14 Tips to a Successful Vegan Roadtrip (PLUS: Where to Eat on the East Coast!)

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you might know that my boyfriend, Sam, and I did a 9-day road trip to the East Coast of Canada. We started from Montreal and made our way to Gaspésie, then New Brunswick and finally Nova Scotia.

It was not our first time roadtripping in Canada (we drove all the way to British Columbia a few years ago), but it was our first time doing it as vegans.  

We got quite used to living in a city where being a vegan is easy. I mean, you can walk into any grocery store in Montreal and find a wide array of fruits and veggies, different kinds of nuts, seeds and legumes, dozens of vegan dips and even vegan ice cream! Also, almost every single coffee shop now offers non-dairy alternatives so we never feel like being vegans is truly a challenge. However, as we visited www.happycow.com (a website cataloguing vegan and vegetarian restaurants) before our departure to look at which towns in our itinerary would have vegan dishes, we were rather surprised by the limited number options in certain regions – especially Gaspésie and Cape Breton (Nova Scotia).

We therefore decided to bring with us as many snacks as we could to ensure that if we were camping in places where there was not much food, we would always have something we could snack on until the next complete meal.

 I think we did very well in terms of planning our food so that’s why I wanted to share with you a couple of tips and tricks to make the most out of your next road trip, especially if you are traveling as a vegan.

I truly hope these 14 tips will help you in planning your next adventure! If they do, I’d love to hear it in the comments below and also, feel free to share any additional roadtripping tips!

14 Tips to a Successful Vegan Roadtrip

MUST BRING SNACKS

  • Hummus : Perfect with crackers, mini carrots, and in sandwiches, this one was an essential during our roadtrip. Because we did not always have access to a kitchen to cook full meals, hummus really came in handy when we needed a snack that was filling & nutritious.

  • Crackers : We bought a big box of Mary’s Crackers at Costco and went through the entire thing in 3 days… I love these specific crackers because the ingredient list is so clean : brown rice, quinoa, flax seeds, sesame seeds, water, soy sauce & sea salt. You can have as many as you want and not feel like you are indulging! Crackers + hummus were a literally lifesaver when we had no access to a kitchen.

  • Apples : Apples are the perfect road trip fruit. They last super long, do not need refrigeration and are very portable (contrary to a banana, which I am always scared to crush when I put it in a bag!). I would recommend buying enough apples to last you through your entire road trip; we snacked on apples every day – after hikes, for breakfast and throughout our commute.

  • Granola (+ soy milk) : Guys, this is probably the best food I packed on our road trip! If you are planning to camp, are not going to be bringing any cooking gear and don’t want to be rushing out of your campsite hangry in the morning. Granola will be your best friend! I made a big batch of granola since I knew we would be camping 4 nights out of 8 in remote locations where cafés or restaurants would be rather scarce. It was really nice to wake up and know that you don’t have to drive for 1+ hours to eat something. I packed my granola with lots of nuts and seeds (for healthy fats & energy) as well as goji berries (for a little antioxidant boost). We had it along with soy milk rather than almond milk, just to add in as many proteins as we could ;)

  • Energy balls : Before your departure, simply add dates and your favorite nuts and seeds to a food processor, process and shape into balls. Store in an airtight container and bring along on your adventure. This snack is awesome because it has lots of healthy fats and sugars to give you a nice energy boost throughout the day or after a challenging hike.

  • Smoked tofu : This one might sound weird, but it was one of the culinary highlight of our roadtrip. Contrary to plain ol’ tofu, smoked tofu is seasoned and has a lovely flavour which makes it delicious on its own. Just cut it up into cubes and enjoy! If you prefer eating it with something, I suggest adding it to a hummus and spinach sandwich, trust me, it’s delish!

  • Peanut butter: I mean it is a pantry staple and I believe it should be a road trip staple too. We had peanut butter through our entire trip along with bread. Sometimes we did not have access to a toaster so we would just have it as is, but when we did, you can guess that we indulged in some warm toasted peanut butter toasts! (+ pro tip: bring along a small jar of homemade jam and chia seeds to add variety, flavour and nutrition to your toasts).

