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Forget freeze-dried backpacking meals! This quick and easy tuna couscous bowl is a delicious, flavorful meal for your next backpacking adventure!
This past May, I went on my first overnight backpacking trip.
Most of our trip was spent car camping— staying in campgrounds relatively close to town with access to campfire rings, sporadic electricity, and the heavy-duty Coleman camping grill we borrowed from the in-laws.
Those nights, eating well was not a problem.
The climax of our trip, however– the part of the journey we’d spent months planning and training for– was a backpacking trip into the Grand Canyon.
Before we left, I thought long and hard about what food to pack.
I (briefly) looked at some freeze-dried camping meals, but decided I could do better.
This Backpacking Meal is an easy Tuna Couscous Bowl. It’s a variation on what we ate inside the canyon, and is an easy and tasty meal to eat on your next backpacking adventure!
Check out these Camping Recipes for a Happy Glamper for tips on making campground cooking easier AND more recipe ideas!
Hiking the Grand Canyon
About a year ago, the husband and I hiked halfway into the Grand Canyon— from the South Kaibab Trailhead down to Skeleton Point, and I fell in love.
We left physically, but mentally I was still there. We went home, went back to work, and I immediately started training to hike the gorgeous beast of a trail again.
This time, I wanted to see more. Before I knew it– the campground was booked, the backcountry permit paid for, and we were on our way back to hike all the way to the bottom!
As we hiked down, we gawked at the views, guzzled water, and chowed down on trail mix, peanut butter sandwiches, and bananas.
We made it to the bottom in time for lunch– which was supposed to be another peanut butter sandwich– but we happened to run into the amazingly generous Canyoneers rafting company along the Colorado River, and they shared a fresh SALAD with us for lunch!
Salad– at the bottom of the Grand Canyon– go figure!!! Thanks guys!
When dinnertime rolled around– I broke out the backpacking stove.
Want more canned fish tips? Check out this Ultimate Guide to Canned Fish.
Backpacking Meals: Tuna Couscous Bowl
If you’re planning a backpacking trip, or if you’re camping and want a quick and easy meal, this Backpacking Tuna Couscous Bowl is a delicious, easy, and affordable solution.
All you need is a backpacking stove, couscous, tuna (skip the cans, and go for the packets), and a few packets of mayo and relish.
Before you leave for your trip, pour the couscous and a little salt into a plastic bag.
Write the cooking directions directly on the bag– don’t assume that you’ll remember!
On the trail, boil water, add the couscous, and let the couscous cook, covered and off-heat, for about five minutes. Next, add the tuna and condiments, and you’re good to go! Dig in, and enjoy the rest of your hike!
I’m sure that somewhere out there, someone is noticing that the food photos in this post are not set inside the Grand Canyon.
You, oh observant reader, would be correct– the cooking photos are set in Central Appalachia, because I was too busy enjoying myself to worry about staging photos. No regrets!
Tuna Couscous Bowl (Backpacking Meal)
- spoon or fork
- plate or bowl
- ⅓ cup uncooked couscous* (See Recipe Notes)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup water
- 2½ ounce tuna packet
- 1-2 mayonnaise packets (individual size)
- 1-2 relish packets (individual size)
- While packing for your trip, add the couscous and salt to a ziplock bag. Write the cooking instructions on the bag in permanent marker.
- Before cooking, find a level area on the ground to cook on. Avoid using your stove on a raised surface (like on a picnic table), because you risk burning yourself if the pot falls off the stove.
- Pour ½ cup water into your pot, and bring to a boil. Add couscous, remove pot from heat, and cover for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove the lid and fluff couscous with a fork. Pour onto your plate.
- Add tuna and desired amount of mayonnaise and relish to your plate, and use your fork or spoon to combine your ingredients. Serve immediately.
I always loved couscous for camping – and I wasn’t even backpacking! But it doesn’t take up much room, I can get a whole grain version, and it doesn’t have to simmer for ages over the propane stove… Love it!