Living the van life doesn’t have to mean that you’re condemned to eat pasta pesto for the duration of your off grid adventure. Not that there is anything wrong with pasta pesto, it’s just good to be able to branch out, even if you’re living or travelling in a compact camper van with a small kitchen. Cooking while living in a van doesn’t have to be massively different to cooking in a house, but it’s essential to try and choose meals that are easier to prepare and that don’t take up too many pans. To give you some helpful hints, today we’re going to be looking at ten easy campervan recipes to make when you travel in a van. 

Cooking on the road when travelling in a van is a great way to keep your van life costs down, leaving more money for the fun stuff. There are a few things that you need to consider before deciding what recipes are best to choose for the duration of your van life travel journey, to make cooking less of a chore. 

Firstly, most small campers will only have a two-ring burner and no oven so you need to choose meals that can be cooked with just the van life essentials and no fancy extras. 

Secondly, living in a van means off grid living, so you are not hooked up to the mains water supply. Therefore, there are times when you’re going to want to cook meals that use minimal water, both for preparing the mean and when it comes to washing up. Living off grid also means that you have to carry a gas canister with you for your hob, so you will have a limited supply of gas. Limited gas supply means you probably won’t want to cook something that needs to simmer for four hours. 

Finally, everything is smaller, in a van there is limited space for meal prep and also for pan storage. This article is a one-pan fits all guide to cooking- get creative and make do with what you have available in your tiny home

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1. Poke Bowl 

First up on our list of easy campervan recipes, we have a poke bowl. A poke bowl is a dish that originated in Hawaiian and is an excellent campervan recipe as it is quick, simple and delicious. The great thing about a poke bowl is that you can add whatever ingredients you have in the van. Use rice as the base and top with whatever you find delicious. Sometimes we’ll have this meal with tinned tuna and whatever veg we have left int he fridge to use up our end of the week ingredients. 

poke bowl with tuna and veg on top
Image By: Parker Feierbach

Ingredients for Two:  

Base:

200ml Sushi Rice 

1.5 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar

1.5 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt 

Toppings:

Raw Tuna

Avocado

Carrot

Raddish

Edamame Beans

Cucumber 

Spring Onions

Sesame Seads

Dressing:

Soy Sauce

Sweet Chilli Sauce

Olive Oil

Fresh Ginger 

Method:

Soak rice in cold water for 10-15 minutes

Drain and add 230ml fresh water

Cover and bring to the boil over a high heat for about five minutes 

Lower heat and simmer for ten minutes or until water has been absorbed 

Remove from the heat and leave, still covered, for 10-15 minutes 

Mix rice vinegar, sugar and salt in mug 

Pour dressing over rice and fold in

Cut fish into cubes, slice avocado, cucumber, raddish and spring onions; peel and grate the carrot; shell edamame beans

Mix the oil, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and diced ginger to create a sauce

Build the dish by placing rice at the bottom, topping with fish and veg and drizzling sauce on top. Garnish with spring onions and sesame seads

2. Daal 

Daal is one of the best easy campervan recipes, you don’t need many ingredients, and it keeps well in the fridge, so make double and have some later in the week! 

daal in a bowl
Image By: Slow the Cook Down

Ingredients for Two:  

1 onion 

3cm piece of ginger 

4 cloves of garlic 

1-2 chillis 

1 tablespoon oil

250g green lentils 

2 teaspoons turmeric 

2teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground coriander 

Method:

Place lentils in a pan and cover with water 2inches above their surface and bring to a boil

Stir in turmeric and reduce to a simmer

Dice the onion and mince the ginger, garlic and chillis 

Fry in a large pan and add all spices once golden 

Once the lentils are cooked to the consistency of porridge (you may need to add extra water) add to the spiced mixture

Stir the two mixtures together to finish your daal.

Great served with basmati rice and natural yoghurt. 

