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Thread: No cook/microwaveable vegan meals??

  1. #1
    buffalove's Avatar
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    Question No cook/microwaveable vegan meals??

    Hullo! This is my first post; it's nice to meet everyone! I recently got hired seasonally at a resort in Glacier National Park. I'll be living there from May-October in a shared employee dorm room. There is NO community kitchen and they don't cater to VEGETARIANS, let alone us vegans. They told me that there is usually a salad bar in the staff cafeteria, but beyond that, I'm on my own. I'm bringing along a mini fridge and a microwave for my room, but I have NO idea what kind of food to stock up on and what kind of recipes I can sustain myself on for 5 months!! My closest town is Browning, MT- not exactly veggie friendly, so while I can count on a ton of delicious fresh fruit and vegetables at the local grocery store, my tofu/seitan/etc. options will be severely limited. I think I'm going to buy a wholesale palette of that tofu that needn't be refrigerated... PLEASE help!! Anyone live/lived in a similar situation? Any ideas of meals I can throw together without any cooking? I'm freakin' out!! (p.s.- I'm a total foodie and I looooooove eating, so if I'm destined for a summer of lettuce and carrots I'll be pretty bummed )

  2. #2
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: No Cook/Microwaveable Vegan Meals??

    You can microwave pasta and rice so that's two good bases for food. The sauces for them can obviously be microwaved too. Vegetables are easily steamed, just put them in a covered bowl (with holes for the gas to escape) and a couple of tablespoons of water in the bottom. Jacket potatoes of course.

    If you have the spare money you could buy a combination oven that's the same size as a microwave, or maybe you could use a camping stove to pan cook outside if you're not allowed fire indoors. (Not ideal I know, but could be good for a rare occassion).

  3. #3
    JaneSky's Avatar
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    Default Re: No cook/microwaveable vegan meals??

    Off the top of my head, if you can afford to bulk buy before you go, you should be able to stock up on a variety of nuts, nut butters, various canned beans and lentils, I think you may be able to get tinned seitan too, no need to be too dependant on tofu! Cous-cous and quinoa should be managable with a kettle/microwave, I'm pretty sure rice and pasta will work too if you've got a decent lidded microwave bowl... Then with plenty of fruits, veggies, salads (and ingredients for tasty dressings, seasonings and sauces!) the culinary world is your vegan-oyster-substitute! If you have the will power not to gobble it all in the first week, a supply of vegan chocolates, vegan fudge, marzepan and long-life deserts will sweeten things up... Hmm, my Granny used to make a microwave cake when I was small, I wonder if somebody's tried a vegan version... Will you be able to get suitable bread? I'm in UK so not sure what's available. Over here, rye breads often have a long shelf life, crackers, rice cakes, bread sticks, crisps (that's 'potato chips' over there I believe!), and cereal bars also store well.

    HTH, I'm sure others will have some ideas!

  4. #4
    Mordechai's Avatar
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    Default Re: No cook/microwaveable vegan meals??

    As aforementioned, look for sprouted legumes (they have a shorter preparation time and can be microwaved) load up on rolled grains like oats, quinoa, spelt, barley and etc. Get spices! Cinnamon, majoram, curry powders and etc. These will add great nutrition and are easy to travel with. Quinoa can replace rice and is easier to prepare, unless you can take a little rice cooker? That would ease the process, and they are compact, or even a veggie steamer! One of the 3 tier ones means you could do some grains with some veggies (if you have a freezer handy).
    As aforementioned, nuts and seeds and etc, buckwheat would be a great option if you can get to sprouting your own greens, just need a mesh bag and can sprout some healthy buckwheat in a matter of days.
    Also some dried tea leaves like hibiscus would be a good idea, for some fresh citrus and to keep your antioxidants up.
    Dates are a good option for fruit as they keep at room temp okay if fridge space is an issue, and are 80% sugar for loads of energy especially if you are going to be outdoors.
    For a caffeine hit maybe matcha green tea powder would be a good idea, potent (only need 1/2 a teaspoon) and tasty, healthy, easy to prepare.

    Compiled in a list:

    Food
    1. Grains rolled (spelt, quinoa, barley, rye, wheat, oats)
    2. Grains raw (quinoa and buckwheat groats, rice if you prefer and have access to a cooker)
    3. Seeds/nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds*, chia seeds)
    4. Dried fruits (goji/lechumia berries, raisins, dried appricots, apples, bananas, cherries, blueberries, etc)**
    5. Legumes (sprouted/sproutable) - (black beans, kidney beans, adzuki, mung dal, split pea)***
    6. Spices (cinnamon, cardamom, paprika, cayenne, coriander, majoram, oregano, cloves, nutmeg)****
    7. Tea (hibiscus, spearmint, peppermint, rooibos, green matcha powder)*****
    8. Medjool dates (long shelf life)
    9. Cold pressed olive oil
    10. Coconut oil (more for moisturizing purposes)

    Equipment
    1. Rice cooker/steamer
    2. fridge (good thing you can take that)
    3. utensils
    4. coffee grinder (great for pulvarizing flaxseed/chia seed etc).
    5. Hand blender (can make some nut butters and etc if you take cooking oil)

    *Flax & chia are most nutritious when ground in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder
    **the more dried fruit you eat the more water, also be weary of the sugar content (keep your fats lower and you'll be okay, otherwise use loads of cinnamon to regular blood sugar)
    *** Either sprout your own in a jar or mesh bag, otherwise you can purpose pre-sprouted and dehyrated that cook quickly (within 15min on a stove shorter if in a microwave)
    **** Spices are an easy way to get antioxidants, in particular cloves, also cinnamon will help with blood sugar, and will add loads of flavor to a possibly bland diet.
    *****Hibiscus and matcha have the highest antioxidants and the matcha is potent, 1lb will cost $50 USD and each serving is 1/2 a teaspoon. Does contain caffeine.

