Food is our natural medicine and our first defence against illness. It’s also our source of fuel for energy and recovery. If you’re trying to boost your immune system, fuel your daily mountain sports pursuits, or are just in need of some great mountain food recipes, take a look at our vanlife recipes.

The variety of healthy ingredients in this menu is jam-packed with all of the nutrients your body needs for a successful day on the slopes, a recovery day in the spa or to fuel your vanlife chores day.

All of these recipes are relatively easy, achievable while living or travelling in a van and adaptable to your own preferences. We focus on simple, adaptable and no waste when creating our weekly food shopping list.

Homemade Mojito Iced Tea Recipe

Mountain food, fresh homemade iced tea with fresh mint and honey

As a lover of tea and coffee, I wanted to find a healthier alternative to my morning caffeine fix.

I struggle with the taste of green tea, so in an attempt to make it more palatable, I created my own recipe for iced tea.

With a lot of experimentation, I found the perfect combination for me. That’s the great thing about iced tea, you can mix flavours until you find the right balance to suit you. My sweet tooth might not be ideal for everyone.

I find this a great addition to our mountain food menu as it’s a fresh start to the morning, especially on warmer days.

Ingredients:

  • Black Tea (I prefer Earl Grey)
  • Green Tea
  • 3 tbl spoons Honey
  • 2 tbl spoon Lime Juice
  • 2 sprigs of Fresh Mint

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a jar, cup, bottle, or pan (double up for double measures and so on).

Leave to sit while the tea brews, take out the bags and then refrigerate. Note: tea bags can split if left too long.

Fresh Lemon, Honey and Ginger Tea Recipe

Fresh Lemon, Honey and Ginger Tea Immune Booster Menu

One of the best ways to boost both your immune system and your metabolism in the morning is by drinking fresh lemon, honey and ginger tea.

Not only is this combination super yummy it’s really good for a variety of health factors:

  • Soothes and relieves cold and flu symptoms
  • Helps with digestives issues
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Detoxifies
  • Excellent for your skin health

This is something you can add to your daily morning routine and mountain food menu, especially in the winter when you crave those warming hot drinks.

Ingredients:

  • Half Lemon Squeezed
  • 1-2inchs Grated Ginger
  • 2 tbl spoons Honey
  • Hot Water to fill the cup

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a cup size of your choice, stir and serve.

Measurements can be tweaked to taste. I love ginger, so the more the better.

Beetroot Juice Pancakes Recipe

I know beetroot is a very love or hate item but I’m definitely in the love party. Beetroot has been proven to boost stamina, treat yourself to these yummy pancakes for a boost of energy.

Ingredients:

  • 350g Porridge Oats
  • 250ml Oat Milk
  • 2 Bananas
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • Coconut Oil
  • Berries
  • Maple Syrup
  • 250ml Beetroot Juice (if you can’t find beetroot juice you can make it with water and cooked beets)

Instructions:

Place the oats in a blender and blitz to a flour consistency.

Add the milk and beetroot juice and blend, followed by the bananas and baking powder. Blitz until the mixture looks like pancake batter.

Melt 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Scoop batter into the pan and cook for 2.5 minutes on one side, then flip and cook the other side for 2 minutes.

If you’re lucky enough to have an oven in your campervan, keep them warm on a plate in the oven on low until all of the pancakes are cooked.

Top with maple syrup and berries. I usually make a simple berry compote (frozen berries and sugar) either on the hob or in the microwave when we aren’t in the campervan.

Overnight Oats Recipe

Overnight Oats

If cooking breakfast seems like a huge effort there are much simpler options.

Overnight oats are a really easy way to make a delicious breakfast, especially for vanlifers. We all know how faffy (awkward and time-consuming) day-to-day vanlife is, sometimes you just want a meal that requires very little effort.

The great thing is you can prep them the night before so they are ready for when you wake up. This makes great mountain sports fuel and vanlife food, as it saves time when you’re trying to fall out of bed in time for the first ski lifts.

When living in Zermatt, as the ski lift takes roughly 30 minutes from the bottom to the top, I used to put my overnight oats in a used plastic honey jar and eat them on the lift. It saved me time and meant I didn’t have to force my breakfast too early, as I’m not an early morning eater.

