Camping, Bushcraft & Survival

12 Super Simple Meals For When You’re Living In A Van

Just because you're on the road doesn't mean you have to eat crap food...


If you’re travelling around, living and eating in a van, there’s no room from excess.

You can’t have an amazing array of food or pans to choose from like a normal kitchen. This is dirtbag cooking on the road.

We’ve put together some of the easiest recipes you can make on a camping stove or campfire while living out of a van.

So you can spend more time drinking beer and enjoying the sunset, rather than faffing around with fiddly recipes – or sacking it in and buying fish & chips.

Got some suggestions of your own? Leave them in the comments box below.

1) Breakfast Burritos

Photo: Alaska From Scratch

There are so many ways to make a breakfast burrito. My personal favourite is scrambled eggs, spicy salsa, avocado and cheese.

But if you’re looking to make your breakfast in advance, this recipe for sausage and potato burritos, toasted over the campfire, looks great.

2) Paper Bag Eggs & Bacon

Photo: Pinterest

If you only have a small camping stove and a campfire, cooking a delicious breakfast can be tricky – but it doesn’t have to be.

This awesome paper bag eggs and bacon recipe doesn’t even require a pan – you just cook it over a fire.

It makes a nice crispy bacon nest at the bottom. Just watch the bag doesn’t explode.

3) Wild Garlic Pesto Pasta


Foraging when you’re living out of a camper van is a great way to source food. Major bonus: it’s free!

There is so much wild garlic around at the moment – make sure you pick the right stuff – and mix it up with basil and olive oil to make your own fresh pesto for your pasta.

Recipe from campervan cook Martin Dorey (who has his own excellent book) here.

4) One-Pan Lamb and Couscous

Photo: BBC Food

When you’ve only got one pan (or more importantly, one camping stove) then you need a pretty simple dinnertime recipe.

This lamb and couscous number can be prepped in advance and only takes half an hour to cook. Read the recipe here.

5) Pea, Mint & Lemon Risotto

Photo: Nina Zietman

This is a personal favourite – because it’s so easy and cheap to make. I’d recommend adding white wine for extra flavour.

It’s nice with a fried salmon fillet on top too. The frozen peas also act as a great ice pack in your freezer bag. Get the recipe here.

6) Tortilla Pizza

Photo: The Dirty Gourmet

Who needs an oven when you can make a tortilla pizza? You just need a BBQ or a grill over a campfire – and use an upturned pan as a pizza oven.

We’d recommend concocting the pizza base sauce before you leave to make it simpler when you want to cook.

Scroll to page 16 of the Van Life Cookbook for the recipe. There are loads of other great food ideas in there too.

7) BBQ Sweet Potatoes


So simple, so delicious. Wrap in tin foil, bung them on the BBQ coals and fill them with whichever fillings you have to hand.

Find out how BBC Good Food do theirs here.

8) Mackerel With Mango Chutney And Couscous


This photo makes this recipe look a lot more complicated than it actually is.

Tinned mackerel works an absolute treat – but if you can get your hands on some fresh fish, even better.

Dollop of mango chutney, make some couscous with a bit of veg stock – and you’re winning.

9) Tuna Steak With Corn On The Cob & Garlic Bread


Another simple but tasty classic – tuna steaks can be grilled on a BBQ or over a campfire.

Garlic bread can be handmade with fresh garlic and herbs and bunged on the fire wrapped in tin foil.

More info here.

10) Chilli Con Carne

Photo: Pinterest

Chilli con carne, another van classic. It’s cheap, filling and oh-so-delicious. You can make it on its own or pair with rice or a jacket potato.

This recipe from Outback Crossing is particularly good.

11) Chocolate Eclairs

Nope, you don’t need an oven to make chocolate eclairs. You just toast these over the campfire.

Find the full recipe on The Bigler’s Best Belly Pleasers here.

12) S’moreos


You’ve heard of the campfire classic s’mores, right? They are two Graham Crackers sandwiched together with a piece of melted chocolate and a toasted marshmallow.

Well, this maverick decided to mix things up and swapped his Graham Cracker for an Oreo. Genius.

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