California Cuisine: The Camping Recipes You'll Crave

California Cuisine: The Camping Recipes You'll Crave

By California.com
September 23, 2020

As California mitigates health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, some travel restrictions may remain in certain communities. Call the local and regional tourism offices to learn more about the restrictions in your intended destination. Thank you for reading, and stay safe.

You’re bound to work up an appetite while camping in the rugged mountains, amongst the ancient redwoods, or on the pristine beaches of California. When hunger strikes, there’s something magical about preparing your own meals in the wilderness. Whether you’re staying at one of the national park campgrounds or along the coast, fire rings are available at almost every campsite, making it possible to prepare and enjoy a meal in the great outdoors. So bring your Sunflair Solar Oven, kitchen utensils, and cookware—you won’t want another instant meal again after you try these easy camping recipes. 

Delicious Camping Breakfasts

Start your day off right with a simple yet satisfying breakfast to fuel your excursions.

The feeling of waking up from a good night’s sleep in the seclusion of California’s natural landscapes can only get better with a satisfying breakfast. Brew yourself a cup of coffee with your Fellow brew kit while everyone else is asleep, then prepare a delicious breakfast as you savor the solitude at one of California's lakeshore camping destinations.

Do you have a sweet tooth? For a breakfast on the sweeter side, follow one of the plant-based recipes by Jessie May. One of the best make-ahead camping meals is undoubtedly her go-to overnight oats. Substitute the milk with powdered almond milk or coconut milk powder, and you’ll only have to add water. When camping in the summer, her peach chia breakfast shake will keep you hydrated, full, and refreshed. 

For a savory morning treat, try out the avocado egg toast recipe by California Grown. You can even pre-cook the hard-boiled eggs at home, and mix them with the rest of the ingredients at the campsite when you're ready.

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Or, put together a simple burrito if your perfect breakfast needs to be fresh off the fire. Once you get a fire going, start whisking eggs and slicing up some bell peppers. Pour a bit of your favorite California-made olive oil in your cooking pan, and put it over the fire to heat. Add in the whisked eggs and bell peppers, then season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture simmer. Once everything is cooked, place the scramble in a tortilla and top with slices of avocado. To make it even more mouthwatering, you can add in grated cheese, bacon, and caramelized onions. Then, simply roll up the tortilla and dig in. (For an extra crunch, place your entire breakfast burrito in the pan, and let it fry until it gets crispy on both sides.) 

Once breakfast is ready, wake up your travel buddies, indulge in the freshly made delicacies, and hit the waves or explore the state park trails

Camping Lunch Ideas

Savor campfire pizza to fill up after a morning of outdoor adventure. Photo courtesy of Kitchen Konfidence.

Without you even noticing, the sun is up high in the sky and you’ve worked up an appetite within the blink of an eye. Luckily, camping meals just seem to taste better than others—perhaps because they're enjoyed outside. 

Lunch calls for campfire pizza, and there's no better recipe to follow than the lemon roasted broccoli pizza from Kitchen Konfidence. This dish is a gift to all healthy eaters who just can’t give up Italian cuisine and is one of the most delicious and easy camping foods. Tip: Pre-cook your pizza crust on one side before your camping trip; at your campsite, add the toppings on the pre-cooked side. Then, all you have to do is oil a cast iron pan, put it over the fire, place the pizza in the pan, and cook until the uncooked side is crispy and the toppings are warm. If broccoli is not your favorite green, opt for zucchini instead, and sweeten it all up with a slice of rainbow watermelon pizza

If you want to dial down the carbs in your campfire meals, follow Betty Liu’s recipe for caramelized squash scallion oil balsamic vinaigrette with burrata, and get a veggie boost that motivates you to conquer mountains

Camping Dinners

Enjoy the taste of your fresh catch by grilling it over the flames with greens and lemon.

Hiking through valleys, fishing in alpine lakes, and mountain biking along scenic trails make the time fly, and before you know it, it’s dinner hour. Easy camping meals are what’s needed when hunger strikes suddenly. While the first camping food ideas that often come to mind are hearty burgers and hot dogs, there's an abundance of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options to keep up with your diet. Make soy-marinated blistered shishito peppers with orange-sage gremolata polenta as a starter while the main dish crackles over the fire. 

If you did actually catch a fish on your camping trip, there's no better way to celebrate than by throwing it on the grill straight away. Savor the fresh, buttery flavors of your fish by following Mary Papoulias-Platis’ Greek grilled fish with greens and lemons. Breathe in the aroma of the lemon slices as they char, and count the minutes until you can finally taste one of the most sustainable meals you’ve prepared—it doesn’t get wilder than this. 

If you’re not a fish lover, Snixy Kitchen's many vegetarian options will make it difficult to choose which dish will be your new favorite. Try the cheesy gluten-free pasta bake with sage breadcrumbs or the gluten-free creamy mac and cheese with cardoons for a decadent alternative to the conventional mac and cheese. You can also satisfy your appetite with the grilled pineapple tofu skewers with spicy mango BBQ sauce

Campfire Dessert

No camping trip is complete without delicious s'mores and stories over the campfire.

The best camping foods are undeniably desserts—sitting around the campfire and making s’mores is definitely one of the sweetest childhood memories (it's easy to do while camping in your backyard, too). What better way kick it up a notch than by making homemade graham crackers?

While grilled peaches will always be one of our favorite summer desserts, there are many other recipes that'll easily become one of your top picks, too. A simple and healthy choice for dessert is campfire baked apples by Family Spice. If you're up for a challenge, try the finger-licking'-good campfire Dutch oven pineapple upside-down cake or the delectable campfire eclairs.

For an evening snack, take a slice of bread or a tortilla leftover from your breakfast burrito, spread peanut butter on it, and add sliced apples. (Substitute the apples with bananas and chocolates or honey and nuts if you're craving something sweet.) Roll it all up, put it on the pan, and remove it when warm.

With a full belly and incredible memories made, it’s time to gaze upon the stars and fall asleep.

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