Camp Chef: Spinach Gnocchi


Welcome to our new, recurring series- Camp Chef! In this series of posts, we will discuss cooking in the backcountry and highlight some of our favorite recipes to use in a variety of situations. We will focus on simple, easy, and nutritious recipes that have proven delicious in the mountain environment, and offer related tips & tricks for staying happily fed in the backcountry.

Cooking & eating on a longer mountaineering trip can quickly become dreary. The ease of use of performance foods & dehydrated meals can give way to gut-rot & a loss of appetite. One of the best ways to reduce the monotony of food in the backcountry is to incorporate some fresh-cooked recipes into your itinerary. While these meals are more complicated to cook and heavier, they offer a nice break from bland, processed alternatives.

Pesto Gnocchi

We love a hearty pasta meal in the backcountry – warm, cheesy, easy to cook, and packed with carbs, these meals hit the spot after a long day of climbing. This menu is also easy to adjust and allows for substitutions to be made easily to accommodate for dietary restrictions.

The recipe can easily be modified based on number of climbers and food preference, but the basics are:

  • 1lb boxed gnocchi (for 2-3 people)
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 packets dry pesto sauce mix
  • 1 bag baby spinach (washed)
  • Pack of 4 precooked chicken sausages
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • Shredded Parmesan, to taste
  • Salt , pepper, red pepper flakes

Begin by melting the butter in a frying pan (if available – standard cookpot works too). Add the spinach to begin cooking down – once the spinach begins to reduce, add the sausages and mix well. Once the sausage is cooked, cover this pot and set aside.

Bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil, then add the gnocchi. After they are fully cooked (1-2 minutes), drain, saving a little cooking water in the pot. Add 2 packets of dry pesto mix. Along with the olive oil and mix to combine and coat the gnocchi evenly. Add your cooked spinach and sausages, then mix everything together and spice to taste. Top with parmesan and enjoy!  

Check out Matt’s video instructions to see more.


  • Guide Trip Report: Denali Traverse

    by Sam Hennessey Climbing in the Alaska Range in late spring sometimes feels like stepping into another world. The endless daylight, and the sheer contrast of Denali towering over the rest of the state gives it an atmosphere like no other. For the last decade, Michael Gardner and I have stared down from the upper […]

  • Epic Climbs That Might Not Be on Your Radar

    ‘Twas the night before Rainier dates were released, when all through the land Many a climber was stirring, contemplating high altitude plans so grand Their crampons were placed in the gear bin with care In hopes to use them on Rainier in weather so fair My timer was set for the exact release time To […]

  • Dear Alpine Ascents: Backcountry Quilts

    Hey Alpine, I’m headed out to Washington in mid-September for a 6-day course (stoked) and I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about backcountry quilts.  Apparently all the cool-kid alpinists are using them.  Can I bring one on my course? Sincerely, Steve House in Training  Hi Steve House in Training, Thanks for reaching out […]

Partners & Accreditations

Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
© Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved. Alpine Ascents International