If you travel with dietary restrictions, you know that sometimes, you’re going to be making your own meals at your accommodation. In some countries, you might be lucky enough to eat out a lot (Berlin, I’m looking at you!), but in a lot of countries, you might be more limited. Or maybe you just want to save some money by cooking some of your own meals. Plus, it’s a great cultural experience to go grocery shop with the locals. Even better if you have a local farmer’s market near you.
My recommendation is to book an accommodation with a kitchen. I know this won’t always be possible, but do it as often as you can because you’ll never have to worry about finding vegan food in restaurants, with a kitchen in your grasp. If there’s a refrigerator, microwave and basic stove top, you’re all set.
If you’re staying at an apartment, there will most likely be pots, pans and utensils. Everything you need to prepare yourself some meals! I want to share some of my favorite simple recipes that you can try when traveling. These will include some mutual ingredients so you won’t end up having to throw ingredients away. You can use them in multiple dishes and get all your money’s worth.
Let’s start with a grocery list.
This will cover everything for the recipes below. Of course you can mix, match and substitute for your own preferences.
Obviously if you’re not going to be somewhere too long, you won’t need to buy this much food. Below is an example of what I might do for a two week stay, where I’m probably making most of my meals at home, and eating out for either lunch or dinner, but not both in a day. If you’re going to be out most of the day, pack something to eat while on the go. You can even bring a few empty containers with you if you already plan on doing this!
1. Greens (lettuce mix, arugula, kale, spinach, whatever you prefer!)
2. Fresh Basil or Oregano
3. Head of Garlic
6. Green Onions
7. Peppers (red, green, yellow, jalapeno, whatever you prefer!)
10. Fruit or Two of Choice
1. Pasta (elbow, spaghetti, farfalle, whatever you prefer, just double check there’s no egg)
2. Rice (whatever you prefer, but bonus for saving time if you can find the microwavable kind)
3. Ancient Grain (quinoa, couscous, farro, just make sure you have the equipment to cook it)
4. Oats (or oatmeal, for breakfast)
6. Box of Cereal
7. Seaweed Snacks
8. Tomato sauce (or tomatoes)
9. Can of Beans (I usually get chickpeas, but whatever you prefer!)
1. Plant Based Milk of Choice
2. Olive Oil or Plant Based Butter
3. A Dressing of Choice
Breakfasts can be extremely simple.
-Make you some oats, throw in some chopped fruit, pair with a glass of plant based milk.
-If you prefer cereal, pour a bowl of cereal, voila.
-Onigiri. A simple ball of rice wrapped up in a sheet of seaweed. Easy to eat on the go, too.
-Toast up some bread and add on a little butter or hummus.
Lunch and Dinner
Pasta is delicious and easy to make.
-Boil your noodles (salt the water if it’s available there 😉 and throw in a tiny bit of olive oil or butter) then drain them when the consistency is right. If you’re not sure, follow the directions on the box.
-Throw in some tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, depending on what you purchased
-Chop a clove (or two) of garlic and if you want to cook it slightly, go ahead. If not, and your stomach can handle fresh garlic like that, chuck it in without cooking (my favorite thing to do, but stomach sometimes hates me for it!)
-Chop up some oregano or basil and throw that in as well
-Finish with a chopped stalk of green onion
*If salt is available, because this is tomato sauce or tomatoes and not pasta sauce, it’s probably going to be lacking salt, so I would definitely add some in to taste. You can definitely buy pasta sauce if you prefer, but if ingredients are in a different language, that could pose some problems.
Grain and Veggie Bowl
-Decide what grain you want to use here and prepare it accordingly
-Chop up some peppers, cucumber and oregano/basil
-Rinse a handful of beans
-Chop a small clove of garlic
Preparing the bowl
First, lay in the greens (lettuce mix, spinach, whatever you picked out!) then put your cooked grains on top of it, then toss in your veggies, spices and beans, top with sprouts. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, dressing, or hummus, then mix it altogether.
Extremely fast and simple eat. Basically the bowl from above, minus the grain, in sandwich form.
-Use hummus as the dressing, add dressing you may have bought for a bolder flavor
-Chop some peppers, cucumber, green onion, clove of garlic, oregano/basil (and tomato, if you bought tomatoes)
-Assemble onto sandwich, add some sprouts and greens
Tofu Veggie Stirfry
If you have a big block of tofu and won’t be using the whole thing at once, cut off a block that you will be using before pressing, and store the rest in the refrigerator in the liquid.
-Start by pressing your tofu to get rid of some of the excess water
-Chop tofu into cubes
-Chop some pepper, green onion and 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
-Rinse a handful of beans
-Add a bit of oil or butter into a pan, then fry everything together (add garlic a few minutes before it’s finished so that it doesn’t burn)
-Serve on top of rice, or other grain of choice
Then of course, we have the ever easy salad. Toss in your greens and chopped up veggies of choice. Top with sprouts and beans and a little bit of dressing, or olive oil.
These are just a few different quick and easy recipes I take with me on my travels. What are some of your favorite meals to make on the go?