Gourmet Backpacking Dinner Recipes

Campfire culinary skills

gcoles/iStockphoto.

If you think spending a week in the wilderness means subsisting on days-old gorp, flavorless noodles and whatever you can catch or forage, you're in for a scrumptious surprise. With a little bit of preparation you can eat quick, easy gourmet meals on the trail — and be the envy of all your trailmates. All of the recipes we've gathered can be made in just a freezer bag or one pot and cooked over a campfire or simple camp stove. After all, the last thing you need when backpacking is a pile of dirty pots and pans! So lace up those hiking boots, grab your titanium spork, and read on for some truly divine campfire cuisine. (Text: Laura Moss)

Queet's Valley Shepherd's Pie

One Pan Wonders.

This hearty meal is perfect for cold-weather camping and is ready in mere minutes.

Queet's Valley Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients

  • 7 ounce package baked tofu (savory flavor)
  • 4 ounce package mashed potatoes
  • 1 packet mushroom sauce
  • 1/2 cup dried mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup dried mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 teaspoonvegetable bouillon
  • 1/4 teaspoondried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoondried thyme
  • Dash of salt and pepper
Directions
  1. At home: Combine the vegetables, sage, thyme and bouillon in a plastic freezer bag. Place the potatoes in a second freezer bag. Carry the mushroom sauce and diced tofu separately.
  2. On the trail: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and pour 2 cups into the potatoes and 1 cup into the vegetables. While the vegetables are rehydrating, sauté the tofu. Add the vegetables to the tofu, but don't drain the vegetables. Add the packet of mushroom sauce and stir well to help it thicken. Top the mixture with mashed potatoes before serving.

Serves 2-4

Courtesy of onepanwonders.com

Camp Stove Pizza

codywellons.com.

There’s something about a daylong hike and being miles from civilization that makes you long for a greasy slice of pizza. Feed that craving. Camp Stove Pizza

Ingredients

  • Bisquick
  • olive oil
  • pizza sauce
  • Asiago cheese
  • Italian seasonings (oregano, garlic)
  • pizza toppings

Directions

  1. At home: Measure Bisquick into small container or plastic bag — the amount of will depend on the size of your pan. Pour sauce and oil into small containers, and dice cheese and store in bag.
  2. On the trail: Add water to Bisquick and stir to create dough. Coat the bottom of your pot or pan in olive oil and then pour the dough into the pan and spread it thin. Spread sauce on top of the dough and then sprinkle cheese across dough until it's coated. Add any toppings or seasonings you've brought along, and then place the lid on the pan. Cook pizza on your camp stove for 7-10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Serves 1

Backpacker's Quinoa Soup

t-dubisme/Flickr.

This healthy and delicious vegetarian soup is enough to satisfy any backpacker’s belly. Backpacker’s Quinoa Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cooked and dehydrated quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons freeze-dried corn
  • 2 tablespoons dehydrated mixed vegetables
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 packetTrue Lime
  • 1avocado
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. At home: Combine dry ingredients in a locking plastic bag. Carry the avocado separately.
  2. On the trail: Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add the dry ingredients to the water, stir, and allow to rehydrate. Dice the avacado and stir it into the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 1-2

Courtesy of onepanwonders.com

Trail Tacos

Carlos Richards.

Cook up a campfire fiesta in just a few minutes. Trail Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup beef-flavored TVP (textured vegetable protein)
  • 1/2 cup minute rice
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried sweet corn
  • 1/3 packet taco seasoning
  • 3-4 small tortillas
  • 1 packetTrue Lime
  • 1avocado
  • salt and pepper
  • Dash of salt and pepper
Directions
  1. At home: Combine TVP, rice, corn and taco seasoning in a 1-quart freezer bag. Place this bag and the tortillas in another bag or container.
  2. On the trail: Boil 2 cups of water. Remove water from heat and immediately add to food mix, filling bag until water just barely covers food ingredients. Mix thoroughly, then seal the bag and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir the food contents and test the rice for softness. When rice is tender, spoon mixture into tortillas, add hot sauce or salsa, and enjoy.

