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Backcountry Hummus Bowl Recipe | A Backpacking Food Idea

Dehydrated Hummus served on flatbread with olive tapenade makes for an easy, fast lunch that won’t slow you down and is healthy too.  This easy, no-cooking backpacking lunch  will be a great feather in your quiver whether you are out on the trail or stuck at work.

This Hummus Bowl Recipe is one of my top 5 backpacking lunches.  I first had it a few years ago.  It was with this dish that I learned that backpacking food doesn’t have to be gross and tasteless.  I was recently reminded of this satisfying dish this past Summer during a backpacking leader training trip.  I re-created this on my intern trip last month and it seemed to be a hit with the participants.  I don’t write much about my backpacking and hiking life, but I have had many requests to post my backpacking recipes so this post is dedicated to all of my crazy – wonderful – amazing friends that I have met on the trail.  May the wind always be at your back and the lightning on the other mountain.

For more backpacking stories and recipes click here.

Tina with her backpack on the Miracle Mile.
Photo courtesy Suzanne Diercks.

‘What you seek is seeking you’ – Rumi

A friend recently told me he fell in love with backpacking because he wanted to feel small.  I fell in love with backpacking because I wanted to be alive.

Working hard is a great attribute.  When you are young – work ethic, ambition and direction can ‘take you far’ into a ‘successful and abundant life’ full of monetary rewards, a big house and big cars.  After awhile you might realize that if unchecked, this successful and abundant life can develop into a spiral of working more – to make more money – to buy more stuff.  Backpacking is the cure.  It is the great equalizer.  After a backpacking trip, ‘stuff’ will feel different.  Stressors take a back seat too.  Nature heals.  Go now.  You’ve got this.

A black bear in Olympic National Park.
Photo courtesy Suzanne Diercks;)

‘If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking.  Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.’ – Raymond Inmon

Six backpack packers in front of a lake.
Photo courtesy Suzanne Diercks.

‘Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.’                      – John Muir

This easy, no-cooking backpacking lunch is as simple as mixing powdered garlic hummus with water and serving with a tapenade on a flatbread.  I was feeding 12 hungry hikers on this trip so I packed two  heavy jars of tapenade.  If you are just feeding yourself or a small group, you could get away with pouring the tapenade into a light plastic zip bag or lightweight plastic jar.  The tapenade is somewhat preserved in the oil but you always want to look, smell and taste to see if a food has gone bad.  The tapenade is shelf stable but when you open the jar the clock starts ticking on food spoilage.  For more info on food safety, click here.

If I were to open the jar and just portion out enough for myself, I would do it last minute and plan to eat this in the next 2 days.  You could pack the whole jar and just plan your meals around it too.  I love this stuff so that’s an option for me.  Another option is to dehydrate this but it won’t dehydrate all the way because of the oil and I’m not sure this would be a better option or not. You could always make your own backcountry tapenade….hmmm… maybe I will work on that.  Stay tuned.

Serving hummus in bowls.
Photo courtesy Suzanne Diercks.
Olive tapenade served on hummus.
Photo courtesy Suzanne Diercks.
Spooning olive tapenade on hummus.
Photo courtesy Suzanne Diercks.

Backpacking Food Ideas for Beginners

When I hike with a group we do group meals.  These group meals are scalable and are great for individual servings too.  Below are some of my favorite backpacking food ideas, hacks and tips.

