Vegan Camping: Chili Bake and S’mores!

Sorry for the long absence. Sometimes I just get really overwhelmed by photo editing and uploading and I retreat into my virtual cave where no social media can ever find me or make me feel guilty for avoiding it. I’m sure you all know the feeling. :)

Anyhow, my best friend Jo and I drove up to Flagstaff on Saturday with my dog Rupert (THAT was a fun car ride…), and then Jo, my dad, and I camped for a night near Lake Mary, just outside Flag. For most people, I’m guessing camping means Mac ‘n Cheese, hot dogs, and maybe some oatmeal. But in our household–especially when I’m along for the ride – we’re a bit more gourmet. It didn’t hurt that my mom, sister and I had just bought my dad a Dutch oven for his birthday, either! Knowing we’d have the oven, I decided on the Cornmeal Chili Bake from The Everyday Vegan. That just screams “camping,” doesn’t it? I opted to use canned chili instead of making my own because there’s no need to make things too complicated, is there? Plus, TJ’s vegetarian chili is yummy and full of tofu crumbles (that look alarmingly like ground beef, actually)!

I also may or may not have gone to my favorite vegan restaurant Green beforehand specifically to purchase some Cheddar Teese (and ricemilk chocolate for s’mores), and what goes better together than chili and cheddar “cheese?”

So, we just poured the chili in the Dutch oven…

Spread on the cornmeal topping, which was made by whisking cornmeal and seasoning in boiling water on our cooking stove…

Me and my dad! I handled the cooking and he handled equipment logistics…

Put the top on and piled on the coals…

Sprinkled some Teese on a few minutes before it was done, and voilà! Melty comfort food goodness.

The only unfortunate thing was that our cornmeal topping sunk into the chili (I think it boiled because we couldn’t control the oven temperature like you can in a real oven…), but it didn’t matter because it was still delicious and there were still thick chunks of cooked polenta throughout the stew. We ate it with TJ’s Hemp Tortilla Chips for a nice crunch and dipping assistance! I want to make this every time I go camping…

What self-respecting vegans could go camping without at least attempting to reach that pinnacle of camping activities that is the s’more? S’mores are an entirely possible treat to veganize, but they definitely take some work and planning. In the traditional s’more, you have honey-laced graham crackers sandwiching milk-laden chocolate and gelatin-composed marshmallows. Ew, ew, and ew. So what’s a vegan to do? Well, use Sweet & Sara Vanilla Marshmallows (you could use Dandies too!), track down a Terra Nostra Ricemilk Choco Bar, and make your own graham crackers! Here’s Jo and I having some serious vegan best friend time around the campfire, roasting marshmallows:

And the completed s’more:

Sorry the photos are bad, but they were taken without a flash when it was completely dark except for one measly little gas light!

We also made “banana s’mores.” Should I coin that invention? The marshmallows were fine, but they were pretty stale (I have no idea how long ago I bought them…), so after one classic s’more each, we opted for these–banana’s stuffed with peanut butter and ricemilk chocolate, wrapped in tin foil, and nestled into the coals to melt and caramelize!

These were so good. Bananas are better – and healthier – than marshmallows, so what’s not to love? We squashed them between graham crackers once they were done too! Speaking of the graham crackers, I bet you’re curious how I made them! Graham crackers are traditionally made with graham flour – surprise! – which has a specifically altered proportion of bran to germ to endosperm to make them crunchier, but I made Isa’s recipe for Gwam Crackers, which solely uses whole wheat flour.

They turned out great – just sweet enough and lightly kissed with cinnamon.

Schmeared with PB:

Drenched in PB and melted chocolate chips:

Okay, so back to camping food! Breakfast next morning was, you guessed it, Scrambled Tofu from Vegan with a Vengeance. What a classic. And it comes together like this! *Snaps fingers.* I always use a ton more vegetables than the 2 cups of mushrooms called for. This one included zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and bell pepper as well!

We jazzed it up with s’more (and you thought I was done with s’mores…) Teese, and served it with TJ’s Chunky Salsa. I will never ever ever get sick of this meal. Ever.

More photos from camping and hiking!

I think Jo had a better time with my dad than with me…

Rupert has to wear hiking booties because the pads on his paws are sensitive. Poor baby.

And here’s his aggressive side; though I bet you’d chomp like that too if there was a piece of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread schmeared with Maranatha peanut butter in front of you…

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24 responses to “Vegan Camping: Chili Bake and S’mores!

