Backcountry Meals are Perfect for Quarantine


Trip Leader John Alexander has the same suggestion for backcountry cooking, quarantine cuisine, and your lunch on a random Tuesday: copious amounts of sriracha.


By Lindsey Segal

Quarantine cooking is remarkably similar to cooking in the backcountry: options are limited, substitutions are frequent, and creativity is paramount. Outdoor Adventures Trip Leader Lindsey Segal shares her favorite recipes and tips for making the most of whatever’s still left in your pack… er… pantry.

When you’re backpacking, you can make anything you would make at home normally but with fewer ingredients and supplies and no refrigeration. This makes it great quarantine cooking as well when you’re trying to avoid going to the grocery store often! The easiest way to meal plan for backpacking is to choose a grain base, protein and veggie toppings, and a sauce. These are all items that can last a while with/without refrigeration and you probably already have most of them in your house! Everything here is a suggestion, so get creative, use what you have, and season to your liking.

Here are some ideas:

Grains Toppings Sauces
Quinoa Canned chicken Curry (1 small jar Thai Kitchen curry paste + 1 can coconut milk)
Pasta Canned salmon Peanut sauce (3 parts crunchy peanut butter + 1 part soy sauce + sriracha + garlic/garlic powder + onion/onion powder + ginger/ginger powder + salt + water to thin)
Rice noodles Canned tuna Pesto (2 parts fresh basil + 1 part olive oil + 2 parts garlic/garlic powder + 1 part cheese + salt)
Rice Canned sardines Green tahini sauce (2 parts fresh herbs (parsley, basil, dill, cilantro, mint, oregano, etc) or dried + 1 part tahini + 1 part lemon juice + water to thin + salt to taste)
Brown rice Veggies (carrots, peppers, broccoli, onion, etc) Hummus
Soba noodles Chickpeas Teriyaki sauce (1 part soy sauce + 3 parts water + garlic/garlic powder + ginger/ginger powder + brown sugar/honey)
Mac’n’cheese Beans Tomato sauce (canned tomatoes + garlic/garlic powder + splash of red wine vinegar + salt + red pepper flakes)
Couscous Summer sausage
Tortillas/wraps Hot dogs
Sweet potatoes Tofu
Sundried tomatoes


To make sauces: chop all ingredients until fine and then mix all ingredients together. Season to taste and add water to thin.

Classic combinations:

Quinoa + canned chicken + carrots + onions + curry sauce

Couscous + veggies + chickpeas + spices

Pasta + canned sardines/canned salmon + sundried tomatoes + pesto

Rice noodles + veggies + peanut sauce

Mac’n’cheese + hot dogs

Wraps + veggies + hummus

Tortillas + rice + beans + tomatoes + cheese (burrito)

Sweet potatoes + beans + tomatoes + cheese + corn + onions (chili)

Tortillas + tomato sauce + cheese + onions + sausage (pizzadilla)

Brown rice + canned chicken + broccoli + teriyaki sauce

Quinoa + chickpeas + veggies + green tahini sauce

Get creative!


About the Author:

Name: Lindsey Segal Year in School: Sophomore Major: Public Health Hometown: Palo Alto, California Favorite Outdoor Activity: Backpacking and Scuba Diving Favorite Camp Food: S’moredillas Ideal Outdoor Trip Destination: Trinity Alps in California If you were stranded on a desert island, what/who would you bring with you: Friends!