Summer camping is a popular outdoor activity that brings friends and families closer together.
It’s a time to enjoy nature, relax, and indulge in delicious meals cooked over a campfire.
While the main course often takes center stage, the importance of side dishes should not be underestimated.
In this article, we will explore a variety of summer camping side dishes that are quick, easy to prepare, and packed with flavor.
Let’s dive in.
Quick and Easy Summer Camping Side Dishes
Grilled Vegetable Skewers
Grilled vegetable skewers are a fantastic addition to any summer camping menu. They are not only healthy but also vibrant and full of flavor. To prepare this dish, simply chop an assortment of colorful vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and red onions.
Thread the vegetables onto skewers, brush them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill them over the campfire until tender and slightly charred. The result is a colorful and delicious side dish that complements any grilled meat or fish.
Caprese Pasta Salad
Caprese pasta salad is a refreshing and light side dish that captures the essence of summer. It combines juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil with cooked pasta. Drizzle the salad with a balsamic vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper to taste. This simple yet elegant dish is perfect for those hot summer days when you want something cool and satisfying.
Foil Packet Potatoes
Foil packet potatoes are a convenient and delicious way to prepare potatoes while camping. Start by slicing the potatoes into thin rounds and placing them on a large piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings, such as garlic powder, paprika, and dried herbs. Fold the foil to create a packet and cook it over the campfire until the potatoes are tender and golden brown. These flavorful potatoes make a great side dish or can even be enjoyed as a standalone meal.
Watermelon Feta Salad
Watermelon feta salad is a refreshing and sweet side dish that adds a burst of flavor to any summer camping meal. Simply dice fresh watermelon and combine it with crumbled feta cheese, fresh mint leaves, and a squeeze of lime juice. The combination of juicy watermelon, creamy feta cheese, and tangy lime creates a delightful balance of flavors that will keep you coming back for more.
Vegetarian Summer Camping Side Dishes
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Stuffed bell peppers are a hearty and satisfying vegetarian side dish for summer camping. Start by hollowing out bell peppers and filling them with a flavorful mixture of cooked rice, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and spices.
Place the stuffed peppers in a cast-iron skillet or wrap them in aluminum foil and cook them over the campfire until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through. These colorful and nutritious stuffed bell peppers are sure to impress even the meat lovers in your camping group.
Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Salad
Quinoa and roasted vegetable salad is a nutritious and protein-packed side dish that is perfect for vegetarian campers. Roast a medley of vegetables such as eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes until they are tender and caramelized.
Cook quinoa according to the package instructions and let it cool. In a large bowl, combine the roasted vegetables with the quinoa, and toss with a lemon vinaigrette. This vibrant and flavorful salad can be enjoyed warm or cold, making it a versatile option for summer camping.
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
Grilled portobello mushrooms are a meaty and satisfying vegetarian option for summer camping. Marinate the mushrooms in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and herbs for at least 30 minutes to enhance their flavor. Grill the marinated mushrooms over the campfire until they are tender and juicy. Serve them as a standalone dish or use them as a burger alternative, topped with your favorite condiments and served on a bun.
Greek Salad Wraps
Greek salad wraps are a quick and easy vegetarian option for summer camping. Fill whole wheat wraps with a mixture of crisp lettuce, diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sliced red onions, Kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese, and a drizzle of Greek dressing. These refreshing wraps are light yet satisfying, making them an ideal choice for a hot summer day.
Vegan Summer Camping Side Dishes
Grilled Tofu and Vegetable Skewers
Grilled tofu and vegetable skewers are a delicious and protein-packed vegan option for summer camping. Firm tofu can be marinated in a tangy and flavorful sauce made from soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, and ginger. Combine the marinated tofu with an assortment of colorful vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and red onions on skewers. Grill the skewers over the campfire until the tofu is slightly charred and the vegetables are tender. These skewers are not only visually appealing but also incredibly tasty.
Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
Chickpea salad sandwiches are a nutritious and filling vegan option for summer camping. Mash chickpeas with a fork and combine them with diced celery, red onion, vegan mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs and spices. Spread the chickpea salad onto bread or wraps, and add lettuce, tomato slices, and any other desired toppings. These sandwiches are packed with plant-based protein and flavor, making them a great choice for outdoor adventures.
