One of the biggest challenges of being a backpacker in Japan is finding vegetarian meals that are both easy to pack and prepare. Many foods that one might think are vegetarian will often have meat based ingredients in them. It’s always astounding to me when I find chicken or beef extract in spinach or pumpkin soup. With this in mind I have started to collect a list of vegetarian backpacking food that I have found during my search for viable trail options.
Maggi 27 Allergy Free Soup Stock
These little soup packets add just a touch of flavour and are great with couscous. Be sure to get the ones that have アレルギー２７品目 on the package. A bit salty.
AEON offers Corn Cream Soup
For those that are OK with dairy products, AEON offers a cream of corn soup that comes in a box of 8 packs for a bit under 200 yen. Easy to pack and prepare.
I like to get mine from Amazon. They have a number of different makers available, but I like the Tipiak brand. Couscous is a great food for hiking and camping as it is quick to make and absorbs all the water that you cook it with so that you aren’t having to drain water.
Muji has a vegetarian Cheese and Mushroom Risotto that is available in a small package. You can get it for 200 yen a pack. Seems expensive, but it’s an option.
Mama pasta has two vegetarian options that I will often take with me on a hike. The first is a reheat tomato sauce. It has mushrooms and good chunks of tomato and is pretty filling, It is easy to pack in and out, and is a good value. Their other pasta sauce is a pesto mix and eat. Just add it to your cooked pasta and you are good to go.
I find the pesto sauce works great with Mama Pasta spirals. It only takes 90 seconds to cook this pasta, which makes it super efficient when using an alcohol burner or other fuel-based stove.
Hachi, who seem to be mainly a reheat curry company, also have a mix and eat peperoncino that is just as easy to prepare as the pesto mentioned above. It’s another quick option if you use some quick cook pasta.
Sakai Vegetarian Ramen
Comes in Miso or Shoyu, individual or in boxes of 20. I like the miso flavour personally.
Golden Curry used to be one of the only mainstream makers that didn’t contain meat, but there are a few more that are showing up, especially in the ready to eat pouches.
Seiyu offers a vegetarian heat pouch curry. Of all the flavours it seems that only the Chanamasala is vegetarian. Great option for camping though.
The good folks at Sakurai Foods also make curries. A little expensive, but more flavours to select from. These are also in reheat packs.
Muji has entered the fray and have an Apple & Vegetable curry available as well. At 300 yen it is a bit expensive, and they give it a 1/5 on the hot scale. My guess is that it’s for children with food allergies 🙂
Once again, Sakurai foods providing some options. Stew for those cold weather hikes.