Cooking on camping trips can be a nightmare for many and many think it is close to impossible to cook something more than a bowl of spaghetti or scrambled eggs on a small gas or electric stove outside in the nature. But I assure you, with a little creativity and imagination, you can cook almost anything, especially if you have a small fridge and the possibility to make a camp fire. We like to cook and even more so we like to eat. So we make sure we prepare good and tasty meals also while camping and on road trips and not just at home. Even if it takes more time and energy. Based on our experiences, I´ve put together this post about what we cook and eat for breakfasts, lunches & dinners and snacks in between. You might get some new ideas for your next camping over overland adventure.
Of course, we all have our own ways of travelling and camping. There is also a big difference if you are changing locations every day or you are staying at the same spot for a couple of weeks. If you are going on a shorter trip you can prepare some dishes already at home and make a meal plan as well. Surely, our eating and cooking habits vary as well, but I think we all agree on one thing – we all have to eat something. So, here are our suggestions and at the end I added a few words about what to do with food leftovers so that we don´t throw anything away.
Eggs are one of those essential ingredients in our kitchen while on the road, since you can use them in so many different ways and at any time of the day. Usually you can buy fresh bio eggs at local farms or markets you pass buy pretty much anywhere.
We make SCRAMBLED EGGS (sometimes accompanied by beans, avocado, bacon and fresh veggies), SUNNY SIDE UP EGGS (with similar side dishes), OMELETTES (with onions, cheese, vegetables, ham or anything else we have) and BOILED EGGS. With a peace of bread or crackers eggs are a quick, warm and filing meal. We often add it to risottos, salads or sandwiches and use it to prepare PANCAKES and other DOUGH.
Especially in the warmer months, salads are definitely my favourite. A great quick, refreshing and healthy meal which can be done with so many different ingredients and also food left overs. It depends on the destination but you can get fresh vegetables pretty much everywhere.
We usually make the following ones: GREEK SALAD (with feta cheese, tomatoes, onions, cucumber, olives), TUNA SALAD (lettuce with onions and tuna from a can), BABY SPINACH SALAD (with tomatoes, garlic, Parmesan and seeds), BEETROOT SALAD (vacuum packed beet root, garlic and onions), CHICKEN SALAD (lettuce or tomato salad with stripes of grilled chicken and onions), AVOCADO / SHRIMP SALAD (with tomatos, onions, grilled shrimps, chilli and avocado slices), IMRPOVISED SALAD (with anything we have in the fridge).
Quick and easy warm meal – tortellini in vacuum packages are a life saver sometimes, especially when we are hungry but don´t have much time to cook. There are different variates, we usually take the ones with cheese or spinach, but you can also have them with meat.
You can easily make them more fancy and tasteful by adding things like TOMATO SAUCE, PARMESAN CHEESE, ONIONS & GARLIC, BRIE CHEESE, BABY SPINACH and SEEDS.
SPAGHETTI & PASTA
Of course, there is no camping without a bowl of spaghetti here and there and we always have a package hidden somewhere in the car. We´re definitely not one of those who can eat pasta every day, but sometimes it´s our best option too. It´s easy to prepare and fills your stomach, with a great sauce it can be a very tasty meal.
How do we usually prepare pasta? With TUNA (in tomato or cream sauce), with VEGETABLES (zucchini, peppers, mushrooms…), with SHRIMPS (if we have a shop close by we buy frozen or fresh ones), with MEAT (minced beef and tomatoes), with TOMATO SAUCE (tomato from a can, herbs, onions and garlic), with GARLIC & PARMESAN (when we have no sauce they are yummy even just with olive oil, garlic and cheese).
Še ena zelo praktična sestavina, riž. Za pripravo rižot ali pa kot priloga. Mi ga ponavadi skuhamo več, shranimo v hladilniku in naslednji dan pripravimo kot solato (ponavadi s tuno in čebulo). Sicer pa velikokrat za vecerjo pojemo rižoto.
Risottos are similar to pasta regarding to toppings and sauces, you can really use pretty much anything you have. Our most common combos are: VEGETABLES (broccoli and soya cream / zucchini and peppers / mushrooms), FISH (with grilled shrimps or salmon), MEAT (with grilled chicken). We sometimes add a sunny side up or a boiled EGG.
