Eating out in Iceland can be very expensive, and one of the coolest things about traveling in a Happy Camper is that it comes with a mini-fridge and a portable stove – everything you need to cook a nice dinner. Consequently, cooking in a campervan is a great way to save money because even the cheap food options aren’t that cheap. What are the best meals to prepare in a campervan? To answer this question, I turned to our Camping Community, where many campers shared their go-to meal ideas. In this blog post, I will cover tested meals approved by the Happy Campers community.
In this blog post, I won’t go into detail when it comes to different diets, such as vegan, keto, or vegetarian. There are plenty of options in Icelandic grocery stores if you are looking for meat-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free. Therefore, you can adapt all camping meal ideas that I will mention today to your diet.
Most Popular Meals to Prepare in a Campervan
Camping food doesn’t have to be boring. The top 3 meal choices offer a lot of variety and can fit any diet or budget.
Sandwiches are an easy, versatile, budget-friendly meal, perfect on the go. All you need is some bread, cheese, lunch meat, and veggies. You can toast it, grill it or eat it cold. Maybe you like keeping it simple and pack them for your hike. Alternatively, you can turn it into a proper meal by adding plenty of different veggies and condiments. The possibilities are endless! Grilled cheese sandwiches and peanut butter & jelly are popular choices. However, don’t be afraid to try out a variety of Icelandic bread, such as rye bread (rúgbrauð). Mix & match different toppings, and you will never get tired of eating sandwiches.
Pasta is probably the favorite option for dinner among happy campers. Moreover, it is also one of the cheapest options for dinner. With a wide variety of pasta and pasta sauces in the grocery stores – everybody can find what they like. Even if you decide to make pasta sauce from scratch, most recipes do not require lots of pots and pans. Hence, a campervan’s kitchenware should be enough to prepare your favorite delicious meal in a campervan.
The third biggest category of foods after sandwiches and pasta are freeze-dried meals. Many happy campers say it is the only food item they bring from their home country. Hiking meals are not so popular in Iceland, primarily sold in outdoor stores, costing $14-20. However, you can find ramen, dry soups, pasta, and rice dishes that only require water in any store. The appeal of these meals is that they can add variety to your menu without a lot of effort. You don’t need to buy a bunch of different ingredients for one dinner. All you need is some hot water, and the dinner is ready.
More Meal Ideas
It is worth mentioning some runner-ups – great meal ideas for your camping trip. Stir-fries and rice meals – similar to pasta, can be made in many different ways, can be extremely budget-friendly and filling. Tacos and burritos are other popular choices; ingredients are easy to find in grocery stores and don’t require many skills or time to be prepared.
An important thing to mention: you are not allowed to build a campfire in Iceland. If you grew up camping in the woods and roasting marshmallows – don’t expect it on the trip. Some campsites have built designated areas to build a fire or grill your food.
However, if you are a grillmaster and take your dinner to the next level, consider renting a portable BBQ grill. You will be able to make burgers, grilled fish, or veggies. Many travelers are amazed to find out that Icelanders grill all year round – no matter the season or weather.
Preparing Breakfast in a Campervan
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Well, in a campervan, nobody’s stopping you from having your favorite breakfast meals. Another popular item that most campers put in their shopping basket is eggs. Just like the meals we discussed before, you can prepare eggs in many different ways. You can boil them, fry them, scramble them, make an omelet, add veggies, bacon, sausage, or whatever else you fancy. Here’s a list of the most popular breakfast ideas to eat while camping:
- Granola and yogurt,
You could have different meals every day of your trip if you wanted to. Get some fruits or frozen berries to mix it up, buy a pancake mix to make it more convenient. Start your day in the right way.
Eat Like a Viking – Icelandic Meals to Have in a Campervan
Icelandic culinary heritage may not be world-famous. One happy camper shared that she always tries to prepare local foods wherever she is traveling. It is such a lovely and straightforward idea to experience a little bit of culinary culture. Of course, you can find many recipes online for traditional foods. You won’t find rotten shark on this list because it is not something Icelanders eat regularly. I wanted to keep things real by picking food that are popular amon locals and tourists. There is a reason why they are simple to make and tasty. Let’s take a look at some Icelandic meals you can prepare in a campervan.
A clear winner in this category is the Icelandic hotdog. One camper described them perfectly – they are addictive. It is a widely available option in gas stations and food trucks all around Iceland. However, it is easy to make them yourself. Buy some buns, hot dogs, remolaði, Icelandic mustard (and other condiments you prefer), fried onions, and you’ve got it. Cook hotdogs on a pan (or grill), warm the buns, add all the fillings and enjoy. Bon appétit!
Skyr – Icelandic dairy product similar to yogurt. It is lower in fat and higher in protein than yogurt and has a milder flavor. Skyr is healthy, delicious, and comes in a variety of flavors. It a staple in the Icelandic kitchen, and you must try it. Furthermore, you can add granola, fruits, or berries for a healthy breakfast or a snack.
Fish jerky – Harðfiskur
This traditional food item stood the test of time. I am yet to meet an Icelander who doesn’t like Icelandic dried fish – hardfiskur. It is protein-packed (around 1 kg of fish is used to make 200 g of fish jerky) and widely available in any grocery store. The perfect snack and a must-try in Iceland. Tip: spread some butter on top of it to take it to the next level.
When I get soaked in the rain or while chasing waterfalls, having a bowl of soup sounds so good. From canned to homemade, it can be customized to your taste. Besides, they feel very cozy, especially if you are hiding from the harsh Icelandic weather in a camper. Icleandic Kjotsupa or lamb soup is easy to make, making it a delicious yet filling option. Check out this recipe:
If you don’t trust your cooking skills and want to experience Icelandic cuisine, check out where to find the best Icelandic food; for foodies who like trying out all kinds of different foods, I’d recommend booking a Reykjavik Food Walk.
We covered the most popular meal options among the members of our Camping Community. You probably noticed that it is all connected by one quality – versatility. I know there are people out there who can eat the same thing day after day, three times a day. I am not one of those people. Nonetheless, the equipment that comes with Happy Campervans has everything to prepare delicious, homemade meals in a campervan.