We are lucky to have a small fridge, single burner induction stove, NutriBullet, and Instant Pot in the van that cover all our cooking needs (and use the solar energy we produce). I’ve been pleasantly surprised how easy it is to cook in the van and how much we can store in the fridge – it is 2.5 cubic feet. We typically stop at a grocery once or twice a week, so can stay stocked with fruits and veggies. Here is what we typically eat in the van:
- Cereal and milk: we keep cereal in a couple storage containers in the pantry and usually have some back-up in the bins under the bed. The fridge can’t hold anything wider than a 1/2 gallon of milk, so we buy a gallon and then distribute it to two 1/2 gallon containers to be more cost effective.
- Eggs: David has patented an egg/ham/cheese melt and I’ll make a fried egg and cheese bagel sandwich, especially if we have an active day.
- Bagel and cream cheese: you don’t really need to toast a bagel for it to be tasty with cream cheese.
- Coffee: a must for David. He does a pour over using a fancy kettle on the induction stove with a pour spot and thermometer. As I said before, we are coffee snobs.
If we aren’t hiking, we typically eat lunch at a trailhead, rest stop, or just a pull off from the road.
- Big salad: I love salads, especially with peanuts, shredded cheese, apples, cooked veggies, and rice or quinoa.
- Grilled sandwiches: since we have the induction stove, we typically up our sandwich game by throwing some butter in the skillet and making a grilled cheese/meat (David) and grilled cheese/fried egg (me).
- Yogurt: David still hasn’t acquired a taste for yogurt, but I love mixing yogurt with fresh fruit and Kashi cereal.
- Smoothies: my work kindly gifted me with a NutriBullet as a going away present, which we use to make spinach/banana/chocolate protein powder smoothies.
- Leftovers: dinner leftovers for lunch are always great.
If we are going through a town, we’ll often eat dinner out, especially if there is a brewery. We end up eating at least half our dinners in the van though, at a campground or just parked in town. We typically cook enough for at least two dinners, both to save time and energy.
- Pasta: we eat a lot of pasta with fried eggs or cheese. Super easy and great for a lunch the next day.
- Beans and rice: we’ll make a big batch of beans in the Instant Pot or heat up canned beans on the stove. As a vegetarian, this has always been a go to for me. If we are feeling fancy we’ll throw it in a tortilla and make a quesadilla.
- Stir fry: One pot meals are a necessity when you only have one burner. I’ll make a stir fry with veggies and tofu and add soy sauce or make a peanut sauce with peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, water, and some spices.
- Soup: another great one dish meal. I typically make up a recipe as I go, especially if we don’t have service, which mostly works out. Luckily neither of us are super picky eaters. My most common go to is black beans, corn, veggie broth, carrots, and tomatoes with crushed tortilla chips and cheese.