Coal-Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Bell Peppers with Spiced Sour Cream

A (camp)fire meal. Just prep, pack, and roast.

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There are dozens of meals that you can simply put together in foil packets and heat over a fire. They’re a perfect go-to camping staple for anyone who wants a hearty and savory meal with the least amount of effort. All the work for the ready-to-eat meal is done ahead of time and wrapped neatly in foil which acts as a storage container for transport, a mechanism for cooking, and a plate once it cools. All you need are your favorite veggies and spices to mix and come up with delicious meals to make in aluminum foil over the fire.

Although aluminum foil was only invented at the beginning of the last century, the idea of cooking over an open flame has been around for roughly two million years. The practice changed what we ate and the way that we ate it. Anthropologists suggest that cooking over flames may have originated from humans watching things fall into fire. People later adopted the method of changing objects by putting them in fire and applied it to food, later laying food over hot coals or buried under scorching embers.

I was first introduced to the idea of cooking in foil over flames or on the grill when I went tailgating in a parking lot just outside a sports stadium. I enjoyed grilled corn and bell peppers with warmed tortillas that were prepared on a portable grill, and what amazed me was how delicious and simple it was to make. I ended up taking the foil idea and looking up dozens of combinations of veggies, sweet dessert dishes, and meals that could be baked and buried under burning embers or coal. However, my favorite go-to foil prepared meal has to be fajitas with colorful bell peppers that hold enough texture and flavor that it can be consumed without dressing it up with anything after removing it from the fire. The recipe below is one of my favorite ways to prepare my favorite foil packet meal.

— Jasmine Lowe, Intermediate Adventure and Hike Lead of LA-based Black Girls Trekkin’

Eat it Up, Beet it Up Salad

Servings 4



  • 8 cups  spring mix salad greens
  • 2 cups cooked and peeled beets (~4-5 small beets or 2 large beets)
  • 1 lemon
  • ½  cup whole roasted pistachios
  • ¼ cup tahini 
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • 2-3 heaping tbsp. hummus 
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • ½ cup water
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Pecorino cheese



  • If you are not using pre-cooked and pre-peeled beets, boil or steam raw beets until they are tender (i.e., easily penetrated with a fork). Then, place the tender beets into cold water and slough off skin with your fingers or scrape with a spoon.
  • Chop beats into bite-sized chunks and set aside.
  • Crush pistachios in a food processor or grind in a mortar and pestle and set aside.
  • To make your dressing, mix tahini, garlic, the juice of ½ lemon, and honey in a bowl. Add ½ cup of water to thin out the dressing.
  • To build your salad, layer greens, beets, and heaping dollops of hummus. Cover hummus lumps with crushed pistachios and drizzle with tahini dressing.
  • Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add some more lemon juice and toss your salad.
  • Serve!
  • Optional step: For an added layer of flavor complexity, grate some pecorino cheese on top.

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