These sweet corn and tomato gnocchi foil packets are the ultimate late-summer camping meal. They're ready in less than 30 minutes, easy to make, inexpensive, and perfect for a simple vegetarian meal at camp or at home.
When it comes to camping meals, I personally think the humble foil packet reigns supreme. There are endless variations, they are easy to make, and there are minimal dishes involved.
I'm pretty smitten with this vegetarian foil packet recipe for several reasons. First, they're vegetarian. We try to keep our meals meatless at least a few times a week, even when we're camping, but after playing outside all day, you still need a hearty meal, and this definitely ticks that box.
Also, I've never met a gnocchi that I don't like. Boiled, baked, pan-fried . . . you get the idea. So it was a no-brainer to make those pillowy bites of potato goodness the base of these foil packets.
Then you add the stellar late-summer combination of sweet cherry tomatoes and corn to the mix and you've got yourself the ultimate summer camping meal.
Why This Recipe is Great for Camping
- Most of the ingredients can be stored at room temperature, so they don't take up precious cooler space.
- These campfire vegetarian foil packets are hearty and satisfying, but also very inexpensive to make.
- You only need to dirty (and wash) one bowl!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Gnocchi--I recommend using the shelf-stable gnocchi instead of the refrigerated variety. Then you don't have to pack them in the cooler, and they tend to be less expensive. If you can only get the refrigerated kind, it will still work.
- Corn--Sweet summer corn adds so much flavor to this meal. I highly recommend getting fresh corn on the cob and slicing it yourself. In a pinch, thawed frozen corn is fine to use.
- Tomatoes--Cherry tomatoes are perfect since they're so juicy and sweet. If you want to make these with regular tomatoes, choose large juicy ones that will give off a fair amount of liquid as they cook.
- Oil and butter--I prefer to use both for cooking for the best flavor, but if you're camping and you can only bring one, either will work. Similarly, if you want to make this recipe vegan-friendly, replace the butter with olive oil.
- In a large bowl, toss the gnocchi with the olive oil to coat.
- Mix in the corn, then fold in the tomatoes and pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the gnocchi mixture equally among four sheets of aluminum foil. Top each with 1 ½ teaspoons of butter. Fold up each sheet of foil to create a pouch.
- Cook the foil packets on a grill or over hot campfire coals until the tomatoes begin to break down and the gnocchi is tender. Garnish with basil, if using.
Place your food in the center of the foil. Bring the long edges of the foil up to meet, and then fold them over a couple of times, creating a seam that runs over the top of your food. Then working with one end at a time, fold it over a few times to seal the end.
I like this method because it's easy to open the seal on top to check them for doneness and then close, if necessary, and it also creates an easy pouch for eating when opened.
As with most food, steady even heat is key. If you're making them on the grill, let it preheat fully before putting the foil packets on it.
If you're making them over the campfire, ensure that you have hot coals from an established fire under the grate. Don't put the foil packets over wood that is giving off steady flames as that will deliver uneven heat and may cause them to burn.
You sure can. Follow the instructions for preparing the packets, then bake in a 400°F (200°C) oven until the gnocchi and corn are tender and the tomatoes are beginning to break down, 12 to 15 minutes.
Tips and Troubleshooting
- I don't recommend flipping the foil packets while they are cooking. The steam created in the pouch will ensure that everything ends up perfectly cooked.
- To make these vegan, replace the butter with olive oil or plant-based butter. Check your gnocchi to make sure it doesn't contain eggs. Most shelf-stable ones do not.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or your cooler for up to 3 days. Rewarm in a skillet over low heat, or make a new foil pouch and rewarm it gently.
More Camping Recipes You'll Love
Tried This Recipe?
Corn and Tomato Gnocchi Foil Packets
- 18 ounces gnocchi
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 ears fresh corn shucked, and kernels cut from the cobs
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces
- Fresh basil leaves for serving (optional)
- Prepare a grill for medium heat (400°F/200°C) or a bed of hot campfire coals.
- In a large bowl, toss the gnocchi with the oil to coat. It's ok if it still appears dry.
- Add the corn kernels, cherry tomatoes, and pepper flakes and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the gnocchi mixture evenly among four sheets of aluminum foil. Scatter the butter over the top.
- Fold up each foil packet to fully enclose the contents.
- Place the foil packets on the grill or campfire grate and cook until the gnocchi are tender and the tomatoes begin to break down, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Use a bbq glove or oven mitt to carefully remove the foil packets from the heat before opening. Top with basil, if using.
- Don't flip--I don't recommend flipping the foil packets while they are cooking. The steam created in the pouch will ensure that everything ends up perfectly cooked.
- Dietary--To make these vegan, replace the butter with olive oil or plant-based butter. Check your gnocchi to make sure it doesn't contain eggs. Most shelf-stable ones do not.
- Storage and reheating--Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or your cooler for up to 3 days. Rewarm in a skillet over low heat, or make a new foil pouch and rewarm it gently.