3. Broccoli and Mushroom Pasta

Next up on our list of easy campervan recipes is this super simple broccoli and mushroom pasta. Pasta is an obvious favourite for those living life on the road, but this dish is a little different to your average bowl of pasta and tomato sauce. This quick meal is super healthy and fresh and is great with some fried sausage mixed in if you’re a meat-lover. 

broccoli and mushroom pasta in pan
Image By: Kiwi and Bean

Ingredients for Two:  

2 servings pasta

10 mushrooms 

Half a broccoli 

3 cloves garlic 

Olive oil for frying

2teaspoons dried basil 

1-2teaspoons chilli flakes 

Black pepper 

Parmesan 

Method:

Dice the garlic and cut mushrooms and broccoli into small pieces

Bring the pasta to a boil and leave to cook  

Fry mushrooms and broccoli in the olive oil, basil and chilli flakes. Add minced garlic towards end of frying process

Once the pasta is cooked drain and add to the veg mixture

Season with black pepper and fresh Parmesan to taste

4. Smoothie Bowl

Next up on our list of easy campervan recipes are smoothie bowls. Smoothie Bowls are an amazingly delicious treat, especially in the summer months and are best when made with frozen fruit. However, if you don’t have a freezer, they’re still great with fresh ingredients. You will need a blender to make a smoothie bowl, make sure to choose something that can run from your vans electrical system. 

campervan recipes: pink smootie bowl with banana, berries and granola on top
Image By: Spend With Pennies

Ingredients for Two:  

1/2cup plain yoghurt

2cups frozen (or fresh) berries

1 banana (frozen is best)

3/4 cup milk 

Toppings:

Granola

Berries

Banana 

Method:

Add all ingredients together (minus the toppings) and blend until smooth 

Pour into two bowls and add toppings of your choice, enjoy!

5. CousCous

Next up on our list of campervan recipes, we have a staple for any lazy chef, couscous. Couscous is one of my favourite vanlife ingredients as it is so quick to prepare and requires minimal effort, perfect after a long day of exploring. The recipe I’m going to show you today is a Moroccan inspired one-pot couscous dish. 

campervan recipes: couscous
Image By: MediterrAsian

Ingredients for Two:  

200g couscous 

1/2 red pepper 

1 courgette 

1 red onion 

3 tablespoons olives 

3 cloves garlic 

1/2 can chickpeas, drained

250ml vegetable stock (or enough to cover)

2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground corriander 

1 teaspoon turmeric 

1 teaspoon chilli flakes 

Olive oil 

Salt and pepper

Method:

Cube all veg, dice garlic, cut olives in half and fry in olive oil with all spices until soft 

Add chickpeas to mixture and cook until hot

Add stock to mixture 

Add couscous, ensuring the stock fully covers the mixture

Remove from heat and leave covered until couscous is soft

Fluff with a fork before serving 

6. Campfire Potatoes 

One of my favourite things to do on a trip in our campervan is to spend an evening around a campfire with new friends. When we do this, it’s great not to have to leave the fireside to go and cook a meal. The perfect solution to this is to cook on the fire itself! 

campfire infront of teardrop trailer
Image By: @hitchadventures

Ingredients for Two:  

Baking potatoes 

Can of baked beans 

Butter

Cheese

Tin foil 

Method:

First, build a fire 

Pierce each potato with a fork several times and double wrap in tin foil 

Place potatoes in embers at the edge of the fire, not in the flames itself 

Turn potatoes while they cook, for 30-60 minutes depending on heat of the fire and size of potato

Poke with a fork to ensure it’s cooked all the way through 

Serve with butter and cheese or a can of backed beans heated on the fire (with the lid off) also great to heat up and serve with any lift overs you might have in the fridge

7. Egg Fried Rice

Next up on our list of super-easy campervan recipes, we have egg fried rice. Eating egg fried rice always reminds me of having a takeaway, but it can be a healthy meal that is easy to cook yourself at home (or in your campervan!). You can substitute any of the veg out for whatever you have left in your fridge or for something you enjoy more. This recipe works best with leftover rice, cooked the day before as it ensures the rice is dry and means your egg fried rice won’t be mushy from the excess water and steam of freshly cooked rice. 

