I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love a good old lasagna, especially when it’s made by someone else. It’s fresh and light in the summer with a salad, yet naughty and comforting in the winter with fries and/or garlic bread. But it’s far too complex and involved to make at camp, not to mention the fact that you need an oven to make it. Or so I thought. Then a Dutch oven came into my life, and campfire lasagna suddenly became possible! I’ve tried a few methods of making Dutch oven lasagna on a campfire and settled on the adapted recipe at the bottom of this article.
- Vegetarian Dutch oven lasagna for camping
- Cooking in a Dutch oven
- Campfire Dutch Oven Lasagna Recipe
- Tomato Sauce Recipe
Vegetarian Dutch oven lasagna for camping
If you’ve read any of my other camping recipes then you’ll know why I favour vegetarian recipes. I’m not vegetarian, but I don’t eat very much meat at all. Just some fish here and there. But that aside, cooking vegetarian camp food just makes so much sense. The main reason being that you don’t need to cool food in the summer or worry about food spoiling. This is especially great for overnight hiking trips when you can’t possibly carry a cooler! But vegetarian camping meals are equally as good towards the end of longer camping trips when all the ice in your cooler has melted to liquid.
Of course, Dutch oven lasagna wouldn’t be a lasagna without cheese in it. I’ve opted for hard parmesan, which lasts well without cooling (though it does still need to be kept on the cool side). Plus, cottage cheese and mozzarella. Both will live outside of a cooler for a little while but will need cooling for extended periods. But these items are relatively small, especially when you compare them to meat joints or burgers etc for a group. So there’ll be space in the cooler to squeeze them in on extended trips and use towards the end of the trip.
Simple steps to making Dutch oven lasagna
One of the things I love the most about this campfire lasagna recipe is how easy it is. I’ll be honest, I’m always a little put off making lasagna, even at home, because of how many steps there are to compile it. I’m sure it’s not that bad, but as soon as more than one pan comes out of the cupboard I start getting hot sweats. One pot meals all the way for me!
This recipe is more about compiling ingredients than it is about ‘proper’ cooking. Yes, there’s the option of making your own pasta sauce (see recipe below). But the recipe works just as well if you use a pre-made jar of sauce, which is actually a little better suited to camping as it will last forever outside of the fridge.
Gluten-free lasagna recipe
As well as being vegetarian, this Dutch oven lasagna recipe is also gluten-free. Nope, there aren’t any highly processed, wheat-free pasta substitutes sneaking into the layers of goodness. Instead of lasagna sheets I’ve used aubergine slices. In my opinion, the result is even more delicious than GF lasagna pasta alternatives and it feels (and is) so much more healthy.
Cooking in a Dutch oven
If you’re new to cooking with a Dutch oven when you’re camping, then head on over to our guide to Dutch oven camp cooking. You’ll find information on oven sizes, types, accessories, and how to control the temperature inside the Dutch oven. It’s a bit more scientific than just chucking the oven on top of the fire and hoping for the best! But once you’ve tried a few recipes it’s also much more straightforward than it first seems.
Preparing your Dutch oven for cooking campfire lasagna
The below recipe serves 4 people and is based on using a 4 quart Dutch oven which is 10 inches wide. If you’re cooking for more people in a larger oven then you’ll need to adjust the coals and temperature accordingly. Our guide will help you figure this out.
- First up, you need to get your coals lit. Using a coal chimney is the easiest way to do this. However, if you have a campfire going already then you can put the coals in the fire and leave them there, turning occasionally, until they are red hot all over (like bbq coals when they’re ready to cook over).
- Whilst the coals are heating up, you can prepare the lasagna. Skip down to the recipe.
- Once the coals are hot and your lasagna is prepared inside the Dutch oven, it’s time to ‘turn on’ the oven.
- A 10 inch Dutch oven needs around 20 coals to heat it to around 350ºF / 180ºC. This is 2 coals per square inch, which you can then adapt to the size oven you are using.
- Using heat proof gloves or tongs, place 7 hot coals below the oven and 13 on top of the lid.
And, that’s it! Placing hot coals on top of the oven, as well as below, ensures that heat is distributed evenly through the food inside, resulting in a juicy and succulent meal.
Campfire Dutch oven lasagna recipe
This recipe is easily multiplied to suit the size of your group / Dutch oven and works with a shop-bought tomato sauce or a homemade sauce.
- 1 large jar tomato-based pasta sauce (see below for homemade sauce recipe)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 aubergines, sliced
- 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
- 1/4 cup parmesan or other hard cheese, grated
- ¾ cup cottage cheese
- In a bowl, mix together all the cheeses, leaving aside 1-2 tbsp of grated parmesan.
- Spread a thin layer of your tomato sauce in the bottom of the Dutch oven.
- Then place a layer of aubergines on top of the sauce, with a layer of cheese mix on top of the aubergines.
- Repeat the layering process (sauce, then aubergine, then cheese) twice more.
- The last layer should be the cheese mixture. Sprinkle the extra parmesan on top of the cheese mixture.
- Place the lid on the Dutch oven and arrange the hot coals as appropriate. (See the above section on preparing your Dutch oven for cooking campfire lasagna.)
- Cook the Dutch oven lasagna for around 30 minutes.
- Carefully remove the coals from the lid and then remove the lid, or remove the lid with the coals on top still. Either way, take care not to let any ash get into the meal! If there is lots of liquid in the oven then leave the lid off for 5 minutes to continue cooking from below. Otherwise, lift the Dutch oven off the coals, leave to cool for a few minutes and the serve up!
Tomato pasta sauce recipe
This flavoursome sauce can be used in all sorts of one pot dishes, pasta recipes or even as a campfire pizza topping. For ease, make at home before you go camping and store in an airtight jar. However, it’s also a very easy recipe to make on your campstove at camp. Don’t be put off by the seemingly long list of ingredients; most of them are herbs and spices.
Makes enough sauce to fill a 500ml jar.
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
- 1 can tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- Handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly shredded
- Handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Saute the onions and garlic in the oil over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until soft.
- Add the fresh tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Stir in the dried herbs and spices (paprika, oregano, fennel seeds)
- Then add the can of tomatoes and tomato puree, stir together and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in the fresh herbs (basil and parsley) and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Leave to cool before placing in the jar, or use straight away.
- Store in the fridge.