Whether you’re venturing out on your first camping trip or are a seasoned pro, enjoying tasty, nutritious food while you’re communing with the great outdoors is not only possible — it enhances your experience! Sure, it’s easy to throw nutrition bars, trail mix, beef jerky and dehydrated food packs into your backpack and head out— but where’s the fun in that?
You don’t have to be a Food Network chef to create some amazing camping meals — we’ve compiled some easy recipes that will make your next outdoor adventure a delicious one!
Make Ahead, Ready to Eat Camping Recipes:
These recipes make great camping food that is ready to eat and portable for backpacking — and they work for car camping, too.
Stuffed Pizza Dough Rolls: Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
The options for this recipe are endless for tasty, inexpensive camping meals you can make in less than an hour. Since this recipe is so customizable, we’ll make ingredient suggestions instead of a specific list.
What You’ll Do:
- If you’re ambitious, you can make your own pizza dough but for simplicity, buy refrigerated dough — if you can find it, buy it fresh, usually near the bakery or deli counter.
- Follow the directions if the dough needs to rise first. When it’s ready, break it into golf ball-sized balls and then roll each ball flat. You’ll end up with 6-7” circles.
- Fill each circle with 3 tablespoons of your favorite ingredients (delectable suggestions to follow!).
- Wrap the dough around the filling, creating little pleats as you flatten it and close the opening. You’ll end up with slightly squashed round balls.
- Grease a muffin pan and place a ball into each cup. Lightly brush tops with olive oil and sprinkle herbs if desired.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the filling. The balls should be a savory golden brown.
- Let them cool and then wrap in foil or plastic wrap.
Here’s where it gets fun!
Choose your favorite ingredients or simply clean out your fridge. For meats, tofu, eggs, potatoes and veggies that render a lot of water such as spinach, kale and mushrooms, you’ll need to cook them first. You don’t want the filling to have too much liquid, so go easy on oils and sauces. Pile on the spices and herbs — camping food doesn’t have to be boring!
For food safety reasons, eat the meat ones the first day if you’re unable to keep them cold. Vegetarian fillings or meats such as summer sausage should last a day or two longer.
- Diced bacon, egg, brie cheese, mushrooms, spinach or kale
- Diced peppers and onions, chopped summer sausage, pepper jack cheese
- Scrambled tofu, bean & tomato salsa (strained), shredded cheddar
- Diced prosciutto, chopped asparagus, Swiss cheese, onion
- Peanut, sunflower or nut butter, fruit preserves or jelly
- Canned pinto or black beans, salsa (strained), shredded cheddar
- Garlic, tofu, diced shallots, basil, parmesan cheese
- Bratwurst, mustard, diced potatoes, sauerkraut (strained)
- Diced sweet potato, roasted brussels sprouts, peanuts or cashews
Pistachio Grit Cakes: Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
Again, you can play around with veggies and nuts, but here’s another great make-ahead camping meal that does not require additional cooking — perfect for a quick lunch on the trail or a dinner when cooking isn’t feasible. They should keep for three or four days in cooler temperatures.
What You’ll Do:
- Cook grits per the package instructions and cool.
- Finely dice 2 onions, 1 carrot, 1 bell pepper, 2 zucchini & 2 garlic cloves. Sauté in olive oil until lightly caramelized.
- Finely chop or food process ½ C of roasted, salted pistachios.
- Combine the veggies, nuts and grits.
- Add ¼ C of milk powder, 2 Tbsp. of honey and mix until well combined.
- Spoon mixture into a greased muffin pan and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
- Let them cool and wrap in foil or plastic wrap.
- If you can spare the weight, bring along some hard cheddar cheese to enjoy with the cakes!
On-the-Trail Camping Recipes
Whether a storm is looming and you need to make a meal pronto or you’re backpacking and need lightweight, nutritious meals, you don’t have to forgo taste. Many of us don’t have the time, knowledge or equipment to dehydrate our own camping food. That’s where freeze dried camping food comes into play.
Divide & Conquer
Since many prepackaged meal pouches have two or three servings, you can share and make them go further by adding ingredients — the bonus here is fewer pouches to carry, reduced cost and improved taste. Foods that don’t require refrigeration such as nuts, hard cheeses like parmesan and cheddar, dried fruit, and certain fruits and vegetables can turn freeze-dried meals into gourmet feasts!
Granola with Fruit and Nuts
- You can create your own granola using instant oatmeal packs or using Mountain House Granola with Milk & Blueberries.
- Bring along your favorite dried fruits and nuts — cranberries, pineapple, cherries, apricots, silvered almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, etc. — and simply add them to your cereal.
Salmon & Pine Nut Pasta
- Get a dried pasta meal off the grocery shelf such as Annie’s Curly Fettuccine with White Cheddar and Broccoli and dump it into a flattened zip baggie, or if weight is a concern, try Mountain House Pasta Primavera.
- Once the pasta is cooked, add a pouch of salmon or tuna (near canned tuna in the supermarket) and a handful of pine nuts for a flavorful, hearty meal. If you can spare the weight, add some hard cheese.
Chili Smothered Baked Potato
- Carrying along a potato adds some weight, but it can be worth it for a hearty meal. Poke some holes in it, wrap in foil and place it on a hot rock near the flames of your campfire for about 45-60 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook a package of freeze-dried, homemade or store bought chili of your choice. A favorite among backpackers is Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef.
- Split the potato open and cover with the chili, or cut it up and just mix it in the pouch. Add some hard cheddar and a hot sauce packet to jazz it up.
Chicken Fajita Bowl with Avocado & Tortillas
- Avocadoes are about the healthiest food on the planet, if you can spare the weight. Tortillas travel well and can be used to enhance a variety of meals. Make your own fajita meal or purchase a freeze-dried pouch such as Mountain House Chicken Fajita Bowl.
- Warm the tortillas over your stove or fire.
- Once cooked, dice the avocado into the chili. Add hot sauce packets and hard cheese. Dip the tortillas into your Mexican feast.
We camp because we love the outdoors and are willing to sacrifice some material comforts — but we don’t have to suffer with ho-hum camping food! Having a combination of premade meals for the early days of your trip and freeze-dried packaged meals with a few fresh ingredients for later will ensure you’ll enjoy every bite as you refuel.