Is it easy to stay vegan and find plant-based snacks or cook cheap easy vegan recipes while you travel?
I get this question all the time.
When fellow travelers find out that I follow a plant-based diet, they often ask me how hard it is to get vegan food while you are on the road.
To be perfectly honest, not all destinations are created equal.
While it’s easy to find affordable vegan food in places like Myanmar, Thailand, or other Southeast Asian countries, it might be a challenge in other destinations where cuisines rely on meat or seafood.
My trip to Portugal comes in mind.
While it has quickly become one of my favorite countries in Europe, I didn’t always have luck when it came to finding vegan food on the go. Especially in small towns along the coast.
But here’s the truth:
You can and absolutely should try to make your vegan meal from scratch at least once while you travel. Not only it will help you save a good chunk of money, but it will also teach you some cooking skills which can be so handy while you travel!
From my own experience on the road, here are the top 10 easy vegan recipes and plant-based snacks that don’t require advanced cooking skills.
1. Vegan alfredo pasta
When you go vegan, some people around you might start asking whether you are getting enough protein or if you are B-12 deficient.
Here’s the truth: When you follow a vegan diet, you can easily get your daily dose of protein from plant-based sources such as lentils, chickpeas, nuts, or tofu.
What’s even better, you can put these ingredients in tons of dishes.
One of my favorite vegan recipes is pasta with pesto sauce.
If you are lucky to find all of the ingredients for this dish, you would have to cook spaghetti al dente (or just slightly soft to the point where you can chew it. It’s a delicate balance, so it might take you a few times to master it).
– While the pasta is cooking, you have to put garlic, olives (preferably green), parsley, and basil to the food processor. Add a little bit of oil and process until everything is fully mixed.
– Put olive pesto in skilled and cook for a few minutes.
– Later add pasta to the skillet along with olives, a pinch of salt, and cook until pasta is ready.
2. Vegan tacos
If you don’t feel like cooking, one of your best plant-based snacks out there is vegan tacos, a nutritious meal, and one of the easiest vegan recipes that ever existed!
What’s even better is that vegan tacos can be stuffed with all sorts of ingredients. Not only you will get your dose of protein with taco staples such as black beans and guacamole, but you can also add other delicious ingredients such as onion, garlic, mushrooms, corn, and a hint of lime, and fresh parsley for some zest.
– All you need to do to prep tacos is to chop veggies and cook up some rice if you want to add it to your tacos.
– When it comes to tacos, many vegans choose tofu or tempeh. If you are one of them, you will also have to cook up a chunk of tofu for your tacos.
However, you don’t have to put tofu or other meat replacement in your tacos at all!
A good combination of veggies makes these tacos so mouthwatering that you hardly need anything else.
Top your tacos with some chili sauce if you like the hot taste.
3. Veggie noodle soup
Hearty veggie noodle soup is great during cold winter months!
It’s also a perfect comfort food when you are just trying to cook up a nutritious meal without too much fuss.
The ingredients for veggie noodle soup are easy to get and can vary depending on your preferences.
But before we start, a few words about noodles. I typically use vermicelli, instead of noodles. But what is vermicelli? It’s a type of pasta round in shape and small in size that is often used in soups.
– Besides noodles (or vermicelli) you need carrots, potatoes, onion, parsley (for the taste), and possibly some celery.
– Start by chopping up all the veggies, and heating water. When water begins to boil, first put potatoes, then carrots, onion, celery, and other veggies. Don’t forget to add some seasoning (Vegeta is a good one but you can also add a veggie cube). Add some salt but make sure to keep stirring your soup, as you cook it.
– Lastly, add noodles or vermicelli to your soup. The trick here is not to add too much of it, otherwise, your soup can become too thick. The pasta absorbs water, and when you turn off the stove, your soup will still cook for about 10-15 minutes as the water will be hot.
After you add noodles, you need to turn down the stove and keep stirring the soup as you cook it to make sure your noodles aren’t overcooked.
