If you’re a vegetarian, you may find searching for survival foods a bit difficult. Most articles focus on how to preserve meats and other standard animal-based foods as the primary means of obtaining protein and making food that’s easy to carry.
Fortunately, there are many options for survival foods for vegetarians; you just have to be a bit more creative and prepare ahead a bit more than your meat-eating counterparts.
Regardless of whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan or meat-eater, you still need to get the proper ratios of fats, proteins, carbs and micronutrients. For meat-eaters, this is going to come from mostly animal sources but there are plenty of options for you even if you don’t eat meat.
It is, of course, easier if you’re a lacto-ovo vegetarian. If so, you’re going to be able to get many of your nutrients from cheese, milk, eggs and foods made with those products. If you’re not, here are some great alternatives.
Coconut milk and oil
You can buy canned coconut milk that will store for years. It’s nutritious and will work for you in most recipes as a replacement for animal-sourced milk. You can also drink it straight but if you plan to do that, get the unsweetened type or else you’re going to have REALLY sweet milk to drink.
Coconut oil is great for everything from cooking to skin care so if you stockpile plenty of this, you’ll be golden (literally if you use it as a sunscreen).
It can also be used to make a type of vegetarian pemmican that uses nuts and berries instead of rendered animal fat and meat. Just grind up the nuts and berries and add in the coconut oil. Since it’s solid at temperatures below 72 degrees or so, it’ll hold your pemmican together nicely as long as it’s stored in a fairly cool place.
You can make your own granola bars usingmaple syrup (or honey if you eat that), oats, nuts, dried fruits and berries. You can either make the type that needs baked and has some flour in it or you can make the no-bake kind by simply combining all of the ingredients, placing them on a cookie sheet and cutting them into bars.
Your nuts will be a source of fat and protein and the fruits and syrup/honey will provide carbohydrates and micronutrients.
The good thing about granola bars is that you’ll be able to pack them up to carry with you if need be. There will be no reason to count on other lightweight foods such as beef jerky to provide your nutrition.
Fresh and Canned Vegetables
These really are sort of no-brainers but they bear mentioning. Growing your own garden to produce your own canned goods or fresh veggies is a great way to fill your cellar with vegetarian-friendly nutritious foods.
Also, a good garden will make for good barter if and when SHTF. If you can’t grow your own food to can and want to preserve your own foods, hit the local farmer’s markets and consider joining a food co-op. You can choose what you want delivered in your basket every time you get an order and then you may can it yourself.
Fruit and Veggie Leather
This is actually an extremely good way to get a healthy dose of nutrients and can be done by using your food dehydrator then sealing them in vacuum packed bags.
Make a paste of cooked vegetables and fruits (a good rule of thumb is to use 1 part vegetables to 3 parts fruit if you want it to be sweeter and more palatable. You can also make straight vegetable leather and include spices for a quick meal on the go that’s both flavorful and nutritious.
Just cook your produce, use a food mill to reduce it to a paste, then use the fruit leather insert that comes with your dehydrator to dry the paste into a leather that will be about the consistency of a fruit roll-up.
Now this is actually a viable way to make milk even if you don’t have access to a blender. Rice milk is extremely easy to use and can be used to drink or to bake or cook with.
Just cook your rice until its really tender, then drain it and grind it in your food mill. Add 4 cups of water for every one cup of milk, then add a dash of salt and a tablespoon of sugar if you want it sweet. You can also throw in some vanilla if you want it to taste even better. Oat milk can be made using basically the same process with oats, of course.
This is another source of protein and carbs that you can store or even make yourself. The problem with making it yourself in a survival situation is that you really need electricity to press the milk out of the almonds.
In theory, I suppose you could use a mill to make the milk then strain it through a linen to catch the chunks. This would require a significant store of almonds, though.
There are a ton of dried foods that meet the vegetarian lifestyle and can be stored long-term without any need for canning or processing. Dried fruits are one good source of vitamins.
Dried beans are probably going to be your main source of protein along with nut butters. Dried beans can be stored long-term in airtight containers as can rice. Pasta also stores well but pay attention to ingredients.
The bottom line is that there may come a point when you will be forced to eat something at least remotely animal-sourced such as cheese, butter or eggs but if you prepare properly, you can get along quite well without any animal products at all. There are plenty of survival foods for vegetarians out there; you just need to prepare a bit in advance and have a good stockpile of staple foods.
If you have any other good suggestions for vegetarian survival foods, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
About Theresa Crouse
Theresa Crouse is a full-time writer currently living in central Florida. She was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, where she learned to farm, hunt, fish, and live off the land from an early age. She prefers to live off the grid as much as possible and does her best to follow the “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. For fun, she enjoys shooting, kayaking, tinkering on her car and motorcycle, and just about anything else that involves water, going fast, or the outdoors. You can send Theresa a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.