What you put in them is entirely up to you, you can play around with ingredients until you find the right mix. I usually opt for a berry mix as I always have frozen berries in, they’re great for breakfast recipes and smoothies. Sometimes I like to mix it up with chocolate, coffee, caramel and banana flavours.

Ingredients:

  • Oats (fill to 3rd way up the jar)
  • 3 tbl spoons Yoghurt (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 2 tbl spoons Chia Seeds
  • 2 tbl spoons of ground Almonds
  • 1 scoop Protein Powder
  • 2 tbl spoons Honey
  • 100ml Milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • top with Frozen Berries

Instructions:

Add everything in the above order to a jar, put the lid on, and give it a good shake. Then pop it in the fridge and leave it overnight.

Honey Siracha Tofu Recipe

mountain food, Honey Siracha Tofu served with rice and brocolli

This is a staple on our weekly menu, it’s tasty and really easy to make.

I always thought tofu was difficult to cook and usually quite tasteless until I mastered this recipe. As far as mountain food goes, this dish is packed with protein to help aid that muscle building and recovery. It only requires 1 frying pan and 1 pot, making it the perfect dish for vanlife too.

Ingredients:

  • 400g Tofu
  • Basmati Rice
  • 1 Broccoli
  • 2 tbl spoons Sesame Seeds
  • 1 cup Honey
  • dash Turmeric Powder
  • 1 cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbl spoons Spring Onion
  • 1 teaspoon Siracha

Instructions:

Press the tofu to release as much water as possible. I usually do this with kitchen paper. Add to a pan with vegetable oil over medium to high heat and cook until the tofu is golden brown.

In the meantime start a pan of water for the rice. Mix the honey, siracha, soy sauce and turmeric then add to the tofu. When there are 5 minutes left on the rice add the broccoli to the tofu mix.

I like my broccoli a little crunchy, you can cook it for longer if you prefer it softer. Note: make sure the tofu is golden brown before adding the sauce otherwise the tofu will either be undercooked or you risk burning the sauce.

Once cooked, garnish with sesame seeds and spring onion.

Salad Jars Recipe

Salad Jars

If you are looking for a quick and easy lunch, salad jars are a perfect option.

The great thing about making salad in a jar is that they keep for up to 5 days, as long as you build them in the correct order. This is a great mountain food and vanlife hack as we all would love more time outdoors than in the kitchen.

How to build your jar from the bottom up:

  • Dressing
  • Hard Veggies
  • Soft Veggies
  • Protein
  • Greens

What I put in my jars:

  • Homemade dressing
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Avocado
  • Sweetcorn
  • Black Beans
  • Feta Cheese
  • Spinach

My homemade dressing is:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper

When I run out and I’m feeling lazy, I switch it out for store-bought French or Italian dressing.

The Ultimate Veggie Burger Recipe

Veggie Burger Immune Booster Menu

I have always been a big fan of veggie burgers. If you get the right combination of ingredients they can be packed with so much flavour. Because of this, I am always a little sceptical of trying new recipes, but this one is by far the best veggie burger recipe I have found. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also jam-packed with nutrients.

The preparation is a little time-consuming, but cooking is nice and fast and you can make a big batch to keep you fed for a few days. We make enough for a few days and then freeze the rest which saves us heaps of time. This is also our go-to meal when cooking for a big group, we tend to make around 12 burgers per batch.

Ingredients:

  • Sunflower Oil for frying and deep frying
  • Burger Buns
  • Chilli Sauce (I use siracha)
  • Mango Chutney
  • crisp Lettuce Leaves
  • 1 Onion
  • 30g Garlic Cloves
  • 2 teaspoons Turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons mild Curry Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 100g Cauliflower
  • 2 x 400g Chickpeas
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 25g Coriander
  • pinch of Salt
  • pinch of Black Pepper
  • juice of 1 Lime
  • 150g Oats
  • Aioli or Tzatziki (whichever you prefer)
  • sliced Beef Tomatoes
  • Red Onion sliced into thin rings

Instructions:

In a frying pan heat a little oil and add the onion, garlic and dried spices. Fry over medium heat for a few minutes, then add the cauliflower (chopped into medium pieces) and fry for 5 more minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor or chop finely into a bowl. Smash up the chickpeas until smooth (blitz, blend or mash), add to the mixture along with the mustard and mix by hand. Add the coriander, salt, pepper and lime juice. Now gradually pour in the oats until the mixture becomes tacky rather than sticky. Then divide it up into patties.

