My southern Grandma’s veggie chili is my all time favorite. It’s got tons of healthy stuff in it: zucchini, squash, peppers, tomatoes and beans.

Chili is perfect fall camping food, especially when there’s a chill in the air.

Maybe that’s why they call it ‘chili.’ Or maybe not.

Great Veggie Chili recipe for backpacking or camping

I made a batch of chili and dehydrated half of it for our recent camping trip on the Wisconsin River. Dehydrating is a great way to go, but if you’re planning on car camping you can freeze the chili instead. It freezes well and it’ll keep your cooler cold until you’re ready to thaw it.

To make dehydrated chili, start by cooking up a batch of chili at home. Then leave it in your dehydrator overnight.

Great Veggie Chili recipe for backpacking or camping

At camp start by covering the dehydrated chili with water. Let it soak for about 15 minutes. Lay in the sand, recline in a camp chair, etc.

Great Veggie Chili recipe for backpacking or camping

Then heat it over a stove or fire. So easy!

Dehydrated Veggie Chili


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
28 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
2/3 cup salsa
2 teaspoons chili powder
pinch of crushed red pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cans (15 oz each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 large red bell pepper cut into 1/2″ chunks
1 large zucchini cut into 1/2″ chunks
1 medium yellow squash cut into 1/2″ chunks

At Home:

  1. Sauté onion. Add tomatoes, salsa, chili powder, crushed red pepper and salt. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 50 – 60 minutes.
  3. Let chili cool slightly and then spread over solid ‘fruit roll’ dehydrator trays. I dehydrated half of a batch of chili, but if you have enough trays you could dehydrate a full batch of chili. Set dehydrator to 135 degrees. Once chili is dry (about 8 hours), put it in an air-tight container or zip top bag.

At Camp:

  1. Cover chili with water and let sit 15 minutes, or until it’s nearly rehydrated. 
  2. Heat and serve.

Camping Recipe - Veggie Chili

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