Combining orzo pasta, dehydrated veggies, summer sausage, rich tomato powder, and spicy cajun seasoning, this jambalaya is ready to eat in minutes but tastes like it has been simmering on the stovetop all day. The one pot nature of the recipe means it’s easy to cook and easy to clean, while its nonperishable ingredients means you’ll be able to enjoy this on day 1 or day 7 of your trip.
Why It Works For Backpacking
• Big flavor, small pot. Using spicy cajun seasoning and tomato powder, this jambalaya has a complexity of flavor that is rarely found in backpacking meals, and it uses only one pot so you’re not stuck doing a ton of dishes in the backcountry. This homemade one pot backpacking meal is worth washing a dish for – it combines orzo pasta with a spicy and flavorful sauce that will fill you right up after a long day of exploring.
Mastering the Techniques
• As with many backpacking meals cooked in a lightweight pot, scorching is something to be aware of. Once the ingredients have been added to the water, keep it moving around with a spoon to prevent the food from burning to the bottom.
• The level of spice in Cajun seasoning can vary greatly from brand to brand. Before taking this meal out on the trail, test the heat level of your seasoning and dial it in. There’s nothing worse than being starving and looking a bowl of food that is too spicy to eat. We used McCormick’s in this recipe.
• We found tomato powder on nuts.com
• Olive oil can be packed in small resealable containers, or you can find individual packets on minimuz.biz
Story and photos by Megan McDuffie and Michael van Vliet, who write about culinary and other adventures at Fresh Off the Grid.
1 cup orzo pasta
½ cup freeze dried or dehydrated vegetables
2 tablespoons tomato powder
1 tablespoon Creole spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 oz. summer sausage or jerky (optional – omit to make this meal veg friendly)
2 ½ cups water
Pre-Trip: Place the pasta, freeze dried vegetables, tomato powder, Creole spice, and salt in a resealable bag. Pack along the olive oil and summer sausage.
At Camp: Empty the contents of the bag into your cook pot. Add the water and olive oil and bring to a low boil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender, making sure to stir fairly often (especially towards the end) to prevent the food from scorching and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
In the meantime, cut up the sausage or jerky and add to the pot as the rest of the meal is cooking to heat through.
Remove from the heat and enjoy!