Heat enough oil ready for deep frying. You don’t want the oil too hot so a medium to high heat is enough. (170°C optimal). Deep fry each patty for 3 minutes. They should be crisp on the outside and hot and fluffy on the inside. Remove from the oil and drain/blot the oil on kitchen paper.

Build Your Burger

The most important factor of the perfect burger is how you build it. To assemble each burger make a circle of hot chilli sauce on the top bun, then fill it with mango chutney. Repeat on the lower bun. Place your patty on the lower bun and top with aioli or tzatziki before topping it with a slice of tomato. Above the tomato place a lettuce leaf and then top it with 3 thinly sliced rings of red onion. Add the top of the bun and enjoy!

The combination of flavours works perfectly for me, a little sweet, a little spicy, a little soft, and a little crunchy. If the condiments don’t work for you, try mixing it up with your usual sauces instead. I think a mayo, ketchup tabasco mix would also work well with this. And if spice isn’t your thing just take it out and play around with your own preferences.

Note: If the burger crumbles apart too easily it’s been cooked too high, try lowering the heat a little on the next one.

Leftover Veggie Thai Green/Red Curry Recipe

Thai Green Curry

You can opt for a Thai Green/Red Curry for a low-maintenance dinner. However, we treat this more as a leftover meal than an authentic Thai curry.

I used to be really particular about the veggies in my green curry being green. But now I appreciate it as a really easy curry to make with various veggies, regardless of colour. The great thing about green/red curry is, as long as you have coconut milk and curry paste, you can use this curry as an easy leftover meal. Realistically you can make any curry as a leftover meal provided you have the right spices or base sauce.

It can even be thrown in the crockpot and left to slow cook for hours, saving on the wait time if you have a busy schedule. Pop it in the pot in the morning and let it cook throughout the day.

Ingredients:

  • 400g Coconut Milk
  • 2 tbl spoons Curry Paste
  • 400g Tinned Tomatoes (or finely chopped leftover tomatoes)
  • 1 head Broccoli
  • 2 Bell Peppers
  • 1 head Cauliflower
  • 2 Carrots
  • a handful of Peas In The Pod
  • Fresh Chilli (however much you can handle)

There really are no rules here, if you have potatoes, sweet potatoes, baby corn or mushrooms left over and need to be used up you can throw them in too. As long as there is room in the pot. Don’t worry about it not looking liquidy enough, as it cooks it will become more of a curry consistency.

Green Mango with Lime and Chilli Salt Recipe

Mango Lime Chilli Immune Booster Menu

Not only is this one of the easiest desserts to prepare, but it’s also healthy and equally tasty.

Mango with Lime and Chilli Salt reminds me of places like Vietnam, the Vietnamese sell this fresh delightful treat at the side of the street, or conveniently on the beach to tourists soaking up the sunshine.

This is a little taste of paradise from your own kitchen and a very low-maintenance dish (my favourite type).

Ingredients:

  • Green Mango
  • Lime Juice
  • Paprika
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (can be normal table salt)

Instructions:

  • Mix the salt and paprika.
  • Cut up the Mango
  • Squirt some lime juice onto your mango pieces before dunking them into the salt mix

The Wrap-Up: Mountain Food | The Best Vanlife Recipes

These are staples on our weekly menu, we try to mix them up with a new dish every week to experiment with healthy, yet tasty dishes. The best investment I ever made for our kitchen was a cookbook, and although we are meat eaters, Dirty Vegan is my favourite.

Without a proper guide, I probably would have given up and resorted back to my usual habits of cooking the same things over and over. Although I ate fairly healthy to begin with, it definitely wasn’t the well balanced, nutrient packed food I cook now.

I try to add as much turmeric, ginger and garlic to my dishes as possible, without overdoing it, they are great additions to things like rice and noodles. Those 3 spices are full of goodness as well as flavour.

This menu packs in everything we need for mountain food that keeps us full of energy, as well as simple dishes that work while living full-time in a campervan. Vanlife recipes often need to be simple to work with a smaller kitchen and an extremely faffy existence, this menu covers all bases for us.

If you’re looking for some further reading:

Our Favourite Mountain Food / Healthy Recipe Cookbooks