In my previous post I featured 10 delicious ‘real food’ backpacking recipes to address the ‘imagination gap’ that many hikers seem to have when it comes to outdoor food.  Why put up with bland packet food or expensive freeze-dried options when you can cook your own tasty and healthy food at a fraction of the price ?

Although I had to dig around a little I’ve found that there are many more good backpacking recipes – so here’s the sequel !

Some of these are adapted recipes from tried-and-tested meals we have at home, others I’ve found in various hillwalking forums and websites.  I’ve tried to select those that use fresh ingredients as far as possible.  All are quick, easy and reasonably lightweight to carry, but usually do require some preparation  beforehand – which of course makes them quicker and easier to cook while camped out.

There are some great tips in this article, which provides general advice for someone willing to be a little more adventurous in their eating.  In particular, I’d agree with the recommendations to:

  • eat perishables on your first day
  • think about weight and packaging (why take a tin of beans in water if you can drain the water and take them in a ziploc bag?)
  • go for flavour (spices, chillies, chorizo etc)
  • leave no leftovers – or leftover packaging that doesn’t pack down.

Cooking up a tasty tea in the fading light

Quick bean and chorizo cassoulet

A tasty and simple dish requiring only minimal preparation at home.


  • Olive oil
  • Half a chorizo sausage (pprox.. 6” long)
  • 1 chopped leek, white part only, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 packet of passata
  • 1 chicken stock pot/cube
  • Few sprigs fresh thyme or a bay leaf
  • 1 tin of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (stored in a Ziploc bag)


  1. At home, chop the leek, carrot, celery and garlic, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and seal in a Ziploc bag
  2. Once at camp, chop the chorizo and fry it in its own oil, stirring. Remove to a plate.
  3. Add the vegetables from the Ziploc bag and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until they’re quite soft.
  4. Add the passata, stock pot, thyme and chorizo, and simmer for 10 minutes.


Moroccan spiced couscous with tuna

A really quick, easy and tasty meal.


  • 1 tin of tuna in brine (you could store the contents in a multi-purpose Tupperware box instead of taking a tin)
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 100g packet of flaked toasted almonds
  • Couscous
  • 500ml boiling water
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zest
  • Chopped coriander


  1. At home, mix the garam masala, tomato puree, honey, lemon juice and zest.
  2. Boil some water, adding 3 tablespoons to the Ziploc bag initially, mixing well to form a paste. Allow to stand for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the couscous into a bowl and pour over just enough boiling water to cook it. Mix well then cover tightly and allow to stand for 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tuna to the couscous, with the packet of toasted almonds and (if you have it), fresh coriander. Mix well and season to taste.


Macaroni cheese

Dead simple and can easily be dressed up with bacon bits (if this a first day’s meal), grated cheddar or parmesan cheese and herbs.  Colman’s make a packet of dried cheese sauce that requires just water rather than milk – but to make it even creamier you could add dried milk powder too.  It’s easier to make this with two pots but not impossible with one and a bowl.


  • Macaroni
  • Packet of dried cheese sauce
  • Dried milk powder
  • Bacon bits/lardons
  • Dried herbs (or even fresh parsley if you can manage)
  • Grated cheddar or parmesan for a topping.


  1. Cook the macaroni and set aside to keep warm in a pot cosy
  2. Fry the bacon lardons and set aside
  3. Mix the required amount of water with the cheese sauce mix and heat on the stove. Add dried milk powder if you’re using this.
  4. Mix the macaroni, bacon bits and sauce together, and add the herbs and grated cheese topping before serving.


Spicy satay noodles

Making really tasty food on the hill doesn’t need to be difficult but does sometimes need forethought and planning.  For this meal it’s wise to prepare the ingredients in advance at home in separate Ziploc bags which mean that making the meal is simply a case of quick cooking and easy mixing.


  • Dried noodles
  • ¼ block of creamed coconut (stored in a Ziploc bag)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (crunchy)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 small red chilli (finely chopped)
  • A ‘thumb’ of ginger (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • ½ tablespoon peanut or sesame oil
  • Fresh coriander


  1. At home, to chop your garlic, ginger and chilli and combine with the peanut or sesame oil in a small Ziploc bag. In a separate Ziploc bag (or small tub), mix the peanut butter and soy sauce.
  2. Boil some water and cook the noodles until al dente, for 5-10 minutes. Set aside and keep warm but reserve about a half cup of the cooking liquid.
  3. In your pot fry the garlic, ginger, and chilli in the peanut or sesame oil for a minute.
  4. Add the soy sauce and peanut butter and stir until smooth, again for about a minute. Add some or all of the liquid you cooked the noodles in a little at a time to thin the sauce.  At the same time, shave or crumble the coconut block into the sauce to give a smooth, creamy consistency
  5. Strain the noodles and mix with the sauce. If you have it, stir in the fresh coriander to add extra zing.  Eat and enjoy.


Chorizo and chickpea stew                                 

Chorizo is a great backpacking staple since it can be kept for days out of the fridge and has bags of flavour.  This meal provides a filling stew that’s well worth looking forward to after a long day hiking.


  • A 6” long cooking chorizo sausage
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 packet of passata
  • Contents of 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and stored in a Tupperware or Ziploc bag
  • 1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • (Optional) toasted sourdough bread or alternative flat bread, to serve.


  1. At home, chop the red onion, garlic and chorizo and store in a Ziploc bag together with the olive oil. Mix the smoked paprika and cumin seeds in a separate small Ziploc bag.
  2. At camp, fry the chorizo, onion and garlic for 5 mins or until the chorizo is browning on the outside. Stir in the spices.
  3. Add the passata and chickpeas, and simmer for 5-10 mins to allow it to thicken slightly.  Serve with toasted sourdough/flatbread and parsley.