COUSCOUS, QUINOA, BULGUR & CO
Besides rice and pasta we always carry a pack of couscous, bulgur, polenta, quinoa and similar grains. We can prepare these similar to risottos, usually warm, but they can also be tasty salads when prepared cold.
Here are some ideas what you can do with the ones mentioned above. VEGETABLE SALAD (peppers, cucumbers, feta cheese, onions or avocado, shrimps, tomatoes, onions), AS A SIDE DISH to salmon or chicken, WARM VEGETABLE DISH (grilled zucchini, peppers, onions and fish or meat).
It is true, you need to take a bit more time to prepare a BBQ, but these are the best dinners you can make while camping and overlanding. Depending on the destination but sometimes you can buy (or catch your own) fresh fish. It´s always one of our favourite dinners.
For grilling fish we use these FISH BASKETS, because it is much easier to turn them and they don´t stick to the BBQ. We add some lime or lemon and salt, olive oil and some herbs. At the same time we can throw a couple of POTATOES and VEGETABLES in the pan or wrap them in foil and tuck them in the hot coal.
We mostly eat meatless meals while camping but here and there we also love a proper BBQ steak or similar. Again, depending on where you are travelling btu often you can find a local butcher shop.
Mostly we opt for the good old BEEF STEAK, but sometimes we also do SKEWERS or CEVAPCICI. Also here, we do potatoes in foil and vegetables as a side dish.
You can make lots of different things with potatoes, but it is true it takes quite a lot of gas or electricity if before it is cooked. That´s why we normally grill it or cook it in a pot on the open fire.
A fun way to eat it is WRAPPED IN FOIL and baked under an open fire. Sometimes we also chop it finely and ROAST it in a pan, from cooked potatoes we make MASHED POTATOES or we use it for POTATO SALADS the next day.
I´m not a fan of sausages at all and I eat them very rarely, but I have to say they are great to have in the car in case of hunger emergencies for the men in our family. Especially those packed in vacuum are easy to just quickly heat up in a pan or cook for just a few minutes. You can eat them with bread or with a side dish.
They go well together with MASHED POTATOES, grilled or mashed VEGETABLES (peas, carrots or cauliflower make nice mashed side dishes too) or other.
It might sound slightly crazy but yes, we also did tacos a few times. It is easier when we sleep in a camping place and not somewhere in the wilderness though, because there will be lots of dirty dishes and we need a little bit more organisation, but it´s totally doable and a great thing for special occasions.
We make the dough ourselves and sometimes add a bit of turmeric. For the toppings we improvise with whatever we have – AVOCADO, fresh SHRIMPS (in Norway we did it with scallops and it was simply delicious) or stripes of CHICKEN, VEGETABLES (corn, cucumbers, carrots, peppers). And if we have some tortillas left we just eat them the next day instead of bread.
A few years ago we fell in love with these Danish open sandwiches in Copenhagen and since then we like to make it at home and while camping too. You can top them with pretty much anything, but you will need to have the proper rye bread.
Here is how we usually do them: VEGETABLE ONES (grilled aubergines, Parmesan, basil), MEAT ONES (mayonnaise, cold sliced chicken, tomatoes), FISH ONES (salmon, dill, lettuce or shimps, boiled eggs and mayonnaise).
SANDWICHES, BREAD, TOAST
A sandwich is such a classic snack on the road, while hiking, at picnics and more and of course we sometimes eat “just” a sandwich for diner on camping trips too. If we don´t have fresh bread in the car we at least try to always have a package of whole grain crackers or similar.
We find a good dry SAUSAGE to be a great thing to have, because it stays good for along time and you can easily cut off small slices to make a quick sandwich. We add pickles, cheese and of course bread. For a more fancier variety we use SALMON and AVOCADO, otherwise different CHEESE and CREAM SPREADS and FRESH VEGETABLES.
SPREADS & SAUCES
Sometimes we also prepare a yummy spread or thick sauce, even a mayonnaise (so much better than the one you buy at the store). Here, a common cream spread is a good base, then we add some herbs, onions, garlic and other things. We always have a couple of smaller cups with lids to store it in the fridge.
