Tips for Cooking on the Road
– Guest Blog – Maintaining a healthy lifestyle as we travel is very important to us, and nutrition is a big factor in that. We are Jayme and John of Gnomad Home, and we have been traveling for the past year in our Chevy Express van with our three dogs! We’re big foodies and enjoy cooking on the road and making elaborate meals that make our taste buds sing to the heavens!
But making these meals in your own camper van rental does take a bit of creativity sometimes since you are dealing with a very small kitchen situation (or – kitchuation, as we like to call it!). Here are some of our tips cooking on the road and a few ideas of some of our favorite kinds of meals.
1. For Cooking on the Road, Upgrade To Cast Iron
This is a great decision whether you live in a van or not. Cast iron cookware takes a little more effort to maintain (you can’t just scrub it down with soap and be done – a big no-no!), but they’re worth every bit of love they need. They naturally add iron to your meals, and whatever surface you are cooking on – it still tastes like it was cooked directly over a fire!
2. Simplify it with One Pot Meals!
Stir-fries and one-pot medleys are perfect when it comes to vanlife. These are our go-to meals since you can pretty much do whatever you want with them. It could be something as simple as rice and beans, or as elaborate as butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, barley, roasted garlic, bell peppers, and more. With the living area being so small – one-pot meals make for a guaranteed easy cleanup, instead of a mess left all over the entire van.
3. Easy Breakfast Options for Cooking on the Road
Most mornings on the road, we find ourselves making what we call “grabowlas” for breakfast – which are essentially granola, yogurt, and whatever fruit we have lying around the van. So far, Jayme’s favorite has been granola, Greek yogurt, pomegranate seeds, kiwi, honey drizzle, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flaxseed. Mix it all together and you got yourself one rockin’ breakfast!
4. Can’t Go Wrong with Comfort Food!
Another one of our favorite go-to meals is good ol’ chili mac! Now when we make chili mac, we don’t do it the old way of throwing spaghetti into a pot of chili. We enjoy buying Annie’s Organic Mac & Cheese and Amy’s Organic Chili – cook them separately, and then layer them in our own individual bowls. Your mouth will be in heaven for at least a week!
5. Get the United We Van Vanlife Cookbook!
Last year, we worked with over 30 vanlifers to create the United We Van Vanlife Cookbook ebook! It is filled with over 100 pages of appetizers, soups, salads, stir-fries, pasta, LOTS of tacos and so much more! Everyone who submitted a recipe lives in a van and knows what it’s like to deal with a situation so unique to cook in. Every entry has their own little “vanlife cooking tip” as well! AND we donate 100% of the cookbook proceeds gets donated to nonprofits dealing with public land conservation!