Gluten-Free Campfire Chili

This comforting one-pot chili is easy and quick to put together, leaving you more time for gathering around the campfire.

Other garnish toppings include sour cream, diced avocado, chopped chives and/or sliced scallions. For a vegetarian option, omit the meat. Keep any leftovers in a cooler full of ice.


gluten free campfire chili

Oksana Charla


2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14-ounce) can pinto beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup corn kernels
1 tablespoon canola oil or grapeseed oil
1 pound ground pork or ground beef
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 cups gluten-free tortilla chips, broken into pieces, optional, for topping
1 cup grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese or dairy-free alternative, optional, for topping

At Home Directions:

1. In a small container or zip-top bag, combine oregano, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper.

2. Place black beans and pinto beans in a large zip-top bag along with tomatoes and tomato paste. Place corn kernels and oil in separate small containers.

3. Transport all chili ingredients in a cooler with ice.

At Camp Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan or skillet set over a camp stove or in a sturdy Dutch oven placed on a grill grate set over a campfire. Cook ground meat until browned, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in red bell pepper and zucchini and cook 4 minutes. Stir in corn, spice mixture and bean mixture. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Place chili in serving bowls and top with tortilla chips and cheese, if using.

Each 2-cup serving contains 476 calories, 19g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 54mg cholesterol, 273mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate, 15g fiber, 7g sugars, 27g protein, 17Est GL.

Spoiler Alert

To keep perishable food from spoiling, bring along two coolers. Pack one with temperature-sensitive foods (like meat and dairy), those you want to keep coldest. Pre-freeze the meat so it does double-duty as an ice pack. Use the second cooler for frequently accessed, not-so-perishable items, like drinks and snacks.

Tools of the Trade

When camping, bring along the appropriate cooking tools—pans, knives, zip-top bags and cutting boards. Small zip-top bags are great for transporting snacks like trail mix and energy bites when venturing away from camp. A sturdy cast-iron skillet is a camp workhorse. Use it to cook everything from pancakes to freshly caught fish. It will hold up beautifully when set over an open flame.

Contributing chef Matthew Kadey, RD, is a registered dietitian and food writer. He is author of The Muffin Tin Chef (Ulysses Press), The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook (Ulysses Press), and Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure (VeloPress).

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