As I prepared for a camping trip last summer, I gave a lot of thought, as I usually do, to food prep and menu planning. I consulted some food blogs for some vegan camping food ideas, but I was not all that inspired by what I read. Then I realized … I don’t need to look at other blogs and websites for ideas, I already know what to make and eat while camping. After all, I’ve been doing this for several years and for many, many camping trips! So perhaps it is me who should be writing a blog post for others to consult!
Whether I’m headed off on a short camping trip or a more lengthy one, it’s important, and it makes things much easier at the campsite, if I prep food and do some menu planning beforehand. I generally spend a good part of the day before embarking on the trip, menu planning, shopping for and preparing food, packing food in the cooler and in the dry goods box.
(BTW, I should say here that I’m talking about camping trips that involve a vehicle, a tent and a camp stove, not backpacking camping or glamping)!
Tips and Tricks and Staple Groceries:
use block ice in the cooler (doesn’t melt as quickly as ice cubes), and put the ice in a container, if you can, to hold the water as the ice melts
don’t put anything in the cooler unless it’s in a sealed container to prevent food from getting water logged from melting ice
use ice packs for weekend trips
keep a cutting knife, a butter knife, 2 spoons, 2 forks, 2 bowls and 2 napkins in the cooler so you can eat lunch on the road (for 2 people)
pack veg stock cubes, and a variety of spices (curry powder, cumin, garam masala, chili powder, smoked salt) so that you’re ready for anything
bring along a jar of good pasta sauce, a can of coconut milk, some pre-measured rice, a couple of cans of beans (black, kidney), a jar of your favourite salsa, a box of short pasta like fusilli or rotini
onions, potatoes, zucchini, carrots, cucumber, grape and whole tomatoes, bell pepper, container of washed spinach, avocados, container of washed and separated lettuce
whole wheat flour tortillas
We always eat granola and fresh fruit for breakfast. I guess some campers make pancakes and fried potatoes and such, but I can’t be bothered! Too much work, too many dishes to wash! Keep it simple, easy and wholesome, I say! I used to make my own granola, but got out of the habit. I think it’s time I started making it again! In the meantime, we use New World Organics Granola (organic, made in Canada, no preservatives). The fruit is whatever is in season – strawberries, blueberries, peaches, blackberries. And almond milk. I tend to have a bowl of fruit with some granola. “Tom” tends to have a bowl of granola with some fruit!
Now this depends on what we’re doing around lunch time. If we’re on the road, we eat hummous with pre-cut carrot and cucumber sticks and crackers, and some trail mix. If we’re hanging around the campsite we might eat some pre-made salad or bunwiches. If we’re exploring and hiking, we eat bunwiches.
hoagie rolls or Kaiser buns
lettuce (pre-washed and separated into leaves)
Before setting out for the day, cut the buns and spread with mayo and mustard. Put the buns back in the bag. Cut the avocado in the shell and leave in the shell. Slice the tomato and the pickle and put in a container with a lid. When it’s time to eat, open up the buns, put in a slice or two of smoked tofu, add some avocado slices (or mashed avocado), some tomato slices, some pickle slices and a couple of leaves of lettuce in the bun. Eat with a napkin handy.
Salads are good for lunch too. You can find these salads on my blog. These salads are good for making ahead and they travel well. I always make two salads to take along on our camping trips. For the longer trips, after the two pre-made salads are finished, I make salads of cucumber, green onions/red onions, grape tomatoes, red bell peppers.
Black Bean, Corn, Quinoa Salad (http://foodfartsfun.blogspot.ca/2011/04/whats-for-breakfast.html)
Greek Salad with Tofu Feta (https://mostlyveganfun.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/recipe-updates/)
Chili – make it at home, freeze it and use it as an ice pack in the cooler. Chili is also easy to make at the campsite. Try this recipe (https://mostlyveganfun.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/chili-and-cornbread/). Use canned beans and the spices you packed.
Pasta – We like to cook up some short pasta like fusilli or rotini, then toss it with a jar of enhanced pasta sauce. You can also make some vegan pesto at home and toss it with pasta at the campsite.
1 tbsp veg oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 zucchini, finely chopped
several handfuls of spinach
jar of tasty pasta sauce
In frying pan on the camp stove, heat the oil, then saute the onion and the zucchini. Once softened, add the spinach and heat until wilted. Stir in about 1/2 the jar of pasta sauce. Once heated, toss with the cooked and drained pasta.
Camp Stove Stew
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 or 3 small-medium sized potatoes, diced
1 cob corn, kernels scraped off
1 can black beans
1/2 veg cube dissolved in 1 cup of water
salt and pepper
herbs and spices to taste
a couple of handfuls of spinach, coarsely chopped
Basically, this stew is made from whatever you have on hand! Try:
heating some cooking oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat on the campstove. Add the onion, red pepper, and carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the potatoes and continue to saute. When vegetables start to soften, add in the corn, black beans, veg broth, herbs and spices, salt and pepper. Bring to simmer, turn down heat, put the lid on and let simmer gently until the vegetables are soft and the flavours have developed. Stir in the spinach and adjust seasoning just before serving.
That’s it for now. I actually started writing this post a year ago, so I think it’s time to get it published! If I think of any more advice or camping recipes, I’ll just do another post! I’d be delighted to hear about your camping-cooking stories in the comments.