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 sampling of one of my recipes that takes a little extra time to make, but the reward is worth it!


This has been my go-to recipe for my last 3 thru hikes. This doesn’t have to be gourmet. Dehydrated beans, some Knorr side, and a bunch of fresh cheese in a burrito works very good! But, if you have a little time, trail burritos can be out of this world.


  • 1/4 c. Instant refried beans or black beans (I like Santa Fe Bean Company)
  • 1/4 c. Dried or freeze-dried shredded cheese (I like Packit Gourmet) or 2-3 oz. fresh cheese
  • 1/4 c. Spanish, Mexican, or Taco-seasoned rice (I like Knorr Sides)
  • 1 T. Dried, sliced black olives
  • 1/2-1 T. Dried cilantro
  • 2 8-10″ Tortillas
  • Hot sauce packet, if desired (I like Cholula)



Optional Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. Dried cooked and crumpled ground meat, freeze dried meat, or TVP (I like turkey. You could taco-season it while cooking for added flavor)
  • 1 T. Dried, chopped green chiles or jalapeños
  • 1 T. dried, chopped green onions
  • 1 T. Freeze-dried corn
  • Fresh avocado


At-Home Preparation

Place beans, cheese, and cilantro into a snack-sized Ziplock (these ingredients rehydrate instantly). In a pint or quart Freezer Ziplock, place rice, olives, jalapeños, snack bag with bean/cheese mixture, (meat, chiles, corn), and hot sauce packet.

Note: if you plan to make this several months in advance, whether using fresh or freeze-dried cheese, I would recommend freezing it. The cheese will not get rancid this way.


On-Trail Preparation

This is a bit tricky to get just the right amount of water. Err on the side of less water, as you can add more if needed later. Pour rice mixture into your cook pot and barely cover contents with water. Then, add about 1/4 c. more water. Bring to a boil and cook until rice is done. Remove from heat and throw in bean/cheese mixture. Make sure it is submerged in the water. If not, enough until it is barely submerged. Stir. Let sit about 5 min. Scoop onto tortillas (add avocado and hot sauce, if desired)


Serves 1. Calories: ~710 without tortillas (~950 with 2 10″ flour tortillas). If you are a big eater, do 50% more of each ingredient.


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!