Camping is about connecting—to nature, to wildlife, to the earth and to each other. As I was thinking about great camping recipes to share, I had to really ponder what kinds of meals feel good to make and eat while in the outdoors. The answer was simple: meals that make us feel connected to our families and connected to nature. The following camping recipes are healthy, using fresh foods found in nature, and they’re all fun, active meals that families can enjoy cooking together.
Camping connects us to nature, and food connects us to each other. In this photo, Denise Pasquinelli is about to enjoy a piece of barbequed nori shake corn on the cob (recipe below)
As I started compiling healthy and all-natural recipes, I knew that I had to reach out to my lovely friend from college, Denise Pasquinelli. Whenever I find myself scrolling through photos on social media, I always stop and drool over Denise’s photos of natural and healthy meals. Denise has a gorgeous garden that she clearly pours her heart and soul into, and she is an expert on connection to the earth and to the fresh, organic recipes she prepares and shares.
It’s no wonder that she has such amazing recipes and advice regarding food, wellness and connection to nature: Denise is a holistic health coach and creator of SEED Holistic Health and Wellness.
SEED stands for: Simplify, Eat authentically, Elevate consciousness and Delight in what could be. These concepts are at the foundation of her programs centered on food, health and spirituality.
As you prepare for your next camping trip, be sure to pick a few of the recipes below and give them a try. I’d love your feedback and comments, too. What are some of your favorite camping recipes?
Growing up camping, I remember my parents always having some type of sun-tea brewing. This recipe offers a fresh and delightful alternative to typical sun teas. (Denise Pasquinelli photo)
This is a refreshing drink to make as a fun activity while enjoying nature.
What you’ll need:
A small handful of fresh lavender (about ¼ cup)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup honey
How to make it:
Using your camping stove or campfire, boil about 2.5 cups of water in a medium pot.
Remove pot from the heat and add honey and fresh lavender.
Let the mixture steep for about 30 minutes.
Strain out the lavender and transfer the liquid to your juice pitcher.
Add fresh lemon juice and 2.5 cups of cold water. Stir.
Serve over ice, garnished with fresh lemon slices and lavender sprigs.
Beautiful and delicious!
Sushi is a fun, healthy, and beautiful family activity. What could be a better thing to do while spending time in the great outdoors together? (Denise Pasquinelli photo)
I’ll be honest: I’ve never associated camping with sushi. But when Denise shared her sushi-making camping adventure with me, I couldn’t wait to get out and try it for myself. Not only is this a fresh and healthy meal, but it’s also an activity the whole family can take part in. It’s especially great for kids who like to have some authority over their food; it lets them be the chef, but ensures a healthy meal.
What you’ll need:
Sushi mats (For a family sushi night, it’s definitely best to have more than one!)
Nori (seaweed for rolling sushi)
Sushi rice: This is easiest to make ahead of time. It’s pretty resilient, so it’ll last for a few days in a cooler.
Sushi Rice Recipe:
3 cups sushi rice
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. salt
Heat up vinegar, sugar and salt in a pot or microwave, stirring until dissolved.
Cook the rice per instructions on packaging in a pot or rice cooker.
Transfer rice to a wooden or plastic container, but don’t cover.
While the vinegar mixture is still hot, pour it over the rice. Mix with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes.
Let the rice cool to room temperature by sitting out; do not cool by placing in the refrigerator.
Sushi fillings: Almost anything can be wrapped up in a sushi roll! Some ideas are:
Fresh veggies: thinly cut scallions, carrots, cucumbers, celery, lightly steamed green beans, pre-cooked and chilled sweet potato
Quick-pickled goodies: red cabbage and radishes (in vinegar, lemon, and a teeny bit of maple syrup)
Portobello mushrooms marinated in miso paste, lemon juice, olive oil and soy sauce (you could also use crab meat, cooked salmon, or any other meaty filler. Please don’t attempt to mess with any raw fish while camping!)
Creamy fats: Cream cheese and avocado
Optional add-ons: sesame seeds, wasabi paste, pickled ginger, kimchi, and soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos (a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce)
How to make it:
Place a piece of nori on a sushi mat, add a scoop of sushi rice, and spread the rice out so that a thin layer covers the seaweed. Add your fillings to the middle of the open roll (be careful not to make it too bulky). Carefully roll one side of your sushi up by picking up an edge of the sushi mat so that your square, open-faced sushi turns into an actual roll. Continue rolling the sushi up inside your sushi mat until you’re left with one long, tubular roll. Slice the roll into several small pieces (the nori can be tough to cut through; this should be a grown-up’s job). Garnish as desired, and dig in.
Nothing is better than a simple and all natural meal to help you to feel connected to the outdoors. (Denise Pasquinelli photo)
Corn on the Cob with Nori Shake
This recipe is so simple yet delicious; it’s just silly not to try it.
What you’ll need:
2 sheets of nori seaweed (the kind used for sushi)
1 Tbsp. chili flakes
1/8 cup sesame seeds
Fresh corn for boiling or barbequing.
To make the nori shake (this can either be made in advance or over a campfire):
Heat a cast-iron skillet or shallow pan on the stove or campfire until it is pretty hot, then place the sheets of seaweed in the skillet to toast. Move it around briskly so that it doesn’t stick to the pan. As the seaweed heats up, it will become more brittle and turn a brighter green. When the sheets have turned bright green, remove from heat.
