Muscle Repairing Lightweight Group Meal

Cooking for a group in the backcountry can be challenging, especially when you don’t know the people you’re cooking for!  How much food should you make, how do you come up with something that everyone will like, and let’s not forget, how do you keep the pack weight manageable?

A delicious one pot meal for a group in the backcountry

I participated in Aplenglow Sports in Lake Tahoe’s Summer Mountain Festival as a guest chef and led a group of beginner backpackers on an overnight camping excursion.  My job was to provide the food and to educate about backcountry cooking.  The dinner meal I prepared was “Turmeric Couscous”.  I decided on this dish for three main reasons, the first being that I wanted to make something very simple that didn’t require cleaning dishes.  The second was I wanted to give people the option of including or excluding ingredients based on their preferences.  And finally, turmeric is an amazing after workout spice that helps repair sore muscles!

This dish was a huge hit!  Everyone was impressed with the flavors and how easy this meal was to make.  Try this all natural and cost effective dish next time you travel with a group, or cook this dish for a neighborhood pot luck!

ADG turmeric couscous serving

How to make Turmeric Couscous in the backcountry

Turmeric Couscous is great for feeding a hungry group in the wilderness. Couscous is a quick cooking grain, so you won’t have to use much fuel to cook. When I make Turmeric Couscous for a big group I use a Jetboil Stove to boil the water and a lightweight non-stick pan with a sheet of aluminum foil to cook the couscous.  This recipe can easily be split in half and made in 2 installments if you prefer to use only one pot. The carrot should last unrefrigerated for 2-3 days, if unsure omit from recipe.  For a vegan option substitute vegetarian stock for chicken and replace the salami with a vegan friendly protein.

Turmeric Couscous: Group Meal
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins

This is a great dish for feeding a hungry group in the wilderness. This recipe can easily be split in half and made in 2 installments if you prefer to use only one pot. The carrot should last unrefrigerated for 2-3 days, if unsure omit from recipe.

Use a Jetboil or quick cooking stove to heat water.

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: One Pot, Propane Stove
Servings: 6 Hungry People
  • 2 boxes Plain Couscous 5 servings in each box, or 10 servings in total
  • 1 cube Chicken Stock can substitute with veggie stock for vegan option
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups Chopped Salami
  • 1 Grated Carrot
  • 1 1/2 cup Chopped Dates
  • 2 cups Crispy Onions
  • 6 pieces Flat Bread or Pita
At Home
  1. Put ingredients into trail safe bags and label with cooking measurements and instructions. Chop or smash chicken stock cube for faster cooking and combine in a bag with turmeric and cinnamon.
On the Trail
  1. Pour 4 cups of water into pot. Add bag with seasonings (chicken stock, turmeric and cinnamon) and bring water to a boil.
  2. If you have a large enough pot, empty couscous into water, stir, then add lid to pot and let sit for 8 minutes. If you need to use another pot: empty couscous into pot, add boiled water with seasonings, stir, cover and let sit for 8 minutes. (I didn't have a lid for my extra pot, so I covered with aluminum foil and it worked perfectly). *Another option is to break this recipe in half and use two regular sized pots
  3. When couscous is ready, use a fork or spoon to fluff. Add carrots, salami, dates and stir until everything is mixed together. Top with crispy onions. Serve and devour!!! If you have dietary restrictions in your group, I recommend setting the carrots, dates, salami and onions on the side and letting everyone add their own toppings based on their personal preferences.
  4. I also bring flat bread for each group member. This way there is something extra for the super hungry people, and you can use the bread to scoop the last pieces of couscous from the bowl.
  5. Be careful of little pieces of couscous that might fall to the ground. Clean up all messes and be sure to always leave no trace!


  1. Pattie

    Our group gave this recipe two thumbs up! Delicious & so easy to prepare, we will make this again.

    • Michelle Shea

      Glad you enjoyed, thanks for field testing!

  2. Cindy

    Once again a fabulous simple recipe that looks and sounds yummy! Easy ingredients to carry with you in the back country and very simple instructions.


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