Backcountry cooking doesn't have to be all dehydrated foods, nor is it limited to granola, jerky, and ramen noodles. This Backpacking dinner is a staple of SYMG's "Backcountry Gourmet".

Getting into the backcountry is an immersion into a world of escape. Escape from stress, escape from crowds and grid-locked commutes and escape from tweets, pokes, vines, likes, and blogs (except for this one of course). But one thing you don’t need to escape from – nor do I ever want to – is great food! Backcountry cooking is not synonymous with dehydrated foods, nor is it limited to granola, jerky, and ramen noodles. At Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides, we carefully plan our meals with fresh ingredients to include all the essential nutrients, earning the accolade “Backcountry Gourmet” by Sunset Magazine. Here is an example recipe from SYMG’s own Becca George:

Salmon Pesto Pasta with Toasted Pine Nuts
(say that 3 times fast!)

AuthorBecca GeorgeCategoryDinner RecipiesDifficultyIntermediate

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time5 minsCook Time15 minsTotal Time20 mins

Gear Needed
 Large Pot
 Stove
 Cheese Grater
 Cutting Knife
 Cutting Board
Ingredients
 1 lb Fuseli Pasta (something that will hold sauce well)
 1 packet Simply Organic Sweet Basil Pesto or other pesto powder.
 8 oz smoked salmon (foil pouch)
 4 oz parmesan cheese
 2 oz pine nuts
 A few leaves of fresh basil—wrap in a dry paper towel before packing in Ziploc to keep greens fresh.
 2 oz Olive Oil
 Salt & Pepper
Optional
 Make your own pesto powder with various combinations of powdered garlic, onion, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, and parmesan.
 Garlic powder

1

Begin by toasting pine nuts in a dry pan with a sprinkle of garlic powder.

Planning Backpacking Meals

2

Set pine nuts aside when lightly browned and boil water for pasta. Be sure to add salt for ‘al dente’ pasta—even at sea level this is important; even more so at elevation due to lower boiling temperature.

3

Chop the fresh basil and set it aside. Cook the pasta and drain it–leaving a few tablespoons of water to reconstitute the pesto.

4

Add pesto powder, olive oil and stir. Depending on presence of vegetarians and non-dairy eaters, stir in or keep separate the salmon and cheese.

5

Add chopped fresh basil to individual servings as garnish, with salt & pepper to taste.

Notes
6

Better smoked salmon is in the refrigerator case at most stores–it will keep for a day or two, keep your bear cans out of the sun.

Ingredients

Gear Needed
 Large Pot
 Stove
 Cheese Grater
 Cutting Knife
 Cutting Board
Ingredients
 1 lb Fuseli Pasta (something that will hold sauce well)
 1 packet Simply Organic Sweet Basil Pesto or other pesto powder.
 8 oz smoked salmon (foil pouch)
 4 oz parmesan cheese
 2 oz pine nuts
 A few leaves of fresh basil—wrap in a dry paper towel before packing in Ziploc to keep greens fresh.
 2 oz Olive Oil
 Salt & Pepper
Optional
 Make your own pesto powder with various combinations of powdered garlic, onion, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, and parmesan.
 Garlic powder

Directions

1

Begin by toasting pine nuts in a dry pan with a sprinkle of garlic powder.

Planning Backpacking Meals

2

Set pine nuts aside when lightly browned and boil water for pasta. Be sure to add salt for ‘al dente’ pasta—even at sea level this is important; even more so at elevation due to lower boiling temperature.

3

Chop the fresh basil and set it aside. Cook the pasta and drain it–leaving a few tablespoons of water to reconstitute the pesto.

4

Add pesto powder, olive oil and stir. Depending on presence of vegetarians and non-dairy eaters, stir in or keep separate the salmon and cheese.

5

Add chopped fresh basil to individual servings as garnish, with salt & pepper to taste.

Notes
6

Better smoked salmon is in the refrigerator case at most stores–it will keep for a day or two, keep your bear cans out of the sun.

Salmon Pesto Pasta
Becca George
I grew up in a small beach town in Southern California, although my love for the Sierra is generational. My parents were ski bums and river guides and as kids, they brought me and my siblings on epic adventures all over the Golden state. With endless road trips, camping vacations and backpacking summer camps, my love for the outdoors and nature grew immensely and authentically. As an adult I've continued exploring this marvelous state; spending numerous hours adventuring in the mountains, desert, and ocean to alternatively experiencing the professional city life in San Francisco and LA. I always knew I somehow wanted to combine my profession with mountain living. Stepping away from “city life”, most recently I’ve found myself pretty comfortably nestled into a sleepy mountain town of the western Sierra foothills working as the Logistics Coordinator for SYMG. I enjoy the day to day of communicating with guests and local vendors about travel, permitting, transportation, lodging and everything in between. The mountains are where I feel the most alive and free and on my days off you’ll find me hiking, climbing, or searching for new swimming holes (and in the wintertime, skiing) with my husband and Siberian husky. My favorite quote that I continue to live by is, “Beauty all around me, with it, I wander".