4. Vegan breakfast burritos
If you are a potato lover like me, you probably know at least 2-3 easy vegan recipes that involve delicious spuds.
One of the most beloved potato-based vegan recipes is the flavorful vegan breakfast burritos, a perfect option for brunch with your friends.
– To make this delicious meal, you will need potatoes, avocado, mushrooms, tomatoes, and peppers or zucchinis. And you can also add beans or chickpeas for some protein.
Other ingredients that are often added to a vegan burrito but might be tough to get depending on location are the vegan cheese and scrambled tofu.
Even if you don’t have these two ingredients, your burritos still will be delicious.
– First, you have to roast potatoes. Before you put them in the oven, you need to sprinkle them with some spices such as cumin, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Add a bit of vegetable oil to help you potatoes cook faster. Bake them until they become golden brown.
– The rest of your task involves chopping up veggies and adding your favorite sauces. Try to make your vegan cashew sauce which is super easy. All you need is cashew butter, hot sauce, water, and some spices.
Mix your potatoes with veggies and scrambled tofu and melted vegan cheese. Your delicious vegan meal is ready!
5. Fried rice with vegetables
My classic meal when I travel to Southeast Asia, fried rice has saved me countless times, when no other options were available.
But you don’t have to go across the world to try this dish.
You can easily replicate this recipe in your kitchen!
All you need is rice, and an assortment of vegetables such as carrots, green peas, cucumbers, white onions, and tomatoes. It’s better to use Jasmin rice or long-grain rice, as it typically produces better results.
– Simmer the rice in a pot of hot water first and while it’s cooking, chop up all the veggies. As soon as the rice is cooked, transfer it into a deep frying pan, add spices and mix rice with veggies.
Don’t forget to add some oil and salt. Serve your fried rice with a slice of cucumber and lemon on top.
If you look at classic recipes of fried rice with vegetables, you will notice one major difference: Almost all of them involve fried eggs.
While fried veggie rice is delicious without eggs, some vegan recipes suggest using tofu to replace them.
If you decide to do that, you will have to cook up raw tofu before adding it to the mix of rice and veggies.
Soy sauce is also commonly used in fried rice in many Asian countries.
Read also: How to start your own vegetable garden on a budget
6. Baked potatoes with zucchinis and other veggies
Another potato-based vegan dish that doesn’t require much effort, zucchini, and potato bake can be made with little hustle whether you are in your hostel kitchen tor in the Airbnb!
The classic set of ingredients for this dish include 2 zucchinis, potatoes, 1 red bell pepper, (which should be seeded and chopped), and 1 clove of garlic (which also should be chopped into very small pieces), however, other vegetables such as mushrooms also could be added to the mix, if you would like to substitute something or add more taste.
– Before you begin the cooking process, you need to chop up potatoes and preheat the oven to 385-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a medium-sized pan and put together potatoes, zucchinis, and slices of bell pepper.
Sprinkle the mix with bread crumbs and add some olive oil. After that, season everything with salt and pepper.
Bake in the oven should take between 45 minutes to one hour, but make sure to check the potatoes frequently to make sure they turn light brown and become tender.
7. Tomato soup
Who doesn’t like rich, creamy tomato soup?
This popular recipe is perfect for a light afternoon meal and can be combined with soft bread from your local bakery – ask them for gluten-free bread if you are intolerant, delicious crackers, or crunchy croutons.
– While the classic tomato soup recipe tells you to use butter as a base, there are plenty of vegan options that you can use instead. Aside from margarine, you can also find plant-based butter!
– To make this soup, you will need a tablespoon of margarine or vegan butter, a tablespoon of olive oil, 1 finely chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed), and at least 2 cans of peeled tomatoes (the number depends on the amount of soup you want to make), and 1 cup of water.
Other ingredients include 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of celery seed, 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano, and 1 pinch of red pepper flakes. You can also add some ground black pepper to taste.
– Start by heating a mix of vegan butter or margarine with olive oil in a pot over medium-to-low heat. Cook onion and garlic until they become soft and slightly translucent.
