6 Cheap, Easy & Healthy Vegetarian Backpacker Meals
Updated: Apr 20, 2019
When backpacking, cooking your own meals can save you spending heaps of money on expensive restaurants or take-out. You may also be cooking at hostels or kitchens that have minimal equipment or utensils. I've come up with 6 of my favourite vegetarian meals that are cheap, easy to prepare, nutritious and filling to give you energy for your all your adventures! A cheap meal doesn't have to be as boring as plain pasta or unhealthy as two-minute noodles!
These meal ideas can easily be modified to include meat or be made vegan. They are also super flexible - you can change the recipes up to include seasonal ingredients or ingredients you may already have on hand.
1. Pasta with Lentils
Pasta and sauce is a classic easy dinner but I like to mix it up a little by adding a can of lentils into the pasta sauce as lentils are a great source of protein and fibre.
Pack of frozen veggies / fresh veggies
Can of lentils
While cooking the pasta in boiling water according to the packet instructions, saute the onion with some garlic in a separate pan:
To make the pasta/lentil sauce - add the jar of pasta sauce, then add in a can of rinsed lentils and your vegetables and a little bit of water and let simmer/thicken while the pasta is cooking:
Cook the pasta alongside the sauce:
Drain the pasta and add the lentil sauce and you're done!:
Quesadillas are a super easy and versatile meal - you can change up the fillings to whatever you have available to you and they take less than 10 minutes to prepare.
Gather your ingredients - I chose to use black beans, avocado, tomato, salsa and cheese as my fillings:
Rinse your black beans well, then I like to heat them up in the microwave for about a minute:
Assemble you quesadilla:
Fold in half then pop in a frying pan and heat until both sides are toasted:
Serve with a side of salsa for dipping:
3. Veggie-Packed Risotto
This risotto is packed-full of veggies - it's super healthy and super easy to make!
Veggies - I used mushrooms, spinach, broccoli and zucchini
Gather your ingredients and chop your vegetables and the onion:
Heat up your stock according to packet directions. You could use stock cubes like these or liquid stock from a bottle:
Saute the onions with the garlic until they are transparent:
Add in the rice and cook for 2 mins - I used 1 cup of rice:
Add in your stock 1 cup at a time, I needed 3 cups of stock to my 1 cup of rice:
Add in the vegetables with the last cup of stock so they can cook through:
Make sure the rice is tender (add more stock or hot water if needed) and stir in some spinach for the last minute of cooking, then serve!:
4. Tofu Stir-Fry
This tofu stir-fry is my go-to option for a delicious and healthy meal. Tofu is an excellent source of protein and you can add in any vegetables you have on hand. I love to add grilled pineapple on top of my stir-fry!
Vegetables - fresh or frozen vegetables both work great!
Dice and marinate the tofu in soy sauce and black pepper:
Prep your veggies - frozen stir fry mix is good too!
Saute the veggies until cooked and fry the tofu until golden:
Cook the rice noodles by popping them into a bowl of boiling hot water and letting them sit for 5-10mins. Drain when soft:
Mix all together and add soy sauce for flavour!:
Super easy and super yum!
5. Easy Peasy Pitas
These pitas make for a super easy lunch or dinner. I used broccoli bites in mine but you could change it up and use felafel too!
Filling - I used broccoli bites
Salad - I used spinach and tomato
Gather all your ingredients:
I used these broccoli bites from the supermarket:
Heat the broccoli bites and pita up in the microwave. Then use a knife to cut open the pita:
Fill up the pita with all your favourite fillings:
Roll up the pita and toast on both sides:
Easy and delish!
6. Mexican Rice
This one-pot Mexican rice recipe is super easy, you pretty much just throw everything into the pot and let it cook! It's also super tasty - the taco seasoning adds heaps of flavour to the meal.
Taco seasoning packet
Can of diced tomatoes
Vegetables - I used zucchini, corn and capsicum
Gather all your ingredients and chop the vegetables:
Saute the onions in some olive oil until translucent:
Add everything else into the pot along with enough water to fit the ratio of one part rice, 2 parts water (I added roughly half a cup of rice and one cup of water). Stir, bring to the boil and let simmer:
Cook until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is cooked through:
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