose have these bags called Levantine Table Freekeh, Black Rice & Chickpeas which I really like for an easy ready-made lunch. I always add a bit more virgin olive oil.
I often make a load of roast veg, some tabouleh, humous and then keep it for take-out lunches. It’s so easy to pile up in a bag and is always delicious.
6. Easy Camping Dinners
Crispy tofu is a great source of protein and easy to pre-make to take on the hill (or you can buy it readymade). The DIY version; drain, cut up and dry an extra firm block of tofu and then toss in corn flour, breadcrumbs, smoked paprika and herb salt and fry till a golden colour. I might sprinkle some sesame seeds and soy sauce to serve alongside either a pasta, noodle or rice dish.
- Wild garlic vegan pesto (made from pine nuts but can use cashew, sunflower seeds or a mix of nuts, foraged wild garlic leaves, nutritional yeast, virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, zest and squeeze of lemon, chilli flakes. I make the pesto in batches and then pour it into an ice cube container to freeze then I can grab a couple of cubes when needed. I sometimes pre-cook the pasta and have it ready mixed so only need to heat it up on the hill.
- Sesame noodles are the most moreish thing in the world! Make a sauce with toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice, stem ginger syrup and crushed or finely chopped stem ginger then mix together with the whizzer (these can be frozen into ice cubes sized portions and used when needed for a quick lunch/dinner). Cook your favourite dried non-egg noodles until almost ready (al dente) put aside and fry a selection of chopped veg in a wok so maybe onion, green beans, bok choi, peas, broccoli, red pepper and finely chopped chilli or chilli flakes. Throw all the ingredients in the pan together and cook till warmed through and top with toasted sesame seeds and devour!
- Mushroom stroganoff is also great, fry some brown button mushrooms and onions in a large pan so they are slightly crispy rather than soggy. Add in garlic, thyme and fry for one more a minute than add a splash of wine, some tahini, coconut milk, Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, paprika, and salt and cook for 10 minutes or so. Serve on brown rice with some chopped parsley or dill. I often take the ready cooked portions of rice as they are so easy to use when camping.
Stem ginger, oak smoked water and sea salt from Halen Mon, nigella seeds, vegan molasses, stock cubes, nutritional yeast, seaweed, garlic herb seasoning, wasabi, miso paste, chilli flakes, sea weed flakes, fresh herbs, lemon zest and homemade salt and pepper croutons.
I’ve been vegan for half my life and am definitely not a chef, more an experimental haphazard cook that tosses an abundance of ingredients into meals and snacks with varying results. I like nice tasting food, but even if it’s a bland fail of a savoury muffin I’ll eat it anyway, as the nutrients are what’s important to fuel me for whatever outing I have planned that day. I am ace at using everything up in the fridge and store cupboard so there is not much waste on my watch.
The suggested meals/snacks below might not be to everyone’s taste! I don’t tend to follow recipes and instead go for a more trial and error approach. I am slightly opposed to this trend of everyone being an elaborate chef using excessive ingredients to create intricate recipes. I use a mix of wholesome ingredients, trust my intuition and am not out to impress anyone with my cooking skills. I like to mix as many fruit and veg colours together! I’m also unlikely to follow a recipe that tells me how much of each ingredient to put in. I add things that are good for me till whatever I’m making has the right consistency and then cook till things taste done. In the back of my mind I know for a day in the hills I need protein (approx. 55 grams), complex carbs (approx. 300 grams) and healthy fats (approx. 60 grams) so I try to stick to ingredients that are 50% carbs, 25% protein and 25% fat as I know that’s a good balance. I do use simple carbs like dates and occasionally maple syrup but not too much! I try to buy organic, local and in season when I can, without plastic or too much packaging.
Hero Douglas is an all-round outdoor adventurer, a member of the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team and a qualified Mountain Leader.
You can follow all of her wild adventures here
Find out more about hiking and trail running on our Hubs, or head to our Outdoor store and Trail store to make sure you have all the kit and advice you need to get started. If you’re a trail runner, then you should check out our guide to what to wear when running in winter, where you’ll find plenty more tips and advice.
Related post: Top Tips for Winter Mountaineering with Hero Douglas | The Hiking Hub | SportsShoes.com