Recipe For The Road: One Pot Pasta

Tasty and filling fuel ready in 20 minutes

By: Megan McDuffie

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You've just returned to camp after a long hike and the sun is starting to go down. You're tired, you're starving, and the last thing you want to do is launch into some sort of frantic backcountry Top Chef routine. You want something filling, easy to make, and ideally, it would have been ready 10 minutes ago.

Behold the glory of the one pot pasta. This tomato and basil version can be whipped together in virtually no time, and, with just a single tweak (using dried basil instead of fresh basil), consists entirely of pantry ingredients. Since the broth is used to cook the pasta and then becomes part of the sauce, there's no cumbersome straining to deal with. Just throw all the ingredients in and heat. It's that simple. And because it's all made in a single pot, clean up is an absolute cinch.

We've used a few choice spices to get the biggest flavor profile, but the real hero of this dish is the 21 Seasoning Salute spice mix from Trader Joe's. It contains a huge variety of spices that really takes this relatively simple pasta dish to the next level. If you don't have access to Trader Joe's, you can always substitute with your favorite Italian seasoning mix.

So the next time you're out exploring and find yourself in a pinch for dinner, you can always turn to this recipe for a quick and easy carb fix.

Tomato Basil One Pot Pasta

Serves 2 | 20 minutes total


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can broth
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped, or 1/2 tablespoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 lb pasta
  • salt to taste (depends on the salt content of your Italian seasoning mix. Mine contains no salt, so I used 1 teaspoon)
  • handful of parmesan cheese + fresh basil to finish (optional)

Directions Heat the olive oil in your pot and then add the onions. Saute 4-5 minutes until translucent, then add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Dump in the tomatoes and their juices, the broth, basil, Italian seasoning, and the pasta. Give it a big stir to combine everything. The liquid may not completely cover the pasta yet – that is OK, just stir it fairly often so it cooks evenly; if you add too much liquid your sauce will not thicken up enough by the time the pasta is done. Cover your pot until the liquid comes to a boil (this quickens the process and saves you fuel). Once it’s boiling, remove the cover and cook until the pasta is al dente, between 7-10 minutes. The cooking time on the pasta packaging will be a good indicator, but use your judgement as all camp cooking setups are a bit different.

Once your pasta is cooked through, serve topped with cheese and fresh basil if you’ve got it!

Fresh Off the Grid is a camp cooking blog featuring recipes specifically designed for cooking in the outdoors, written on the road by Megan McDuffie and Michael van Vliet. Find us online at or on Instagram at @freshoffthegrid.

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