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This easy campfire red lentil stew is a hearty vegan meal that’s perfect for camping. This twist on Indian dal is made in a cast iron Dutch oven over a campfire.
This recipe is for all of you hungry hikers out there!
If you’ve spent your day scrambling over rocks, looking for trail markers, and guzzling bottle after bottle of Gatorade-infused water, by dinnertime you’re probably ravenous!
Chances are, those snack bags of trail mix haven’t left you full and satisfied, and what you really want (and need) is a delicious, flavorful meal to end the day.
For those of you who are camping, however, getting that meal might be a little trickier.
When you find yourself at a campsite without electricity, refrigeration, or an oven– have no fear!
With a little preparation, this campfire red lentil stew can help you easily end your day by devouring a bowl (or two) of Indian-inspired hot meal.
Earlier this summer, on our cross-country, national park-hopping and hiking extravaganza, the husband and I camped… a lot.
Always in a tent, and rarely with electricity.
We planned on cooking almost every day, which didn’t happen, but we came close! One of the ways we managed was by modifying recipes I already cook to make them camper-friendly.
This campfire red lentil stew is a simplified version of this red lentil dal, and is cooked over a campfire in a cast iron Dutch oven.
What Equipment Do I Need?
You need a campfire Dutch oven, perfect for so many types of meals! It’s helpful because it’s designed with little feet for sitting atop the hot coals.
Everything you need for this recipe is shelf-stable, and will be fine waiting in your car without refrigeration while you hike.
How to Make Campfire Red Lentil Stew
Start by heating coals in a campfire ring, or have someone else do it while you dice the onion. (Thank you, husband!)
Put oil, diced onion, garam masala, garlic powder, and salt into a cast iron dutch oven.
Set the pot on the campfire grate.
Let the onions cook for a minute or two, and then add the tomatoes.
Be careful, because, you know… you’re cooking over an open fire. Don’t burn yourself!
Let the tomatoes cook for a couple of minutes, and then add the spinach, lentils, and water.
Cover the pan, and let it cook for about 15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender.
Once the lentils finish cooking, scoop it into bowls and enjoy eating in the great outdoors.
Want more camping ideas? Check out all of our camping recipes and our trail guides!
Campfire Red Lentil Stew
- campfire ring
- metal spatula
- cutting board
- can opener (if cans aren't pop-top)
- serving spoon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup red lentils (rinsed and sorted)
- 1 15 oz can spinach, drained
- 3 ½ cups water
- Prepare campfire: Heat coals until they are very hot, or let a campfire burn down until the wood is smoldering but without active flames.
- Add olive oil, onions, salt, garlic, and spices to the Dutch oven. Set uncovered on coals. Let onions cook for 1-2 minutes until softened.
- Add tomatoes to the pot and cook 2-3 minutes. Add spinach, lentils, and water.
- Cover Dutch oven and cook about 15 minutes until the lentils are tender.If needed, season lentils to taste with more salt. Allow lentils to cool slightly before serving.
Tina Dawson | Love is in my Tummy
The things you do while camping amazes me girl!!! I cannot believe you cooked lentils over a camp fire! It’s hard enough to get them done over a stove.
thanks! 😉 actually the fire’s a lot hotter than the stove, so they cooked a lot faster!!!
Looks wonderful! pinned and twitted! 🙂
Making this for my upcoming camping trip so thank you for posting it. Can you tell me if a “Tandoori Spice Mix” is the same as a “Tandoori Masala Spice Mix” as called for in this recipe? Your recipe intro mentions one and the recipe mentions another so wasn’t sure if the homemade spice mix you mention in your red lentil dal would work, or if you were using something different in this one? The mix you mentioned in your dal recipe is: Homemade Tandoori Spice Mix: Blend 2 TB cumin, 2 TB garlic powder, 2 TB paprika, 4 tsp ginger, 1 TB coriander, 2 tsp cardamom
Oh yay!! Enjoy! And yes they’re the same- you’ll find it marked both ways! I’ll fix the post to make it clearer. 😁 Let me know how it turns out! 💕
Oh and also, you can probably find the spice mix pre-made if you don’t want to make it. I’ve found tandoori spice (also marked tandoori masala spice) at Whole Foods and a few other stores.
Hello! this looks great! Are the lentils added to the Dutch oven dry or presoaked? Thanks!
The red lentils are dry in this recipe. Hope you enjoy!
-Alisha at Champagne Tastes