Tons of ideas to pimp your pasta meals on the trail

October 12, 2017

Pasta and other wheat products have a kind of a bad reputation these days. This is too bad because pasta is rich in carbohydrates, the preferred energy source of muscles while hiking and performing other physical activity tasks. Pasta made with wheat also contain several B vitamins. For a high fiber content, go for the whole wheat or whole grain pasta.

Versatile, pasta is an easy go-to option for many campers and backpackers. Check out these ideas to pimp your pasta meals on the trail:

Different sauces


Use regular or double concentrated tomato paste for a nice tomato flavor. If you want a lightweight meal, you can go for tomato powder. For example, Oregano, Tomato and Sausage Orzo and Chili-Type Stew.


Use canned heavy cream or even evaporated milk. For a lightweight option, go for the heavy cream powder or a mix of ghee and powdered skim milk. For example, Creamy Mushroom Egg Noodles or Bacon Alfredo Gnocchi

Rosé Sauce

Not able to decide between tomato-based or cream-based? Do a mix of both! For example, Shrimp and Rosé Sauce Pasta


Sundried tomato or basil pestos make excellent high-energy sauces for pasta dishes on the trail. I usually buy small tube containers of pesto to limit the weight. For example: Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Pesto Tortellini

Soup mixes or powdered sauce mixes

Check what is available at your local grocery store and experiment! For example, Smoked Salmon Pasta and Broccoli and Salmon Mac&Cheese

Go wild!

Why not adding asian or indian flavors to your pasta dishes?

Don’t forget the proteins!

For a complete meal, make sure to incorporate proteins to your pasta dish. Here are some ideas:

  • Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP). Vegan, tasteless and rehydrating quickly, it goes with almost any dishes.
  • Cooked fish or seafood in foil pouch or can
  • Cooked and frozen sausage or other type of meats (only recommended for the first night of the trip)
  • Cheese
  • Skim milk powder
  • Jerky: beef, salmon, pork, turkey, chicken, name it!
  • Lentils
  • Pre-cooked and dehydrated beans or bean pasta
  • Nuts and peanuts
  • Any dehydrated meat or poultry meat. Make sure it is shelf-stable though. You don’t want to be sick on the trail!

Feel free to share your favorite pasta recipes below. Enjoy!

By Gen Masson, MSc, RD, CD

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