MYOF: Spaghetti Bolognese

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
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 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:

Ingredient kcal/100g Protein Carbs Fat Water g kcal
Onions 36 1,2 6,1 0,2 89 600 216
Garlic 140 6,0 28 0,1 64 10 14
Olive oil 883 0,0 0,2 99 0 60 530
Ground beef/pork 252 18 0,0 21 61 500 1260
Tomatoes 21 1,2 3,1 0,2 94 800 168
Red wine 86 0,2 3,0 0,0 86 250 215
Salt 0 0,0 0,0 0,0 0 3 0
Pepper 309 11 50 2,6 16 3 9
Paprika powder 353 15 35 13 16 3 11
Thyme 300 14 43 4,0 6 6 18
Basil 308 14 45 4,0 18 6 18
Spaghetti 344 8,5 74 0,5 14 500 1720
Hazel nuts 667 14 11 63 4,2 100 667
TOTAL 401 14 38 19 3210 4162 4846

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.

Spaghetti Bolognese

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:

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

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.

Spaghetti Bolognese

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!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

7 thoughts on “MYOF: Spaghetti Bolognese

  1. Mmmh – good idea to add red wine to the pasta sauce!
    I like to prepare and dry my own trailfood – it is part of the adventure beginning at hom.
    I cook my spaghetti on the trail and use the cooking water to rehydrate – doesn’t need so much space as stubborn dried spaghetti.
    My prefered pasta sauce is tomatoe + olives + capers + anchovy – reconstitutes faster 🙂

  2. Hi, I found your blog through Hiking in Finland blog. I have been interested in getting dehydrator for myself in order to do MYOF as those ready made are so expensive and full of all sorts of nasty stuff. Anyway I would happy to hear the name of your dehydrator and about your experiences with it. If you know any places where to buy one; the contacts would be much appreciated, thanks!
    Cheers, Turo

    • Hi Turo,
      The dehydrator I use is rather inexpensive and thus very basic. It doesn’t have a regulation for temperature nor does it have a timer function. This all isn’t needed in my opinion but it can help when you want to dehydrate regularly. I don’t think my specific model is sold outside Belgium. I bought it at a local supermarket here.

  3. I have also made several pasta sauces and dehydrated them. I think one thing I might change in your recipy and that is the porc part of the minced meat. I think that only minced beef with as less fat as possible is better b/c it dehydrates better and it keeps longer. You might have a look at This must be the way and then in his dehydration section. I love it to make my own food, had some very nice dinners indeed.

    • Hi Marianne,
      You’re right, fat in general is best avoided for dehydrating meals. But I must say that I haven’t experienced any issues so far with the mixture of ground beef and pork. The longest time I’ve stored the dehydrated spaghetti was two months and it was still perfect to eat after that time. I was also suspicious at first but so far so good.

      Andy has some great dehydrating tips indeed. Should try the tomato leather one day.

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