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Camping Pantry Staple: PESTO SAUCE

Our camping pantry/food box is a container (10 gallon) that holds dry goods for our trips. We keep staples like coffee, salt and pepper, trail mix and oatmeal in this tote. We are always on the look out for additional staples that we can add to the pantry that can be used multiple ways. For us, camping means having limited space and any item that can be used in many ways is valuable. We also tend to keep things easy and cook meals that use only one pan and very few dishes.

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The other week our friends hosted us at their place and cooked us dinner. She made chicken kabobs with mushrooms, peppers and zucchini. What made the dinner special was the addition of pesto sauce that she brushed on the kabobs just before serving them. It got us thinking of all the possible ways to use pesto sauce while camping and we have added it to our camping pantry.

In addition to adopting the technique of brushing the pesto on to grilled meats and/or vegetables, we have also used pesto during camping:

  • On eggs (scrambled, fried on toast, hardboiled)
  • On sandwiches instead of mayonnaise
  • As salad dressing, mixed with vinegar or lemon juice
  • On toast with mozzarella and tomato
  • As a substitute for fresh basil in our caprese salad recipe
  • Added to our one-pot Italian-inspired stew

We like natural ingredients and look for pesto that only includes olive oils (not canola, corn, safflower, etc.). This isn’t always possible in small town grocery stores, so we tend to keep a jar on hand in the pantry.

Pesto Sauce in a jar surrounded by pine nuts and pinecones on metal board

The addition of pesto to our camping pantry allows us many options. Pesto sauce is versatile as it doesn’t need much refrigeration and it can also stay in the pantry if unused. It can also be a substitute for a meal that requires olive oil as we don’t always have the oil on hand because it can be messy in the pantry box. Sometimes an ingredient such as pesto can be inspiration for a meal idea when we find ourselves stuck for ideas. We review the items in the pantry to see what we can use for meal planning.

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We’ve thought of a few ways to use pesto sauce, tell us, how will you use it?

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