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One-Pot Backpacking Recipes

Try these nutritious one-pot backpacking recipes for backpack travelers, includes tips for one-liner meals, portable cooking and a chart of ingredients for one-pot meals.

| March/April 1984

  • These one-pot backpacking recipes will help you camp with ease.
    These one-pot backpacking recipes will help you camp with ease.
    Photo by Fotolia/svetlankahappy
  • Chart: Mix and match ingredients to create thousands of different one-pot recipes.
    Chart: Mix and match ingredients to create thousands of different one-pot recipes.
    Chart by the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff

  • These one-pot backpacking recipes will help you camp with ease.
  • Chart: Mix and match ingredients to create thousands of different one-pot recipes.

Cook delicious and nutritious one-pot backpacking recipes for one-pot meals on the road.

One-Pot Backpacking Recipes for Backpack Travel

When weary hikers pull into camp for the evening, delicious, hearty meals are in order. But unfortunately — because of weight limitations and the lack of kitchen facilities in the wild — such feasts are a bit harder to whip up on the trail than they would be at home. Consequently, particularly when on extended trips, camp cooks are often tempted either to repeat the same "old faithful" main dishes night after night or to resort exclusively to expensive freeze-dried fare.

However, you don't have to give in to either of those dubious "solutions" to the camp cooking problem. In fact, with just a little creative homework, you can save money, eliminate on-the-trail culinary boredom, and stamp out below-par nutrition. How? Easy . . . one-pot backpacking recipes. Put together — in advance — simple but tasty "one-liner" main dishes that will have your camp ringing with praise for its ingenious chef.

The Camping One-Liner Defined

The one-liner is simply a pared-down, one-pot, main-dish recipe in which the specific amount of each ingredient can be as varied as the situation demands. To "build" a one-liner, you start with a basic list of elements: meats or meat substitutes . . . pastas or grains . . . vegetables . . . sauces . . . seasonings . . . toppings . . . and anything else that you know will tickle the taste buds of your traveling companions. While some such items might require a trip to a natural foods store, a deli, or a meat market, the majority of them should be available at most any supermarket.

Then again, though escaping the cost of a steady trail diet of freeze-dried foods is one of the advantages of one-liner meals, some of the handy dehydrated foods are certainly worth incorporating into your recipes (especially single-ingredient packages of vegetables and meats) . . . and you can find them at a growing number of outlets, including the specialty departments of some supermarkets. Or, if you venture into home food drying, you'll be able to add even more possibilities to your list of items. (Inexpensive home-dried tomato slices, for example, are a fantastic addition to many one-pot dishes.)

As I mentioned earlier, one-liner recipes do not state the exact amount of each ingredient to be used, but rely instead on each cook's preferences to balance the component parts. After all, you are the best judge of what — and how much of it — will satisfy the folks you'll be feeding. So all you really need from me is a starting point . . . in the form of some suggestions as to what might taste good with what, and a few tips on packaging and preparing your one-pot meals.

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