Since I met my husband 4 years ago, I have become quite the little camper. But, as you can imagine, camping for me isn’t about hot dogs or dehydrated food. It’s about creating delicious, healthy meals over a blazing campfire and sharing them with friends! It’s been a really interesting challenge to find great vegetarian recipes that lend themselves well to cooking on a fire, but I’ve discovered and adapted a few favorites that we keep coming back to trip after trip.
The key for creating healthy meals while camping is prepping in advance. For all the recipes below, I prepped a bunch of the ingredients (chopped veggies for the succotash, chopped onion and garlic and mixed spices for the chili, pre-made pancake batter) the day before we left, which minimizes the mess and cooking time, while maximizing the fun and goooood eating.
Healthy Vegetarian Camping Breakfasts
This is the easiest breakfast to make while camping, as it can be adapted to accommodate as many people as you want, and is endlessly customizable with different mix-in’s so you never get bored.
1/2 cup organic oatmeal for every person
1 cup water per 1/2 cup oatmeal
Camping friendly add-ins like freeze dried fruit (I like blueberries or apples), nuts or seeds
Organic raw agave or maple syrup
Heat water over fire in a large pot. If you’re only cooking for 1 or 2 people, you can use a portable camping stove and smaller pot. When water is nearing a boil, stir in oats. Cook, stirring often, until desired consistency is reached. Serve, topped with a tablespoon of coconut oil (great for keeping energy levels high while camping), raw agave or maple syrup, and nuts/seeds and berries.
Make-Ahead Potato Mushroom Spinach Frittata
This delicious breakfast is perfect for making ahead, and comes to us courtesy of our friend Mike D., an awesome cook and fellow camper. You can individually wrap each slice in tin foil, which will travel nicely in your cooler and then simply throw the foil packets onto the grill over the fire to reheat!
2T olive oil, plus more if needed
Make ahead: Preheat oven to 350F. Break eggs into a bowl and whisk, add salt and pepper, set aside. Prepare all remaining ingredients. In a 12″ cast iron skillet, sweat the onions until just before they’re translucent. Add garlic and stir for about 20 seconds. Add sliced potatoes and turn the heat dow to medium. Toss in the skillet occasionally to get relatively even browning on both sides of the potatoes. Add more oil a bit at a time if they begin to stick. Cook until potatoes become golden, about 8 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and toss to evenly coat and mix. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the mushrooms darken and begin to shrink a bit. Add spinach and toss. It will seem like a lot of spinach at first, but it cooks down very quickly. As soon as the spinach is wilted and shiny, run a whisk through the egg mixture quickly once more and pour into the skillet. Toss in the nutritional yeast. Stir and scrape the bottom of the skillet and the sides to scramble the eggs. Cook for a few minutes so that the eggs begin to set on the bottom. Transfer into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or so until the frittata begins to set. It might puff up a bit, that’s okay. Turn on the broiler. Sprinkle a bit more nutritional yeast on the top and place in the broiler until the top begins to brown. Slice into wedges and individually wrap in tinfoil.
Day of: Heat the tinfoil packets over the fire grate when ready to serve. Enjoy!
Flourless Blueberry Coconut Pancakes
I combined the wet ingredients for my signature flourless pancakes ahead of time, and stored the batter in wide-mouthed water bottles for easy transport. At the campsite, I simply added in the dry ingredients and cooked on a cast-iron pan over the fire! Easy-peasy. We enjoyed our pancakes with some yummy vegan breakfast sausages as a little treat!
4 large ripe bananas
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup shredded dried coconut, plus more for garnish
1 cup freeze-dried blueberries, plus more for garnish
2 teaspoons coconut oil plus more for serving
Pure maple syrup or agave (optional)
Make ahead: In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Whisk in the eggs until combined. Stir in the cinnamon. Pour batter into a large water bottle and refrigerate.
Day of: Pour batter into a mixing bowl, and add dried coconut and freeze-dried blueberries. Heat coconut oil in a large cast iron pan, over the fire. Working in batches, pour ¼ cup portions of the batter onto the skillet (you should be able to cook 3-4 pancakes at a time). Cook the pancakes until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Gently flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side, about 1-2 minute longer. Transfer the pancakes to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with a smear of coconut oil (instead of butter) and maple syrup or agave, if using.
