Dehydrating 103: Get Cooking!

Winter is here, and all you aspiring trail chefs know what that means…time to get started dehydrating! If you’re new to the world of dehydrating, get a little education from Dehydrating 101 and Dehydrating 102, and then head back here for some mouthwatering recipes.

The following is a list of favorite meals from my 2014 thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, most cultivated in my own kitchen, and a few coming from Grant and Nicky’s Backpacking Recipes. Having something different to eat each night of the week was an absolute pleasure, especially when surrounded by the sad and hunched forms of hikers coveting the last juices of their ramen supper.

Red indicates a meat recipe and Green a vegetarian recipe. Amounts refer to ingredients after dehydration unless otherwise specified. Each recipe serves two (and I do mean two thru-hikers!). Enjoy!

GUMBO

Ingredients
1 cup instant brown rice
1/2 cup dehydrated chicken or sausage*
1/2 cup dehydrated okra
1/4 cup dehydrated onions
1/4 cup dehydrated bell peppers
1/4 cup dehydrated corn
1/4 cup tomato sauce (leather or powder)
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
2 boullion cubes

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in vacuum seal bag.
2. On the trail, pour ingredients into a pot. Add 3 cups of water and let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.

Notes
*Of all the meats I dehydrated, sausage is the fattiest, so I front-loaded the gumbo meals on my trip, eating most of them within the first two months. That’s not to say they wouldn’t have kept longer, I just decided to play it safe.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

CHEESY CHICKEN

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups instant white rice
1/2 cup chicken mix (see directions for ingredients)
1/3 cup dehydrated corn
1/2 cup dehydrated olives
1 packet Knorr alfredo sauce mix
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika

Directions
1. Cook three chicken breasts on medium heat until cooked through. Shred with a fork.
2. Combine shredded chicken in a casserole dish with 3 cans of cream of chicken soup, 2 cups of milk, and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Cook at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes, or until the consistency is near solid. Yields enough for several batches of cheesy chicken.
3. Dehydrate the above until brittle, then break into small squares. This becomes the chicken mix for the recipe.
4. Combine all ingredients in a vacuum seal bag.
5. On the trail, pour ingredients into a pot. Let sit for 5 minutes.
6. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute after.
7. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

CHILI

Ingredients
2/3 cups instant white rice
1/3 cup dehydrated ground beef, ground chicken, or ground turkey*
1/3 cup dehydrated kidney beans**
1/4 cup onions
1/4 cup dehydrated diced tomatoes
1 4″ x 4″ square of dehydrated tomato sauce leather (either powdered or wrapped in clingwrap)
1 packet of chili seasoning

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in vacuum seal bag.
2. On the trail, pour ingredients into a pot. Add 3 1/2 cups of water and let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minutes.
4. Let sit for 5-10 minutes

Notes
*For best results, brown ground meat and then bake in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes in a can of tomato paste, before dehydrating.
**Use canned beans rather than dried. They are much easier to dehydrate without having to soak dried beans first!

475463323_82ee506ca6_o

Image courtesy of Flickr.

FOUR BEAN SOUP

Ingredients
1 cup white fiber rotini pasta*
1/2 cup dehydrated kidney beans**
1/2 cup dehydrated great northern beans**
1/2 cup dehydrated black beans**
1/4 cup dehydrated green beans**
1/4 cup dehydrated celery
1/4 cup dehydrated carrots
1/4 cup dehydrated red onion
1/4 cup dehydrated garlic and herb diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 packet of Swanson’s® Vegetable Flavor Boost

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in vacuum seal bag.
2. On the trail, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
3. Add contents and boil for 5 minutes.
4. Simmer for 3 minutes.

Notes
*White fiber pasta (Ronzoni makes a whole line) is typically better for dehydrated meals because it rehydrates at the same rate as the rest of the ingredients, and you won’t have to deal with straining separate pasta water.
**Use canned beans rather than dried. They are much easier to dehydrate without having to soak dried beans first!

2759721625_a8b631b6d2_o

Image courtesy of Flickr.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for more recipes and feel free to ask any questions you might have. Happy dehydrating!

lead image via

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?