25 Easy Travel Recipes for Road Trips

It is not always easy to maintain good eating habits while traveling. You rarely have the time or utensils to cook at home. At the campsite, or between two hotels, the priority is rarely to make good food, so we end up improvising and giving in to the ease of ordering pizzas. And yet, there are solutions to eat well on a trip and without spending too much!

Adventure trips to deserts, mountains, and beaches are the best trips you can take. These adventurous trips require you to be energetic throughout the trip. It's important to pack the essential food and drinks for emergencies. Use airtight containers and zip-lock bags to pack the food items and prevent rotting.

More seriously, for the most part concentrate on fun foods that don’t need refrigeration (jerky, chips, nuts, Peanut butter, candy). For real food you can (and should) always stop at diners along the way. The stuff you pack for the road trip is supplemental meant for entertainment and quick energy. If you have a cooler, it’s probably packed with cold drinks and ice.

It will contain sandwich materials (meat, cheese, condiments, maybe lettuce and tomato), fruits and vegetables, and yes, the dreaded cold drinks. You are taking things that can be eaten cold and, most likely, on the go. Try to make the majority of your purchases count toward a balanced diet. If it’s a multi-day trip, eat the stuff that has to stay cold first.

Ice isn’t expensive, but it’s not free either. If you’re traveling with kids, try to make sure your choices are kid friendly and fun. Sell the “we’re going on picnics” vibe. Find parks, heck, even if you don’t have kids with you, it’s nice to track down parks close to the highway and have a proper meal at a picnic area rather than just random rest stops.

Store liquid items separately to avoid any leakage. You must pack healthy food and drink items to avoid getting sick and feel bloated through the trip. Eating nutritious foods will give you a healthy body and mind inside out. Let's look at the food and drinks to carry on an adventurous trip.

Easy Travel Recipes for Road Trips

Here are some tips and ideas on how to make travel recipes easy and quick to prepare healthy make ahead meals for road trips.

1. Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Cream Cheese

Sunday road trip sandwiches with smoked salmon and fromage frais. This Sunday evening sandwich recipe could perfectly well be done on holiday for the good reason that it is only the assembly kitchen and that it does not require any material or preliminary preparation. Just choose a smoked salmon of good quality (Red or organic label is much better). You can serve it for an aperitif or prepare several for a quick lunch.

2. Zucchini Fritters

It's fast and tasty and is one of the best meals for traveling in the car! This dish requires few utensils and preparation time. In other words, it is perfect when your priority is not to cook, when you are traveling for example? You will need a large zucchini, an egg, 1/2 tablespoon of flour, two cloves of garlic, a little parsley and dill.

Chop garlic and herbs and mix them with the egg in a bowl. Stir everything gently. Grate the zucchini and add the result to the mixture. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Preheat a saucepan, add a little vegetable oil and add a tablespoon of the zucchini mixture. Fry everything until it is golden brown. You have your first donut! Repeat until the bowl is empty.

3. Hummus Crostini

This gourmet road trip food is a delicious and original starter, for lunch and dinner! You just need black olives, hummus, bread and green pepper. Spread the hummus over the bread then add the green pepper and olives previously pitted. Dare a pinch of thyme on the urge you said.

4. Stuffed Aubergine Ratatouille

This picnic food for the car can be enjoyed as a starter, but also as a meal on the run. You will only need three ingredients: canned tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. You cook everything together and you end up with this succulent dish!

5. Pan-Seared Chicken

Marinate the chicken with mustard, honey, green chilly, salt, pepper and garlic. Keep the marinated chicken aside for 5 to 7 minutes. Heat oil in a pan, add the marinated chicken and throw in some vegetables of your choice and let it cook for 4–5 minutes. Add herbs of your choice at the time of serving.

6. Pear-Walnut Sandwich

Not your usual sandwiches, this one packs a fruity and crunchy zest to your choice of bread sandwich. Spread some cream cheese (or a hung-curd spread) on your choice of bread. Top with some crunchy chopped walnuts and pear slices. You could add some sprouts or arugula for a bit of texture! A healthy, fruity and green lunch on your hands in a jiffy!

7. Muskmelon salad

Scoop the muskmelon into a round shape and put them into a mixing bowl. Add some mint leaves with some ginger. Squeeze a lemon on it. Add some salt to taste. Put this in the fridge for a little bit (depends on how cold you want it) the cooler the better.

8. Burger

Hamburger isn’t steak. If you’re using the right beef, 80/20 ground chuck, dryness shouldn’t be an issue, unless you’re really well done-ing it. Seriously, get 80/20 ground beef. That’s 80% lean to fat. 20% fat is a significant amount, more than a steak. You don’t need your burger to be rare or mid rare and still be juicy.

