There’s nothing like a road trip to provide fresh perspective to our lives and to help us recharge and renew. When it comes to eating, piling into the car and hitting the open road presents both challenges and delights. With a bit of planning, savouring delicious food can be that much easier, and a highly enjoyable part of the road trip experience.
Think about what you can do at home before your trip, and what you can do or add to your meal plan while you’re on the road. Fresh vegetables from a local farm stand or the daily catch from the seashore can be a part of experiencing a location in all its glory. These enticing finds can be easily transformed into delicious meals with a make-ahead flavour base, dressing, or sauce that won’t take up much room in your cooler.
When planning your on-the-road menu, choose dishes that pack well or that get better as leftovers. And think about ingredients or recipes that you can freeze ahead and that can double as freezer packs to keep your cooler cold (but be sure they’ll thaw in time for your meal).
If you’ll have access to a barbecue or grill at your destination, use your driving time to your advantage by allowing chicken or steaks to bathe in marinade inside your cooler. And, of course, don’t forget the snacks. Homemade granola bars, nuts, veggies, and a pre-portioned bit of hummus or bean dip will help you avoid those hangry travel moments.
Most importantly, make it simple so you’ll have time to enjoy the view and all the wonderful experiences you encounter on your journey. These six convenient and easy-to-prepare recipe ideas will help you enjoy your holiday and pull off a feast when you’re far from home.
Dig out your cooler and read on—it’s time to hit the road!
These wraps are perfect for an overnight journey when you want to have something quick and satisfying the next day. Sweet smoked paprika adds just a hint of smoky flavour to sweet potatoes, which join with spinach and red pepper to dress up eggs in a pleasing way. Make these wraps anytime and stick them in the freezer for your next excursion. Pack them frozen and they’ll have time to thaw on the journey, or put them in the fridge the night before you travel so you have something convenient and tasty to eat before you set off. Leave the ketchup bottle behind, and serve them with your own smoky red pepper sauce.
Yogurt completely transforms the texture of these chicken thighs, making them tender and flavourful with bright notes of lemon and cilantro. Ideal for a day trip, these can be marinated in the morning and cooked in the evening, but they also work well when cooked in advance and packed for a picnic to be eaten cold.
Citrusy and slightly sour sumac and a touch of maple syrup enliven pickled onions in a perfect complement to this salad. Kale and Napa cabbage stand up for hours to the sweet and puckery dressing, and hearty farro will keep you going while on the road. This salad is sure to be a favourite for picnics, backyard potlucks, or road trip lunch stops.
This is a heartier take on a classic dish that typically pairs green beans and almonds. Slivered almonds are accompanied by a little extra spice and a hint of sweetness. The lemon-dressed quinoa pilaf adds moisture to help steam the green beans, while imparting all of its bright flavour. Be sure to select young, tender beans for maximum flavour and a beautiful delicate texture.
Veggies and dip are a healthy road trip staple, perfect for snacking, pit stops, or appetizers. Take them a step further in this recipe, inspired by Vietnamese-style salad rolls. Paired with a spicy peanut sauce, they’re packed with carrots, crunchy broccoli, cashews, and a hint of mint. They’re hearty enough for a lunchtime picnic or anytime you need a little something to keep you going.
Making a big batch of hearty granola is a great way to satisfy breakfast and snacking needs and proves endlessly versatile while on the road. Throw in a handful of dark chocolate chips to turn into a trail mix, perfect for keeping hunger at bay while you’re out and about. This granola is also ideal for turning fresh fruit you discover on your travels into a delicious dessert. We’ve used cherries here, but grilled peaches, apricots, blueberries, or any fresh, seasonal bounty would work amazingly well.
Cozy comfort in a bowl—this dish with charred vegetables offers flavours from Tunisia and other regions in the Middle East. And who wouldn’t want a bowl of Middle Eastern spices to warm the tongue while satisfying the belly on a cold winter night? Make mine a meal Jazz up soup into a stew by puréeing it only a bit to keep it chunky. Stir in canned lentils and fold in some chopped spinach or kale for a festive seasonal colour. Round up the flavours with a smattering of coarsely chopped Marcona almonds, dollops of thick plain yogurt, and fresh mint.
Fireside nibbles—one simply can’t get enough of them. This eye-catching dip is so easy to prepare: just whip it up in a blender and serve with your choice of veggies or bread crisps for scooping. It’s equally delicious spread on crostini and topped with bruschetta. Bubble-licious Dip can also be served warm. Transfer dip without toppings to small baking dish that is microwave or oven safe. Heat in microwave until bubbly, or bake uncovered in 400 F (200 C) oven until bubbly and golden on top. Garnish with toppings and serve.