Balsamic White Bean and Summer Vegetable Gratin

Outdoor cooking...what great memories this recipe topic brought to me. I did quite a bit of camping as a kid and I loved everything about it. My father was in the Coast Guard and each new place he was stationed my Mom saw as an opportunity to explore the great outdoors. This meant dragging their 3 children along as they went hiking through redwood forests, sand dunes, mountains, sometimes even flooded out swamps. I'm almost positive I was the only child that never once complained. I can feel Mom rolling her eyes now...

As soon as new families in new town became new friends the camping gear was packed up. Mom was a master camper and always had fellow campers in awe of her gourmet creations. No fancy gear was needed or ever present. A simple gas burner, a tarp held up with rope and a few trees to keep the rain away, and her trusted cast iron skillet. While other families were chowing down on hotdogs and hamburgers every night Mom was whipping up healthy, fresh, and delicious full blown meals for us.

Ingredients Ingredients


Camping food took a gourmet turn when Missy was in charge. She was amazing and as an adult looking back, the woman was working her tail to the bone! Mom's dedication to keeping her family healthy and well fed, even when it wasn't easy, is my inspiration for this campfire recipe, no actual campfire needed - of course as you can cook this just as easily in the kitchen. My first attempt at easy Gourmet Camp Food resulted in this amazing Balsamic White Bean and Vegetable Tian. While I'm making things a lot easier on myself by eliminating almost ALL cleanup afterwards, I'm not scrimping on the taste or nutrition one bit! The foil packets and lack of meat are the number one time savers here. No meat juice/cross contamination to worry about, no pans or serving plates to clean up afterwards, and the vegetables cook up quickly and with little to no effort once you get them on the fire.

White Beans and Summer Vegetables White Beans and Summer Vegetables


Balsamic reduction turns ordinary white beans into sweet and smoky magic beans. No exaggeration there whatsoever folks - my kids will eat them. That is pure magic. Don't go trying to make your own balsamic reduction by the fire though, you can find the sweet syrupy vinegar right in your grocery store ready to use. Fresh vegetables are thinly sliced for super quick cooking and given a quick punch of fresh herb flavor with Litehouse Instantly Fresh Thyme. Any number of vegetables can be used as well as any other herbs from the Instantly Fresh Herb line. This recipe is so easy you could even have the kids prepare it!
Campfire Cooking Campfire Cooking


Just a few pointers though:
  • Do use a double layer of aluminum foil as well as parchment paper to make the cooking packets. When the heat from the fire does NOT burn through your cooking packet you will thank me. You're welcome...
  • Do not try to cook your food directly in the flames. Simply throwing the packets into the middle of a campfire will not get the job done. Let your fire burn until hot coals are available. Move some coals to the side and cook on those.
  • Do use the "optional Parmesan cheese" in this recipe. Cheese is wonderful, you know you want it, enough said.

I hope this Gourmet Camping Recipe inspires you to bring the healthy back into camping. A night of hotdogs is great, s ‘mores every night is super, but eating healthy while camping is far from impossible. My Mom inspired me and now hopefully I'll inspire a few of you! I guess this apple didn't fall far from its tree. Love you Mom!

White Bean and Summer Vegetable Gratin Ready to Eat! White Bean and Summer Vegetable Gratin Ready to Eat!





Balsamic White Bean and Summer Vegetable Gratin

Serves 6 | Finish in 30 minutes

Cooking in the great outdoors, or in your very own backyard, has taken a gourmet turn with this simple, quick, healthy, and delicious Balsamic White Bean and Summer Vegetable Gratin.


2 cans white beans drained and rinsed
Balsamic reduction
2 zucchini thinly sliced
2 summer squash thinly sliced
2 tomatoes thinly sliced
2 red potatoes thinly sliced
1 onion thinly sliced
6 tsp. Litehouse® Instantly Fresh Thyme
Fresh grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper


Set up 6 cooking packets using by placing a square of parchment paper on top of two sheets of aluminum foil. Place 1/2 cup white beans on each cooking packet. Sprinkle beans with salt and pepper then drizzle with the balsamic reduction. On top of the beans layer the vegetables in any order you desire. Sprinkle each with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp. of the thyme. Top each packet with parmesan if desired. Fold up the packets tight enough to trap in steam caused by the cooking vegetables. Place foil packets near red hot coals or rocks from your campfire and cook for 25 minutes.
Or: Place foil packets on a grill over high heat and cook for 25 minutes.
Or: Place the foil packets in an oven preheated to 475 degrees or higher and cook for 25 minutes.

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