Backpacking Tortilla Soup

Happy first day of spring! We don’t mean to rub it in, but we’ve had fantastic weather here in SoCal and we are excited to see wildflowers and start thinking about summer and birthday trips!


To help feed you on your upcoming trips, we adapted our car camping tortilla soup so you can make a tasty and lightweight backpacking version. It’s only 9 ingredients, fits into a small ziplock bag and uses 2 cups of water. The revelation here is tomato powder. It’s basically dehydrated tomatoes in powder form and it tastes really good. We are planning to try it out in more backpacking recipes.

We were so excited about this recipe that we even demoed it at A16 in West Los Angeles last week where we gave a fun talk about Gourmet Cooking for Hikers and Campers. Yep, you read it right, we fed people backpacking food. And they liked it! That’s a good measure of a backpacking recipe if it tastes good even when you aren’t borderline hangry and tired from hiking all day long with a heavy pack on.

Emily is on a trail right now somewhere in the Sierra Nevada mountains. We hope you are on your way to a fabulous adventure this weekend as well. Cheers!


Backpacking Tortilla Soup


2 Servings

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide



  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato powder
  • 1 cup bean flakes
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • 2 cups water
  • tortilla chips, pre-crushed from being in your pack
  • lime, cut in wedges
  • avocado, cubed (optional)


  • Knife
  • Medium pot
  • Spoon


Note: some bean flakes come with seasoning and salt. If yours do, either reduce the amount of boullion or use unsalted/low sodium boullion.

  1. Measure out all dry ingredients and put into a ziplock bag before you leave home.
  2. Once at camp, pour all ingredients in pot with two cups of water and let sit for 10 minutes so onion flakes can soften. Skip this step if you don’t mind crunchy onion flakes.
  3. Bring water to boil and simmer until soup is hot.
  4. Garnish soup with freshly squeezed lime juice, avocado and your tortilla chip crumbs and eat right out of the pot.

13 thoughts on “Backpacking Tortilla Soup

    1. You are your own boss, @tentspro! Bring on the green chiles. The 9 ingredients are tiny, lightweight ingredients, so they are plenty easy to add to.

  1. My son and I love this recipe. We added jalapeño dices from Harmony House in homage to @tentspro! Gotta love the added heat.

  2. Made this at home as a test and added grilled chicken. Obviously not vegan one vegetarian anymore, but was excellent. Could work for first night in the trail, especially if using the lime and avocado, which we did and which were delicious!

    1. @Jennifer, this is a wonderful adaptation! You could easily add canned or foil-pouch chicken to this recipe while backpacking, without having to worry much about perishability.

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  4. I make a variation of this where it’s closer to enchilada soup than tortilla; but it’s still vegan! It’s also good making at home with fresh ingredients too.

    Enchilada/Tortilla Soup
    (Two 433 calorie servings, not including the tortillas)
    1 Cup Dry, Instant Brown Rice (Uncooked)
    1 Tbsp, Dehydrated Tomato Powder
    1 cup dehydrated beans (black, pinto, kidney, whatever)
    1 cube (4g), Vegetable Bouillon Cube
    1 tablespoon, Oil – Olive
    0.25 Cup, Tvp (Textured Vegetable Protein)
    1 cup, Red Enchilada Sauce (dehydrated, so about a tbsp)
    1 Tbs (4g), Peppers, Bell (Red/Green) – Dehydrated
    0.06 cup (20g), Cabbage – Dehydrated
    1 tbsp(s), Freeze Dried Corn
    1 tsp each of: chili pwd, garlic pwd, onion flakes.
    2 tbsp nutritional yeast
    —Pack the above in a ziploc.
    1 packet lime crystals
    4 tortillas or a baggie of crushed chips.

    On the trail, bring 3-4 cups of water to boil, pour in the ziploc, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes. Stir and enjoy with tortilla (chips) and lime crystals. (:

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