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Hot, spicy and thoroughly filling, this one pot backpacking jambalaya is a great way to warm up at the end of a day.

Megan holding a backpacking pot filled with jambalaya

Combining orzo pasta, dehydrated veggies, summer sausage, rich tomato powder, and spicy cajun seasoning, this jambalaya is ready to eat in minutes but tastes like it has been simmering on the stovetop all day. The one-pot nature of the recipe means it’s easy to cook and easy to clean, while its nonperishable ingredients mean you’ll be able to enjoy this on day 1 or day 7 of your trip.

Why It Works For Backpacking

‣  Big flavor, small pot. Using spicy cajun seasoning and tomato powder, this jambalaya has a complexity of flavor that is rarely found in backpacking meals, and it uses only one pot so you’re not stuck doing a ton of dishes in the backcountry.   

Mastering the Techniques

‣  As with many backpacking meals cooked in a lightweight pot, scorching is something to be aware of. Once the ingredients have been added to the water, keep it moving around with a spoon to prevent the food from burning to the bottom.

Ingredient Notes

‣  The level of spice in Cajun seasoning can vary greatly from brand to brand. Before taking this meal out on the trail, test the heat level of your seasoning and dial it in. There’s nothing worse than being starving and looking a bowl of food that is too spicy to eat. We used McCormick’s in this recipe.

‣  We found tomato powder on

‣  Olive oil can be packed in small resealable containers, or you can find individual packets on

Megan adding dehydrated vegetables into a pot A pot of jambalaya with orzo
A pot of jambalaya with orzo

Spicy One Pot Jambalaya with Orzo

This homemade one pot backpacking meal is worth washing a dish for - it combines orzo pasta with a spicy and flavorful sauce that will fill you right up after a long day of exploring.
Author: Fresh Off The Grid
4.8 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
2 servings


  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup freeze dried or dehydrated vegetables
  • 2 tablespoons tomato powder
  • 1 tablespoon Creole spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 oz summer sausage or jerky, optional - omit to make this meal veg friendly
  • 2 ½ cups water


  • Pre-Trip: Place the pasta, freeze dried vegetables, tomato powder, Creole spice, and salt in a resealable bag. Pack along the olive oil and summer sausage.
  • At Camp: Empty the contents of the bag into your cook pot. Add the water and olive oil and bring to a low boil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender, making sure to stir fairly often (especially towards the end) to prevent the food from scorching and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • In the meantime, cut up the sausage or jerky and add to the pot as the rest of the meal is cooking to heat through.
  • Remove from the heat and enjoy!


Equipment Needed

Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 385kcal
*Nutrition is an estimate based on information provided by a third-party nutrition calculator
Share your meal with us!When you make this recipe, let us know by tagging @FreshOffTheGrid in your post or stories. We love seeing what our readers cook up!

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Megan is sitting on a rock next to a campfire stirring a pot of food

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  1. I’m really interested in making this recipe for a thru-hike with my family (two adults and two children). I’m wondering if I should double everything, including the water, to make this. What do you think?

    1. Doubling everything seems like a good place to start. But, if you’re going to make this for a thru-hike, we HIGHLY recommend you make it at home first. Depending on the spices you pick up and the type of modifications you make to scale it up, you will want to be 100% on the recipe before you pack it out into wild.

    1. We haven’t tried that substitute, but I can’t imagine it would be bad. It will lose that bright tomato flavor and skewer more savory. Sort of a different flavor, but probably still good. Let us know how it works out.