Camp Cooking: Get outta town and bring your veggies with you

This week we have a guest blog post from Maria Kendra, our development coordinator here at Garden City Harvest.  She went on a camping trip last weekend, and didn’t let that stop her from using her veggies! She was inspired to tell us a bit about how she worked with fresh veggies on the road.
We all know it’s happening. The days are getting shorter. There’s a slight chill in the air in the mornings. The colder months are seemingly just around the corner.

And by golly, it’s time to squeeze in at least one last camping trip before these glorious, seemingly endless days of summer are behind us.

Now a ghost town, Bannack was Montana's first territorial capital (thanks gold!)

Determined to have one last hurrah this summer, last weekend, I set out for Bannack State Park to literally and metaphorically savor the summer while it lasts. I had just filled my fridge with a fresh installment of veggies, so I decided to bring them along and use them as inspiration for our camping meal. I was #blessed that we were car camping, which meant I could bring along helpful tools like skewers and a cooler full of ice.

I took stock of what I had on hand (since sometimes things disappear in the back of the fridge) and searched online for some recipes that sounded good and used many of the ingredients I had on hand.

Chicken Shawarma Wraps

We ended up making Chicken Shawarma, a wrap filled with fragrantly seasoned Chicken and loaded with fresh vegetables topped with a spicy yogurt sauce. Since I didn’t have every single ingredient, and had no plans to buy a spice like sumac that I probably wouldn’t use again, I ended up adapting this recipe that I found The Bald Gourmet’s blog. This recipe makes use of the cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs that you may be finding in your share lately.

Here’s how I simplified the Chicken Shawarma recipe:

  • Use pita bread instead of grilling fresh dough on the grill.
  • If you have any color onion (red, yellow, purple) that will do just fine.
  • It’s okay if you don’t have all of the spices called for (I omitted the sumac and used 5 spice instead of allspice.)
  • Forgo the meat. Just marinate carrots and zucchini and grill those bad boys instead! Heck, you can even use tofu. I bet that would be amazing.

Green Beans – Foil wrapped and fired to perfection

This super simple way of grilling green beans was a great addition to the meal. All you need are:

  • Green beans
  • Splash ‘em with olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of pepper

Wrap the beans, oil, salt and pepper in a little foil package. Check out how this tutorial on making little foil packages for the grill, or just wing it. Let the package sit over the campfire for about 10 minutes or some, flipping them once (with tongs!) let cool enough to handle then unwrap and enjoy!

Veggie Grits for Breakfast

Inspired by a canoe camping breakfast of grits+butter+salt that I ate on a swamp island surrounded by ancient bald cypress trees somewhere near Uncertain, Texas— this is my improvised take on grits for breakfast, and includes veggie power!

Mmm... veggie grits for breakfast...

Grits

  • 1 Cup polenta/ grits (see more on how to cook those here)
  • 5 Cups Water (if you want thicker grits use a little less, if you like it soupier then use a little more water)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Butter or olive oil to taste

Toppings:

Chop up whatever vegetables you want to use up and saute in a medium of your choice (butter, olive oil, etc) then add the tomato past, a splash of water and the spices.

  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Onions
  • Corn
  • Zucchini/Summer squash
  • can of Tomato Paste
  • The secret ingredient: a few dashes of cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Once you’ve topped the grits with the veggie mixture, you can add on some optional things to kick your breakfast up a notch. Egg. A dry cheese like Parmesan (the low moisture content makes it ideal for the outdoors), bacon bits, brewer’s yeast. Whatever your heart desires, really.

More camping recipe inspiration?

The Dirty Gourmet has a great recipe round up for the different types of outdoor exploring you might end up doing (if this darn smoke ever clears!). Some recipes are fancy, and others not so much. Take a peek and see what you’d be willing to try — or adapt — for your next camping trip.