14 Tips to a Successful Vegan Roadtrip
14 Tips to a Successful Vegan Roadtrip

OTHER ESSENTIALS

  • Cutlery : Bring along a knife, forks and spoons to enjoy all the delicious items you packed.

  • Containers : We brought along some glass containers and they ended up really coming in handy. We used them as bowls for our granola, to store our energy balls and other snacks.

  • Thermos : If you cannot start your day without a tea or coffee like me, a thermos is a must when roadtripping. We would fill it up with boiling water at some Airbnbs we stayed at and enjoy a warm cup of coffee the next morning when we were camping. If you won’t be staying at airbnbs or hotels, just walk into any fast food chain, they will happily fill up your thermos with hot water.

  • Food processor : Yes, Sam totally laughed at me when I said we were bringing one of my favorite kitchen tools, but guess who was happy when we could make some more energy balls halfway through our trip? ;) Since you are in a car, you can really pack any kitchen appliance that you think could make it easier for you to enjoy your favorite foods. Of course, I would not suggest bringing you Vitamix, hand mixer, coffee maker and frother, but if you feel like you will definitely crave smoothies, bring a small blender. If you feel like you will go through your energy balls fast, bring extra nuts and a food processor. We ended up using it only once, but it saved us quite a bit of money in terms of snack purchases. 

MISC 

  • Do your research in advance : Sam and I looked up a few restaurants and cafés before hitting the road and planned our trip so that we could try some of them out. Of course there were days where we solely relied our snacks, but every second day or so, we would drive by a larger city (in Canadian terms it means a town with 40,000 habitants!) where we treated ourselves to some warm vegan dishes.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask locals : Sometimes, even Happy Cow did not list spots where we could have vegan food or drinks, so don’t be shy to ask locals if they would know of places that have vegan options. That’s how we found a couple of cafés on our road.

  • When you find a grocery store with fresh (& roadtrip friendly) produce, stock up: For example, when we drove through New Glasgow in Nova Scotia, there was a huuuge Sobeys so we took advantage of the large selection of reasonably priced foods to stock up on apples, bananas, spinach, tofu and bread.

14 Tips to a Successful Vegan Roadtrip
14 Tips to a Successful Vegan Roadtrip

RESTAURANTS TO TRY ON THE CANADIAN EAST COAST:

  • Rivière du Loup - La bette à Cath: a vegan bistro that serves salads, sandwiches, wraps, drinks and pastries.

    • Must try: their cupcakes!

  • Percé – Restaurant PAQBOT: a restaurant inside a hotel near the Rocher Percé that has vegan options.

    • Must try: their burger – make it vegan by omitting the mayo.

  • Percé – Boulangerie le Fourmand: a bakery that offers soy milk. They did not have vegan pastries, but had a lovely variety of homemade breads.

  • Pabos – Maison Pure Thé : a small health food store near Percé that has pretty much all vegan essentials. They also have a lovely collection of teas, essential oils and beauty product.

  • Chandler – Mich Café: a coffee shop that has non-dairy milk options. Their coffee absolutely delicious (my favorite of the entire trip!) and the owner was super nice to talk to.

  • Moncton – Calactus : a vegetarian restaurant that serves global inspired dishes. All their dishes can be made vegan (even the pizzas!) and their food is packed with amazing flavours.

    • Must try: their vegetable pekoras and their indian pizza with herbed tofu cheese.

  • Moncton – Zen Gardens : an Asian restaurant with countless vegan options. They have delicious meat imitation dishes, soups and curries. Their prices are also very fair!

  • Antigonish – Pachamama : a small vegan café that also serves a daily warm dish and many desserts.

  • Sackville – The Cackling Goose Market Café & Bakery: a vegan friendly gluten free café and market, which serves many vegan sweet treats like cinnamon buns, pumpkin squares and cupcakes. They also offer salads, soups and grilled cheeses, which can be made vegan upon request.

  • Saint John – Vegolution: a vegetarian restaurant (with many vegan options) which serves incredibly tasty dishes.

    • Must try: their warm mushroom and olive appetizer plate, their corn fritters, their veggie donair and their beet cake with ‘’cream cheese” frosting

  • Saint John – Rogue Café: a super cool coffee shop with many specialty drinks and that offers a few different non-dairy milk alternatives.

