Camping food’s gotta be quick, but it doesn’t have to be dirty. There isn’t always a lot of time or space to concoct your finest masterpiece but that’s no reason to throw all those healthy eating habits you’ve worked so hard at by the wayside for a weekend. Sure, roasting weenies and marshmallows on the campfire is a classic pastime, but there are many simple ways to make camp cooking healthy, clean, organic—and creative.
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With a little prep work, there’s no reason you can’t get gourmet on the trail. Try to plan some of your meals in advance and ration out and pack the appropriate spices and seasonings. Even if you don’t plan everything—bring the basics that you know you like to cook with (specific oils or spices).
More: Campfire Cooking Tips for Foodies
Dry your fruit and veggies in advance. Dehydrating your own food is easy to do with a dehydrator—and it’s fun. Dried fruit makes great snacks for the trail but, for cooking meals, dehydrating your veggies is a great way to save on space and weight in your pack—plus you won’t have to worry about them going bad or getting damaged.
Dried mushrooms, green onions, tomatoes, herbs, carrots, potatoes, peppers, garlic and even meat make for great soup, pasta or stir fry options. It also helps to do your chopping and slicing at home if you’re going to take fresh fruit and veggies along with you. Bag them up and you’re ready to go; it’ll save you the time, space and effort when you’re at your site.
More: Dehydrating Food for the Trail
This recipe for simple udon, a Japanese noodle soup, is perfect for an easy, healthy, light—and unique—camping meal.
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You will need:
A Package of Udon Noodles
These thick, white noodles are made from wheat or corn flour and you can buy them already boiled and sealed. If it’s easier and more convenient for packing and carrying, you can also substitute the udon with dried ramen or soba noodles. (Of course, your dish wouldn’t exactly be authentic, but just consider it fusion.)
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6 Cups Dashi or Miso Soup Stock
You can buy dashi or miso soup stock powdered or packaged conveniently for camping.
Slice and dehydrate these or pack them fresh.
Use as much as you want and keep the stems on. You can dehydrate the spinach before you go, but it’s best to keep it fresh if you can.
4 Shitake Mushrooms
Best to dehydrate these, if you can. They'll regain their texture and flavor when you add them to your soup.
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1 Chicken Breast
(or the Meat of Your Choice)
It would be best to either dehydrate or cook and slice up/shred the chicken beforehand.
Best to hard boil, slice them and store them in a bag before you leave. Traditionally, a raw egg is placed in the middle of the udon bowl—but use them hard boiled if you’re not comfortable with this.
Boil the udon or whatever noodles you choose. Drain them and set them aside.
Boil your stock in your large camping pot, crock pot or whatever you typically bring with you on trips.
Divide the udon amongst your fellow campers, into their bowls.
Top the noodles with the spinach, mushrooms, chicken and leeks. Pour the boiling stock equally into the bowls.
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