Recipe: Pesto Pasta with Portobello Mushrooms

Note: This pesto pasta recipe is one I’ve made on a number of trips and it comes out differently each time. As I said on the Thai noodles and Moroccan stew recipes, this is the beauty of cooking: you can adjust the recipe for what you like or for what your clients like. If you feel strongly about meat in your meals, you can sauté chicken and substitute it in this recipe for the mushrooms.

Serves: 8-9 hungry folks

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • One stove or a fire (note: I like to cook over a stove. If you like cooking over fire, go for it.)
  • One large pot
  • One frying pan or wok
  • Matches, fuel, pot holder, fire gloves


  • 1 Tbsp. of olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced (use more or less depending on how much garlic you like)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4-6 Portobello mushroom caps, sliced
  • 1 jar of sundried tomatoes packed in oil (empty into a Nalgene for safe carrying)
  • 1 jar of pesto sauce (or make your own; also empty into a Nalgene for safe carrying)
  • 2 bags of brown rice pasta (or regular pasta if your group does not need to be gluten free); any shape will do
  • Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Pine nuts (or walnuts) for garnish

Cooking Instructions

  1. Fire up the stove. In your large pot, salt the water and boil it for the pasta. If using lake or river water, let it come to a full rolling boil for several minutes.
  2. Add the packs of pasta.
  3. Let the pasta roll in the boiling water for the time indicated on the package then drain in your designated grey water area. Leave the noodles covered in the pot with a lid.
  4. Set the frying pan or wok on the stove. Add the olive oil to coat the bottom.
  5. Sauté the onion until translucent.
  6. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  7. Add the sliced Portobello mushrooms and sauté until slightly wilted.
  8. Add the sundried tomatoes to the frying pan or wok and sauté lightly.
  9. Turn off the stove and add the contents of the pan to the pot of noodles.
  10. Pour in the pesto sauce.
  11. Toss to coat everything in the sauce.
  12. Optional: toast pine nuts or walnuts over the stove just until they start to smell aromatic. (Any longer and they’ll burn.)
  13. Serve the pesto pasta garnished with toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese.


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