14 Tips to a Successful Vegan Roadtrip
 

Peanut Butter & BBQ Jackfruit Pizza (Vegan)

So sorry guys I have been kind of MIA for two weeks and have not have time to write up a blogpost and recipe. Honestly, the past month has been kind of crazy! I took a week off with my family and we traveled to Cuba, which was so so relaxing. One week with very limited internet was exactly what I needed to disconnect!

Upon my return, I had quite a lot of content to create for the brands I work for, which took 90% of my time. The rest was basically dedicated to spending time with loved ones and taking time for myself to workout, meditate & learn some tips and tricks on how to improve my photography.

The recipe I am bringing to you guys is one I created for one of my clients, Manba. They are a peanut butter company that specializes in spicy, Haitian-style peanut butter. I create some content for them on a monthly basis and last month, I made this Peanut Butter & BBQ Jackfruit Pizza.

Yep, I know... it sounds weird, but trust me, this one is out of this galaxy (not just this world ;)).

Peanut Butter & BBQ Jackfruit Pizza (Vegan)

Some of you might be familiar with jackfruit because it is an ingredient that has been trending in the vegan world, since it can be used to imitate pulled pork in savory recipes. In terms of flavor, jackfruit is very very mild, which makes it a perfect carrier for flavor. The one negative thing about jackfruit is the fact that it is not very widely available. Your best bet at finding it is going to Asian grocery stores. There, you can buy it in a can, soaked in brine or water – be sure not to get the one in syrup as it will be overly sweet and would not yield the optimal flavor in this recipe.

Peanut Butter & BBQ Jackfruit Pizza (Vegan)

This pizza gets a lot of its flavor form the rich and complex bbq sauce in which the jackfruit is cooked. It includes seasonings most of you have in your cupboard, but when cooked all together, add incredible depth to this bbq sauce : garlic powder, smoked paprika (probably one of my favorite spices of all times!!), tamari, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and of course Manba’s spicy crunchy peanut butter.

If you do not have Manba on hand, you can always swap it out for the same amount of peanut butter with extra 1 teaspoon of sriracha. The result will not be exactly the same, but I promise it will still be very tasty.

This recipe takes under 45 minutes to make and, I don’t mean to brag, tastes like it came out of a restaurant. My boyfriend and I literally ate the entire thing for lunch after I was done shooting it! What I love about this pizza is that it is:

Rich in flavor.
Made with healthy ingredients.
Super easy to put together.
Balanced in spices: it is not too spicy or too salty or too sweet.

I hope you guys try to make this pizza & love it as much as I do. I had so much fun creating it and am incredibly happy with the result. If you do end up making this recipe, don’t hesitate to share in on social media and tag me @muriellebanackissa.

Peanut Butter & BBQ Jackfruit Pizza (Vegan)

Prep time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Total time : 40 minutes
Yield : 6-8 slices

INGREDIENTS

1 ready to use vegan pizza crust
1 tsp oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (398ml) tomato sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Manba crunchy peanut butter
1 can (565g) young jackfruit in brine or water, rinsed and drained
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
Sautéed mushrooms*
1/2 cup grated vegan cheese – my favorite is Swisso Cheese by Gusta
Black pepper, to taste
Fresh coriander, to taste

STEPS

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out pizza dough into a circle with a diameter of about 30 centimetres. Bake for 10 minutes without garnishes.

  2. In the meantime, heat oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Sautee for 5 minutes or until the onion has become translucent.

  3. Add tomato sauce, garlic powder, smoked paprika, tamari, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and Manba. Mix to incorporate. Lower to heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, squeeze out the excess liquid from the jackfruit pieces by pressing it into your hands. Remove any tough pieces.

  5. Use your hands to shred the jackfruit into pieces and add it to the simmering sauce. Mix until it is well coated.

  6. Remove the pizza from the oven. Top with the jackfruit mixture, red onions, sautéed mushrooms, cheese and black pepper.

  7. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh coriander.

