Whipping Up a Feast on Wheels: Compact and Convenient Recipes for Van Life

In the heart of every adventure, food plays a starring role. It’s not just about sustenance, but the joy of crafting meals, the flavourful journey that parallels our travels. For those living the van life, the kitchen may be compact, but that doesn’t mean your culinary exploits need to be small. Here, we’ll share some handy, hearty recipes perfect for your mobile kitchen.

First, let’s start with breakfast, the meal that kickstarts our day. A classic British staple that’s simple yet satisfying is porridge. All you need is a saucepan, a few ingredients, and you’re set.

Van Life Porridge


  • 50g porridge oats
  • 350ml milk or water
  • A pinch of salt
  • Your favourite toppings: honey, nuts, fruits, or even a dollop of yoghurt

Combine the oats, milk (or water), and salt in your saucepan. Cook over your hob, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes or until creamy. Add your toppings, and voila! A heart-warming breakfast ready to fuel your day’s adventures.

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For lunch, let’s whip up a simple, hearty sandwich. The Ploughman’s sandwich is a classic British staple, no cooking required, making it perfect for a quick van life meal.

Van Life Ploughman’s Sandwich


  • Two slices of hearty bread
  • Cheddar cheese slices
  • Sliced pickles (gherkins)
  • Cold, sliced meats (optional)
  • Apple slices
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Your favourite sandwich spread: butter, mayonnaise, or mustard

Layer all the ingredients between your bread slices. The beauty of a Ploughman’s is its versatility. Feel free to add or subtract ingredients based on your personal taste or what’s available in your mobile pantry.

Come dinnertime, we’re all about comfort. A one-pot stew is an excellent choice for the van kitchen, reducing washing up and keeping things simple. Here’s a basic recipe, open to adaptations based on your preference.

Van Life Veggie Stew


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • A handful of fresh spinach
  • Spices: cumin, turmeric, paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

First, sauté the onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil until softened. Add the carrots and sweet potato, cook for a few minutes. Sprinkle your spices over the veggies, then add the chopped tomatoes and chickpeas. Dissolve the stock cube in 500ml boiling water, then pour over your veggies. Let it all simmer for about 20-30 minutes until the veggies are tender. Just before serving, stir in the spinach until wilted.

There you have it! Three simple, satisfying meals you can whip up in your mobile kitchen. Remember, cooking on the road isn’t about gourmet meals or fancy cooking equipment. It’s about the love you put into your food, the joy of nourishing yourself and your travel companions, and the memories you create over shared meals. So, embrace your compact kitchen and enjoy the journey—culinary and otherwise. Happy travels and even happier cooking!

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