Playa Guide: How to Eat Healthy at The Burn

Before my first burn I was told that it was impossible to have fresh fruits or vegetables because they would spoil in the heat of the desert. So I spent an unhappy week eating canned food and dried fruit. Fast forward to the following year when my friend, who is a vegan chef, showed up with four coolers to feed three people and force fed me kale for an entire all week. I was amazed to watch her produce fruits and vegetables from her coolers, and we ate like queens.

But not everyone is so likely to be fed, and as you may have heard, you can only purchase two things at the burn: ice and coffee. That means you need to rely on yourself to eat, because there are no vendors to serve you food. So, in light of your radical self-reliance here is a compilation of everything I have learned:

Cooler Management 

If you want to make your fresh ingredients survive than you have to manage your cooler well. First, make sure your cooler has a drain at the bottom. This will make certain your fresh ingredients don't get soggy. When you buy your ice make sure you include a block of ice. Blocks of ice take much longer to melt, and keep the overall temperature cooler. Keep your cooler off the ground, under a tarp and in the shade at all times to make your ice last.

Fresh Ingredients

Some fruits and vegetables do better than others. These are the fresh fruits and vegetables I always bring: apples, grapes, bananas, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, kale, broccoli, and green beans. 

Dry Ingredients

Almond ButterChiliChipsCrackersDessertsDolmaGranolaJerkyLuna BarsNutellaNutsOlive OilOlivesPastaPasta SaucePicklesPre-Made MealsQuinoaSalsaSeasoningsTrail MixDried Fruit

If you decide you want to cook, I use a Coleman two burner propane stove and here are my favorite simple and healthy recipes that have discovered and subsequently eaten year after year:

Black Rock Gazpacho

Ingredients:
Annie's Organic Tomato Soup
1/2 of a Chopped Cucumber
1/2 of a Sliced Avocado
1/2 of a Chopped Bell Pepper
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Place the soup in the cooler to get it cold. Slice up the cucumber, avocado, and bell pepper and place them in the bottom of two bowls. Pour the cold soup over the vegetables and then place a dash of oil across the top and season with salt and pepper.  

Burner Kale Salad

Ingredients:
6-10 Kale Leaves
Olive Oil
Precooked Chicken or Steak
1/2 of a Chopped Bell Pepper
Salt & Pepper

The trick to making kale taste good is you need to massage it. Start by ripping the kale into bite size pieces. Then place the kale in a bowl, pour 2 Tbsp of the oil over the kale and then squeeze the kale, massaging it for a couple of minutes until it turns bright green and you can smell it. Divide the lettuce into two plates and then put the bell pepper on top. Precooked meat is easy to find at the grocery store. Just choose a protein that you like. Season to taste and enjoy!

Playa Chicken Salad

Ingredients:
1 Can of Chicken
2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1 Green Onion Sliced
1/2 of a Sliced Avocado
Crackers

Combine the chicken, mayonnaise, green onions, and avocado in a bowl and then use a spoon to put the chicken salad on individual crackers and enjoy!

Crazy Easy Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup of Quinoa
1 Cup of Water
4 Slices of Bacon
1/2 of a Chopped Bell Pepper
1/4 of a Chopped Onion
2 eggs

Boil one cup of water, and then add the quinoa and lower the temperature and cook for about 15 min, until the quinoa is done (or cook the quinoa before you leave town.) Next, in a pan cook the bacon, and once it is done set it aside to cool. Cook the bell pepper and onion in the bacon fat until they are soft. Crumble the bacon into the cooked quinoa along with the vegetables. Serve the quinoa into two bowl, fry up the two eggs in the pan and place one top of the quinoa bowl.

Burner Breakfast Burritos

Ingredients:
4 Slices of Bacon
1/2 cup of Egg Whites
Several Slices of Cheese
1/2 of a Chopped Bell Pepper
1/4 of a Chopped Onion
2-3 leaves of Kale
Salt & Pepper
2-3 Tortillas
Salsa

In a pan cook the bacon and then set aside. Cook the bell pepper, onion, and kale in the bacon fat. Once the vegetables are soft, add the egg whites and cheese and scramble together before crumbling in bacon. Season with salt and pepper before dividing into tortillas and serving with salsa.

 

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