While a dutch oven might not be ideal for a backpacking trip – if you’re going car camping – dutch ovens are one of the most versatile pieces of cookware you can bring along. I’m new to using dutch ovens outside my oven (cooking with charcoal or fire sounded more intimidating than my nice temperature controlled oven.) But the good news is that it’s really quite easy! This dutch oven vegetarian lasagna is a great starting point – plus it’s delicious and a cinch to put together (as all good camping food should be.)
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Serves: 6
- 15 lasagna noodles (oven ready if you can find them)
- 24 oz jar spaghetti sauce
- 3 Cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
- 2 Cups ricotta cheese
- ½ Cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
- 2 Cups baby spinach
- ½ Cup water
What Else You’ll Need
- 24 pieces of charcoal (and some way to light it!)
- 4 quart 10 inch camping dutch oven
- lid lifter (not required but handy)
- hot pads
- tongs or some other means of moving charcoal briquettes
- parchment paper (not required but handy)
- zip top plastic bags to hold your ingredients
If you’re lazy like me and hate scrubbing out cast iron pots – try using parchment paper in the bottom. It doesn’t alter the flavor of your food like foil can and it makes cleanup WAY easier. A handy trick is to create a circle by folding and trimming your paper.
Tear off a sheet (I used 15 inch paper). Fold it in half.
Fold it in half again.
Now fold it into a triangle.
Fold your triangle in half.
Then cut off the very top of the paper so you have a nice even triangle and it’ll form a little circle in your pot that makes it easier to put ingredients in.
Before You Leave Home
This lasagna is mostly all about assembly, but there are a few things you can do before leaving home so this is as easy as possible.
Prep your veggies and have them ready to go. If you didn’t buy pre-washed bagged spinach – make sure you thoroughly wash your spinach. No one likes spinach grit in their lasagna. Mushrooms need to also be cleaned and sliced (if you didn’t buy the pre-sliced and pre-washed variety.)
Assemble your cheese mixture. Combine 2 Cups of the mozzarella, all of the ricotta, and all of the parmesan with your two eggs. Mix this all up and place in a zip top bag (that you’ll put in your cooler.)
At the Campsite
Prepare your cooking area. I had a really good experience using charcoal because it’s much easier to control the temperature with charcoal. Wood is still definitely an option – but you’ll need to do a little research ahead of time to figure out how to gauge the temperature on a wood fire vs a charcoal fire. If you opt for charcoal – you’ll need 24 briquettes (12 for the top and 12 for the bottom.)
Put the parchment paper in your dutch oven. Now place a single layer of uncooked noodles. You can break them to make them fit (although they won’t fit exactly.)
Now add a layer of sauce (about 3/4 Cup.)
Add about 1/3 of your cheese mixture.
Now add about half of your mushrooms.
Then add about half of your spinach.
Then start your layers all over again…first noodles.
Then sauce…you get the drift. Keep adding layers until you’re out of ingredients or space in your dutch oven.
Your final layer should be about a half a cup of water in your spaghetti sauce jar. If you swirl it around – you get that last little bit of sauce. You should pour this around the edges of the dutch oven.
Cook that lasagna! The secret to this is to place 12 briquettes in a tight little cluster, then place your dutch oven on top. Then add the lid to the dutch oven and place 12 more briquettes on top of that.
Let the lasagna cook for 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes – carefully lift the lid (that’s what the pot lifter will do for you – allows you to evenly lift the lid off which means no ash in your food) and sprinkle the remaining 1 Cup of mozzarella on top. Cook 15 minutes more and check for doneness. You can check by inserting a fork into the lasagna. If you don’t encounter any hard noodles – it’s done!
It’s hard to get a beautiful slice out of a round pot, but we were starving and didn’t care if it partially fell apart. This would be a great recipe to add more vegetables to – like artichoke hearts, zucchini, summer squash, onions, or olives.
Happy Eating!Guest Post by Robin Laulainen. Robin writes about camping and other outdoorsy stuff at Trek Southwest, pets every dog she meets, and drinks more coffee than she should. She blogs about her other passion - creating - at Make It Yourself Girl.
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