Vegetable and cashew curried rice

It helps to have two cooking pots for this recipe but can be easily done with one pot if you are able to keep your rice warm in a separate bowl.  Soaking the dried vegetables as long as possible helps reduce the chewiness.


  • Easy cook rice
  • Chopped roasted cashew nuts
  • 25g dried vegetables (eg Whitworths country vegetables)
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chicken stock pot/cube
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds.


  1. At home, add the chopped onion and garlic to a Ziploc bag, together with the olive oil
  2. Bring some water to the boil and add the rice and dried vegetables together. Cook for 10-15 minutes.  Drain, set aside and keep warm.  Dried vegetables can often be a little chewy so the longer you soak them the softer they’ll be.
  3. Fry the onion and garlic in your pot
  4. Add the stock pot/cube together with a little water and simmer. Add the curry powder and cumin seeds and stir.  You’re looking for enough liquid to provide a medium-thickness sauce for your rice.
  5. Add the sauce and rice together, add the chopped cashew nuts and serve.


Mushroom tortellini

Tortellini is a good option for backpacking given it only needs a few minutes’ cooking, and lots of flavours (eg spinach and ricotta, ham and mushroom) are available.  The downside, however, is that supermarket packets weigh around 250-300g which is towards the top end of the weight you’d really want to carry.  You may find of course that a whole packet of tortellini is too big for a typical backpacking pot in which case, only take part of the packet or have two servings !


  • Tortellini
  • Stir-in sauce (eg Dolmio sauce pots or a cup-a-soup such as mushroom).


  1. Cook the tortellini and drain. Note that if you’re using a cup-a-soup, you want to leave a little excess water to mix in with the instant soup mix.
  2. Add the stir-in sauce pot or cup-a-soup, stir and enjoy.


Pasta bolognese

A rich, filling meal that benefits from a ready-made Bolognese sauce mix.


  • Bolognese sauce mix (eg Colmans, Schwartz)
  • Pasta
  • 25g dried vegetables (eg Whitworths)
  • Packet of bacon lardons (optional)
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Freeze-dried herbs
  • Parmesan


  1. At home, chop the onion and garlic and store in a Ziploc bag together with the olive oil.
  2. Cook the pasta and dried vegetables together for 10-15 minutes. Drain, set aside and keep warm.  Reserve a cup of the cooking water and set aside separately.
  3. Fry the onion and garlic, and bacon bits/lardon (optional).
  4. Mix the pasta back into the pot with the onion, garlic and bacon. Add the Bolognese sauce mix together with some freeze-dried herbs.  Add the cup of water the pasta was cooked in.
  5. Top with grated/shaved parmesan and enjoy.


Pasta pesto with green beans

Pasta pesto is such an easy staple for backpacking but can be a little bland unless it’s ‘accessorised’.  There are lots of ways to do this including by adding pine nuts, fresh basil, green beans on the side, spinach and parmesan or pecorino cheese.


  • Pasta
  • Pesto (eg the squeezy tubes now available)
  • Pine nuts
  • Fine green beans
  • Parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • Fresh basil (optional)


  1. Cook the pasta for 10 minutes then add the fine green beans to steam for the final few minutes.
  2. Drain the pasta and beans then stir in the pesto and pine nuts, topping with cheese and fresh basil.

Spaghetti with anchovies, dried chillies and pangritata

We like this Jamie Oliver recipe at home and as long as you have the forethought to cook the anchovy, chilli and pangritata topping at home it transforms what could otherwise be a bland dish.  Pangritata is a lovely Italian-inspired mix of toasted bread crumbs, lemon juice, garlic and anchovies giving a flavoursome, golden topping.  I’ve adapted the recipe a little to make it more suitable for backpacking.


  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Good quality olive oil
  • 1 tin or jar of anchovy fillets
  • Good quality bread eg ciabatta), a french stick or white boule
  • Spaghetti
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • Grated lemon peel
  • Fresh thyme and/or rosemary (or freeze-dried herbs)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh parsley (optional)


  1. At home, make the anchovy, garlic and pangritata (bread crumb) topping. Start by chopping the garlic into largish chunks (too small and they’ll burn when you fry it, giving a bitter taste.  Next, put a generous amount of olive oil into a frying pan and fry the garlic very slowly for about 10 minutes over a low heat.
  2. In the meantime crumble your bread into little bits (about the size of dice) and add to the oil and garlic mix together with some extra oil and fresh thyme and/or rosemary. Fry until the breadcrumbs go crisp, then add salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste.  Allow to cool then store in a Tupperware container.
  3. At camp, cook your spaghetti until al dente (around 10-12 minutes), drain, set aside and keep warm.
  4. Add the anchovies in their oil and cook gently few a few minutes until they melt away. Add the lemon peel during this process.  (Lemon juice is normally used at this point but lemon peel is easier to transport when backpacking)
  5. Add the pasta to the frying pan with your lemon-anchovies sauce. Stir well, adding most of the pangritata. Finally, serve with the remaining Pangritata and fresh parsley if you have it.



6 Comments on “10 More Delicious ‘Real Food’ Backpacking Recipes

    • Great, I’m glad you found them useful and – most importantly – liked them ! As for most articles on my blog, I write about stuff that I’ll personally use and find useful and so these 20 recipes are all the backpacking recipes I’ll ever need.

  1. Pingback: Planning Multi-day Backpacking Meals | Wild about Scotland

  2. Pingback: Product review: Firepot expedition meals – Wild about Scotland

  3. Thanks these recipes look great. My son is going on a DofE expedition next week and this will help him a lot!

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