Technique plays a big part in cooking a burger properly. Start with a 7oz patty. They cook up nicely. A burger ring helps you to make perfectly proportioned patties, which cook evenly. Once you’ve got your patties, drop them on the grill and season them generously with salt and pepper, about 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/8 tsp of pepper.

Now wait about 2 minutes. With your spatula, pick up the burger and give it a quarter turn, put it back on the grill and leave it alone. Wait another 2 minutes. Now pick up the burger and flip it over. Don’t touch it, let it cook for three minutes. Again, pick it up, quarter turn, put it down and wait three more minutes.

Season it again with salt and pepper, pull it off of the grill and enjoy. It should be a perfect medium. If you want less red in the center, just add a minute to each step of the cooking process.

Salt the meat. Add some black pepper if you must. Handle the meat as little as possible. Do not mash it into a pulp or knead it. Make patties of uniform thickness, a bit larger than the bun. A half-inch thick patty is a good size, but you can go thinner if you like. Heat up a well-seasoned cast iron skillet to medium-high on stovetop.

When it’s fully heated, place the patties in and do not mess with them until they are ready to flip — you are going to flip these burgers exactly once. Do not try to move them before you are ready to flip them. DO NOT SMASH THE PATTIES DOWN WITH A SPATULA! Or any other object. All you’re going to do is squeeze the juice out of your burger, drying it out, and increase the odds that the patty will stick in the pan.

You’ll know the burgers are ready to flip when the juices rise along the outer edge of the top of the patty. There will be a ring of still-murky juices that forms all the way around the burger’s edge. When you see that, it’s time to flip! Cook until the juice runs clear. All you have to do is give the patties a little pressure with the corner of the spatula and the juice will rise up and run off, just a bit.

If it’s red or cloudy, not ready yet. When it’s clear, your burger is done! Add a slice of American cheese to each burger just before you’re ready to remove them from the skillet. The momentary heat from the pan will drop the edges of the slice down around the patty, and the heat from the burger will melt it nicely.

Bread is a very personal choice. Find a bun you really like, or one that’s just like your favorite diner, and use that. Toast, grill, or not, depending on preference. As for condiments, the classic American burger have ketchup and dill pickle chips on the lower bun, mustard on the top bun, and raw onion slices, lettuce, and sliced tomatoes on top of the burger. But you can mix it up however you want.

9. Pizza

The bread base (what you call the crust) should be made with a very simple and well-hydrated bread dough, made with only a mixture of durum and regular wheat flours, neither too thin nor bleached. This kind of flour has more proteins and fibers (even though it’s not whole wheat) than all-purpose flour.

The bread should also include water, yeast or sourdough, and a pinch of salt, and should be fermented for 24 hours for a perfect raise, with good flavor and to make it easy to digest. It should be topped with excellent quality crushed tomatoes, a little fresh mozzarella, or better, fiordilatte, and a light drizzle of extravirgin olive oil, and baked for just a few minutes at the highest temperature possible.

This creates a light, tasty and not greasy pizza. For an even healthier meal you may consider swapping the tomato sauce for a mixture of bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and fresh tomatoes, all diced or cut in thin slices and sautéed with extravirgin olive oil and a garlic clove. Distribute this mixture on the pizza, topping with a few bits of fresh mozzarella, and bake.

Par bake your crust. Moisture is the enemy of a crispy crust. Baking a pizza in a pizza pan traps moisture between the pan and crust. The top of the crust will be crispy but the bottom will be bready, like a focaccia. To make it more pizza parlor like, you’ve got to par bake the crust. First, preheat your oven at its highest temperature.

Spin your crust and fit it into a pizza pan or a cookie sheet. Square pizzas are the trend right now, so don’t run out and buy a round pizza pan if you’ve already got a good square baking pan. Make sure to brush some oil onto the pan as well as the top crust. Now dock the dough with a fork. Docking means to poke it all over the center with a fork to prevent the center of the crust from rising.

You want the edges to rise but the center to stay flat, otherwise your toppings will slide to the edges. Now bake the crust until it has set. When I mean set, I mean for about five to eight minutes, or until it has cooked, but before it turns brown. You’re looking for something like those par-baked crusts you buy in the grocery store.

Pull it from the oven and let it cool until you can handle it comfortably. Now build your pizza on the par baked crust. Use whatever sauce, cheese and toppings you like. Once your pizza is topped, put it into the oven directly on the oven rack. You don’t want to bake it on the pan. The pan traps moisture, remember, and won’t give you a crispy crust.

