Good Sources of Protein for
Traveling Vegetarians

And how DO vegetarians find good sources of protein when traveling? Because vegetarian road food can be a real challenge if you want to eat something besides cheese sandwiches, pizzas, omelets, and/or nutrition bars. Tasty though these may be, few of us want to consume them every single day while we're traveling.

   Protein for the Road

So yes, hungry vegetarian traveler, good "sources" of protein do exist for you. For example, after years of frustration and not infrequent hunger pangs, I've begun carrying a stash of dehydrated travel food in addition to the ubiquitous commercial protein bars.

Ummm, dehydrated road food? Does that seem like a stretch? It's actually quite practical. Just as an example, dehydrated kale chips can provide a serious energy kick despite having relatively little protein—although lots of other good stuff. For travel protein, dehydrated seitan can fill in very well, as apparently can dehydrated cottage cheese (more about that one later).

 Dehydrated Seitan

Among the good sources of protein for the vegetarian traveler (if you're not gluten-intolerant!) would be dehydrated seitan, which is something you can actually make at home. Here's how: simply sliver the seitan chunks/slices the best way you can, which will depend upon the type you have. Place the slivers onto drying trays, slide the trays into your dehydrator, and process until thoroughly dry.

Although the dehydration time required will depend upon your dehydrator's capacity and the size of your slivers, the process probably won't take more than a few hours. Still, for the first time around it would be good to watch fairly closely. If possible, don't begin this process in the evening, as you'd need to turn off the dehydrator before you go to bed, refrigerate the slivers, and then finish dehydrating the next day.

BTW, you could probably dehydrate seitan slivers in your oven, although it would be a little trickier to manage than in a dehydrator.

package of seitan; good sources of protein for the vegetarian traveler

Eating Dried Seitan
The great thing about drying seitan slivers is that you'll often be able to eat them later without pre-soaking. So great for "walk-around" snacks, these slivers can provide a quick shot of protein at a moment's notice. In fact, I carry them myself routinely when I'm out and about.

For trips, you can package the slivers with dried cranberries, cashews and/or peanuts, sunflower/pumpkin seeds (also good sources of protein), and maybe even a few M&Ms in a container. Combined, they make a nifty trail mix and substitute quite nicely for yet another cheese sub. Perhaps you might try something like this yourself if you have access to a dehydrator.

 Dehydrated Cottage Cheese

You can dehydrate cottage cheese? Apparently you can, although (disclosure note!) I have not done this myself as yet. It sure would make a wonderful vegetarian road food, though. Some use cottage cheese in fruit or veggie “leathers,” for example, combining it with fruit or such veggies as tomatoes or kale. Here's one recipe to try...

  • Blend until smooth 1.5 cups nonfat dry (or rinsed and drained) cottage cheese, 1 scant cup pureed Roma tomatoes, a little lemon juice, a teaspoon or two of toasted pine nuts, sunflower kernels, or cashews, and chopped fresh basil to taste. (If you have no fresh basil, sprinkle in plenty of dried Italian seasoning.)
  • Spoon teaspoons of purée onto sheets of parchment sized to fit your drying trays.
  • Press the rounds into very shallow wafers; then slide each parchment sheet onto a (separate) tray and slide that tray into your dehydrator.
  • Allow from 6 to 20 hours drying time, depending upon your dehydrator—and they do often vary widely. Your wafers will dry faster and more thoroughly if you turn them over at least once during the dehydrating process.
  • When thoroughly dehydrated, remove the wafers from their sheets with a spatula. After they cool, place them in a plastic bag, position the bag carefully in an airtight container, and then freeze or refrigerate.

Please note: when taking dehydrated cottage cheese on the road or even for at-home use, I strongly suggest keeping it in a cooler of some kind. Just in case...

And there you have it,
itchy-footed vegetarian: road food just for you. Happy trails, rivers, and skies!


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Please understand that the material at this site is NOT medical advice, as I am neither doctor nor nutritionist. What I am is merely someone who's lived successfully on a vegetarian diet for many decades...and I transitioned from omnivore to vegetarian gradually. Do check with your doctor, though, if you're considering big changes to your own diet. Also, be sure to find a dependable source of Vitamin B12.

Living Vegetarian the Easy Way
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