NOTES:
* A quick and easy recipe for sautéed mushrooms:  http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/sauteed-mushrooms-36550

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Peanut Butter & BBQ Jackfruit Pizza (Vegan)
 

The Crunchiest Sugar Free Granola

Fun fact about me : I love all things CRUNCHY (and I must admit, not always healthy...) My two ultimate guilty pleasures are:

  • Chips // salt and vinegar are my absolute fave!

  • Fries // if you have never tried Costco fries, where have you been?! You are missing out on the world’s crispiest fries!

I could eat soooo much of these two foods. If they were not as fatty, I would probably eat fries and chips every single day...

On the other hand, a crunchy food I never restrict myself of is GRANOLA.

 If you were wondering, the apron I am wearing is fair trade and hand block-printed in India. It is available at  Pure Art,  a fair trade shop in Hudson, Quebec.

If you were wondering, the apron I am wearing is fair trade and hand block-printed in India. It is available at Pure Art, a fair trade shop in Hudson, Quebec.

I love the fact that granola is super crunchy, can be enjoyed on its own and with milk, is super nutritious and has full of nuts – I mean who can resist the decadence of nuts!

Lately, you might have noticed that I have been trying to reduce the amount of processed sugar I eat. I have been replacing white sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar and even maple syrup with dates. Unfortunately, in a recipe you cannot simply swap out let’s say a cup of sugar with a cup of dates without affecting the texture of your food.

That is why I am here: to share with you some healthy, sugar free alternatives to your favorite recipes. I already have a number of sugar free recipes on my blog, but I thought that you’d love an alternative to traditional maple syrup or coconut sugar-sweetened granola.

That is how this crunchy, sugar free granola came to life!

The Crunchiest Sugar Free Granola

For the base of this recipe, I used old fashioned oats + puffed brown rice. I had tried to add puffed rice to a batch of granola in the past and absolutely looooved the crunchiness it added so I thought it’d be a perfect addition to this granola recipe.

Also, because I had looooots of seeds and seed butter in my pantry, I made this granola 100% nut free. However, if you are allergic to seeds or simply prefer using nuts in your granola, feel free to swap out the sunflower seed butter with almond butter as well as the sunflower and pumpkin seeds with your favorite nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans...).

Lastly, you may notice that this granola is a bit darker than traditional granola. Nope, it ain’t burned... The reason for this darker hue is because I used date sugar to sweeten it. Date sugar made simply by dehydrating dates then grinding them into a sugar-like texture (here is an awesome recipe for making your own). For the purpose of keeping this recipe sugar free, I used date sugar, but if you don’t have any on hand or don’t want to make it, you can always use coconut sugar instead OR keep it sugar free by simply adding some dried fruits to your granola right before storing it in jars. This will ensure you add sweetness to every bite ;)

Anyways, I am done chit chatting about this granola and my love for crunchy foods.

I really hope you guys try it and if you do, snap a photo, share in on social media and tag me @muriellebanackissa in it ;)

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Prep time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 35 minutes
Total time : 45 minutes
Yield : 4 heaping cups

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup packed pitted dates (+/- 10 dates)*
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 cups puffed brown rice
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
4 tbsp date sugar**
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

STEPS

  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. Add dates, coconut oil and sunflower seed butter to a medium saucepan heat on medium heat.

  3. Once the coconut oil and the sunflower seed butter have melted, mix and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can blend this mixture using an immersion blender. Set aside.

  4. To a large bowl, add the remainder of the ingredients and mix.

  5. Transfer the date-coconut-sunflower seed butter mixture onto the dry ingredients. Mix using your hands to incorporate - the mixture will be very sticky at this point.

  6. Transfer granola onto the prepared baking sheet and press down with your hands, forming a uniform layer.

  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, toss the granola around and rotate the pan. Bake for another 15 minutes.

  8. Remove the granola from the oven and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

  9. Enjoy on its own as a snack, as a topping on smoothie bowls or with your favorite milk.

NOTES:
* I used mazafati dates for this recipe, but feel free to use any dates you have on hand. If your dates are hard, make sure to soak them in boiling water for 30 minutes, drain and use in the recipe as indicated.
** Don't have date sugar? Swap it out with coconut sugar or keep this recipe sugar free by adding 1/3 cup raisins after baking. 

Want to save this recipe? Pin it to your Pinterest boards.

The Crunchiest Sugar Free Granola