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Meal Recipes


These are my best ideas for backpacking breakfasts and dinners. The recipes have been extensively field-tested by me and by hundreds of clients on my guided backpacking trips. Some meals were immediately winners, but often I tinkered with the ratios and secondary ingredients to get them just right.

When creating these meals, I strived to make them:

  • Convenient
  • Low cost, and
  • Hearty

You will find that at-home preparation is fast and easy, that the ingredients are generally inexpensive and widely available, that common food restrictions (gluten, dairy, vegetarian) can be easily accommodated, that cook-time is minimal, and that the recipes are calorically dense and yummy.

Backpacking recipes: Ingredient information & sourcing

By Andrew Skurka / March 3, 2015 /

This page is intended to provide a single source of information about ingredients that I use in my backpacking breakfast and dinner meal ideas, which I will be posting over the next few months. Many of them are used in more than one recipe, so this page will prevent redundant information and allow for easy updating.…

Breakfast Recipe: Cheesy Potatoes

By Andrew Skurka / March 3, 2015 /

Of all the breakfast recipes that I have tried out on my backpacking groups, Cheesy Potatoes is a regular favorite. On the sweet-or-savory scale, it’s decidedly savory, due to a bland potato base that is flavored with cheese, green chilies, and bacon, plus some whole milk for creaminess. Credit to Amanda for developing this recipe.…

Dinner Recipe: Polenta + Peppers

By Andrew Skurka / March 5, 2015 /

Inspired by the finest restaurants in Tuscany…no, not really. But this is a tasty backpacking dinner recipe — filling, flavorful, unique, and packed with calories. Meal stats Recommended serving weight: 5.6 oz Total calories: 700 Caloric density: 125 cal/oz Like instant potatoes, polenta absorbs a significant amount of water, at a 4:1 volume ratio. So this meal cooks…

Breakfast Recipe: Oatmeal with Fixings

By Andrew Skurka / March 8, 2015 /

There are many breakfast recipes involving oatmeal. This is just another one — it’s not fancy, but it is received well, even by those like myself who are not “sweet” breakfast types. Also, the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to source. Meal stats Recommended meal weight: 4.50 oz Total calories: 560 Caloric density: 125 cal/oz…

Dinner Recipe: Peanut Sauce & Noodles

By Andrew Skurka / June 9, 2015 /

This Thai Peanut Noodle recipe competes with my Beans & Rice for the crowd favorite. It goes on nearly every single guided trip, and on most personal trips, especially if I have a prepared batch of sauce already in the fridge. The sauce is worthy of at-home use. Amanda and I have a container of it in the…

Dinner Recipe: Pesto Noodles

By Andrew Skurka / September 6, 2015 /

Pesto Noodles is not normally competitive with Beans & Rice or Thai Peanut Noodles for a group’s favorite dinner recipe, but it is a reliable third or fourth option in my backpacking cook book. And it’s certainly not to be overlooked: I’ve probably eaten more Pesto Noodles this summer than any other meal, because it’s still that good. Meal stats Recommended meal weight:…

Dinner Recipe: Curry Couscous

By Andrew Skurka / September 12, 2015 /

Like Pesto Noodles, this Curry Couscous recipe is a solid second-string backpacking dinner behind my All-Stars. Normally I make it with dried vegetables and raisins, but freeze-dried chicken and/or cashews work well, too. Meal stats Recommended meal weight: 5.7 oz Total calories: 703 Caloric density: 123 calories/ounce Ingredients 2.50 oz || Couscous 0.75 oz || Olive oil…

Meal Recipes: The case for fewer favorites, not more

By Andrew Skurka / September 23, 2015 /

Early last week I posted a fifth backpacking dinner recipe. You should not expect more — these five meals are the extent of my backcountry cookbook. (I will post some additional breakfasts, however.) I have considered developing more, either from scratch or based on other recipes out there. But in addition to not yet being tired of…

Snack Recipe: Raw cookie dough

By Andrew Skurka / March 21, 2016 /

As a thank you for helping her land a new job last year, an acquaintance dropped off a small but game-changing gift: a mason jar of raw cookie dough. It disappeared remarkably fast — it worked as a pre-morning run snack, a dessert after lunch or dinner, and all points before, after, and in between.…

Breakfast Recipe: Southwest Egg Burrito

By Andrew Skurka / August 13, 2019 /

Occasionally I appreciate a blueberry pancake or a bowl of Captain Crunch. But my standard breakfast at home entails eggs, cheese, toast or a tortilla, with some hot sauce or salsa. When I delegated the meal preparation this year to David, a local ultra runner who has worked at Boulder’s best restaurants (currently, at Flagstaff…