    As you wont be getting many dark green leafies, it may be a good idea for some supplements like calcium unless you are taking a supply of long life milk, which would be a great idea.
    In the states from costco you can get 12 x 1L rice milks for $12 or there abouts.

    Happy travelling,

    Namaste
    Last edited by Mordechai; Feb 10th, 2012 at 11:04 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: No cook/microwaveable vegan meals??

    I recently discovered how good raw sprouted lentils taste! You can buy a whole bag of dried lentils. Soak a half cup at a time for a day and then drain and rinse for a few days in a jar with either a mesh lid or cheesecloth and a rubber band and you will have a nice triple amount of nutritious sprouted lentils you can throw in salads or make a nori roll with nori sheets and add lentils and diced carrot, onion, celery, red pepper, etc and a little tamari. It's a good protein source, cheap, and requires no cooking.

    As the above posters also shared, oats and/or buckwheat groats are nice because they can be soaked for a few hours and eaten raw with some dried fruit added in. Both can be bought in bulk (therefore you can really stock up there) and both keep for a long time. Rolled oats can be microwaved with a little water and add cinammon and makes a good oatmeal.
    You can buy several packages of frozen tortillas (Food for Life/Ezekiel makes excellent tortillas, breads, english muffins etc that are vegan) and keep them on hand in your mini refridgerator to stuff with nut butters (tahini, almond butter, peanut butter), tempeh (some types require no cooking), beans, veggies etc. You can buy canned refried beans and use that as a spread too. Refried beans keep for some time. Trail mix, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, are all good options. I think there is even a soy milk and rice milk powder out there you just add water too for a plant milk beverage or for cooking in the microwave. You could order it online ahead if you can't find it locally. You can make a nice beverage with fresh lemon added to water and a sweetener.

    I hope you have a great time at Glacier National Park! What a great opportunity and a wonderful experience. Will you have access to any campfires? I love to take fresh (or canned) pineapple chunks and hold them over the fire for a few minutes. Sooo good! I have done some week long canoe camping trips and I have brought along dried foods as mentioned by everyone on this thread. I have also stayed the weekend out of town with nonvegan relatives in a very nonvegan culture and town but I cant imagine doing it for five months (I love to cook and prepare food from scratch) but I am sure it is doable with some planning and prep. Will you get mail? Do you have access to a computer to order foods online? Or are there friends or family willing to mail goodies to you from time to time? I am thinking of larabars, granola bars etc. Speaking of larabars. If you have a high speed or any blender you can bring along that will open up opportunities too like making your own nut butter or juices and smoothies. Larabars are simply ground up dates, cashews, and whatever else you want to add to the blender (cocoa, dried fruit etc) and you can make your own larabars that require no cooking. I have done it and they are soooo good and filling. I cup of cashews and a half cup of dates will yield 12 squares or six bars that will keep for a week.

    Have a great time and let us know how it goes! We could all learn from your experience!

  6. #6
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: No cook/microwaveable vegan meals??

    Sounds good apart from the food problem (which seems to have been solved already!).

    I was on a course in Germany last year (only for a week though!) where the vegan pickings were rather thin - actually there was plenty of salad at most meals, and also fresh fruit, but it did get a bit boring/repetitive, especially as everyone else was stuffing their faces with more interesting stuff.

    I am going again this year and I was thinking that I would take (or go out and buy) more stuff like bags of nuts, jars of nut butter and those tofu- or yeast-based pates in tubes (can you get those?) as that would make the meals a bit more substantial. You will be in a much better position as you will have a microwave and fridge and possibly a bit of spare time to prepare food.

  7. #7
    buffalove's Avatar
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    Default Re: No cook/microwaveable vegan meals??

    Thank you so much everyone!!! This is a great start, I have a wonderful list to work with from all of these responses!! If anyone else has anything to add, please keep the advice coming!!

  8. #8
    Hotspur's Avatar
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    Default Re: No cook/microwaveable vegan meals??

    If you're really crushed for time and don't mind premade food, Amy's Kitchen is good, and their vegan products are plentiful and clearly marked.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: No cook/microwaveable vegan meals??

    Could you get a one ring electric hot plate. I lived for a few weeks just using one. I actually got really good at using it. Alternating saucepans putting saucepans on top of each other etc. I made lots of pasta dishes, rice, chilli, curry etc. I got a big bag of TVP (get a flavoured one) or something like sosmix and used that quite a bit. You can get dried mushroom which add a lot of flavour. Yeast flakes are really good as well for adding flavour. Lots of tins of beans. If they are cooking veg for other people maybe you could get them to keep some of that for you and make things like curries by adding other ingredients.

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