5 Must Try Backpacking Recipes from Dirty Gourmet

Camping & Backpacking / ZZBLOG POSTS

After putting so much thought and consideration into planning your backpacking trip, choosing the perfect gear for the weather forecast and packing your pack for optimal load efficiency, it’s easy leave dinner to Chef Boyardee, Dinty Moore or a dehydrated backpacking meal. For sure, all of the above are viable options but not for the ladies of Dirty Gourmet. Mai-Yan and Aimee are on a mission to inspire gourmet outdoor cooking by providing easy camping recipes and ideas. I discovered their blog a few weeks ago and was blown away by their culinary masterpieces they create specifically for camping, backpacking and bike touring.

To help you “go beyond hot dogs and rehydrated sludge and discover your gourmet potential” on your next adventure, Mai-Yan and Aimee were kind enough to share five of their favorite backpacking recipes.


Mai-Yan and Aimee are on a mission to make good food a part of every outdoor adventure. Photo by Hilary Walker.

“Our criteria for backpacking meals is familiar. They must be lightweight, nutritious, made of non-perishable ingredients and require only one pot. That said, it’s important to us to be creative and have fun with our food. Though pre-packaged backpacking food is often good, it’s even better to customize your meals to your individual taste. We encourage you to treat these recipes like a formula, go ahead and substitute ingredients to please your taste buds and have fun. Bon appetit!”

Coconut Curry Soup

Yield: 1 serving


30 grams coconut cream powder (1/2 a packet)
1-2 cubes vegetable bouillon
1 teaspoon curry powder
pinch of cayenne
a handful of rice noodles
a handful of dehydrated veggies
2 cups water



At home, combine coconut cream powder, bouillon, curry powder and cayenne in a small zip top bag. In another bag, portion out your noodles and dehydrated veggies.

At camp, boil the noodles and dehydrated veggies in the water. Once the veggies are re-hydrated and the noodles are tender, stir in the coconut cream mixture and serve.


Breakfast Couscous

Yield: 1 serving


1/2 cup couscous
1/3 cup dried milk
1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoon salted shelled pistachios, chopped
2-3 teaspoons sugar
a pinch of cardamom
1 1/3 cup water


At home, combine couscous, dried milk, raisins, pistachios, sugar, and cardamom in a zip-top bag.

At camp, boil the water. Stir the ingredients into the water, remove from heat, and leave covered (without peaking) for 5 minutes. Serve hot.


Broccoli Cheese Rice

Yield: 2 servings


1 package broccoli cheese soup mix
½ cup boil-in-a-bag rice (parboiled)
2 cups water
1/2 cup dehydrated veggies (optional)
1/2 cup pre-cooked chicken (optional)
1-2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, crushed chips, or crushed nuts (optional)


Bring water to a boil, place bag of rice into water.

When rice is cooked, remove from water. Turn stove off, but leave hot water in pot.

Add soup mix and loose rice back in, along with any optional additions. Stir to combine, then cover.

Let set for about 5 mins. Top with parmesan, nuts, chips, or breadcrumbs, for crunch.


Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 2 servings


1/2 cup instant potatoes
1/4 cup dehydrated fire roasted veggies
1/8 cup bacon bits
1 1/4 cups water
slices of parmesan cheese (optional)
salt to taste



Bring water to a boil, and turn off heat.

Add dehydrated fire roasted veggies to water in pot and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Put instant potatoes in large bowl and pour water with veggies into the bowl. Mix so no powdered potatoes remain.

Garnish with bacon bits and slices of parmesan cheese.


Peanut Sauce Ramen

Yield: 1 servings


1 pack of instant noodles with seasoning pouch
0.85 ounce pack of powdered peanut butter
1/8 cup dehydrated veggies
1 pinch of red chili flakes
¾ to 1 cup of water


Put water in pot and add noodles, seasoning powder, chili flakes and dehydrated veggies. Bring water to a boil, and then lower heat to simmer contents for 3-5 minutes.

Add powdered peanut butter and stir well. Serve immediately.

What’s YOUR favorite one pot backpacking meal? Leave a comment and do your part to make the backcountry a tastier place to be.


Jim Darroch


  1. May 22, 2014, 8:08 pm

    Keeping things light and easy to access is one thing but you have made some really appealing recipes here – I’m not sure if I agree with the fat and protein comment – just makes me constipated!~ lovely ideas to put into action.

  2. May 14, 2014, 11:07 am

    Backpacking includes a lot of variables, including weather, mileage, elevation gain, and physical differences of each individual. I required very different things on my 14 day mountaineering trip in Alaska than I did on my 5 mi overnight in Zion during the spring. If you feel you need more protein or fat than what’s in these recipes, feel free to use them as a starting point, and customize to your heart’s content. Add chicken, increase the peanut butter, or lessen the amounts of the carb heavy base. And please let us know if you come up with anything new and delicious! Food should be as joyous an experience as the rest of your trip into the wild.

  3. BRIAN
    May 13, 2014, 1:35 am

    If you try to eat like this while backpacking……. You will DIE!
    Any serious hiker/backpacker knows that fat and protein is the name of the game. All this carb laden crap is going to leave you starving less than an hour after you eat it!

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