Insanely Delicious Vegan Backpacking Food with Maya Kaimal’s Everyday Dals
Despite the fact that hiking and spending time in the outdoors is all about getting in touch with nature and living a simpler, healthier lifestyle, I still have a hard time finding good, healthy backpacking food with quality, wholesome ingredients. It seems to be even harder to find plant-based, vegan backpacking food options out there.
So what’s a girl to do when her options seem to be, overly processed dehydrated meals or an overdose of fruit-and-nut bars (I’m not hating on fruit and nut bars... but come on, a girl can only have so many in one day). I tend to stay away from overly processed foods, and dehydrated meals are sometimes hit-or-miss for me. I’ve had stomach issues from dehydrated foods, and honestly that is the last thing I want when I am in the backcountry backpacking. Is it too much to ask for a little variety in my backpacking food life?
So naturally, I was thrilled when Maya Kaimal reached out to me about trying their Everyday Dals, which are a perfectly sized for the ultimate vegan backpacking meal...
How We Discovered Maya Kaimal Indian Foods
I was getting ready for a big 2-week road trip up to Colorado with Michael, and I was browsing the isles at Target for some last-minute dinner ideas and snacks. I knew I had a bunch of veggies in the cooler, and when I ran across one of Maya Kaimal’s Coconut Simmer Sauces, it looked like the perfect thing for a camp-stove meal during our trip. Also, I’m a sucker for anything with coconut in it, so I think I just instinctually threw it into my cart. Sometimes I can’t control myself around things like coconut, curry, dark chocolate, a fresh bag of Rainier cherries... but I digress. We ended up using that simmer sauce one night at our campground in Colorado with a big pot of mixed veggies. Simmered to perfection on our Coleman stove, it was one of the best camping dinners we had during our whole road trip.
We eventually became further connected with the team over at Maya Kaimal, and they sent us some samples of their Everyday Dal’s to try. When we got the packages of Everyday Dals, I instantly knew what I wanted to use them for: my upcoming summer backpacking trips into the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
I remember pulling out the packages and looking at the ingredients and being blown away that I could literally understand every ingredient on the back. Peas, onion, coconut, salt, lemon... holy-plant-based-backpacking-jackpot! I feel like that literally never happens, and I love that there are more and more companies putting a focus on wholesome ingredients. Because, let’s be honest, what we put into our bodies as fuel is equally as important as how much we train physically for our outdoor adventures. I opened up one of the samples right away and ate it with some leftover garlic Naan from Trader Joes, and I was instantly hooked!
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Why Maya Kaimal Everyday Dals Make Awesome Vegan Backpacking Food
I first had the opportunity to “field test” one of the Maya Kaimal’s Everyday Dals on my backpacking trip up to Split Mountain (a 14,000 foot peak here in California). My hiking partner and I rolled into our base camp on the first day after about 6 hours of steep uphill hiking, and I was beat! We were also planning to go to bed early that night (like 7PM early) so that we could wake up really early the next morning for an “alpine start” up Split Mountain peak.
I was STARVING, and at the same time all I wanted to do was just sit with my feet in the cold lake near our camp and be lazy. I just wanted to sit for a moment... stop hiking, stop prepping, stop filling my time with tasks, and just “be” and watch the ripples in the lake, and the clouds move around the summit of Split Mountain. But my stomach was also like, “Hello! Feed meee!” So I was thrilled when I remembered that I had packed the Green Split Pea + Spinach + Coconut Everyday Dal, and all I had to do was open it! I grabbed it from my pack, with my camping spork, some tortillas, and dipped my toes into the water at the lake and devoured that meal... I was pleasantly full, happy, and lazy as ever.
Here are some of the main reasons I love this product:
1) It’s just plain delicious. Seriously. I’ve tried all 5 flavors now, and I love all of them! They are packed with some serious flavor. We eat these things even when we AREN’T backpacking... and I can’t really say that about many other backpacking meals out there.
2) Not only is it delicious, but it is a good, healthy backpacking food option. I mentioned this above, but spend some time looking at their labels. Maya Kaimal Everyday Dals are packed with quality, wholesome, and organic ingredients.
3) Also, while I am not strictly vegan, I eat primarily plant based, and one of the biggest struggles I have with backpacking meals is finding good vegan backpacking food that is also high protein backpacking food. These Everyday Dals provide an excellent option for plant-based backpackers looking for more protein in their backpacking diet (without always having to get it from protein powders or high-sugar protein bars). All of the Dals are packed with delicious plant-based proteins such as peas, lentils, chickpeas, and beans... and, no added sugar (for a double win!)
4) One of my favorite things about the Everyday Dals is that they are essentially a perfect stoveless backpacking meal option. With dehydrated food options, you’ve got to be sure to pack a stove and fuel, and have plenty of water to cook with, but with the Everyday Dals... you can either choose to cook them... or not! That’s the beauty. Want a lighter pack, skip the stove, pack these instead. Want to be lazy at a lake and not cook anything (like me at Split Mountain), you can do that too! We’ve been loving these not only for backpacking, but also to take on our climbing and bouldering trips since we don’t need to cook them or keep the refrigerated. The Everyday Dals are an awesome no cook camping food (and just as delicious)!
