11 Best Meal Ideas When Eating On A Houseboat

When you are ready to hit the water, knowing what food to eat while on board is important. Are there some meals that are better on a houseboat? I could go into detail about some specific meals but rather than just give you 11 recipes I want to provide some simple types of meals that you should make the next time you are on board your houseboat. 

There’s nothing quite like eating  an amazing meal with friends and family when enjoying beautiful scenery from your favorite perch atop an inland lake or oceanic coastline. With so many different places around the world offering amazing waterfront accommodations these days, it makes sense for more people to experience this type of lifestyle by owning their own piece of the action. 

If you’ve decided to take the plunge into becoming a floating homeowner (also known as a houseboat) then one thing you’ll need is information about how to make the most out of every meal you cook onboard. 

Here are 11 great ideas we think will help get your day started right!

1. Steak

With its rustic appearance and warm color palette this classic dish can be enjoyed at any time of year. The high iron content in beef helps maintain energy levels even after long periods spent outdoors where vegetation may not provide enough vitamin C. This recipe serves two but can easily be scaled up if needed. 

It also works well as part of a larger breakfast menu. 

Start off your morning with eggs prepared according to package directions using fresh cheese (or omit altogether) along with whole wheat toast and fruit. For lunch try steak sandwiches made with sliced tomatoes and lettuce served alongside apple slices instead of bread and butter. 

To round out your mid-day meal serve steamed vegetables such as green beans, broccoli and carrots. Finish your tasty feast with frozen yogurt topped with granola bars.

2. Salads

The beauty of salads aboard a houseboat lies in their versatility. They’re relatively easy to prepare and require no special equipment. In fact, all you really need to enjoy them onboard are bowls, plates, cutlery and good taste buds. 

Take advantage of produce seasonally available near you. Fresh greens and other healthy veggies should be included in each salad plate. And don’t worry if you have leftovers – they can always go back into the fridge until the next meal. 

Another option is to purchase pre washed mixed leaves which come packed in plastic bags. These leaves often contain less nutrients than those grown locally because they were exposed to pesticides before being shipped overseas. You can also opt to add in protein sources such as nuts, seeds, legumes, dried fruits, avocado, blueberries etc. 

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We recommend starting with a base of leafy greens followed by adding various textures and flavors. Try mixing together chopped cucumbers, bell peppers, red onions and chickpeas tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Or combine spinach, diced tomato, shredded romaine lettuce, croutons, and cashews tossed in lemon vinaigrette. Use whatever suits your palate and mood.

3. Burgers

Cooking burgers on a small grill while on board your houseboat is a great way to end a day on the water. A quick and easy way to spice up a regular hamburger is by making them bigger or by adding extra ingredients. Simply buy extra meat and slice down the middle creating top sirloin burgers rather than smaller patties. Add ingredients such as mustard, ketchup, chili sauce, grilled onion rings, pickles, bacon strips, mushrooms, olives, Swiss cheese or pepperoncini peppers. 

Serve these over a bed of iceberg lettuce garnished with Italian parsley. Also consider topping your burger patty with salsa, guacamole, chipotle hot sauce and sour cream. Just ask your waiter/waitress (also known as the houseboat chef, or dad)to do the honors. 

Don’t forget to include condiments like salt and pepper in your order since they aren’t usually provided unless requested otherwise.

4. Kebabs

Kebabs are easy and fun to make which is perfect for your next houseboat meal. This fun idea lets you use everyday fruits and vegetables such as apples, peaches, strawberries, cherries, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, potatoes and corn to create unique combinations of flavor. Just wash and trim small chunks of these items and place onto skewers with wooden or metal forks. 

Sprinkle lightly with spices such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, cumin, black pepper, white pepper and garlic powder. Next, toss in olive oil, wine and soy sauce. Finally sprinkle additional seasoning such as parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, curry powder, cinnamon and ground coriander. 

Secure kebab sticks with toothpicks and dine under the stars. Note: If using bamboo skewers, soak overnight in cold salted water.

5. Tacos

Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays nor are they just for eating on land. Having your favorite tacos on board your houseboat is an easy meal and can also involve the whole family. 

Tacos also lend to tons of versatility depending on what you have on your boat. 

Who said tacos had to be filled with meats, cheeses, and beans? Instead try filling soft flour tortillas with nutrient dense mixtures of raw vegetables and herbs or cooked grains like quinoa, brown rice, millet, couscous, amaranth, buckwheat, barley and oats. Toss in seasonal sauces and toppings including avocado, crema, refried beans, jalapeños, cilantro, cayenne pepper, lime juice, masala chilies, salsa verde, chimichurri sauce, coconut milk, and peanut butter. 

