It's All About the Side Dishes
Sure, the main course matters, but when you're camping, side dishes can really steal the show. These side dish ideas and recipes will elevate your next camping meal from ordinary to extraordinary.
Grill Some Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob is a terrific side dish to enjoy when you are camping, especially when corn is in season. Simply pick up a few fresh ears of corn from a local farmer's market or grocery store and toss them on the grill when you are cooking your main course. You can wrap the ears in foil or cook them in their own husks. Serve with plenty of butter and salt.
Roast Some Cherry Tomatoes
You might not think of roasted cherry tomatoes as a camping side dish, but they taste amazing when grilled over a fire. Tomatoes keep well at room temperature too, so if you don't have access to a cooler, this is the recipe for you. Simply place a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes on a square of aluminum foil. Add a dash of olive oil and some salt and pepper and close up the foil to create a packet. Roast until the tomatoes are soft and juicy. This pairs really well with fresh-caught fish.
Make Some Camping Bruschetta
Another great tomato-based side dish for camping is bruschetta. You can use a bruschetta recipe or simply experiment with what you like. The basic idea is to slice and toast some bread and then top it with a mixture of tomatoes, herbs, and olive oil. It pairs well with grilled chicken, burgers, or any other camping main dish.
Cook Some Squash on the Grill
Squash is great for camping because it is shelf-stable without refrigeration. You can make this simple and delicious side dish by cutting thin slices of squash (seeds removed) and placing them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Top with lots of olive oil, garlic, and rosemary. Close up the foil and grill the squash until it's soft. Add a little salt and pepper just before serving.
Make a Simple Bean Salad
While a lettuce-based salad can be a challenge when you're camping, a bean salad is a delicious and easy alternative. Unlike lettuce, beans don't require a fridge or cooler. Simply bring along canned beans of several types. Garbanzo beans, kidney beans, and great northern beans make a great combination. Drain and rinse the beans, then use Italian salad dressing to coat them and add some fresh ingredients if you have them. Great options include tomatoes, parsley, onions, snap peas, or peppers.
Cook Your Favorite Baked Bean Recipe on the Grill
You can cook almost any baked bean recipe on the grill or over the fire. The key is simply watching the beans to make sure they don't burn. Because the beans start out cooked, you're basically just warming them up and adding your favorite seasonings and additions. They make the perfect side dish with hot dogs and hamburgers.
Grill Peaches With Cinnamon
Peaches are a delicious summer treat, and you can make the most of them by grilling them. These are delicious as a breakfast side dish or as an accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish. Simply cut peaches in half and remove the pit. Grill cut side down until the peaches start to soften. Then flip them over and fill the centers with a mixture of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a little salt. Grill until the cinnamon mixture melts. Serve warm.
Get Creative With Potato Salad
Potato salad is a traditional side dish for camping and for picnics, but it also offers endless opportunities for customization. Start with a classic potato salad recipe and substitute different types of potatoes. Blue or purple potatoes look amazing in this type of salad. You can also change things up by adding different herbs such as cilantro, dill, or thyme. Throw in thinly sliced radishes instead of celery or add some ham or hard-boiled egg for protein.
Try a Quinoa and Mango Salad
Quinoa is a delicious choice for any type of salad. It's easy to cook while camping too. Simply cook the quinoa and set it aside while you chop up lots of delicious toppings. Great options include avocado, mango, cucumber, fresh mint, and feta cheese. Add a dressing of olive oil and your choice of vinegar and season with salt, pepper, and sesame seeds.
Grill Broccoli in Foil
Broccoli can dry out quickly on the grill, but you can help make it delicious and tender by using aluminum foil packets. This camping side dish is simple and nutritious. Just lay out squares of aluminum foil and place a couple handfuls of broccoli florets in the middle. Drizzle with lots of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Then close up the foil packets and grill until the broccoli is tender.
Stuff and Grill Tomatoes
Bring along some large tomatoes the next time you go camping. They're a great camping food because they do well without refrigeration. When you're ready to cook this side dish, cut out the stem and core of each tomato. Place the tomato on a square of aluminum foil and stuff it with feta cheese and Italian seasoning. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil and then close the foil around it. Grill until the tomato is soft and the cheese is starting to brown.
Make Twice Baked Potatoes
Potatoes are a great camping food, even if they're only baked once. However, you can cook them a second time on the grill to make amazing twice-baked potatoes. Simply roast the potatoes on the fire and scoop out the inside. Mix it with butter and cheese and return it to the potato. Wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil and grill until it starts to brown.
Cook Some Campfire Garlic Bread
Homemade garlic bread is easy to make, even if you don't have access to an oven. Simply cut bread into slides and top with butter, garlic, and parsley or other herbs. Wrap in foil and roast over the campfire on a grate or grill.
Make Camping Risotto
There's nothing more comforting that risotto, and it makes a great camping side dish for cold weather. It can take some time to cook, but the whole thing happens on the stovetop. That makes it easy for camping. Simply choose your favorite risotto recipe and bring along the ingredients. You'll need Arborio rice, canned stock, cheese, butter, and anything else you'd like to add.
Grill Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus
Bacon is a versatile camping food, and it can make anything taste amazing. If you want a crowd-pleasing side dish, wrap some asparagus in bacon and cook it in a frying pan. Turn it regularly to allow the bacon to cook on all sides, and drain it carefully when you're done.
Perfectly Complete Any Camping Meal
The right side dish can complete any camping meal. From simple spreads like hot dogs and hamburgers to more complicated meals like grilled fresh fish, everything tastes better with the right side dish.