Related: Summer Camping Breakfast Ideas
Lentil and Vegetable Stew
Lentil and vegetable stew is a hearty and comforting vegan dish that is perfect for cooler summer camping evenings. In a large pot, sauté onions, garlic, carrots, and celery until they are tender. Add cooked lentils, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, and an assortment of your favorite vegetables such as potatoes, green beans, and peas. Season with herbs and spices, and let the stew simmer over the campfire until the flavors meld together and the vegetables are cooked to perfection. Serve this satisfying stew with crusty bread for a complete meal.
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Herb Butter
Grilled corn on the cob with herb butter is a classic and flavorful vegan side dish for summer camping. Gently peel back the husks of the corn, leaving them attached at the base, and remove the silk. Spread a mixture of vegan butter, minced garlic, and chopped fresh herbs like parsley and thyme onto the corn. Pull the husks back up to cover the corn and grill them over the campfire until the corn is tender and slightly charred. This simple yet delicious dish brings out the natural sweetness of the corn and adds a burst of flavor from the herb-infused butter.
Kid-Friendly Summer Camping Side Dishes
Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks
Cheesy garlic breadsticks are a crowd-pleasing side dish that kids will love during summer camping. Prepare a batch of pizza dough or use the store-bought dough for convenience. Roll out the dough into thin rectangles and brush them with a mixture of melted butter, minced garlic, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top and bake the breadsticks in a cast-iron skillet or on a grill until the cheese is melted and bubbly. These cheesy garlic breadsticks are the perfect accompaniment to any campfire meal.
Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a classic comfort food that is always a hit with kids. Cook macaroni according to the package instructions and drain. In a separate pot, melt butter and whisk in flour to create a roux. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Stir in shredded cheese until melted and smooth. Combine the cheese sauce with the cooked macaroni and season with salt and pepper to taste. This creamy and cheesy dish is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing
Fruit salad with honey lime dressing is a refreshing and healthy side dish that kids will enjoy during summer camping. Dice a variety of fresh fruits such as watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, berries, and grapes. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, fresh lime juice, and a pinch of lime zest. Drizzle the dressing over the fruit salad and gently toss to combine. This colorful and sweet fruit salad is a great way to cool down on a hot summer day.
Mini Pizza Pockets
Mini pizza pockets are a fun and tasty option for kids during summer camping. Roll out pizza dough into small circles and fill each circle with a spoonful of pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and your favorite toppings such as diced vegetables and pepperoni. Fold the dough over the filling, crimp the edges with a fork to seal, and bake the pizza pockets in a cast-iron skillet or on a grill until they are golden brown and the cheese is melted. These handheld treats are perfect for little hands and can be customized with different fillings to suit everyone’s tastes.
Related: Easy Summer Camping Dinners
Summer Camping Side Dishes: FAQs
What Are Some Easy Summer Camping Side Dishes?
Some easy summer camping side dishes include grilled vegetable skewers, caprese pasta salad, foil packet potatoes, and watermelon feta salad. These dishes require minimal preparation and can be cooked over a campfire or portable grill.
Can I Make Vegetarian Side Dishes for Summer Camping?
Absolutely! There are plenty of delicious vegetarian side dishes for summer camping. You can try stuffed bell peppers, quinoa and roasted vegetable salad, grilled portobello mushrooms, and Greek salad wraps. These options are packed with flavor and nutrients.
Are There Vegan Side Dishes for Summer Camping?
Yes, there are several vegan side dishes you can enjoy while summer camping. Grilled tofu and vegetable skewers, chickpea salad sandwiches, lentil and vegetable stew, and grilled corn on the cob with herb butter are some tasty vegan options.
How Can I Prepare Summer Camping Side Dishes in Advance?
You can prepare some components of the side dishes in advance. For example, you can chop vegetables, pre-cook grains, and marinate tofu or mushrooms. Keep them refrigerated or in a cooler until you’re ready to cook them at the campsite.
Can I Reheat Summer Camping Side Dishes?
Yes, you can reheat certain summer camping side dishes. For example, you can reheat grilled vegetable skewers over the campfire or on a portable stove. Stuffed bell peppers can also be reheated over the fire. Make sure to cook them thoroughly until they are heated through.
Summer camping is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors and create lasting memories with loved ones. Having a variety of delicious and easy-to-make side dishes can elevate your camping meals and make them even more enjoyable. From grilled vegetable skewers to macaroni and cheese, there are options for everyone, including vegetarians, vegans, and kids. So pack your camping gear, gather around the campfire, and savor these mouthwatering summer camping side dishes.
You May Also Like