Enjoy with chips and salsa and plenty of napkins!

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6. Fish

Not everyone has access to fish markets close to their home or vacation destination. However, if you live near a body of water with edible species of fish then taking a trip to the local market to choose your dinner could be a rewarding adventure. 

However, you are on your houseboat… so forget all of that noise and just pull out your pole and start fishing! Whatever you catch you can eat, and there is nothing quite as good as catching a few nice fish, fileting them, and then eating them a few hours later for dinner. 

Remember to check with local officials concerning fishing regulations first if you aren’t from that area. If you prefer something quicker then why not try grilling fish directly over coals? Place cleaned filets skin side facing downward on grill rack inside aluminum foil. 

Cook covered for approximately 10 minutes or until desired tenderness. Remove from heat source and allow to cool slightly before serving. Opt for marinades containing lots of citrus juices or vinegars along with spices and aromatics. 

Desserts such as cobblers, pies, cakes, muffins, cookies and scones work equally well with seafood dishes. Make sure to bring extras for yourself and anyone else who hasn’t yet tried this unusual treat.

7. Soup

Leaving soup simmering over the stove or grill while you enjoy the water and life on the water is an amazing type of meal to eat while on your houseboat. You don’t have to watch it and the longer it cooks the better it will taste. 

It doesn’t matter whether you like soup during winter months due to frigid temperatures or because you’re experiencing summertime highs then keeping soups on hand aboard your vessel gives you options galore. 

Stock up on canned products whenever possible and you will have tons of options. Vegetable based stocks are ideal for warming your insides without adding too much fat, calories, or sodium. 

Soups are generally simple to prepare and pack nicely for future lunches and dinners if you are headed out exploring your surroundings. Consider trying a homemade vegetable broth recipe or  experiment with combining vegetables, meats, noodles, lentils and beans to see what strikes your fancy.

8. Pasta

If you find pasta too heavy for a houseboat meal then look for recipes featuring lighter pasta alternatives. One example would be substituting spaghetti squash for traditional noodles. 

Spaghetti squash looks similar to a large gourd and contains almost 90% pureed pulp fiber content. Its flesh resembles silken strands of elasticity and provides a very satisfying texture. 

Butternut squash can also replace typical pastas especially in vegetarian recipes. Not only does it offer a healthier alternative but tastes delicious as well. Sweet potato is another excellent substitute for common noodle varieties. Try incorporating one of these choices into today’s lunch menu.

9. Fried Foods

You won’t believe how versatile fried foods can be aboard your houseboat. From desserts to french fries, chicken nuggets to shrimp cocktail, crispy chicken wings to seasoned popcorn kernels…the sky truly is the limit. Batter mixes work well for frying anything from French fries to fish fingers. All you need is space to store them safely away from direct sunlight. 

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There are many small deep fryers that you can easily take on board your houseboat so you can make whatever delectable fried foods you want. 

Since some oils used for deep frying can cause health problems for certain individuals and pets, avoid using it if you or a friend on board might have those issues.You could look for healthier alternatives such as mashed sweet potatoes, cauliflower, tofu, and veggie burgers or use an air fryer instead (which I will mention next). 

10. Air Fryer Meals

An electric convection oven equipped with a heating element creates air currents within the unit itself. As these circulate through the chamber, moisture evaporates causing food surface temperature to rise faster than usual. This results in crisper baked goods with superior texture while cutting down preparation times significantly. 

An added benefit  for cooking with an air fryer is lower caloric consumption compared to conventional methods. While still requiring occasional stirring and flipping, air fryer cooking requires much less maintenance than stovetop and oven preparations. 

This makes it ideal for using on your houseboat since you can have dinner prepared in just a few minutes while on board. 

Be careful however not to overcook delicate items such as salmon and trout. Keep them moist by marinating them or by cooking them using a different method.  Avoid using baskets coated with nonstick coatings since they might interfere with airflow. Also skip coating pans with PAM or shortening when baking in an air fryer.

11. Freezer Meals

After a long day on the water (or exploring land), when you are ready to climb back on board your houseboat you might not want to take the time to prepare meals. Just because you are on a boat doesn’t mean you have to make a special meal just because. 

There is nothing wrong with pulling a precooked meal or food from the freezer on your houseboat and cooking it in the microwave or in a deep/air fryer. Don’t feel like just because you are on the water you have to make something special. 

You have to do what is best for you and your family and sometimes that just means eating easy to prepare meals after a long day of playing, hiking, or relaxing. 

Matthew Robbs

I love the outdoors and especially spending time with my family. Whether on a boat or at the beach, my happy place is near the water.

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