Who says you can’t eat well on the trail?
We headed for the hills on a backpacking trip at Glacier National Park. (“Hills” are a bit of an understatement, tbh.) We needed to eat while we were out there, but you have to carry absolutely everything. Yikes! So I set off to do some tinkering and make the most delicious meals I could muster so we could have something delicious to whip up after long days hiking.
I had a few requirements for my trail dinners:
Containing vegetables of some sort
Mostly gluten free (for my sensitive stomach)
You can make this meal in a few different ways. With a traditional camp/backpacking stove and pot (in which case add the ingredients to the pot and let it simmer for a minute), in an insulated mug or bowl, or you can do everything in a freezer bag with a cozy around it. Yes, they make cozies specifically for freezer zip lock bags.
The freezer bag method has a crazy big following for trail junkies. So much so it’s usually referred to as FBC (stands for “freezer bag cooking”). If you’re interested in more than the one or two odd FBC recipes I’ll be sharing on my blog, check out Sarah Kirkconnell’s Recipes. She’s pretty much the mother of FBC.
I would like to reiterate that regardless of your method, you should test the recipe out before you’re on the trail. This way you know that you have the spice level, etc. correct and that everything works with the gear that you have. Insulation is the most important thing here; I first tried this recipe in plain plastic Tupperware. Once we were on the trail, everything got too cold too fast and it didn’t cook through.
A few notes on the ingredients: When buying the noodles, read the directions. Make sure the directions say something to the effect of “boil water, add noodles, take off heat, let sit.” You don’t want to end up with noodles that actually require real boiling. Most rice stick or bean thread noodles should do the trick. Again, if you aren’t sure, test it before hand. The ingredients are cheap and it takes literally as long as it takes to boil water plus 5 minutes.
You can omit the dehydrated veggies, but it’s a pretty simple thing to toss in. Make them yourself or you can find a good variety on Amazon. Green curry powder is a little harder to find. I like Savory Spice Shop’s blend. I’ve used the paste before, but it’s weird and messy and too salty and way too spicy, even if you use just a little bit.
One thing I learned in recipe development was that a good Asian grocery store is a secret stash of trail-friendly foods. They have so many ramen noodle flavors, lots of prepackaged goodies, powdered coconut milk, lots of great seasonings. Another good bring was miso soup. A good Asian grocery store will have little packets of dehydrated miso soup, and they usually come in a 3 pack. They aren’t heavy on calories (which a lot of hikers are looking for), however, you get some protein from the tofu, they are light as a feather, they are really salty, and, having a nice warm cup of soup is so very comforting before dinner on a cool evening. Great for breakfast, too. Just add boiling water and enjoy.
- 1/4 package rice stick crumpled up
- 1/4 cup dehydrated vegetables I used cabbage and sweet potatoes
- 1/2 tbsp Thai green curry powder
- 1/2 packet chicken, packed in the sleeve like tuna fish is sometimes 2-3 oz
- 1 cup water
Combine all the ingredients into a freezer bag, camp pot, or insulated mug/bowl. Boil 1 cup of water. Pour over the food, cover, and let sit for 5-7 minutes, or until all the noodles and veggies are tender. Enjoy!
Nutritional Information is a guesstimate, please use it as a general guideline.
PS – I am not associated with or sponsored by any brands you may see on equipment in the photos for this post.