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Backpacking Burritos

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Backpacking Burritos

A tried and true, low-cost recipe for ICO outings
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword backpacking, dairy-free, egg-free, hypoallergenic, lactose-free, no shellfish, no tree nuts, vegan, vegetarian
Servings 6 people
Calories 170kcal


  • Pressure cooker
  • Dehydrator


  • 2 cups pinto beans dried, or four 15-oz cans of cooked pinto beans
  • 2 yellow onions diced
  • 8 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 serrano chilies
  • 1 tomato seeded and diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 Tbsp cooking oil canola or similar
  • 1 bag shredded cheddar cheese optional
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 dozen flour tortillas


At home

  • Wash and short the beans; do not soak them. Place them in pressure cooker, cover under 1 inch of water and add half of the diced onion, half or the garlic, a bay leaf, and the chilies. Cook under high pressure for 35 minutes.
  • Release pressure from pressure cooker, drain most of the liquid from the beans, remove chilies.
  • In cast iron skillet, heat oil on medium heat until just shimmering. Add the other half of the diced onion and garlic, stirring frequently until the garlic starts to turn golden. Add diced tomato and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Lower the heat to low and add the drained beans, using a masher or fork to mash all of the beans. Scrape the bottom of the pan frequently to keep the beans from burning. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. When beans are thoroughly mashed, turn off the heat.
  • Line a dehydrator tray with plastic wrap or install silicone liner. Spread the mashed beans in a layer about 1 cm thick. Add additional trays as needed to spread all of the beans. Dehydrate at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 to 10 hours, until beans are hard and thoroughly dried.
  • Place the dried beans in a mixing bowl and process batches of them in a coffee grinder (best), food processor, or blender. Process until the beans are reduced to the texture of Cream of Wheat (slightly bigger grains than granulated sugar).
  • Store powdered beans in a zipper-lock bag in the freezer until the outing.

In the field

  • Mix 1 cup of bean powder for every 2.5 cups of water in a pan and cook on low heat until reconstituted, stirring frequently and adding more water as needed to prevent burning.
  • Heat tortillas on a skillet or over a campfire. It's even possible to heat them over the open flame of a camp stove by flipping the tortilla by hand quickly so that the whole tortilla is heat but not burned.
  • Place roughly ⅓ cup of beans in the center of a heated tortilla (and some cheese, if using), folding over ¼ of the tortilla, tucking in both ends, and then continuing to fold lengthwise. Offer completed burrito to a hungry camper.


Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 376mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 203IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

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