Trail Chef: The Best Fake Burritos Ever

The first installment of our new weekly series on all things camp food

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On my first backpacking trip, we ate Clif Bars for dinner. Breakfast was instant oatmeal cooked over the fire in a leftover aluminum can. On my second, we made macaroni and cheese with some canned spinach and called it inspired. Ramen? PB & J? Been there.

No longer, my friend. I’ve seen the light. Never again will I settle for sub-par cuisine on the trail. It’s just too easy—and too much fun—to whip up something nutritious and tasty instead. I owe this culinary epiphany to several sources: More experienced friends, group trip leaders, even, yes, Backpacker’s recipe page. These days, dinner ’round the campfire is much more Cashew Curry Rice than Clif Bar.

But I know I can do better—and that’s where you come in. Do you make a knockout pasta primavera? A to-die-for baked apple dessert? We want your best recipes (and not just for my next trip to Moab): We’ll publish our favorite reader camp recipes in our upcoming Readers’ Choice issue. Trail gourmands, I know you’re out there. Won’t you share the wealth? Send your recipes to

And, in the spirit of sharing, here’s one of our own all-star recipes. Deputy editor Dennis Lewon is known as the guy you want behind the camp stove on Backpacker trips: Here’s one of his favorite crowd-pleasing meals.

Dennis’s Fake Dahl Burritos

Dried curry lentil soup (available in bulk bins at the grocery store)

Instant rice


Green onions, diced


Red pepper, diced

Coconut flakes

Cilantro, chopped

Jalapeno peppers, diced

Cook the rice and dried soup (use less water than what’s called for, so the consistency is a dahl-like paste instead of soup). Fill tortillas with both, then add fresh toppings to taste.

Think you can beat our office Emeril’s recipe? Send ’em in!

—Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

Image Credit: Jennifer Smith