Backpacking Recipes: Kale and Smoked Salmon Pasta

Kale and Smoked Salmon Pasta

By Anna Brones

I am always looking for ways to improve pasta on camping trips. Lightweight and quick-cooking, it’s no wonder it’s popular with the outdoor cooking crowd. But pasta on its own can be pretty “blah,” not to mention that all those carbohydrates wear off pretty quickly, and if you’re on any kind of a trip that requires a good amount of energy, you inevitably need to add a few extras in.

Dried mushrooms is an excellent example of an easy addition to quickly improve a batch of camp pasta. Another ingredient that’s a favorite of mine is smoked salmon.

If you’re going to cook with smoked salmon, be sure to purchase one that is sustainably caught. I like the salmon from Patagonia Provisions; it’s ethically sourced and packaged so that you can easily take it with you on a trip.

Another camp cooking trick of mine is to add something fresh. If you’re out for just a few days, or frontcountry camping, it’s easy to add some fresh produce to a meal. This is not only good for you, it makes things taste better. In this recipe, the fresh item is kale. The leafy green actually travels fairly well, as long as it’s not too hot.

Kale and Smoked Salmon Pasta

Kale and Smoked Salmon Pasta, Anna Brones

The trick with the kale is to add it to the boiling water just before the pasta is finished cooking; this way the kale softens but doesn’t become soggy. And when you’re done cooking the pasta, strain that water and keep it for later. Hot chocolate with kale pasta water? Believe it.

boiling kale

Kale and Smoked Salmon Pasta

Makes: 2 portions

2 portions pasta of your choice (I prefer brown rice pasta)

About 4 large kale leaves

2 portions smoked salmon



Chili flakes

Olive oil

Sea salt

Ground black pepper

Boil the pasta according to cooking instructions. While the pasta is boiling, shred or chop the kale into small pieces. Just before the pasta is ready (about 30 seconds to a minute before being done), add in the kale. Strain off the water and set aside for your hot chocolate later.

Add the smoked salmon to the pasta and kale. Using a fork, break the salmon into small pieces. Pour in any salmon juice/oil that’s left in the bag. Stir together, cover and let sit for a few minutes so that the salmon warms up.

Kale and Smoked Salmon Pasta

When ready to serve, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chili flakes, sea salt and black pepper.

Kale and Smoked Salmon Pasta


Anna Brones is a writer, producer and artist. She is the author of several books including Hello, Bicycle and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Find more of her work at or on Instagram @annabrones.