Cooking in a hostel can look a lot like an episode of an evil Food Network competition:
“You have to make a nutritious meal using zero sharp knives but 7 spoons.
No cutting board or plates, but multiple bowls. And as many onions as you can carry,
but only one half mouldy tomato and some slightly slimy ham. Go!”
Over the last few months we’ve gotten very creative with our cooking. We’ve defined what a ‘backpacker healthy meal’ is (basically anything where at least one fruit or vegetable is present). And that they CAN be made with just a box of KD and some broccoli.
We’re pros at concocting a strainer out of multiple slotted spoons.We’ve become accustomed to making toast over a gas stove when the toaster is on the fritz or non-existant.
And we have no problem being the ones to reach into that nasty drain to pull out the remnants of 4 other backpacker’s dinners before we can wash our dishes.
When you’re backpacking you have a lot of variables to deal with when cooking for yourself: budget, availability of food, availability of tools in the kitchen, and, of course, it would be great if meals were well balanced too (eating pasta & tomato sauce 5 days in a row does not work for us).
Some of our favourite easy hostel meals have been the following:
- Egg sandwich
Especially good for hangover mornings. Fried egg and cheese with fried tomato, red pepper and onion over brown toast. *try adding avocado!
A quick and filling breakfast. Instant or boiled rolled oats with any combination of the following added: peanut butter, jam, diced apples, pears or banana, berries, peanuts, almonds, cinnamon, nutella, honey or maple syrup.
Soup + Vegetables
One of the easiest ways to increase nutrition on a backpacker budget. Use an instant soup, then add your own veggies. Broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, carrots, peas, mushrooms, potatoes, canned corn or beans and tomatoes are all great additions to almost any soup out there.
We were introduced to this recipe by Quetzeltrekkers, Nicaragua and it’s now one of our favourites. Make a filling mix with sliced carrots, cucumber and red peppers, diced tomatoes and onions and a can of uncooked corn. Add refried beans into a tortilla, crush some cheese Doritos on top (for crunch!), fill with the veggie mix, cover with some salsa and enjoy! *try adding avocado too!
I made this for Bryan’s birthday dinner using what I could find. Make a cream sauce using butter, garlic, onion, sour cream and evaporated milk (using cream cheese, cream or milk would also work here). Add cooked bacon, broccoli, mushrooms and peas. Mix in cooked pasta. If you can find cheese or black pepper to add over top, please do!
This meal often lasts for 2 dinners, which is helpful on the budget. Add sautéed onion, red peppers and garlic to a can of diced tomatoes, a can of onion/garlic or red pepper pasta sauce, a can of beans (red or black) and a can of corn. If you can find chilli powder and cumin add those in, or better yet, a chilli spice mix (they’re light enough to carry on with you too!). Serve over rice or with garlic bread.
This is one of the easiest dinners to make. Take almost any vegetables you can find (peppers, broccoli, carrots, corn, mushrooms, beans etc.) and sauté with onion and garlic. Add in cooked ramen noodles or rice (even better if the rice is cooked the day before) and stir fry with oil and soy sauce. Add in 2 eggs and scramble.
Whether you’re hostel-cookin’ or looking for cheap, easy eats, try these out and send us your feedback/suggestions.
If you have any more recipe recommendations send them our way too!
We DO NOT want to eat spaghetti ever again (or at least for a long, long time).