While the pan is still hot, add the sesame seeds and toast for about a minute, or until they are browned. They will want to hop out of the pan, so watch out!
If you’re pre-making this at home, put the toasted seaweed, sesame seeds, and chili flakes (spice it to your taste) in a blender or a food processor. Blend until the mixture is coarsely chopped. If you’re making this at the campsite, wait a few minutes for the mixture to cool, then place into a resealable plastic bag and crunch and crumble away! (Kiddos make great helpers for this).
Put the shake in a covered container and keep it in the refrigerator or cooler. (It should keep for about 2 weeks if refrigerated.)
For the corn: you can either boil corn in a pot over the campfire or grill ears of corn over the open flame. Once your corn is cooked, add butter, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (optional) and a liberal dousing of the nori shake. As an added bonus, this nori shake is amazing on everything: plain rice, salads, steamed veggies, you name it.
Food that comes directly from nature is best eaten while in nature. These roots are beautiful, colorful, and amazingly tasty. (Denise Pasquinelli photo)
As a child, we always had hash for at least one of our meals during any camping trip. My dad would always bake a few potatoes before leaving for our trip. Then he would fry up the pre-cooked potatoes with some meat, onions, peas, salt and pepper. To this day, I’ll make this for dinner every now and then; the flavor always brings back memories of camping as a child.
This recipe is a modern and healthy twist on standard hash.
What you’ll need:
2 medium-size beets
2 medium-size carrots
1 sweet potato
15 or so brussels sprouts
5 cloves garlic
2” piece of ginger, sliced thinly or grated
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste (lots of pepper!)
Large cast-iron skillet
Optional: ground meat (could be elk, beef, antelope – whatever you choose)
How to make it:
Chop all the vegetables into bite-size pieces, or to your preference.
Preheat cast-iron skillet over the campfire.
Add the olive oil to the pan, and toss in the onion first. If you’re using meat, add it to the onion to start browning.
Once the onion is transparent, add the chopped roots to the skillet along with apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until roots are tender on the inside and crisp on the outside (approx. 30 – 45 minutes).
For this batch of egg salad, Denise added celery, fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, scallions, mustard, lemon juice, and avocado. She topped the salad with fresh greens and some whole grain seedy bread. (Denise Pasquinelli photo)
This is another recipe I would not have associated with camping, but eggs are healthy and delicious, and egg salad offers wonderful opportunities for kids to help choose ingredients, peel and mash the eggs, and mix everything together.
For this recipe, get creative. Try different ingredients, or eating it with wheat crackers, toast, or grainy or seedy bread. Have fun with it. I usually use 3 eggs per adult and 2 per child, and end up with leftovers. This recipe is for four adults, but you can size up or down accordingly.
What you’ll need:
3/4 cup mayonnaise or avocado
2 Tbsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
Salt and pepper to taste
Any fillers you’d like (capers, chopped celery, onion, pickles, parsley, cilantro, olives, etc.)
Veggies, crackers, and/or bread for serving
How to make it:
To make perfectly boiled eggs every time, add eggs to a pot and add enough water to cover the eggs. Place pot over heat (campfire or stove). Once the water comes to a rolling boil, set the timer for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, remove pot from heat and add cool water to stop the cooking process.
Peel your eggs and place them into a large bowl.
Smash the eggs using a mashing tool or large fork.
Stir in your mayo (you can use avocado instead for a healthier fat and a tasty twist on traditional egg salad), mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper until creamy.
Add your fillers and stir to combine.
Serve with bread for sandwiches, or with lettuce and veggies, or even use as a dip for crackers.
OK, now it’s your turn—share your own favorite recipes and photos of campfire cooking below. I’m excited to learn new recipes from you to try on my next camping trip.
More info about Denise and SEED:
Denise Pasquinelli received her certificate in Holistic Health Coaching from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She also has a Masters in Library and Information Science from the Pratt Institute.
Denise’s goal with SEED is to bring together the magic of earth-based spirituality, plant-based medicine, positive psychology and current trends in holistic health and dietary theory to serve your health and wellness in a pragmatic and actionable way. The program also heavily focuses on preserving the health of our one precious planet. SEED offers personalized coaching to help you achieve your health goals, 10-day Ayurvedic-based cleanses, plant-based cooking classes, secret suppers and edible inspiration.
Casey Monteleone is excited to be a guest outdoor columnist at The WON. She is proud to work at Columbia Sportswear Company, where their motto is “We Connect Active People With Their Passions.” Seeking to live out this motto, she hopes to inspire others through her writing to get outdoors, get active and live life to the fullest.
Born and raised in Oregon, Casey spent the summers hiking, camping and fishing in the majestic mountains of rural Eastern Oregon. Her parents taught her from a young age how to survive in the wilderness with bare essentials, and how to truly appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the great outdoors. As she grew up, Casey continued to pursue various outdoor activities … From exciting adventures like kayaking, canoeing, hunting, and skiing ... to relaxing outings where she plays on the beach with her family ... to taking her yellow lab to the Columbia River Gorge for a swim.
Casey went on to earn her degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis on Environmental Studies from Linfield College, and happily resides near Portland with her 2 amazing girls, loving fiancé, and sweet dog. Casey is passionate about sharing her love of the great outdoors, and is so happy to have the opportunity to contribute to The WON, and work with such an amazing team of inspirational women.
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