After that, add water, salt, tomatoes, red pepper, celery seed, red pepper flakes, and oregano to the mix. Turn up the heat until the mix begins to boil. After that, turn down the heat, cover a pot with a lid and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
– Turn off the heat and make a puree out of the mix with a blender. If the soup gets warm, reheat it and add some parsley or other seasoning when you serve it!
8. Turmeric chickpea salad
Chickpeas are one of the richest sources of plant-based protein, so it’s super important you incorporate them in your vegan diet!
While there are many vegan recipes with chickpeas that range from simple to pretty complex, I’m going to share a recipe for one of my favorite chickpea-based dishes and all-time favorite plant-based snacks: Turmeric Chickpea Salad!
– To make this dish, you will need 1 can of chickpeas, 1/2 tsp of turmeric (that’s what gives chickpeas the yellow color and an incredible taste!), and 1/3 cup of vegan mayo. Additionally, you will also need to mince one clove of garlic, add 1/2 tsp of onion powder, salt, and black pepper to make sure the flavor is rich!
– Put all of the ingredients in a blender and mix until everything is blended. However, make sure that there is still some texture, and your mix doesn’t become a puree!
When ready, you can use this delicious salad as an ingredient in a vegan sandwich, or mix it with some of your favorite veggies.
9. Quinoa salad
Quinoa might not be as rich in protein as some other plant-based ingredients. However, it’s loaded with awesome features that are so good for your health.
It’s a rich source of many amino acids and is extremely rich in nutrients which include antioxidants. It’s also high in fiber and high in iron and magnesium.
Now let’s get to the recipe.
While quinoa salad has one staple ingredient – quinoa (duh!), it can have as many or as few other ingredients. One of the classic recipes calls for 1 cup of quinoa, 1 cup of fresh spinach, 1 cup of chopped bell pepper, 1 cup of chopped tomato and a few leaves of fresh basil.
– Before you begin cooking, drain quinoa in a strainer and bring water in a pot to medium heat. Remove all the excess water and stir quinoa as it toasts.
Add water, turn up the heat, and bring water to boil. When the water begins to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer quinoa for about 10-15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed and your quinoa becomes fluffy.
-While quinoa is cooking, cut all the veggies!
– When quinoa is ready, add veggies, and sprinkle everything with salt and pepper. Add fresh basil and dressing to taste.
Enjoy the delicious healthy meal!
Keep reading: Here’s why running could be the perfect sport for travelers
10. Easy vegan dessert – chia seed pudding
If someone has ever told you that vegan food is boring, by now you’d probably figured that it wasn’t true.
I can honestly tell you that vegan desserts were some of the most delicious sweet treats I’ve ever tried.
And unlike traditional desserts loaded with fat and sugar, they didn’t make me feel bloated or gave me that unwanted extra weight.
One of my favorite vegan desserts is chia seed pudding. This uncomplicated vegan recipe requires almond milk, chia seeds, and fresh-cut fruits.
Your main task involves soaking up a few tablespoons of chia seeds in water until they expand. You have to add about half of the water to the number of chia seeds. So let’s say 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and 1/2 tablespoons of water. You chia seeds have to absorb all the water and become plump and watery.
Take a cup of almond milk and put chia seeds in it. Mix everything in a bowl. The trick here is to have just the right amount of milk so that chia seeds quickly create a consistency of a pudding.
Your pudding can’t be liquid, so make sure not to put too much milk.
Put the mix of almond milk and chia seeds in the fridge for about 2-3 hours. When the pudding ready, top it off with some sliced fruits. My favorites are strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Yum!
Keep reading: 9 Best Cities for Chocolate Lovers Around the World
Plant-based snacks: A few final words
Vegan cooking is fun and exciting! It allows you to improvise and mix a lot of ingredients that you never heard of before. I hope you enjoyed this brief guide to easy vegan recipes and was able to get some helpful cooking tips!