Jennifer M.: What inspired you to write a plant-based version of your Dirty Gourmet cookbook?
Aimee T., Emily N. and Mai-Yan K.: Plant-based foods make sense while cooking outdoors. They’re much easier to work with because many plant-based ingredients are less perishable and unlikely to cross-contaminate, so they can be stored more easily in a cooler (or even at room temperature). We’ve also seen a much higher interest in plant-based diets in recent years. People cooking for a group are often trying to accommodate several different dietary needs at once. We wanted to create recipes that are plant-based by default because it’s much simpler to add in specific ingredients, like meat or dairy, than to try removing them while maintaining the integrity of the recipe.
JM: How has your relationship with food changed your relationship with the outdoors — or vice versa?
AT, EN & MK: We went through the same process that most outdoorists do when we started camping and cooking for ourselves. Our first thoughts were, “What is camp food, and how do we make it?” We quickly discovered our process of “campification,” where we start with meals we love to eat anywhere and adjust the recipes to make them executable with a different cooking setup. Since our first cookbook — Dirty Gourmet: Food for Your Outdoor Adventures — was published, our recipes have become even more practical. Many of the plant-based ingredients we use helped with that shift.
JM: What has been the most fun, surprising or rewarding part of this new adventure?
AT, EN & MK: We’ve surprised even ourselves with how elegant some of the solutions in the book are. Cashew butter works perfectly to create a really cheesy, creamy texture with added protein and shelf stability. Chickpea flour is an excellent substitute for eggs in dishes like our French toast that are hard to execute outdoors. Our nutty parmesan and bouillon powder have completely replaced dairy parmesan and vegetable broth in both our home and camp kitchens. And all these solutions have made it easier — even for us — to get it together and get outside more often.
JM: What do you recommend for active, outdoorsy folks who want to make sure they get enough protein?