Road Trip Recipes: No Cooler Recipes

Although these road trip recipes don’t require refrigeration, keep in mind that they will only last one day in your car with you. That means, eat them that day, or throw them out!

Road trip recipes


How can these things last without a cooler? They are all things that can be at room temperature without swiftly spoiling (like meat or mayonnaise). Every one of these road trip recipes should last 7 hours without spoiling. If you’re making these the night before you leave on your road trip, refrigerate them overnight and then take them out right before you leave.

I recommend putting whatever food you’ve made in a canvas or paper bag and putting the napkins (and forks if it’s not just sandwiches) in the bag as well. That way everything’s together and you can just reach for the bag when you’re ready to eat. All salads should be in sealed Tupperware-type containers – preferably small ones that can act as single servings. If you don’t have small containers, use a larger one and bring plates and serving spoons.

Road Trip Recipe: Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Serves 4
1 lb. spiral pasta (dry)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt, plus tablespoon salt for pasta water
Freshly ground pepper
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Two large garlic cloves, minced or put through garlic press and separated
½ tsp. hot pepper flakes
3 cups of halved grape or cherry tomatoes
3 peppers – use one red, one green, and one orange/yellow
14 fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly
Note: Fresh ingredients make this pasta salad great - and bottled ones can ruin it - so make sure your lemon juice is freshly squeezed and your garlic is fresh, too, for the best result.

Thinly slice your peppers and put them in a medium bowl. Add ½ cup of the olive oil, one of the minced garlic cloves, salt, and grind fresh pepper to taste. Toss peppers in mixture until thoroughly coated. Put prepared peppers in a 12-inch non-stick frying pan, turn the heat to medium high, and stir frequently until peppers are softened and lightly browned – about 10 minutes. Lower heat if peppers start to burn. Remove pan from heat.

Whisk together rest of olive oil, lemon juice, remaining minced garlic clove, and hot pepper flakes in a large bowl, adding oil last in a steady stream. Whisk well and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water (4-5 quarts) to a boil and add a tablespoon of salt to the water. Add pasta and boil just long enough to be al dente (read package instructions for exact timing as pastas vary). Drain pasta and re-whisk dressing. Add pasta immediately (while still hot) to the large bowl holding the dressing and toss to coat. Add tomatoes, sautéed peppers, and sliced basil and toss thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste.

Road Trip Recipe: French Potato Salad
Serves 4
2 lbs new potatoes cut into quarters
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup and 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped fine
1 medium shallot, chopped fine
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Whisk together 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, Dijon mustard, tarragon, and shallot in a small bowl. Set aside.

Boil potatoes in a large pot filled with water and a teaspoon of salt. Boil for 15 minutes or until you can easily pierce a potato with a fork. Drain potatoes.

Put potatoes in a large bowl one layer at a time; sprinkle each layer with some of the 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar as well as salt and pepper. Once all layers are complete, re-whisk dressing and pour over potatoes. Toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with parsley.

Road Trip Recipe: Grilled Zucchini
That’s me in the photo preparing this simple favorite. I also love it as a buffet item because it’s so good served at room temperature.
Serves 4
4 medium zucchini
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper

Trim zucchini and slice lengthwise into ½ inch strips. Place zucchini strips on plates and brush with olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Light grill. When grill is hot, grill zucchini 8 minutes, turning 1 time (only once!). Cut zucchini into bite size pieces for easy knife-free serving on the road.

Road Trip Recipe: Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches
Elvis was well-known for loving these sandwiches – and he had great taste! This is the only recipe that really won’t go bad for a couple of days.
Serves 4
8 slices white or wheat bread
Peanut butter
3 Bananas (ripe but not too brown)

Spread 4 pieces of bread with peanut butter – as thickly or thinly as you prefer. Slice bananas thinly and arrange slices on top of peanut butter. Top with other slice of bread. Halve sandwich with a knife.

Road Trip Recipe: Brie and Preserves Baguette Sandwiches
Fruit and brie go together perfectly – add a French baguette and you’re in brie heaven!
Serves 4
One French baguette, cut into 4 pieces and halved lengthwise
Fruit preserves/jam, any flavor you prefer – I love apricot with brie
Two wedges of brie – preferably soft/ripe

Take all four pieces of the baguette (sliced lengthwise) and split each open on a surface so each is with its "partner" half. Spread one side (inner soft side) thickly with preserves of choice.

Slice brie thinly into long strips. Arrange strips of brie on preserves. Top with other half of baguette piece. I recommend wrapping these sandwiches tightly in tin foil to hold them together.


Return from No Cooler Recipes to Road Trip Recipes
Return to Planning Fun Road Trips Home