Easy Backpacking Meals

To make these easy backpacking meals, just add dried vegetables and/or dried meat to rice, couscous, and pasta products from Zatarain's, Near East, and Annie's Organic.

Easy Backpacking Meals: Spanish Rice, Red Beans & Rice, Couscous with Beef & Tomato, and Cheesy & Saucy Pasta.

Photos above (left to right): Spanish Rice, Red Beans & Rice, Couscous with Pine Nuts, and Cheesy & Saucy Pasta.

Spanish Rice with Beef & Tomatoes

Dehydrated ground beef and tomatoes complete this easy backpacking meal.

What’s in the Zatarain’s box?

Approximately 1¼ cups rice and seasonings. Makes up to three servings if you add a little instant rice.
    
Serves 1

Ingredients:

At Home:

*You will need to add extra instant rice to get three servings out of the box. Fill a 1-cup measuring cup with Spanish Rice mixture. Next, add the remaining Spanish Rice mixture to a ½-cup measuring cup and then top off with added instant rice. Mix back in with the first cup. You now have 1½ cups of rice and seasoning which can be divided into three servings.

Pack all ingredients in a plastic bag.

On the Trail:

Place all ingredients in pot with water and soak for five minutes.

Light stove, bring to boil, and continue cooking for two minutes.

Remove pot from stove and place in insulating cozy for ten minutes.


Red Beans & Rice

Dehydrated vegetables complete this easy backpacking meal. Zatarain’s has a reduced sodium variety with 25% less sodium.

What’s in the Zatarain’s box?

1½ cups total of rice, beans, and seasonings.

To make one serving of this recipe, divide the box contents in half.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Zatarain’s Red Beans and Rice
  • ¼ cup dried vegetables; try a mix of peppers, onions, tomatoes, or okra
  • 1¼ cup water to rehydrate

Large Serving:

This easy backpacking recipe provides 413 calories. To make a larger serving with 506 calories, use 1 cup Zatarain’s Red Beans and Rice, ⅓ cup vegetables, and 1½ cups water to rehydrate.

At Home:

Pack all ingredients in a plastic sandwich size bag.

On the Trail:

Place all ingredients in pot with water and soak for five minutes.

Light stove, bring to boil, and continue cooking for two minutes. You need the two minute boil time or the rice will turn out chewy.

Remove pot from stove and place in insulating cozy for ten to fifteen minutes.

Variation: Add slices of summer sausage or pepperoni to meal for more protein and calories.


Couscous with Beef & Tomato

This easy backpacking meal adds dehydrated tomatoes and ground beef to Near East brand Couscous with Toasted Pine Nut Seasonings.

What’s in the Near East box?

Approximately ¾ cup couscous and 2 Tbsp seasonings.
    
Divide the contents of the box in half to make two servings.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • ½ box couscous (slightly less than ½ cup)
  • 1 Tbsp Near East® Seasoning Mix (half the pack)
  • ¼ cup dried tomatoes, sliced cherry or diced
  • ¼ cup dried ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1¼ cup water to rehydrate

At Home:

Pack seasoning mix in a small plastic bag and enclose with other ingredients in a larger plastic bag.

Alternative packing: Pack the couscous separate from the other ingredients.

On the Trail:

Place all ingredients except seasoning mix in pot with water and soak five minutes. Couscous absorbs more water than other pastas. Be prepared to add a little extra water.

Light stove, bring to boil, and continue cooking for one minute. Add a little water if necessary. Watch to make sure that the couscous doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. Remove the pot from the stove sooner if all the water is absorbed.

Alternative trail cooking method: If you pack the couscous separate from the other ingredients, you can bring the meat and vegetables to a boil first and then add the couscous for one minute or less boiling time. This cooking method makes it less likely that couscous will stick to the bottom of the pot.

Remove pot from stove, stir in seasoning mix, replace lid, and place pot in insulating cozy for ten minutes.


Cheesy & Easy Backpacking Meals

Annie’s® Organic Cheesy Lasagna, Beef Stroganoff, and Cheddar Herb Chicken, which were easy backpacking meals featured in Recipes for Adventure: Healthy, Hearty & Homemade Backpacking Recipes, are no longer being sold by Annie's.

However, Annie's Organic has similar new products available like Annie's Pizza Mac, Cheesy Mac, and White Cheddar Broccoli Mac. These products boast "Hidden Veggies," so they are kid-friendly backpacking meals. You can also find many other brands of flavored noodle products in most grocery stores.

Annie's One-pot Pasta varieties for easy backpacking meals.

Simply divide the powdered sauce and noodles in the box into individual serving sizes as demonstrated below.

If you supply your own precooked and dried pasta, you can also buy packets of McCormick gravy and stroganoff powders to add flavor to meals.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup noodles
  • ¼ cup dried ground beef or ground chicken
  • ¼ cup dried vegetables, any kind
  • 1½ Tbsp cheese powder, gravy mix, or stroganoff powder
  • 1 Tbsp powdered milk
  • 1-2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, if desired
  • 1¼ cup water to rehydrate

At Home:

Pack sauce/cheese/milk powder in a small plastic bag and parmesan cheese in another small bag. Enclose with other ingredients in a larger plastic bag.

On the Trail:

Place all ingredients except the powdered ingredients in pot with water and soak for five minutes.

Light stove, bring to boil, and continue cooking for another two minutes. If you are supplying your own precooked and dried macaroni, then a one minute boil will do.

Remove pot from stove, stir in powdered ingredients, replace lid, and place pot in insulating cozy for ten minutes.

After removing lid, sauce will thicken as it cools. Top with parmesan cheese.


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