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  • Writer's pictureShreya Swaika

Easy Backpacking Dinner Recipe

SPICED LEMON COUSCOUS WITH VEGETABLES in metal pot on a campsite table

Photo by Shreya Swaika


Packing and planning meals for a backpacking trip can be quite a challenge sometimes, especially if you are a foodie! It is so convenient to go to an outdoor store and buy freeze-dried meals, but really, how many of those can you eat before you start to crave some real, fresh, yummy food?

If you are going on a short 3 or 4-day backpacking trip, treat yourself with a light-weight yet deliciously healthy meal on the first night, so you can start off the trip feeling rejuvenated. The recipe we have in mind is easy, quick, and does not require a dehydrator. However, if you do have one, you have the option of using it to reduce some of the weight.




1 cup uncooked couscous

2 tsp Garlic powder seasoning

1 ½ tsp Curry powder seasoning

A pinch of Lemon salt*

1 Yellow/Red/Green/Orange Pepper

A handful of cherry tomatoes

¼ Cucumber

2 tsp dried parsley

* Can be substituted with freshly squeezed Lemon juice


At home

Step 1: Add the curry powder, garlic powder, and dried parsley to the couscous.

Step 2: Finely chop the pepper. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Chop the cucumber in little pieces. Mix all of the vegetables in a bag and seal.

Step 3: If you are using lemon juice instead of lemon salts, squeeze 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into a separate bag, and remember to add a pinch of salt to the bag with the couscous mix.

In the backcountry

Step 1: In a medium saucepan, add 2 cups (500ml) of water, and bring to boil.

Step 2: Add couscous mix and vegetable mix, stir, and bring to boil.

Step 3: Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Add lemon salts or lemon juice. Mix well and enjoy!

Jetboil camping stove set up in boulder field at dusk with nearby camping gear

Photo by Shreya Swaika

Tips and tricks

  • Remove the couscous from its original packaging and put it in a ziplock bag, mix the spices in the bag and seal it. This will reduce the amount of space it takes in your backpack.

  • Write brief cooking instructions and water amounts on the zip-lock with a sharpie, so you do not have to scratch your brain at the end of a long day trying to remember how to cook it.

  • Use the ziplock bag as a garbage bag once the contents have been emptied into the saucepan.

  • If you cannot find lemon salts, lemon juice is a great alternative. You can either squeeze the lemon juice to reduce weight or just cut a wedge and add it to the bag of vegetables.

Give this recipe a try on your next backpacking or camping adventure, and you will not be disappointed!

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