I do not have a dehydrator, and we mostly resupply on-trail, so I’m not a treasure trove of backcountry recipes like some hikers are. However, we do usually send ourselves some resupply boxes and in our boxes we always try to send ourselves some meals that are different from and healthier than what we can typically find on the trail.
One of our favorite pre-made meals is Spaghetti. I took the sauce through several versions before I found what worked best, and we both really enjoy this meal.
I get most of my dehydrated ingredients from Harmony House or from Hoosier Hill, and the base of this recipe is Harmony House tomato powder. Alone, the powder makes a very tart and very watery sauce. But combined with a few other ingredients and some veggies, it comes to a nice consistency and flavor. This recipe makes a big batch, which I then divvy up into ziplocs. Most ingredients can be found at the grocery store, and I linked to the items you’ll want to order online.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
1 cup dehydrated tomato powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 T freeze-dried parmesan powder (unfortunately this is the smallest size I’ve found, I use it for other recipes too so I don’t mind)
- vegan alternative: there are a variety of vegan parmesan substitutes available online and in stores
- gluten free alternative: according to their website Kraft grated Parmesan is gluten free. You could substitute with this, but shelf-life will be shortened. Both of the vegan substitutes listed above are gluten-free
2 T dried parsley
2 T dried minced onion
1 T granulated garlic
1 T salt
1 T sugar
1 & 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Mixed dehydrated veggies (I use dried mushrooms from the grocery store, dried zucchini, bell peppers, and carrots but this mix would also work well)
Spaghetti Noodles (You can use any kind of noodle you want or need. I actually usually go with angel hair because it cooks faster).
Mix all ingredients together except the noodles and dried veggie mix. Use a whisk to ensure everything is mixed well. Divide the sauce powder into small snack-sized ziploc bags, 6 T per bag. In pint-size ziploc bags, add 7 ounces of spaghetti noodles and 1/3 cup of mixed dried veggies.
To prepare, boil 750 mL of water. Add the spaghetti and vegetables and cook until soft. Remember to stir – camp stoves can burn things easily. When the noodles are soft, turn off the heat and add the sauce powder. Mix well until all the powder is dissolved. We usually carry a small container of olive oil on the trail and I add a tablespoon or two when we make this. It’s fine without it, but the extra calories and fattiness are nice.
I divide this into a thru-hikers large portion, which is more like a normal portion for 2 people on a typical backpacking trip. You might want to adjust down the measurements based on your needs. If you have moisture absorbent packages, they will definitely help with the sauce powder, which has a tendency to clump up when stored for awhile. I just break up the clumps with my fingers while the noodles cook and it works for me. You can also add some dehydrated meat, or even more veggies – something we all need a little more of on a thru-hike.
If you are interested in more meal-planning ideas for long treks, I’d recommend checking out The Backcountry Foodie for recipes, tip and tricks, plus some expert advice.