Warm meals are often the most delicious on the trail. If you own a food dehydrator like me, it’s a rather easy job to prepare your own dehydrated meals. One of my favorite is simply Spaghetti Bolognese. I often eat a spaghetti meal once every two days or even more on shorter trips. To boost the calories I add nuts to the recipe, but you can leave them out if you want. Here’s my recipe:
This should be fine for 4-6 meals depending on your appetite:
- 4 onions
- 3 garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 500g ground beef/pork (50/50)
- 800g canned tomatoes
- 250ml red wine
- paprika powder
- 1-2 teaspoons thyme
- 1-2 teaspoons basil
- 100g hazel nuts
- 4 servings spaghetti (or other kind of pasta to your own choice)
These ingredients should result in the following amounts of calories and grams:
When fully dehydrated you should have approximately 1200g remaining.
Preparation at home
To make the spaghetti sauce, peel the onions and garlic cloves and chop them fine. Poor the olive oil and wine in a pan and fry the onions and garlic. Add the mixture of ground beef/pork and let cook, stirring from time to time. Season with some salt, pepper and paprika powder. Then add the tomatoes. Let cook for about 10 minutes while you can further season with thyme and basil to your own taste. Chop the hazel nuts to powder and add them to the sauce at the end, stirring well.
Once the sauce is ready, you can either dehydrate the sauce on its own in the home dehydrator and cook the spaghetti separately on the trail, or you can mix the cooked spaghetti with the sauce at home and dehydrate the fully prepared meals. I prefer the latter. Dehydrating takes about 10-12 hours depending on your dehydrator and the thickness you spread on the drying plates. The above amounts occupy 7 trays in my dehydrator.
Before and after:
Once dehydrated I keep the dried spaghetti in sealable plastic ziploc bags. You can take one meal per bag or you can put everything together in one large ziploc bag and take the desired amount for your meal out of the bag every day. I prefer the former on longer trips but don’t bother splitting up in individual meals at home if I only plan for a trip of less than a week. If the dehydrated meals are carefully sealed in plastic bags, they should remain fresh for at least several weeks to a few months.
On the trail
At camp I bring a certain amount of water to a boil. Once the water has reached boiling point, I remove the pot from the flame and add the desired amount of spaghetti to the water. Now you have to wait a few minutes till the meal has fully hydrated again. The necessary amount of water per meal will be a bit of hit and miss at the beginning but with experience you should become fairly aware of how many you will need. I add about 600ml of water to a portion of 250g dried spaghetti. Bon appetit!