After a few days in the backcountry eating a steady rotation of the same meals, we are all looking to change things up a bit, right? With a little planning and carrying a few extra ingredients, there are so many fun ways to change up typical backpacking meals. Frequently, adding a little something increases the amount of the food so that there is enough for another friend or two. It can also increase the nutritional value of the meal, giving you an extra boost after a long day. Or maybe you just want to change the dish a little because you’ve eaten it a few times in the past few days. Either way, here are some of my favorites.
A Spin on Huevos Rancheros
I think the most versatile meal Backpacker’s Bistro has is the Mexican Rice and Beans. While typically consumed as a lunch or dinner, adding some scrambled eggs makes the perfect breakfast dish. If you’re a backpacker that travels with frying pan, give a scrambling and omelet egg mixes a try (I prefer the Alpine Aire version) but if you’re like me and prefer to head out with only a JetBoil, you could cook up a package of the just-add-boiling-water scrambled eggs. Top it all with some of the homemade salsa and dehydrated green onions and cilantro (included with every package of Backpacker’s Bistro Mexican Rice and Beans) and you are going to be seriously enjoying the start to your day!
Or for some additional carbs, wrap all of that in a tortilla and you could easily eat your breakfast whilst starting to get your miles in.
Backcountry Chicken Burritos
So Mexican food for breakfast isn’t your thing? No worries. Doctoring up the Mexican Rice and Beans for lunch is a piece of cake. Add additional protein by packing a can or pouch of cooked chicken and some tortillas.
Cook the Mexican Rice and Beans per the package and stir the chicken in at the end. Spoon out onto tortillas, top with the included salsa and green onion/cilantro mix and you’ve got yourself a delicious and satisfying meal.
Wilderness Wild Rice and Arugula Salad
While I love our Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf just the way it is, you can really put it over the top with some salad greens (I especially like arugula) and/or a pouch of your favorite tuna, smoked salmon or chicken. I have yet to find chicken in a pouch that I love (Let me know if you have a favorite!) so I prefer to do a can of chicken even though it’s heavier. Just make sure it has a ‘pop top’ lid or you’re going to have to work some magic with your Leatherman.
The trick to bringing greens into the backcountry is to wash them at home, spread them in a single layer on a paper towel, roll the paper towel up and place them in a ziplock bag. That should keep them moist but not sitting in water. In moderate temperatures, your greens should be good to go for a couple of days. If it’s pretty hot, I’d recommend eating them the first day out.
Want to keep it vegan-friendly? Just add greens and, if you have it, a drizzle of olive oil.
Want to add a little more protein? Add a pouch or can of chicken, salmon or tuna. I went with smoked salmon today but I think canned chicken is my favorite.
So there you have it. A couple of ways to make some already delicious meals into something new and different when you’re out in the woods. Happy hiking!
2008 winner of the French Culinary Institute's Top Chef award, Melissa Lynn Lieser combined her passions for backpacking and food when she founded Backpacker's Bistro in 2016 with a simple philosophy: we believe that the most satisfying and healthy meals begin with whole, real foods. We believe in finding quality products from sustainable sources, locally if possible.