This pita sandwich isn’t just for camping trips, but it’s become a standard on our most recent ones. Wona introduced me to it years ago (pre-kids, so it really was years ago!) when we backpacked around Big Sur together with my husband and her soon-to-be husband. My favorite memory on that trip still makes me chuckle – poor Wona losing her balance on a log and falling into a stream (it’s mean to laugh but she knows I love her).

Anyway, on that trip, she was responsible for one of the lunches – I saw her put down her backpack and whip out a can of chicken, a Granny Smith apple, a lemon, seasonings, and a few pita breads.  In minutes, we had four scrumptious sandwiches that really hit the spot, with the crunch of the tart apple, the soft bread, the hearty chunks of chicken, all dressed simply in lemon juice. Wona always jokes that anything tastes great when you’re camping, but this simple recipe was a keeper and is yummy every time.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12.5 oz) can Premium Chunk White Chicken (in water or in broth)
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, diced with or without peel
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 21 Seasoning Salute (optional, to taste)
  • 4 pita pockets with edge trimmed off

Instructions

  1. Drain can of chicken. Mix together chicken, diced apple, and lemon juice. Season with salt and seasoning.
  2. Spoon chicken mixture into pita pockets. Serve immediately.
Granny Smith apple Trader Joe's canned chicken Seasoning Salute recipe

Whether you’re camping, backpacking, or on a road trip, there are so many goodies from Trader Joe’s that make it easy – beef or turkey jerky, the array of great trail mixes and dried fruit, cheeses, snack items, granola, energy bars, canned items, instant oatmeal, etc. Trader Joe’s even has ready-to-eat meals and tuna sold in pouches rather than cans.

If you’re backpacking, food can account for a lot of the weight in your pack, so when we’re backpacking and we have reliable sources of water (i.e., streams + a purifier) we rely on dehydrated foods, plus a selection of canned/pouched items (like beans or chili…something I occasionally regret later on when packed into a small tent). Dehydrated foods are light and can be reconstituted quickly and easily with water – anything from pasta, rice mixes, to dried potatoes.

Sierra mountains Kern River

Our recent trip, pictured here, was in the South Sierra wilderness. We’d been to this spot more than 9 years ago when I was 6 months pregnant with my first child and we hiked in quite a ways. The hard part was the hour-plus long extremely-bumpy jeep trail that led to the spot. The way to get over complaining about a bumpy jeep trail is to do it pregnant the first time. All subsequent times seem relatively smooth in comparison. This time we car camped with the kids so the limits were pretty loose in terms of the food we brought with us – our usual supplies plus a small cooler of perishables plus a couple of bottles of red wine (really hits the spot when sitting around a toasty campfire).

When you make the sandwich, aim for using really fresh pita bread or toast/heat it if you can. The goodness of the sandwich really depends on the bread, and sometimes the TJ pita can be slightly dry or crumbly in comparison to what I can get at our local Middle Eastern stores (sorry TJ, you know I love you).

Besides the canned chicken, Granny Smith apple, and lemon juice, I like to add a little salt and some 21 Seasoning Salute, a delicious all-purpose seasoning found at TJ’s.

Fishing Kern RIver rainbow trout