Healthy Vegetarian Camping Lunches
This delicious recipe is part make-ahead and part make-on-site, which means you can serve it up warm and don’t have to worry about veggies getting mushy.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 small to medium eggplant, chopped
1 can lima or great northern beans
4 ears of corn, shucked and de-kernelled
¼ cup veganaise
1 cup quinoa, cooked
Make ahead: Cook quinoa and store in tupperware or plastic bag, once cooled. Prepare chopped veggies, store either tupperware, or layered in a large ziplock in reverse cooking order. I had the corn at the bottom, then the zucchini and eggplant, and then the onion and garlic on top. Store the parsley separates.
Day of: Heat olive oil in a large pot over the fire. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and eggplant, cook until softened. Add corn and drained beans, and cook until warmed through. Season with salt, pepper, a chopped thyme. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in quinoa and remove from heat. Add veganaise and parsley, stir, and serve warm!
Make-Ahead Hearty Bean Salad and Campfire Polenta Cakes
This delicious bean salad comes from our friend Mike, who contributed some super yummy culinary creations to our camping weekend. The entire recipe is made ahead, with only the polenta cakes getting a little action on the fire day-of.
2T olive oil
Campfire Polenta Cake Ingredients
3 cups vegetable broth (low sodium if possible)
1 cup polenta
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
Make ahead: Bring the polenta, salt, and broth to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Using a long wooden spoon, continually stir the polenta until it has thickened (approximately 25-30 minutes). When the mixture is very thick and is pulling away from the sides of the pot, stir in the pepper. Line a square baking sheet with parchment paper (or oil liberally) and spread the polenta mixture evenly over the sheet with an inverted knife. It should be about as thick as the edge of the pan itself. Allow it to cool, and then transfer to the fridge for a few hours. Cut the polenta into 4 squares, and individually wrap in tinfoil.
Day of: Oil the grill rack over your fire, and grill the polenta cakes for about 4-5 minutes per side.
Make-Ahead Mashed Chickpea Salad
This delicious chickpea salad is another awesome culinary creation from our friend Mike D. It’s perfect in a hearty sandwich topped with sliced avocado, over greens or quinoa, or with whole grain crackers!
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup celery, sliced
small handful pepitos (pumpkin seeds), optional
Healthy Vegetarian Camping Dinners
Three Bean Chili with Cornbread
This is my number one favorite camping recipe. It’s super filling, perfect for large groups, and is an awesome one-pot meal. Using canned beans, pre-cut onions and garlic, and pre-mixed spices makes preparation a snap. We used Trader Joe’s cornbread mix, but you can just as easily prepare your own mix to bring along! Either way, mix ahead of time the wet ingredients for the cornbread and store in a water bottle in your cooler. Mix together the dry ingredients and store in a ziplock bag.
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 15 oz. can white beans
1 15 oz. can kidney beans
1 24 oz. can organic crushed tomatoes
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cups almond milk
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups medium-grind cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
Make ahead: Place chopped onion and garlic in a ziplock bag. Combine all spices and salt in a sealed container or ziplock bag. Mix together the first three cornbread ingredients, pour into a water bottle, and refrigerate. Mix together the remaining dry ingredients and store in a ziplock back.
Day of: When you’re ready to cook, heat olive oil in a large pot over the fire. Add onions and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add spice mix, stir, and heat until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add entire can of crushed tomatoes and liquid. Cook for 3 minutes. Drain beans and add to pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Add water if needed. In a mixing bowl, combine wet and dry cornbread ingredients. When chili is boiling, pour cornbread batter over the chili. Cover, and put pot in the fire to cook for 10 minutes, or until cornbread is spongy and cooked through. Serve hot, and enjoy!
This is another hearty, warming and delicious campfire dinner that you can prep for in advance. Instead of bringing big bulky carton of veggie broth, I like to use Seitenbacher broth powder, which is perfect for camping, as well as everyday use!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot sliced
4 cups water plus 4 tsp vegetable broth powder
1 cup dry lentils
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
The juice of 1 lemon
Make ahead: Chop the onion and carrot and store in a ziplock bag. Combine the dry lentils, spices, and veggie broth powder in another ziplock bag.
Day of: In a large pot, heat olive oil over the fire. Add the onions and carrot and sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until onions become translucent. Add the water and all the dry ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Cover, move to the side of the grate where it’s slightly less hot, and cook until lentils are soft, about 45 minutes. Remove bay leaves and stir in lemon juice before serving. Enjoy with a slice of crusty bread!