Here are a few examples of what we do: TUNA (tuna from a can, red onions, parsley, corn, cream spread or butter), VEGETABLE (very finely chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, cream spread), CUCUMBERS (sliced in little cubes, finely chopped pickles, dill, cream spread), GARLIC (butter, parsley, garlic, herbs).
Yes, you can also do popcorn. We buy small bags of corn which is a great thing to have for when you feel like snacking on something. We put it in a larger pan and make it over the open fire. Just don´t exaggerate with the quantities, otherwise you´ll be picking it all over the floor (always happens to us).
You can prepare it either SALTY with salt or SWEET with sugar (you can also add caramel). The best is of course when it is still hot, but you can make some more and eat it the next day while driving.
There are different varieties but in general, marshmallows are made out of water, sugar and gelatine. You can eat them just like that, but on a proper camping trip you should definitely grill them over an open fire in the evenings.
All you need besides the fire are little stick, you can also just gather some twigs on the floor if you are in a forest. A fun way to use them is also to make the S`MORES – sandwich made out of cookies, chocolate and marshmallows, which all melt over the fire.
This is a relatively easy desert for which you can use the rests of any fruits – sure it will look a bit different as you do not have an oven, but who cares. The taste is yummy and sometimes it´s nice to have a desert. We prepare it in our larger pan for the BBQ.
To make it you will need some FLOUR, BUTTER and SUGAR which you mix together with hands and add fruits. Then you throw it in the pan, add a bit more butter and mix until it´s done. We love it with peaches, raspberries or mango.
Palačinke za večerjo so vsekakor eden mojih spominov na otroštvo in tudi na kampiranju jih včasih pripravimo. Seveda s sabo ne nosimo mikserjev in mešalnikov, testo zmešamo kar z metlico. Poleg slednje rabite še eno malo večjo ponev.
Sometimes we do FRENCH CREPES, sometimes we make thicker ones and ROLL them, sometimes we do fluffy AMERICAN PANCAKES. You can exchange the Nutella with maple or agave syrups which go good with Greek yoghurt as well.
In English also known as the French toast (in translation from French it means “lost bread” though), is a real treat you can make from old bread. For breakfasts, dinners or just like that.
First you need to prepare a MIXTURE OF BUTTER, MILK, EGGS and SUGAR (you can also add vanilla or cinnamon), then we slice the bread and dip it into this mix so that its well soaked. The last step is to fry it in a pan. If you want you can add fruits, chocolate or anything else basically.
WHAT TO DO WITH FOOD RESTS?
If we end up with food leftovers while camping, we really never throw it away. Firstly, because we respect food and secondly because we know how hard it is to find food if you are wild camping somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Therefore I´m ending this post with a few hints and ideas on how to use the food you either can´t eat or is not so fresh anymore. It helps if you have a little fridge to store it though. So, here they are:
VEGETABLES – by slicing vegetables into small cubes it is easy to use them for an omelette the next morning, for a soup or a salad. You can also make a spread.
RICE – we love rice salads on camping. Very easy to make if you have plain rice leftovers. We usually add tuna, red onions and a few drops of green Tabasco sauce. You can also make fried rice balls.
POTATOES – cooked potatoes can easily be turned into a potato salads, you can also make mashed potatoes and even form balls and fry it as croquettes. Ou tof potato peels you can also make great home made chips (just make sure you wash it good first).
FISH – if you have a bit of tuna or slices of salmon left, you can easily do a fish spread. Mix the fish with either butter or cheese/ cream spread, add herbs and onion.
MEAT – with rests of grilled chicken on beef you can prepare sandwiches for the next day by slicing it thinly and adding some vegetables.
SALAD – if you have green lettuce, rocket or other salad leftovers you can chop them very fine, mix it with garlic, add some Parmesan , herbs & olive oil and prepare a yummy pesto. You can also add nuts and use it the next day as a dressing for pasta or as a bread spread.
BREAD – a slice of hard and dry bread for breakfast is never a good start of a day. You can do many things with old bread – grill or toast it (in a pan), make croutons for salads & soups, fry it in eggs and more.
FRUIT – if you have too much fruit and are afraid it will get spoilt, you can make a healthy smoothie or eat it with pancakes, make a crumble or similar.