Baking it directly on the rack will allow the bottom of the crust to get brown and crispy, like pizza baked in a real pizza oven. It shouldn’t take more than eight to ten minutes to get the crust nicely browned and the toppings heated through. You will probably need to spin it half way through as well.

Pancetta is essentially a really well cured ham, and it’s almost a lot like bacon. When put onto the pizza from the start, all that lovely fat would liquefy and the meat itself would caramelize and crisp. That crispy sweet and salty taste is absolutely delicious. That meat plus the high temps are just going to make your pizza sing!

10. Sherry Trifle

There is no single, definitive, way to make one, each is crafted differently, but the basic principle is: Line the bottom of the bowl with cheap cake (there are things called trifle sponges but sliced fruit cake does just as well). Saturate with sweet sherry. Top with jelly. Perhaps one to compliment the trifle taste, but it doesn’t really matter. You can add tinned fruit salad, or fresh fruit, to the jelly.

Or you can wait until it is set, and then add a layer of fruit salad. if you do this, add some more sherry. Carry on adding layers. The top layer should be whipped fresh cream. This can sometimes be decorated with halved cherries or hundreds and thousands. People whip sherry or even Irish cream into the whipped cream.

11. Shepherd’s pie

A good shepherd's pie starts with good mashed potatoes. Take 2–3 lbs of russet potatoes, peel them and cut them into 1″ cubes, cover with water in a pot, add a tbsp of salt and bring them to boil, turn it down to medium and let them boil until soft, about 10 mins. Melt 4 tbsp unsalted butter, set it aside, add an egg to 1/2 cup of milk, whisk it up.

Drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot. Mash them up with a potato masher, add the egg/milk mixture, the melted butter, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Cover them and set them aside. Chop an onion nice and fine, peel and chop 2–3 carrots

Set aside 2 tbsp of tomato paste, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp minced fresh thyme (1/2 tsp if you’re using dried thyme) 2 tbsp flour, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and a cup of frozen peas. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in the skillet, add the onion and carrots with 3/4 tsp of salt and cook until softened, about 5 mins.

Add 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef. Break up the ground beef. Cook until it’s brown, 8–10 mins. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a min. Stir in the flour and cook for another min. Drop the Worcestershire in the broth, slowly stir that in, scraping up any browned bits, bring it up to a nice simmer. Stirring occasionally, simmer it for about 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened, take it off the heat and stir in the frozen peas.

Take the mashed potatoes, put them in a gallon size zip lock bag and cut off a corner of the bag, squeeze the potatoes in a spiral pattern on top of the mixture, nice and even, then flatten with a spoon. Take a fork and make a pattern of ridges on the top of the potatoes. Put an oven rack on the top shelf of the oven so you’ll have about 6″ from the top element, turn the broiler on high.

Put the skillet under the broiler until the top is nice and browned and crusty, about 5-10 mins.

12. Tabbouleh

Finely chop coriander or parsley, tomatoes, onion, mint leaves and a cucumber. Boil water, add wheat dalia (bulgur) to the boiling water and stir. Turn heat off, cover and let stand 25 minutes. Fluff bulgur with a fork and then allow to cool to room temperature. Mix all these ingredients and add a pinch of salt, lemon juice and pepper powder. Pour olive oil. Mix again lightly. Eat this alone or with bread.

13. Biscuits and Gravy

For Biscuits:

Preheat oven to 425 F. Mix 250 g soft flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder and 5 g salt. Grate 90 g unsalted butter into the flour mixture and cut with a fork or pastry cutter until the butter is in pieces like small peas.
Pour in 200 g buttermilk and mix with a fork until all flour is wetted. You want a tacky dough but if it sticks to your fingers add a little flour.

Add liquid if the dough is stiff. There’s a wide range that will work well. Don’t over mix and don’t knead. Tip dough on to a floured counter and pat flat to 1/2 inch thickness. Fold in half and flatten again. Fold and flatten 2 more times and cut out round biscuits from 1.5” to 2” in diameter. Press all the way to the counter and only twist the cutter then.

Arrange the biscuits spaced 1/2” apart on a cookie sheet and bake for 16 to 18 minutes turning half way. They should be lightly browned and 210 F internally.

For Gravy:

Make a roux with 30 g butter and 20 g flour and cook on medium heat whisking continuously until a very light brown or blond color shows. Pour 230 g cold milk in while whisking and whisk continuously until thickened. Add milk if too thick or reduce if too thin.

14. Petto di pollo al latte

A faster meat dish is petto di pollo al latte e limone. This also require a bit more skill in my opinion just because the preparation is so fast that it does not allow for mistakes. Get some thinly sliced skinless and boneless chicken breast (it works with turkey as well). Lightly dust them with flour. Heat a large pan, melt some butter, add a couple sage leaves, and lightly brown the chicken on both sides.

