Recently I started growing tired of my usual PB&J on flatbread or a ProBar for a trail lunch and began looking for something more creative. When I was online looking for ideas something simple came to me and I couldn't believe I hadn't thought about it before - dehydrating something simple and savory for lunch! While so much of the food backpackers can find in the stores for lunch is sweet, like a trail mix, granola bar, or Poptarts, I realized that if I did my own dehydrator meals for lunches I could get some more savory foods into my backpacking diet. Here is a rundown of some of my favorite food to eat for lunch.
1) Hummus and crackers with veggies - Dehydrating hummus was such a simple idea I couldn't believe why I hadn't thought of it before. Simply spread your hummus on a fruit leather tray (or piece of parchment paper in an oven or on a regular dehydrator tray) and dry overnight. On my Excalibur dehydrator I went to the 125-degree setting for 12 hours. In the morning the hummus should be very powdery and easily crumble. One container of hummus (10 ounces) should make four servings for those of us who backpack on shorter easier trips. If you're doing mega miles one container should get you two servings. Rehydrating is simple and quick - use cold water to cover the hummus powder by 1 inch and squish the bag around for 5-10 minutes. I usually eat mine with Good Thins crackers and whatever fresh veggies I want to pack out. I've packed out carrots, celery, and radishes with good results even in the summer.
2) Dehydrator burritos - Mixing a can of refried beans with a can of enchilada sauce in a large bowl and then spreading thin on dehydrator fruit leather sheets (or parchment paper for those without the sheets) can create a delicious burrito filling for the trail. Simple dehydrate overnight at 125 degrees and in the morning you'll have a crumbly, powdery bean burrito filling! Rehydrate in a freezer bag for 10-30 minutes with cold or hot water. Spoon into your tortilla and put salsa on top and you'll have a filling lunch!
3) Pepperoni and Laughing Cow Cheese sandwich - Carrying pepperoni and Laughing Cow cheese are usually a staple on a long trip. Laughing Cow comes in several flavor varieties and you can use a bagel thin or a sandwich thin for the bread. Switching up the flavors of cheese and bread every so often turns this trail staple into something different! Laughing Cow cheese is generally like shelf-stable cream cheese. I've had some in my pack for up to 5 days in the summer and it's still holding it's shape.
4) Flavored Couscous - Near East brand makes some wonderful couscous flavors. While I normally eat the entire box for a hiking dinner, a half portion works great for lunch for me! Before hitting the trail, split the box evenly between two freezer bags. Make sure to shake the box well before splitting if the spices are already mixed in with the couscous. If you are making your own flavored blend at home, I find the 1/4 cup serving of dry couscous works well for lunch. If it's a cooler backpacking trip you can heat up some water, but most of the time I just add cold water and let it soak for at least 15 minutes before I eat it. Cold hydrating works very well for couscous!
5) Flavored Tuna and Flatbread - There are now several flavors of tuna on the market, including a few in olive oil instead of water. Right now I'm loving the Mediterranean Style Sunkist tuna on a sandwich thin, but with all the flavors of tuna and salmon on the market right now it makes it easy to have a different flavor every day of the trip!
These are just a few of my favorite savory backpacking lunches. Do you prefer savory or sweet foods on trail? What is your favorite lunch?