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12 Cookout Side Dishes To Try At Your Next Camping Trip

12 Cookout Side Dishes To Try At Your Next Camping Trip

Days are getting longer, temperatures are rising, and soon enough you will want to dust off your tent and get outside. Whether you are hiking out to a primitive site to have a fire cooked meal with friends or meeting up with family to tailgate a campsite, you can mix it up by cooking something new.

The classics like coleslaw and potato salad are fun, but why not try some open fire roasted peppers or a refreshing watermelon feta salad? Get Inspired both to cook and get outside with these campsite cookout side dish recipes!

Campsite Cookout Recipes

These recipes are made to upgrade your camping cookout meals while still feasible for the limited culinary tools you will have in your outdoor kitchen. Choose your recipes by your method of cooking (camp stove, grill, or open fire) and how far you plan on hiking or driving to your campsite. Take advantage of local produce with these salads and campsite cookout sides. Make sure to keep produce, dairy, and meat fresh by hiking out with your IceMule cooler.

1.  Fire Roasted Shishito Peppers

Fire roasted shishito peppers with lemon.

Shishito peppers incredibly simple to prepare, yet so flavorful and juicy. Wash the peppers before tossing them in olive oil and a little salt. If you are using a gas stove, cook in a skillet on high heat to blister the peppers. If you are cooking over a grill, cook straight over an open flame or use tongs to place the peppers on a layer of tinfoil close to the fire and let it singe them until crispy.

2.  Cold Sesame Noodle Salad

On a hot summer night there is nothing like some cold sesame noodles. Boil salted pasta water on a camp stove and add soba buckwheat noodles. Cook for five minutes, or as directed on noodle packaging. Dress the noodles with a mixture of sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sriracha. Throw in a little fresh ginger and pepper if you like.  This recipe is really flexible, so feel free to add whatever fresh veggies you prefer, from raw diced bell peppers to steamed green beans to fresh chopped greens.

3.  Avocado Pesto Pasta

Plate of avocado pesto pasta

This dish is a delicious spin on the classic and beloved pesto pasta. Add a pureed avocado to the traditional pesto combination of basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, and walnuts or pine nuts. The avocado will add a new level of creaminess and richness to your meal while still remaining healthy. Prior to heading out, puree the olive oil, nuts, and basil in a food processor. Once at the campsite mash one avocado into the mix and mix with pasta cooked on your camp stove.

4.  Classic Caprese

Summer is the only time of year that tomatoes are so fresh you might be tempted to eat them like an apple. That also makes it the ideal time to indulge in a  fresh caprese salad, these four ingredients combined make a cool and fresh summer salad! Combine slices of heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella with chopped basil. Drizzle this salad with olive oil or balsamic dressing and finish off with salt and pepper. Fresh and easy!

5.  Watermelon and Feta Salad

Watermelon, feta, and mint salad in a bowl.

Watermelon is always a refreshing option for summer meals, but this salad is a real game changer. Cut watermelon into bit sized pieces and toss with crumpled feta and chopped mint leaves. Dress with a simple dressing of freshly squeezed lime juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

6.  Fresh Corn Salad

Corn is a staple of summer cookouts, when it is harvest season the corn is so good you don't even have to cook it. Enjoy this fresh sweet corn by cutting it off the cob and tossing with fresh tomatoes, radishes, red onion, and anything else you have on hand in (great with peppers and avocado as well). This salad is also great with the addition of chopped up avocado. Add fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, or dill and dress with a mix of olive oil and vinegar.

7. Quinoa Tabouleh

Quinoa tabouleh in a green bowl

A yummy take on a classic Mediterranean dish, this tabouleh can be made beforehand and served cold or made on the spot over your camp stove. Cook the quinoa as recommended on the packaging. Mix with chop tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, a large bundle of parsley, dress with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let cool before serving.

8. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

Sweet potatoes are an awesome camping food because they are hearty and cook so well over the fire. Dice this superfood into half inch pieces and toss with olive oil, cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper. Wrap these potatoes up in tinfoil and let them cook in the fire or sauté them on your camp stove. When finished, put them in a bowl and toss these cook your 'taters with a can of beans, fresh lime juice, and freshly chopped cilantro.

8. Dutch Oven Potatoes

Dutch oven over open fire grill.

If you are car camping or at a campsite nearby, bringing a Dutch oven is a great method for open fire cooking.  Dutch ovens are hearty cooking vessels that can withstand the heat and intensity of fire, but be warned they are very heavy and are not recommended if you are hiking into a campsite!  

To make Dutch over potatoes, start with fingerling potatoes, half a stick of butter, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs of your choosing (we recommend thyme, rosemary, and garlic). Put the Dutch oven over the fire and add the butter and herbs, once melted put in the whole potatoes and lets cook for 20-30 minutes. Stir every five minutes and check with a fork to make sure the potatoes are soft enough when you are done. This recipe is also delicious with the addition of parmesan cheese or bacon bits.

9. Shish Kebabs

Another great fire cooked dish that is both fun and easy are shish kebabs. Bring some wooden or metal rods and some fresh veggies and meat. Beef, chicken, or sausage are great options but you can also use marinated tofu. Add bell peppers, zucchini, summer squash, and onions. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little chili powder. Put over the grill turning as the meat browns or wrap in tinfoil and let cook in the coals. 

10.  Grilled Fruit

Peaches grilling on an open fire

While fresh fruit is delicious, grilled fruit creates a unique combination of smokey grilled flavor and sweet caramelized fruit. This works best with pineapple and peaches. Grilled fruit tastes amazing when added to a simple spinach salad with goat cheese and balsamic dressing or drizzled with honey and roasted walnuts.

 11.  Asian Cole Slaw

Mix it up with a non-traditional coleslaw recipe, like this fresh and crunchy Asian slaw. Chop up red cabbage, cilantro, carrots, minced ginger, and red onion. Toss together and dress with rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and garnish with chopped peanuts.

 12.  Blood Orange and Onion Salad

Blood orange and onion salad on a white plate

This simple combination of two strong and tangy flavors is a great cookout side dish option.  Peel and slice the blood orange and lay down flat in layers on a plate.  Cover this with minced red onion and dress with olive oil, salt, and pepper.