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The word gourmet is relative. Especially when it comes to long distance backpacking. As a foodie and a long distance backpacker, I struggle to find a compromise. Here is a sample of one of my recipes that takes a little extra time to make, but the reward is worth it!

“Stuffed” Peppers

This is a variation on my Super Burritos recipe. Instead of stuffing the filling into a tortilla, you will carry some fresh bell peppers out of town with you and slice them into the filling. It’s a nice treat to have fresh vegetables in the backcountry!

This recipe makes one very large 2-serving meal as written. However, it may make more sense to make 3 batches of it at a time and use the whole pound of meat. Just triple the recipe and later portion into 3 bags.

Note: You will need at least 1.3L pot for this recipe, as it is very large!


  • 1/3 lb. extra lean ground beef or turkey (7% fat)
  • 1/3 packet powdered taco seasoning
  • Extra hot sauce to season, as desired
  • 2 Knorr Spanish sides
  • 2 oz. shredded lite cheese
  • 1 small can of black olives, sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper or 5-7 mini sweet peppers

At-Home Preparation

Brown the ground meat in a large skillet, making sure to cut meat into small pieces as it cooks. Add taco seasoning and hot sauce. You shouldn’t have to drain any fat if you use a 7% meat. (This lean meat dehydrates better and is less likely to go rancid.)

Spread the meat mixture evenly on a parchment-lined tray in the food dehydrator. Sprinkle the sliced olives, onions, and cheese on top of the meat mixture. Completely dry, turning every hour or so.

Package it up: Place meat/cheese/onion/olive mixture into a pint or quart freezer bag.

Place 2 Spanish rice sides into a snack bag. Then, package the rice inside the quart freezer bag with the meat. Store the pepper(s) inside your cook pot while you are hiking to protect them from getting smooshed.

Variation: If you like more traditionally-flavored stuffed peppers, replace taco seasoning with 3/4 c. of you favorite spaghetti sauce. Simmer cooked meat in the sauce for 15 minutes before drying. Replace the Spanish rice with 1 c. instant white rice.


On-Trail Preparation

1-2 hours before eating, remove the baggie of Spanish rice and set it aside. Then, add just enough water to the quart bag to cover the meat mixture. Close the bag securely and let the meat mixture soak while you hike/ ride/ paddle on a bit further.

Once the meat mixture has softened, cook the rice. Place the rice into your cook pot and just barely cover it with water. If you add too much water to any part of this process, you will be enjoying burrito-flavored soup. If you need to, you can always add a little more water while the rice is cooking. When rice is about ready (6-7 minutes), and most of the water has cooked out of it, add the meat mixture and sliced up peppers into the pot and mix it in with the hot rice. Bring the mixture back to a boil briefly, then remove it from the stove. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes to allow it to soften the peppers, mix the flavors, and soak up any remaining water.



Variation on this recipe: Super Burritos

Calories: Each recipe makes 2 huge (2 c.) servings and provides about 825 calories per serving. Beware: these servings are for hungry people!

Cost: The cost per serving for this recipe is about $4.00, including the peppers and all the other ingredients. This may seem like a lot, but for equivalent calories of a store-bought freeze-dried meal, you would spend $12-15–per person!

If you liked this idea, check out my other Gourmet Trail Recipes.

No way you would put this much work into trail food? Check out my articles entitled Favorite Easy Trail Recipes. New recipes coming soon!

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