  1. Tortillas – The backpackers bread.  You have many choices to choose from.  Whole wheat, spinach, white, corn.  Check the ‘Best By’ date for your trip length.  You will want to buy these last minute if you are going out for a long time.  Some brands are more preserved than others and have a long shelf life.  Tortillas are sturdy and can take a beating in a backpack.
  2. Cheese – No refrigeration, no problem.  Hard cheeses last awhile without refrigeration and is very obvious when they go bad.  They have visible mold or they disintegrate into a stinky soupy mess.  Yuck, I know.  My favorites are string cheese, Babybel and cheddar.
  3. Ramen – Every college kids favorite.  Cheap, light and can survive in a backpack.  The Ramen hacks are endless – a variety of good eats is necessary for morale in the back country.
  4. Hard Candy – Both your muscles and your brain rely on glucose.  When you are about to climb 4,000 feet, an energy bar or protein bar will just sit heavy in your stomach un-digested.  Candy is king here.  Pop one in your mouth and your legs will get new life.  My favorite is Werther’s.
  5. Instant grits – You can get these in individual serving packets.  I add powdered milk, cheese, butter and bacon bits.  This is my favorite hot cereal breakfast.  I love Quakers Instant grits.
  6. Seasoning Kit – I keep this in a single plastic bag.  My staples are salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, garlic and onion powder, smoked paprika, olive oil, powdered butter, powdered cheese.  You can make your own variety based on your preference.  If you are not sure, just think about what your reach for when you cook.
  7. Stove Top Stuffing – This is light weight, calorie dense and cooks up quickly, saving your fuel source.  It’s a great base for dinner meals.  You can hack this with pouch chicken, salmon, or canned kipper snacks, oysters or add walnuts.  A super fast, satiating and nutritious dinner.  It has a lot of salt too which is important while you are hiking long distances.
  8. Dehydrated Mashed Potatoes – Just go into this aisle at your supermarket.  There are many choices.  I like to add pouch chicken or salmon.  Oh, instant gravy is great too.  Or just add butter and cheese, or maybe some powdered eggs.  The possibilities are endless with this one.
  9. Nut Butter Packets – Convenient, nutrient dense and healthy.  I never get tired of these.  There isn’t one I haven’t liked so try them all.  I am.
  10. Powdered Peanut Butter – Just add water to this light-weight power food.
  11. Instant coffee pouches – I always like to pack Starbucks Via’s because they were the first to put out quality coffee pouches.  Some other brands have stepped up to the plate though so I encourage you to try others too.  My favorite hack is to use a pouch of their Latte and pass it around to my trail bff’s to add to their coffee as a flavoring, Caramel Latte, I’m looking at you.

What are your favorite trail hacks?  What questions do you have?  Ask below in the comments.  I always try to answer questions, sometimes it takes awhile because I actually spend a lot of time off grid.

I am not compensated by any of these companies, I just love these products.

Serving hummus in bowls.

Backcountry Hummus Bowl Recipe | A Backpacking Food Idea

Yield: 1 serving
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Dehydrated Hummus served on flatbread with olive tapenade makes for an easy, fast lunch that won't slow you down and is healthy too.  This easy, no-cooking backpacking lunch  will be a great feather in your quiver whether you are out on the trail or stuck at work.


Ingredients per person:

  • 1/2 cup dehydrated hummus
  • 1 - 2 cups of water
  • 2 Tbs olive tapenade
  • 1 flatbread (naan, pita, tortilla etc.)


Off trail prep:

  1. In a plastic zipper bag, add 1/2 cup of dehydrated hummus per person, this makes a hefty portion.  use a larger bag than needed to make room for the water.
  2. Pack your olive tapenade, either a single portion or a whole jar if you are preparing lunch for a group.
  3. Pack your flatbread in a plastic bag or use the original packaging and don't open it.  Flatbread is valuable in the backcountry.  It is used as wraps and extra calories at meal times. It is light weight and can be full of fiber if you choose the whole grain variety.

On trail prep:

  1. At breakfast, in the plastic bag, add the water and massage heavily.  The water will continue to absorb until lunch time so you are looking for a wet consistency, almost like pancake batter.  By adding the water at breakfast and packing this to eat at lunch time on the trail, the consistency will be just about perfect as the hummus absorbs the water and becomes less grainy and more creamy smooth.  At lunch time, massage some more if needed.
  2. In your hiker bowl or bandana, add flatbread, spoon hummus over bread and add tapenade.  Fold and enjoy!


  • I served this with dehydrated fruit and nuts for extra calories, nutrition and fiber.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 Bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 528Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 1172mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 10gSugar: 1gProtein: 18g

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Sunday 23rd of September 2018

Hands down, Hummus with Olive Tapanade is my favorite backpacking meal! The olive tapanade brings the hummus wrap to a whole new level :D

Love the idea using stovetop stuffing and dehyaded mashed potatoes! It seems all my backpacking trips are pasta/rice heavy so these will be a great alternative for dinnner. Will be using these in the future. Thanks for sharing Tina.... love your backpacking meal ideas!


Monday 24th of September 2018

Hey Hannah! I get so excited about discovering new backpacking hacks. The stovetop stuffing is probably my favorite. The possibilities seem endless with that and the mashed potatoes. All we need is to find the tapenade in a lightweight tube. Let me know if you see any.


Wednesday 19th of September 2018

I haven't backpacked in a long time but this looks amazing. I think I will try this to take to work. It's so easy.

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