Over the years of participating in camping and paddling trips, I’ve grown a little tired of the pre-made, just add boiling water meals. They are great for expeditions that require light packing but I have discovered with a little planning, backcountry cooking can be a lot of fun and easy to prepare!

Here is a recipe that I wanted to share from my most recent paddling trip, which was a result of everyone throwing what they had into a pot. This recipe is great for paddling trips or base camping trips where you may be limited to one pot cooking.

Kate’s Couscous Paella

Cooking Kate’s Couscous Paella at Camp

1 small package precooked shrimp
½-lb salmon fillets
½ lb smoked sausage (I like spicy)
½-cup finely diced red peppers
½-cup finely diced onion
½-cup frozen peas, thawed
1-cup couscous
1-2 vegetable bullion cubes (I use 1 onion and 1 parsley)
1-tbsp of lemon pepper
1-tbsp lemon juice
1-tsp thyme


  1. Cut up sausage into ¼ inch slices. Brown in pot, transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm.
  2. Add the bullion cubes to 2 cups of water, onion, bell pepper and parsley into a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Add the salmon fillets and shrimp, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the fish can be easily flaked with a fork. Transfer the fish and shrimp to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  4. Bring the poaching liquid to a second boil over high heat, and stir in the peas and couscous. Cover and remove from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Flake fish and add it to the couscous along with the sausage and shrimp.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste; serve hot. Makes approximately 4 servings.

Notes: Cut the fish into smaller fillets and put in Ziploc bag with lemon juice, thyme and lemon pepper before the trip; transfer to cooler morning of trip. I would also pre-cut all the veggies and keep them in one bag (with the peas in a separate bag). I used the GSI Outdoor Kitchen 11peice Utensil Set to carry additional spices and oils with the utensils. The couscous can be put into a bag on it’s own and you can also add additional spices to this according to your taste.

Also, I recommend you read Paddling Chef Cookbook, Cooking the One Burner Way and Camp Cooking the Black Feather Guide. These books have great prep and nutritional tips for all your excursions. There are lots of tasty and practical recipes in these books as well and great information about planning meals.

This recipe was a big hit on a recent paddling trip. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. If you have any recipes that you would like to share, send them our way or comment below!

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