I have good news: Eating on the road, in the woods, or out of your backpack doesn’t have to be a costly or cumbersome endeavor.
Here are five simple and sustaining meals you can make on your next summer adventure:
1. Meat, Veggie, & Potato Hash — Slice and cook your potatoes in some olive oil (and garlic, if you’re into garlic like I am) first before adding your preferred meat (proteins like pre-cooked chicken apple sausage or turkey kielbasa work well), and your veggies (I typically use peppers and onions, but you could add any variety of veggies you want). The best part about hashes? They’re easily modified, can be made vegetarian or vegan with zero hassle, and you can add pretty much anything and everything to a hash and odds are good it’s going to taste awesome. Just don’t forget the salt and pepper!
2. Grilled Pizza — The trick to making this super simple campsite meal work is starting with a big loaf of bread (like French bread, or something similar), halving it, and then scooping out the middles from both halves of bread to create shallow “pizza boats.” Then just spread pizza sauce onto each half, top with your preferred shredded cheese, and cover with your preferred pizza toppings (pepperoni, olives, peppers, mushrooms, etc.). Loosely wrap your pizza with aluminum foil and place over a campfire/on a hot grill and cook until the cheese is melted and the crust is toasted (roughly 10 minutes).
3. Shrimp & Asparagus Foil Packs — For this meal, you’ll need aluminum foil, some white wine (or chicken broth), garlic, lemon (or lemon juice), salt and pepper, butter (diced into small cubes, or pats), 1 lb asparagus, and 1 lb (peeled and deveined) shrimp. Add your shrimp to one side of your foil strip, and add your asparagus to the other. Then add a couple tablespoons of white wine, garlic, lemon zest/juice, butter cubes, and salt and pepper to both the shrimp and asparagus. You can also add fresh parsley or cilantro, if you have it. Put the foil on a grill over a fire and cook sealed side up until the shrimp is pink (typically about 10 minutes). You can also grill your shrimp and asparagus in a pan over a camp stove. Same process as above, and the timeline should be about the same, too.
4. Campfire Chili (Vegan) — This is a one-pot meal and the sky’s the limit as far as what you want to put in it. To keep a somewhat traditional chili flavor profile, I’d recommend 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of tomato paste, 1 can of corn, and 1 can of pinto beans. Then just add a tablespoon or so of chili powder (to taste), and enough water to cover everything you put in the pot, bring everything to a boil, and simmer for at least 15 minutes. I start all my soups and stews by sauteing an onion in garlic in the bottom of the pan, but that’s 100% optional.
5. Banana Coconut French Toast (Vegan) — Tip: Start with a big loaf of bakery-fresh bread (as opposed to loaves of bread typically used for sandwiches), and cut that bread into thick, 1” slices. To make your batter, mix at least one uber-ripe banana with a can of coconut milk, and then add pinches and dashes of any other flavors you might want in it (I like maple syrup and sometimes cinnamon, and most recipes call for a dash of salt and a bit of vanilla extract). Heat some coconut oil in a skillet and as soon as your pan is hot and your bread is amply coated in your batter, you’re just minutes away from a beautiful breakfast. (Or breakfast for dinner!) The coolest part about this meal? It doesn’t require any ingredients that need to be refrigerated.
Bonus campfire dessert idea: Fresh Off the Grid’s No-Bake Bourbon Peach Cobbler. It looks beautiful, smells and tastes fantastic, and the ingredient list is simpler than pie: Sliced peaches, granola, a little bit of sugar and oil, and your favorite bourbon.
What do you love to cook while camping?