Simplified vanlife cooking
This is our second post of easy campsite recipes
In my time on the road, I’ve found that one of my least favorite activities is cooking in my campervan.
I’d rather spend my time adventuring and don’t even get me started on doing dishes. I’ve never loved cooking and living in a van makes it harder.
To try and keep it simple, I stick to things that are easy to cook and result in minimal dishes to clean.
Your taste buds shouldn’t have to suffer just because you live on the road.
I’ve compiled two of my favorite van-friendly recipes to keep you well-fed without the hassle of a complicated meal.
Easy Campsite Pizza
I knew I wouldn’t be able to live without pizza when I hit the road. I try not to eat out and my van isn’t equipped with an oven, so I had to get creative.
Pizza is an excellent option in a campervan or while camping because it’s quick to cook and so versatile.
You can top it a million different ways to make your pizza as simple or as complicated as you’d like.
Below is one of my favorite pizza varieties, but this meal can be made with any topping combination you can dream up.
1 package garlic naan
1, small jar pizza sauce
1, 6 to 10 oz package pepperoni
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 zucchini, sliced
1 Roma tomato, sliced
3 Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
- Start by slicing up your zucchini, tomato, and mushrooms or prepping the toppings of your choice.
- Spread 2 tablespoons of pizza sauce on top of the naan, covering the naan all the way to the edges.
- Top with 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese or adjust to your personal cheese preferences.
- Arrange pepperoni, zucchini, tomato, and mushrooms on top of cheese.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of pizza.
- Carefully move the pizza to a pan on low heat and cover.
- Cook for 5-10 minutes over medium heat, or until cheese is melted and the bottom of the naan has started to crisp slightly.
- Remove pizza from skillet and let cool for 2 minutes.
- Slice pizza and serve.
Any type of naan works for this pizza, but garlic naan tends to kick up the flavor of the crust. Pita bread is also a tasty option.
Less is more when it comes to “wet” toppings like tomatoes, sauce, and even cheese. If you overdo it, you may end up with a soggy pizza.
Other great topping combinations
- Hummus instead of pizza sauce, top with veggies
- Bleu cheese dressing as sauce, cooked chicken in buffalo sauce, mozzarella, sliced celery, hot sauce drizzle on top
- Pizza sauce, tomato slices, basil, and small mozzarella slices, balsamic drizzle on top
- Ricotta instead of sauce, brussels sprouts slices, bacon, mozzarella cheese, and balsamic drizzle
This chicken quesadilla recipe takes a little longer to cook, but it makes for simple leftovers the rest of the week.
Usually when I cook this, I just eat the filling as a meal on the first day so that I don’t have to do more dishes. It’s also great to eat with chips.
The rest of the week, I’ll reheat the filling in a tortilla to make quick, delicious quesadillas.
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of diced yellow onion
1 cup uncooked white rice
1, 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
1, 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp of garlic powder*
1/2 tsp of chili powder*
1 teaspoon of cumin*
*may also substitute these spices for a premade taco seasoning packet
2 cups of chicken broth
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 cups of Mexican blend cheese
Sour cream (optional)
- Sauté onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
- Add diced chicken to pan and cook over medium-high heat until the chicken starts to brown (at least 5 minutes as any chicken needs to reach at least 165 degrees F for safety).
- Stir in rice, beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, and spices.
- Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low.
- Cook 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
- Stir in diced green peppers and cover for a few minutes to soften peppers.
From here you can top with cheese, sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole and serve in a bowl or with chips.
If you’re craving quesadillas though, follow these steps:
- Place tortilla in a large pan and spoon filling onto ½ of tortilla.
- Top with cheese and fold tortilla in half.
- Cover with lid and cook over low heat, flipping occasionally until filling is warm and cheese has melted, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and slice.
Turn heat up to medium before you remove the quesadilla to help crisp up the tortilla and flip to heat on both sides.
I prefer crunchy green peppers so I like to add them at the end. If you prefer yours cooked, you can add them anytime.
Bonus recipe: Super simple chili mac and cheese
Here is a bonus recipe for you that’s quick and easy, with minimal ingredients.
I love keeping this meal on-hand because the ingredients are shelf-stable and it’s a bit more substantial than a packet of Ramen.
1 box of macaroni and cheese
1 15oz can of chili
- Follow cooking directions for the macaroni and cheese.
- Once the macaroni and cheese has finished cooking, pour in the can of chili.
- Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until chili is heated through.
If you don’t have milk or butter, you can make this dish without it. Just substitute water for the milk and skip the butter step.
The oils in the chili will make it difficult to notice that something is missing.
Now, I’m no Chef Boyardee, but these van-friendly recipes will hopefully spark some campervan cooking inspiration.
With any luck, these quick, simple dinner ideas will save you from eating cold cereal again tonight.