Quick Camping Appetizers

Whether you drove several hours after work on Friday, or you hiked, biked, and played all day, most of you are starving by the time evening comes around. Dinner isn’t always instant (the cook’s gotta play too!), so here are a few of our favorite appetizers to keep the “hangry” at bay.

Smoky Spicy Black Bean Dip

Dips are always welcome around camp, and many can be made at home before the trip. Offer this as incentive to get the campfire started. It’s fine straight out of the cooler, but gets much better with a little smoke and warmth.

  • 2 pasilla peppers
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 2 15-oz cans black beans, one can drained
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chile powder
  • pinch salt & sugar
  • ¼ cup cheese, diced into cubes

Char peppers, discarding skin, seeds and stems, and add to the bowl of a food processor. Add black beans and remaining ingredients, except for the cheese, and blend in a food processor. Pack the bean dip and cheese in separate containers. Once at camp, pour the bean dip into a pot – preferably one that can go over the campfire. Stir in cheese and heat. Do not overstir – you want to get little cheese pocket surprises throughout the dip. Serve with tortilla chips.

Salad in a Jar


Salad is a perfect first course, and goes great with a summer cocktail. Light crunchy vegetables are easily jazzed up with a spicy tangy vinaigrette. Store personal sized jars cold in the cooler until just before serving. They’ll only need a shake to be ready to eat.

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 jicama
  • 1 small watermelon
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon pico de gallo seasoning
  • Salt and pepper

Slice cucumbers and jicama into matchsticks, and watermelon into small triangles. Mix lemon juice, jalapeno, pico de gallo, salt and pepper together. Add olive oil, stirring to combine. Divide vinaigrette between four jars. Layer in jicama, cucumber, and watermelon in that order. Chill until ready to eat. Just before eating, shake jar to coat the salad in vinaigrette.

Campfire Roasted Edamame


These little bean pods are the perfect camping snack. We usually steam them at home, but if you’ve got a fire going, they’re delicious roasted in a cast iron skillet. Throw the shells into the fire after eating for zero cleanup.

  • 1 pound frozen edamame, defrosted
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • red chile flakes, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Heat a cast iron skillet on a grate set over a campfire. Add the oil and garlic and saute for a few seconds. Add the edamame and cook, stirring frequently with tongs, until you see little blackened spots and the edamame are cooked through. Season with chile flakes and salt.

A Couple Old Goodies

Though we plan to create and test new recipes on every camping trip, we often find ourselves secretly perusing the Dirty Gourmet archives for our favorites of the past. These two recipes have made appearances on quite a few trips.

Roasted Cream Cheese Stuffed Peppers– switch out the sweet peppers for jalapenos to make a
campfire poppers. Feel free to wrap either kind of pepper in bacon.

Soyrizo Stuffed Mushrooms– Meat lover or veggie lover, you will love this recipe. There has
never been a quicker and easier stuffed mushroom.

Post in partnership with REI and Emily is an employee. All opinions shared here are our own.

3 thoughts on “Quick Camping Appetizers

    1. Hi Justin-
      We used wide mouth 16 ounce mason jars. You’ll probably have some salad ingredients left over–it just depends on how big your fruit and veggies are.

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