  1. Such exquisite camping fare and gorgeous photos!! And Rupert is just too precious :)

  2. vegan.in.brighton

    Oh wow your dog Rupert is just too cute and you take some lovely pictures in the dark, your banana choc s'more thing looks delicious. I think I may have to get a dutch oven for one of my many camping trips!

  3. Impressive camping food! I'm going again in a few weeks, and I'm planning on chili, too. So funny that you went to Lake Mary, because my name is Mary Lake, and whenever I google myself all I get are campgrounds and such on Lake Mary. I'd like to go there and take a picture of myself next to the sign. Rupert looks cute in his hiking boots!

  4. I am in love with this post! Such beautiful photos any yummy eats! Love the chili, it looks so comforting!

  5. Elizabeth Jarrard

    damn! i wanna go camping with you!!! those s'mores look AMAZING!! and banana smores??? why have i never thought of that!!! kudos to you for making your own graham crackers-i've always wanted to do that!

  6. That is tasty looking camping food! I'm impressed that you put so much effort into it, I would have had lots of salads and sandwiches. Those s'mores look absolutely delicious! I bet your homemade graham crackers were awesome, I'll have to try that recipe someday.

  7. That looks like such a great trip! Amazing photos! I was curious about Isa's graham cracker recipe, glad to know it worked out. :)

  8. Your chili looks amazing and now I want to go camping! And Rupert, well he's very hndsome in his hiking shoes!

  9. Your camping trip looks like such fun! Rupert is absolutely adorable–I love the attempt to chomp the toast!

  10. That looks like a fantastic camping adventure! Makes me want to go out and have some chili! Why have I never cooked outdoors? (Okay, besides from grilling.)

  11. i'll have to check these photos out tonight, i'm at work and can't look. i DID look at the chocolate and cheese post and thought once again, you should consider becoming a professional food porn photographer. you really have the knack!btw, random fact: chocolate and cheese is the title of an album by ween, one of my favorite bands ever.

  12. Ok, I'm going to admit up-front that I am totally jealous of your Tease, and camping with your super-cute friend and papa – how fun!

  13. Lovely photos! I have been wanting to camp all summer, but unfortunately have not had the time—maybe over labor day weekend…I will have to try your smores! I haven't had a smore in ages and they look wonderful!Also, your pup is too cute!

  14. I like your camping style! The few times I've gone it's been hot dogs, chips and veggie chili. Your banana smores sound amazing, and I love Rupert's little hiking boots!

  15. The Voracious Vegan

    STOP IT! This post is too much to handle and I can't even look at the screen anymore.Banana s'mores!?!?!? NO! That is going way too far! Now I have to gather all of these ingredients and go light a fire in my front yard. Seriously, all of these pictures send my appetite into overdrive!Really clever campfire cooking, and great photos! Love Rupert, he is quite the handsome man.

  16. Aw, Rupert's booties are too cute! I love the banana smore idea. I wish you'd have thought of that (and told me about it) before I went to Veganstock last month. We did have smores there (with Dandies, Ricemilk Choco, and generic grocery store graham crackers with no honey), but banana PB smores would have been fantastic too. I guess I could build a campfire in my backyard and try that!Also, I'm super impressed that you made your own graham crackers! I always buy the Keebler brand cause they're vegan…but they're loaded with crap like hydrogenated oils and chemicals. I'll check out Isa's recipe next time.

  17. Honestly, there must be something about camping that makes all food look/taste even better than usual!Looks like you guys had a great time – I love all of the pictures :)PS Rupert is soooo cute! Seriously. He's ADORABLE!

  18. Alyssa Franchetti

    Your dog is soooooo cute!!! This makes me want to go camping, and I hate camping!

  19. aaah! that picture of rupert is perfect, with a smiley face in the PB even! I love love your idea of camping food – chili and marshmallows make me all nostalgic. I went camping recently and was pining for baked beans and I had a big discuss about camping "out of cans" and how awesome it is. and that banana/foil thing! Too yummy!

  20. No More Sad Geraniums

    Wow, you sure know how to camp in style! It looks like you had a great time with friends and family while managing to take some beautiful pictures in the process.

  21. I love your dog! The pictures are gorgeous! And I love all of your food- I think you eat better camping than I do at home! ;)

  22. So my grandparents live in Buckeye, Arizona…next time I visit them I think I will have to "mysteriously disappear" and then come and join you for some camping! Those s'mores look so comforting I just can't handle it! I love your banana version, too!

  23. love all the photos! the thought of banana smores is a very tempting one right now. it's so cold and foggy where i am, and they sound amazing! especially with gwam crackers! i should SO make those for cold days like today.

  24. Rupert is so cute with his little hiking boots! The food looks amazing! I love to cook when I'm camping!

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