Vanlife is all about being in the moment, whether you are on a mountain top, enjoying the beach, or skiing down a slope.

Most people want to spend as much time as possible outdoors, not inside the van. When you are surrounded by incredible moments just waiting to be captured it can be difficult to find time to make intricate meals. A girl’s got to eat though right? That’s why I’ve learned to master a few simple van meals that I can make at any time, with ease.

If you are anything like me then you struggle with balancing making delicious meals and enjoying your time outside of the van. I am the kind of person who LOVES FOOD. I do not eat just for sustenance, I eat to ENJOY. Additionally, I live in a van to get out of the house and into the world. After two years in the van, I have found a few ways to help eat delicious simple van meals but not spend a ton of time in the van cooking them. 

If you are looking for delicious simple van meals then I have created a list of my favorite simple van meals. All you need is a stove, pot, skillet, and a few utensils! Bonus: They are all vegan

1.) Not-Your-Average Beans

Having canned items is an absolute must when living in a van. There is usually limited refrigerator space and if you are going out camping for a long time, you need to be able to fit as many items as possible into your limited storage. This is why canned beans are a great option and a favorite of these simple van meals. My partner Shawn has found a way to make boring canned beans into such a delicious versatile meal that our friends are begging for them every time we visit! 

These beans are not only easy to make but they can be made into tacos, burritos, or a simple chip dip! 

not-your-average beans - simple van meals

Ingredients: 

  • 2 14 oz cans black beans 
  • 1 14oz can pinto beans
  • 1 white onion 
  • 1 cup of water 
  • 1 tablespoon broth paste or 8-10oz of liquid broth (if using liquid forgo the cup of water)

Seasoning: 

  • 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tablespoon garlic powder 
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 

Instructions: 

Dice white onion while heating up your medium-large sized pot. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and let warm. Throw in diced onion and let cook until translucent. 

Drain and thoroughly rinse all of your beans. Put into the pot and mix with all of your seasonings. Bring to a boil and then let simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes. Add water and seasoning as needed for consistency and flavor. 

Add beans to a flour tortilla, corn tortilla, Tostado, or even let cool for a great bean dip! 

2.) Hummus Wrap 

When I am out for a hike, I always end up a little hungry. I quickly tire of protein bars and do not want anything warm or heavy to eat. This is why a hummus wrap is one of my favorite options and one of the easiest simple van meals. 

hummus wrap - simple van meals

Ingredients: 

  • Hummus 
  • Red Pepper 
  • Spinach or romaine 
  • Avocado 
  • Spinach tortilla wrap 

Instructions: 

Simply cut up red pepper and avocado in thin, long pieces. Add about a tablespoon of hummus (or as desired) to your spinach wrap and spread thin. Then add red pepper, avocado, and spinach. Rollup and enjoy! 

3.) Avocado Toast 

It doesn’t get any easier or enjoyable than avocado toast. Avocado toast is a great breakfast item, lunch, or a quick snack when you don’t want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen! If you don’t have the time to toast your bread, simply use a tostada instead! 

Pro Tip: To toast your bread in a van either use a skillet to warm it up or a Camp Stove Toaster!

avocado toast - simple van meals

Ingredients: 

  • ½ avocado 
  • 1 – 2 slices of bread (Sourdough is a personal favorite) 
  • ⅛ cup of freshly diced tomatoes 
  • feta (There is vegan feta!)
  • 1 leaf of Basil 

Seasoning: 

  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sriracha Salt 

Instructions: 

Toast your slice of bread for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Slice ½ of avocado into small chunks and smash onto bread. Sprinkle tomatoes, feta, and basil on top. Add all seasonings to taste! 

4.) Chicken Sandwich

Sydney from Divine on the Road is responsible for getting at least five different people addicted to the following recipe. It is easy to make within 10 minutes and you cannot do it incorrectly. I recommend playing with the toppings and dressing each time! It is quite filling so don’t expect to go do any heavy exercising right after! 

chicken sandwich - simple van meals

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Morning Star Chicken Patty 
  • 2 pieces of Sourdough Bread 
  • 1 Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda Cheese Slice
  • Romaine lettuce 
  • 1 tablespoon Follow Your Heart Ranch Dressing 
  • 1 tablespoon Buffalo Dressing 
  • 3-4 Pepperoncini slices
  • 1 Pickle Slice
  • ½ Avocado 

Instructions: 

On medium-high heat, warm up your skillet. Add your chicken patty and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes. Watch for it to begin to look golden brown and crunchy on the edges. Right before pulling it off add your cheese and let melt onto chicken patty for about a minute. 

Chop up the avocado and tomato into thin slices. Spread ranch dressing and buffalo dressing onto the chicken patty. Add romaine lettuce, pepperoncini’s, pickles, and avocado on top. I recommend cutting the sandwich in half for easy eating! 

5.) Buffalo Tempeh Salad

One of my favorite quick and simple van life meals is a tempeh salad. It’s light, full of flavor, and full of nutrition. It’s a great option for a warmer day or when you know you will be going on a big hike and can’t stomach a heavy meal beforehand. Katie from So We Bought a Van has inspired this one and I put my own spin on it! 

buffalo tempeh salad

Ingredients: 

  • 2-3 slices of tempeh 
  • 3 handfuls of spring mix or lettuce of choice 
  • ½ cucumber 
  • ½ tomato 
  • ¼ cup croutons 
  • ½ avocado 
  • Follow Your Heart Caesar dressing
  • ⅛ cup buffalo dressing 

Instructions: 

Sear Tempeh in a skillet on medium-high heat until golden brown on each side. Put buffalo sauce in a small bowl and add cooked tempeh, mix until the tempeh is completely covered. 

Chop up cucumber, tomato, and avocado then add to spring mix all to a bowl. Throw in the buffalo tempeh with Caesar dressing and mix well! Add croutons on top and enjoy! 

Cooking in a van doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process and you don’t have to resort to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! You can have delicious but simple van meals while saving time so you can enjoy every moment of vanlife!