Marinated Backpacking Tofu


We often hear of people saying they marinate meat before a backpacking trip, freeze it, and eat it the first night, after it thaws throughout the day. We thought tofu would be a good protein to experiment with, since it is less perishable than meat. We took it with us on our Big Pine Lakes trip a few weeks ago, and it turned out pretty well.


Instead of just marinating and freezing the tofu, we actually marinated, cooked, and then froze it. We marinated it with some lime, tequila and cilantro for a fish taco style flavor. Tofu defrosts somewhat quickly, so this actually made it available as a nice cold snack during the first day of hiking.

For dinner, we used our Pocket Rocket stove and a lightweight skillet to reheat the tofu pieces and crisp them up again. We ate it with tortillas and some fresh shredded carrot slaw (simple carrots, cilantro, and lime). We had double bagged the tofu, but by the time we got to camp, there were definitely some escaped juices in the bear barrel. Luckily nothing else was unpackaged, so it didn’t ruin anything, but that’s something to consider.


I could see this working well with olives and pasta, or in a rice pilaf type dish too. Have you tried this method with meat? Any comments or suggestions?


Marinated Backpacking Tofu


2 servings

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide



  • 1 12 ounce package tofu
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 of a medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped (depending on your spice desires, add more or less)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Small bowl
  • Clean tea towel
  • Heavy pan
  • Fork or whisk
  • 2 1-gallon freezer baggies


  1. Slice block of tofu in half, and then in half again. Slice each smaller block in half through the center to make a total of 8 slices.
  2. Place all slices of tofu on the tea towel, and then fold the towel over to cover the top. Place on a cutting board and place a heavy pan or press on top to remove most of the liquid. Leave for about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove tofu from the towel, and place in a baggie.
  4. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, olive oil, tequila, and spices. Mix well.
  5. Pour marinade mixture into baggie with tofu and shake gently to cover. At this point, you can freeze your tofu until your trip, or let sit for about 15 minutes.
  6. Saute in oil until crispy on all sides.
  7. Freeze if at home, or eat with warm corn tortillas and your favorite crunchy slaw.

4 thoughts on “Marinated Backpacking Tofu

  1. Going to give this a try on the AT. My husband and I are fans of couscous which requires little water and fuel to cook. Thinking we should attempt to meld couscous and your recipe. Thanks! Will let you know of our results.

    1. That would be a delicious combination, for sure. We really like this little product that I think would go well with your recipe: Oloves. Have a great trip!

  2. I must give this a try. Do you have any idea how long tofu might last in a bear canister? I generally carry pre-cooked meat/sausage up to a few days with no problem as long as the meat will be boiled before serving.

    One change I might suggest would be to marinate the tofu as desired in the refrigerator, with meat it’s 2-4 hours. Then, completely drain it before packaging it and freezing it. This should avoid the mess in the bear can, and still lock the flavor into the tofu maybe?

    Anyway, thanks for the idea! I need so much help with my trail meals I never know where to start!

    1. Hey Tallkan, sorry for the late reply! I would expect fresh tofu to only last about 1 day, under cool temperatures. Baked tofu may make it a little longer. You are right about draining it better next time. Baking it ahead of time may help with this as well. Thanks!

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