campervan recipes: egg fried rice in wok
Image By: Healthy Nibbles

Ingredients for Two:  

150g leftover rice 

Oil for frying 

2 large eggs 

1 small onion

1/2 red pepper 

1/2 courgette  

Handful of mushrooms

3 cloves garlic 

3cm ginger 

2 spring onions

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Method:

Dice all the vegetables and finely mince the onion, garlic and ginger and slice the spring onions 

Beat eggs in a bowl 

Heat oil in a pan and scramble eggs, then remove from pan and put to one side

Heat more oil in same pan and fry the veg, onion, garlic, ginger and half of the spring onion

Then add the rice and fry until piping hot 

Add scrambled egg to mixture 

Add soy sauce and mix well 

Serve immediately, garnished with the remaining spring onion 

8. Falafel

Next up on our list of easy campervan recipes is falafel. Falafel is super yummy and so easy to make once you know how. Make a double batch and have them for lunch the next day! Today we’re going to do a classic falafel pitta, but these tasty treats also go well with the couscous dish outlined earlier in this list. 

falafel in pittas
Image By: Once Upon A Chef

Ingredients for Two:  

1/2 can chickpeas (200g)

1/2 onion

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 tablespoons plain flour 

Oil for frying

To Serve:

Pitta bread

Tomatoes

Cucumber

Olives

Hummus 

Method:

Finely dice the garlic and onion 

Fry until soft with all spices 

Take off heat and add chickpeas 

Add flour and mash with fork or potato masher until fairly smooth 

Shape with hands into small balls and then press so they form flat patties 

Fry falafel in a pan until golden, about three minutes on each side 

Serve hot in a pitta with hummus and salad

Top Tip: if you don’t have a grill in your van you can heat the pitta on the hob in a frying pan, flip to cook both sides. 

9. Sicilian Tortellini 

Next up on our list of great campervan recipes is a super easy meal that is ready in under 15minutes. This sort of meal is perfect if you’re not a fan of cooking but still love good food or if you’ve been out and about all day and need something fast. If you’ve never tried this dish before then, it’s one you need to try, simple but so delicious. 

campervan recipes: simple tortellini
Image By: Culinary Hill

Ingredients for Two:  

Tortellini for two (I love spinach and ricotta) 

300ml vegetable broth

3/4 tablespoon corn flour (or plain flour)

2 cloves garlic

5 basil leaves

2 tablespoons butter

Parmesan 

Method:

Finely dice garlic 

Boil water and begin cooking tortellini

Melt butter in a large pan and fry garlic, add basil leaves so the wilt

Add broth and whisk in corn starch so mixture thickens slightly

Drain tortellini and stir into sauce

Enjoy with parmesan

10. Veggie Chilli 

Finally on our list of the best campervan recipes is veggie chilli. Chilli is a healthy, hearty meal that is great for those cold nights when you are travelling in your camper. Here we are substituting meat mince for grated carrot; you could also go for a soy substitute if you prefer. 

veggie chilli
Image By: Women and Home

Ingredients for Two:  

2 large carrots

4 cloves garlic

1 onion

1-2 chiilis 

2 teaspoons cumin 

1 yellow pepper

1 can beans (kidney, chickpea, cannellini etc.) 

1 can chopped tomatos 

2 tablespoons tomato puree 

Salt and Pepper 

Method:

Peel and grate the carrotes, dice the onion and yellow pepper, finely mince garlic and chillis 

Begin by frying onion, garlic and chilli together in the cumin and then add the carrot and pepper, fry until soft 

Add all other ingredients and leave to cook for about 20minutes

Serve with rice and enjoy!

Final Thoughts…

We hope you enjoyed our selection of the easiest Campervan recipes and that you feel inspired to get cooking on your next adventure. Let us know what dishes you think deserve a spot on this list by joining the Van Clan over on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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