Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Vegan Camping Food Review

We've just returned from our annual New Mexico hiking/camping trip. It was a truly incredible experience, and I'll be blogging about the hikes soon (as well as about a wonderful product that aids us flatlanders at altitude!). One thing at a time, though. I had promised in a previous blog (Vegan Camping Food) to try out some of the vegan products available and then report back - so here it is!
We tried three different brands of meals needing only boiling water to cook (this means we only needed our small backpacking stove and a small kettle - all of the meals were cook-in-bag and eat-out-of-bag).  Remember, we only tried a few flavours - more in the future! Here we go:

Mary Jane's Farm: (available online: MJF)
I really wanted to try some of these due to their burnable cook-in bags (if you order the "outpost" option), so ordered a bunch. They came quickly. Here's what we tried:

       Organic Outrageous Outback Oatmeal:

(minus the berries, folks!)
This was really delicious, and the addition of powdered soy milk made it really creamy. Yummy!
      Organic Ginger Sesame Pasta:
 All of my favourite flavours, but this was the only bummer of the batch. Bad texture, bad aftertaste....oh,well. We tossed it! (Unhappy Camper).
        Organic Lebanese Peanut Bulghar:
After the pasta fiasco, I was leery, but this was lovely. Very delicious: minty, lemony but not overly so. See note below ****
           Organic Wild Forest Mushroom Couscous:
Not as mushroomy as you'd expect, but quite good! See note below ****
I'd buy these again, but try out new flavours before you go backpacking!

Backpacker's Pantry: (available at Mountain Equipment Coop in Canada, but I'm sure at various other venues in the US; also here Backpacker's Pantry). These were hands-down the winners, with a notable exception. They have a lot of vegan options, but only a couple were available at MEC.  I would definitely try the others in a heartbeat. The packaging is foil with a ziplock, so although not burnable, you can pack out sealed garbage in it, especially if you have bear bags.

      Katmandu Curry:

Katmandu Curry
Absolutely delicious - 2 servings per package, so encourages sharing! Well spiced, good texture. Didn't taste like "camping food" at all. If you add a bit more water, it makes a great soup.
     Organic Peanut Butter and Raisin Oatmeal:
Organic Peanut Butter & Raisin Oatmeal
Again, delicious! Interior pack of Justin's peanut butter melts into the oatmeal just right for a high-protein meal; the aromatic PB may not be a great idea in bear country, however. Be warned: although this is sold as one serving, it packs a wopping 530 calories!!!! We often split a pack and had a couple of Wasa bread with it, except when we were doing a really heavy uphill hike that day. Then it was one pack each.
Organic Yakisoba Noodles:
Organic Yakisoba Noodles 
I was so dying to try these as I am a soba nut. Nowhere on the front of the package does it indicate that you also need a skillet to make these. Yeah, like I'm going to add a skillet to my 25-pound pack -not! They need to make the fact a little clearer on the packaging.
So, I am definitely going to try these again! There are a lot of vegan, organic options, but you have to read ingredients carefully. I want to try Louisiana Red Beans and Rice, Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce Rice, Chana Masala and Pad Thai (but watch out for the TVP).
I found this at MEC, but will likely try more of their products as this was really good! Try them here: AlpineAire
     Vegetable Mix:
****We "cooked" and added these to the two MJ Farms meals. A very satisfying, "fresh veggie" texture and flavour. Oh, yeah!
Can't wait until our next backpacking adventure to try out some more!!!!!

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