5) Lastly, the Maya Kaimal Everyday Dals are quick, easy, and convenient. We frequently are rushing out of the door and looking for food in our pantry to pack quickly and bonus points if we don’t have to pack an ice-chest. Now I keep our pantry stocked with a couple of these and I can easily throw one in our backpack for a spur-of-the-moment hiking or climbing trip.
And if you needed more reasons to try one (which I doubt), The Maya Kaimal Everyday Dals are also, Kosher, have no added sugars, have beautiful packaging, and require no water to cook them!
BUT WAIT! WHAT’S THE WEIGHT?
Ok, I know what all you ultralight-backpacking fanatics are thinking: Those things look delicious, but they also look too heavy. You’re probably saying too yourself, “Ya, but, dehydrated foods are the way to go because they are lighter, and when we are backpacking.. the lighter the better!”.
Listen, I hear you, and I agree!
But let’s compare that here for a moment...
Let’s say you are going on a 3-day backpacking trip, and let’s assume the only meal you plan to “cook” is dinner. With this assumption in mind, you only need 2 dinners worth of food.
If you decided to go the dehydrated meal route:
Weight of 2 Dehydrated Meals = 10 oz
Weight of 1L MSR Reactor Stove = 16 oz
Weight of Fuel = 8oz
Total Weight: 34 oz
However, what if instead, you decided to forego the camp stove and pack 2 Maya Kaimal Everyday Dals, which as we mentioned above make a delicious stoveless backpacking meal option:
Weight of 2 Everyday Dals = 20 oz
Total Weight: 20 oz
So ya, the Maya Kaimal Everyday Dals are “technically” heavier, but if you ditch the camp stove and fuel, then brining 2 Everyday Dals is actually lighter than brining 2 dehydrated meals (and more nutritious and yummy, in my opinion).
5 DELICIOUS EVERYDAY DAL FLAVORS
The Maya Kaimal Everyday Dals are based off the popular Indian lentil dish called a dal. They are loaded with a variety of delicious plant-based proteins such as peas, lentils, chickpeas, and beans which is one of the reason they make the perfect vegan backpacking meal. After a long day of hiking, your body will heal better and repair itself more fully with protein, and if you eat primarily plant-based it can be really hard to find the protein you need while backpacking. These Everyday Dals provide an awesome solution to that dilemma. Right now there are five different, delicious Everyday Dal flavors.
1) Green Split Pea + Spinach + Coconut (14 grams of protein): This one is my favorite of all the Dal flavors, and the one I find myself buying again and again at the store. I pretty much love anything cooked with coconut, and this particular flavor is also seasoned with garlic, salt, lemon juice, brown mustard seeds, turmeric and cayenne.
2) Red Lentils + Butternut Squash + Coconut (12 grams of protein): My second favorite of the Dal flavors. Again more delicious creamy coconut, and butternut squash (one of my favorite veggies)! This flavor is divine!
3) Black Lentils + Tomato + Cumin (12 grams of protein): This flavor is a bit more rustic and earthy and I find it pairs deliciously with some fresh cut avocado. It is dairy-free, and ultra-satisfying.
4) Green Garbanzos + Corn +Coriander (10 grams of protein): This Dal is loaded with delicious chunky garbanzo beans (like we use in hummus!) and has a delicious smoky flavor. It also has sweet corn in it (another one of my favorite veggies), and pigeon peas.
5) Kidney Beans + Carrots + Tamarind (12 grams of protein): This Dal is hearty, almost like a chili, but seasoned with Indian flavors that are tangy and delicious! It’s got lentils, carrots, and North Indian kidney beans in it.
Ways to Enjoy the Dals:
I’ve alluded above to many of the ways we like to enjoy our Everyday Dals, but I’ll highlight a few of them here again:
Scoop them up with Naan or Tortillas
Add more protein like fish, or chicken. For backpacking, when I’m getting “extra-fancy”, I like to add the Wild Pink Salmon Packages from Patagonia Provisions (which also don’t require refrigeration or cooking). Boom, more protein.
Sometimes we scoop the Dals up with chips we have at the house
We like to throw in leftover veggies from the fridge in with our Dals
And I love to add Avocado to the top of them, when we have some lying around (although, not very practical for backpacking)
These Everyday Dals are awesome outside of backpacking trips too, we’ve been bringing them all over the place. The fact that they are such a quick, healthy option makes them a new “go-to” meal for me and Michael.
We’ve been throwing a couple of these into our backpacks when we go climbing or bouldering, and we also love to have them for longer road trips when we want something quick and healthy on the road.
I really hope you have a chance to try one of the Maya Kaimal Everday Dals, and we’ve had a blast working with this brand. I don’t typically get this excited about backpacking food, but this particular meal option has gotten me especially excited because it’s something that I would not only eat backpacking, but love eating day-to-day.
Are you ready to try one yet?
SPECIAL DEAL Maya Kaimal is running a 15% special off their Everday Dals right now through the end of October 2018 on Amazon.com
Everyday Dals can be found on Amazon , Thrive Market , Walmart , and even more. We’ve also been seeing them at our local health grocery store, Sprouts. To read more about Maya Kaimal products, check them out at https://www.mayakaimal.com
Get ready for a new favorite!
Allison - She Dreams of Alpine