Basil Pesto Couscous - Easy Homemade Backpacking Meal

This basil pesto couscous makes such an easy homemade backpacking meal!

In this post I’ll show you exactly what you need, how to package everything up at home, and then how to prepare it at camp.

Making backpacking food is actually a lot of fun and it’s nice to be able to take control of the ingredients you put into your meals.

For this homemade backpacking meal, start by watching the video below to see exactly how I do it:

This basil pesto couscous is cheap backcountry food you can make a home without a dehydrator!

I recommend that you try it at home one night for dinner so you can make sure the serving size is not too big or too small for you when you’re backpacking.

Note: The links below may contain affiliate links.

Basil Pesto Couscous Backpacking Meal Recipe

Makes: 1 large serving


1 cup pearl/Israeli couscous
1 packet of Simply Organic basil pesto sauce mix
3 TBS olive oil, packed in a sealed container
2 TBS chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup shredded parmesan (the unrefrigerated kind)
1 Safe Catch salmon packet (optional)
1.5 cups (12 oz) water, for cooking at camp


  1. Put the shredded parmesan into a small bag.

  2. Put the sun dried tomatoes into another small bag.

  3. Measure the olive oil and seal it in a small sturdy plastic container.

  4. In a quart-sized bag, add the couscous. In the video, I used a reusable bag by BumKins for this step.

  5. Add the unopened pesto packet, sealed olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, and cheese to the same bag with the couscous so everything is packaged together.

  6. If adding the salmon, pack a Safe Catch salmon packet in the bag with the rest of the ingredients.


  1. Bring 12 oz of water to a boil in your backpacking pot*. Make sure the water is boiling.

  2. Turn off the burner and remove the pot with boiling water from the stove and place it on a level surface.

  3. Add in the pearl couscous, olive oil, and basil pesto packet. Mix and then cover.

  4. Let the couscous sit for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, give it a quick stir, and then let it sit for another 8 minutes.

  5. Next, mix in the sun dried tomatoes, cheese, and salmon, if using. Enjoy!

* Before your trip, check to make sure your camp pot is big enough to hold the couscous and the rest of the liquid!

Easy homemade backpacking meal idea - a simple basil pesto couscous! This recipe is so delicious and it doesn’t even require a dehydrator! Click through for the recipe and a video showing you exactly how to make it. | Amanda Outside

Not only is homemade backpacking food fun and easy to DIY, but it also saves you a lot of money!

Below I did a quick cost breakdown of this cheap backcountry dinner.


Pearl/Israeli couscous: $1.50
Simply Organic Basil Pesto Sauce Mix Packet: $1.29
Olive Oil: $1
Sun dried Tomatoes: $0.50
Shredded Parmesan: $0.50

Total Cost: $4.79
Total Cost w/ Salmon: $7.79

That’s one cheap backcountry meal! Compared to a lot of the dehydrated backpacking food in stores nowadays, you can definitely save a lot of money making your own.

Before we wrap things up, I just want to list out all the backpacking kitchen gear I use to make this recipe in the backcountry.

Part of the reason I recommend testing this at home first, is so that you can get a sense of what cooking gear you’ll need and if your backcountry pots are big enough.

As noted in the recipe above, make sure your cooking pot is big enough to safely hold all the couscous and liquid.

You don’t want to get into the backcountry and realize you have no way of cooking this! Plan ahead!


I hope you enjoy this backpacking dinner idea!

If you have any questions about the recipe or how to prepare it, just chat with me in the comments below!


What I Eat In A Day Backpacking - Simple Backpacking Food

3 Delicious Backpacking Oatmeal Recipes

8 Delicious and Healthy Backpacking Snack Ideas

See you out there ✌️


Homemade backpacking food can be so easy and cheap with this backcountry dinner recipe. Click through for a complete video tutorial and written recipe for Basil Pesto Couscous! #backpackingfood #backpacking
Looking for cheap backcountry food? Check out this easy homemade backpacking dinner idea - basil pesto couscous! Click through for a full video tutorial and written recipe. #backpackingfood #backpacking
Check out this super easy homemade backpacking recipe for basil pesto couscous! No dehydrator is required to make this one. Click through for a complete video tutorial and recipe. #backpacking #backpackingfood