Now pour in enough milk to cover the chicken halfway (the slices should be a bit crowded in the pan) and the juice of one lemon or of a couple of limes. Add salt and pepper and simmer until the milk has turned into a dense sauce (even denser than in the pic) that looks a bit coagulated, it’s not creamy and silky. Serve sprinkled with some chopped parsley if you want, with a couple vegetable sides.

15. Kuymak

Super easy. It’s cooked in sahan, which is a traditional copper pan. The most essential ingredient is the cheese, you need some of the local cheeses from the Black Sea region like the Trabzon village cheese, or string cheese. First, melt the butter in the sahan. Don’t let it burn though. Then add the cornmeal and stir it gently with a wooden spoon.

Make sure the colour turns golden brown, so that you can add a cup of water. Bring it to a boil. Once it boils, add the cheese (grated) and stir the mixture until the cheese melts and forms a smooth structure with the cornflour. Let it cook until the cheese becomes stringy, you can stir the mixture occasionally. 16. Kale Chips

Kale chips are easy to prepare at home, store, and easy to carry. Bake a fresh bunch of kale leaves by sprinkling salt and vinegar. You will get flavorful, healthy, light, and crispy kale chips within minutes. Pack them in a zip-lock and carry them wherever you are traveling. They are low in calories and full of energy which means you can eat a lot of them without putting on weight.

These are rich sources of antioxidants, vitamin K, Vitamin B and are very versatile to use. You can use them between your burgers with mayo and they taste amazing.

17. Nuts

Nuts are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and help reduce the craving. They also help in lowering cholesterol levels. They are a good substitute for eating sugar (when craving for one). Studies suggest that having a diet rich in nuts don't increase the weight. Nuts like almonds, pistachios, cashews, and walnuts are high in fiber and are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

18. Seeds Mix

Just like nuts, seeds are also good snack items while traveling. They are rich sources of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Sunflower seeds are one of the most popular seeds. They are high in minerals such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, copper, and selenium. Chia seeds are nutrition powerhouses.

Just sprinkle them over your salad or yogurt to have a healthy filling meal. Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and zinc. To have a flavorful seeds mix you can mix all the seeds along with some berries and nuts. Enjoy a blast of flavors in every bite you take.

19. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is great comfort food and full of protein, fiber, fat, and Vitamin E. Studies show that eating peanut butter in a controlled manner helps keep your tummy full for longer without putting on weight. You can make snacks such as peanut butter cake, peanut butter frozen grapes, energy balls, peanut butter toast, and peanut butter quinoa bars.

20. Protein Bars

A protein bar is something which is available with any gym lover. They are a top choice while en route to keep you energized. They are very convenient to carry. One protein bar has approximately 20 grams of protein which is equivalent to a meal.

21. Yogurt Parfait

A perfect combination of granola and fruits topped with yogurt makes parfait a healthy snack. Though it is not filling, it is a good alternative to eating junk food. You can make your own changes and flavors by adding some cherries, berries, and crushed nuts. This will further add vitamins and minerals to the snack.

22. Popcorn

When you heat a corn kernel, it turns into a light and fluffy popcorn. This is low in calories, healthy and addictive. Popcorn contains, fiber, protein, and zero cholesterol. Avoid the ready made popcorn as it contains high amounts of sodium. Instead, air pop it or pop them over a stove top at home and carry them in zip-lock bags.

23. Coconut Crack Bars

This is a perfect snack if you are going for a beach adventure trip. Beaches covered with coconut trees on both sides remind of the coconut crack bars. These are super easy to make and rich in nutrition.

24. Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are a healthy alternative to coffee and tea. They help in improving the immune system as they are rich in antioxidants and vitamins E, C, and A. They are less in calories, high in caffeine, and give an instant boost of energy.

25. Coffee

If you are a coffee addict, then possibly you won't get Starbucks or Costa coffee at every trail during your adventure trip. So, carry your own coffee travel kit which is compact and easy to carry around. Carry coffee beans, a portable espresso maker, and some sugar. Enjoy the fresh ground coffee at your comfort.


The above points are a few food and drinks that you can take with you on your next adventure trip. Don't forget the basic drink, water. It's important that you keep yourself hydrated. Pack reusable water bottles, so that you can refill bottles at a clean water source.

While packing your bag for an adventure trip, try to pack light. This way, you will feel less tired. Keep in mind that your life is precious. So, before doing anything crazy, think twice. Other than the food and drink essentials, keep a camera too. You can capture many moments and those will be life long memories. Have a safe adventure trip.

Kalyan Panja