Serves 1-2

Courtesy of J.squared

Beefy Noodles

jeffreyw/Flickr.

Jazz up camping staples like beef jerky and ramen noodles with this delicious dish. Beefy Noodles

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons shredded beef jerky
  • 1 3-ounce package ramen noodles
  • 1 1-ounce package instant onion soup
  • 2 tablespoon mixed dehydrated vegetables
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1-2 packets soy sauce

Directions

  1. At home: Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large freezer bag.
  2. On the trail: Boil 2 cups of water. Add water to bag and stir. Let noodles soften and vegetables rehydrate for about 5 minutes. Season with soy sauce to taste.

Serves 2

Hobo Dinner

sporkist/Flickr.

This campfire classic can easily go from cliché to gourmet. Hobo Dinner

Ingredients

  • 1 potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 burger crumbled, or use dehydrated meat, TVP or veggie patty
  • Seasonings *
Directions
  1. At home: Chop vegetables and potato and store in bag or container. If you're using meat or a veggie patty that's not dehydrated, freeze it and make this meal your first night.
  2. On the trail: Place vegetables and meat or TVP in tin foil and season to taste. Add about a teaspoon of water and then wrap tin foil around the food. Carefully place your dinner on hot campfire coals and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, rotating as needed. Unwrap, add any condiments (ketchup, cheese, hot sauce), and enjoy!

Serves 1-2

The great thing about hobo meals is that anything goes! If you're a practiced forager, look for nuts, mushrooms or herbs to give your dinner a distinctly local taste.

Red Pepper Pasta

Lokesh_Dhakar/Flickr.

Spice up bland noodles with this quick and easy recipe. Red Pepper Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cupparmesan cheese
Directions
  1. At home: Pack garlic powder, red pepper, parsley and shredded cheese in a locking plastic bag. Put olive oil in a leak-proof container.
  2. On the trail: Boil and drain pasta and then stir in remaining ingredients.

Serves 2-4

Shrimp and Grits

ironreb/Flickr.

You can have a taste of the sea and the South no matter where you decide to camp. Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup instant grits
  • 1/4 cup dehydrated shrimp
  • 1/4 cup dehydrated peppers and onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 cup water
Directions
  1. At home: Pack all ingredients in a plastic bag or container.
  2. On the trail: Mix bag of ingredients with water in a pot and soak for 5-10 minutes. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for two minutes. Cover pot, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

Serves 1

Cheesy Rice and Tuna

Carlos Richards.

Mix up this campfire comfort food in just a few minutes. Cheesy Rice and Tuna

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup minute rice
  • 1/4 cup cheddar broccoli soup mix
  • 1 packet dehydrated cheese mix (such as from a macaroni and cheese mix)
  • 1 7-ounce pouch tuna in water (or substitute dehydrated veggies or TVP)
  • 2 cups water

Directions
  1. At home: Combine rice, soup mix and cheese in 1-quart freezer bag. If substituting veggies or TVP for tuna, add these to the bag as well.
  2. On the trail: Combine dry ingredients with water in pot and soak for 5-10 minutes. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Cover pot, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

Serves 1

Courtesy of J.squared

Camp Stroganoff

Lokesh_Dhakar/Flickr.

This campsite version of a dinner favorite will refuel you after a long day on the trail. Camp Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 1 package beef-flavored Ramen (including seasoning)
  • 1/4 cup dehydrated ground beef
  • 1/4 cup dehydrated vegetables
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt tuna in water (or substitute dehydrated veggies or TVP)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoonpaprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • individual packet (about a tablespoon)cream cheese
  • 1-2 packets soy sauce
Directions
  1. At home: Combine all dry ingredients in a 1-quart freezer bag.
  2. On the trail: Boil water and then pour into bag until all ingredients are covered. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes and then stir in cream cheese. Close the bag and let sit for another 5 minutes.

Serves 1