Easy Vegetarian Camping Dinners

Only Have a Cooler to Keep Food Cold? 3 Dinners to Pack that Won't Spoil Quickly.

Tired of eating the same thing?! This happens while camping just like it can happen at home. The next challenge is refrigeration. If you don’t have an RV fridge or a plug in fridge things can go rancid within a few days! We camp with a simple, hard sided Coleman cooler. Honestly it is probably 15 years old but we did ‘upgrade’ it with some insulation foam but that is a different story. Here we talk about FOOD! Including dinner menu, shopping list and cooler tips to make life easier.

Easy Vegetarian Camping Meals including Meal Plan

Easy Vegetarian Camping Dinner Ideas

The below can easily be changed into meat based meals. We eat meat but will usually have at least half our meals vegetarian. Less to spoil, good on the wallet and switches things up.

Black Bean Wraps Recipe

  • Wheat or Corn wraps
  • Black beans: at the campsite we just open and rinse the can of beans, add oil to a pot, if we feel fancy we add fresh onion and garlic but often we just add a homemade Taco Seasoning. Cook till hot, add water so it doesn’t stick or salsa and it’s ready.
  • Toppings of your choice: sour cream, avocado, shredded cheese, tomato, salsa, hot sauce, lettuce, canned corn, and/or whatever else you can think of.
  • Rice: we love to add rice to our wraps to fill them up more.
  • Tip: we pack thin elastic band like you get around flyers and use them around the kids wraps so they don’t fall open. We cook this meal on our two burner Coleman stove.

Veggie Burgers and Baked Potatoes

  • Veggie Burgers: frozen and bought at the store, if you make from scratch I bow down to you. Pan fry or cook on a grate over the fire. They don’t take long.
  • Burger buns
  • Toppings of your choice, we love avocado on them plus condiments
  • Tin foiled baked potatoes: We pre-cook the potatoes with seasoning salt and butter so we just have to throw them on the fire to re-heat.
  • Tip: cook this on a grill over the fire or on a camp stove in pans. You can bring frozen pre-made beef patties for a non-veg meal.

Spaghetti and Sauce

  • Make the pasta sauce at home, put in a reusable container (we use glass as it helps keep things cold vs plastic) and freeze. If you like pasta sauce you can buy from a store this is even easier, we prefer to cook and blend in extra vegetables for flavor and fullness.
  • Bring pasta of your choice and make sure you have a big enough pot to cook the pasta in
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese, chili flakes
  • Tip: This is a staple for us because it’s so quick to make, has few dishes to clean and fills you up. Add a salad or cut of veggies. Add meat and it works too.

Meal Packing / Grocery Shopping List

3 Easy Vegetarian Camping Dinner Meals with Grocery and Packing List

Tips on Camping with a Cooler for Food

Keep It Cold

When you are tight on space you might throw items in the cooler that don’t really need to be kept cold. If they aren’t already cold don’t add them, it limits your cooler life. Make sure your beverages are already cooled at home, juice could be frozen to help keep the cooler cold without further ice packs. We freeze some meals like pasta sauce. Space is limited so we rarely use ice packs since they take up valuable space, we try to use items we will consume as ice packs. Throwing a bunch of ice in the cooler really does help but it also gets everything wet. If you add ice to your cooler make sure paper egg cartons, corn on the cob and anything that you don’t want sitting in water is in a water sealed bag or away from the ice.

Prep at Home

We prefer to prep as much as we can at home. Some friends don’t have time to do this and do it all at the site, it’s a personal preference. We do it to allow us to make meals faster because we are often out hiking, climbing or biking and are ravenous when we get back no matter the number of snacks we brought. Prep often limits dishes. We chop things that won’t go bad like veggies to snack on or onions. We make quinoa salad, bean salad, pasta salad and even steam potatoes and cut them up to make hash browns in the morning. Camping is enough ‘work’ I don’t need to be in the kitchen all day.

Meal Plan

This is important if you are bringing meat. If you are having meat multiple nights and know your cooler might not be as cool, freeze your future meals. We often freeze our pasta sauce, we can still easily cook it from frozen if needed. Frozen steaks take longer to thaw so we rarely freeze unless we are gone for a week. Have an idea of when you will eat what and you likely won’t have food spoil. Also bring more food than you think, being outside usually works up an appetite. No one enjoys hangry company.

Eat Vegetarian or Vegan

We are not vegetarian but we also don’t consume animal products daily. Our kids love beans, grains and simple fresh food so we just choose what we eat at home to bring camping. Beans and legumes don’t spoil like meat so if you don’t already eat them regularly try out recipes at home and find what you enjoy. Bean burritos are delicious but add delicious toppings to anything and I’d probably eat it.

Be Conscious of Your Waste

We rarely camp at a serviced campground so what we bring we need to pack out. If it fits in your vehicle to get to camping you can BRING IT HOME! Since we prep a lot of our food we put it in reusable containers, we either wash these or re-seal the lids and throw them in the dishwasher when we get home. Please do not package all your prepped food into plastic zip lock bags if you don’t need to. Is it REALLY necessary? Maybe if you are doing a multi-day backpack trip it makes sense, MAYBE. We haven’t purchased ziplock bags in YEARS and we manage just fine. Re-use bags you do come by and don’t let convenience overtake. You are going camping in nature, be responsible don’t litter, burn plastic, overuse plastic baggies, etc. Okay my soapbox chat is done :)

Limited Time to Get Ready? Buy Pre-Made Camping Food

Short for time or have no fridge? Buy ‘just add water’ style camping meals from your local outdoor store. Some are delicious others are not. Eat pasta, rice, peanut butter sandwiches. My kids wouldn’t be thrilled about the packaged meals but to each their own.

Hope some of these tips make food prep for camping a little easier for you! Bon Appétit.

Kid Friendly, Vegetarian Camping Dinner Ideas

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