There is something missing in our backpacking food. Something very important too! No, it’s not great taste. What’s missing is NUTRITION !
Have you noticed this too? The base is either white rice or refined noodles with some kind of sauce thrown in for flavor. Occasionally there will be a few peas or corn but to be honest with you, those are my least favorite veggies. To give them companies some credit, there are usually some beans in the vegetarian varieties – but I want more!! Pre-packaged backpacking food is lacking in the important stuff like fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. The good news is that there is a solution.
A couple of years ago I took a trip to Havasupai and I was sitting by my friend Peter who was eating a very yummy looking bowl of bean and vegetable soup. It wasn’t brown and mushy – it was colorful and smelled fresh and delicious. I had to know what it was and where he got it.
Luckily, Peter let me in on his little secret and that is how I discovered Harmony House Foods. I have been using their dehydrated and freeze dried foods ever since and they are my arsenal for maintaining health on the trail. They have a GREAT backpacking kit that includes thirteen pouches of various vegetables and four pouches of beans. This is what got me started and I have never regretted that first purchase.
And yeah, I could be dehydrating ALL these veggies at home. I do own a dehydrator and love playing in the kitchen but let’s face it folks, it takes a lot of time and effort to do it right. I just don’t have that much time or patience. I’d rather spend my time mixing and matching and creating yummy recipes.
Today I am sharing my recipe for Backpacker’s Fortified Ramen. Fortified with vegetables, mushrooms, beans and seaweeds. Yum! You will not become deficient in nutrients if you pack this satisfying little number in your bear canister. It is trail tested and approved.
Seaweed? Yes! I use arame seaweed because it is easy to crumble up into my soup and has a mild and pleasant taste. Arame is loaded with calcium, iodine, magnesium, manganese and Vitamin A. It is a powerful detoxifying food that is rich in antioxidants, protects against heavy metals, supports the immune system and regulates hormone levels. That’s a whole lotta good!
- I purchase my arame seaweed at my local health food store, Jimbo’s. If you are not near one you can purchase it here online.
- Arame seems to be going up in price so if it is priced out of your budget, try wakame instead. It is commonly used in miso soup and is very prevalent (i.e. cheap).
- I use Thai Kitchen noodles for my ramen because I feel it has the least amount of chemicals and preservatives. Yet another reason to fortify with nutrients!
- Plant eaters beware! Check the ingredients because only a couple of Thai Kitchen Noodles are vegan. I believe they are the spring onion and the garlic and vegetable variety.
- Sliced shiitake mushrooms can be purchased from Harmony House Foods! I forgot to order mine so I grabbed some at a local Asian market.
- This post is geared towards the trail but if you like to eat ramen at home or at work, this is a great way to ADD nutrition to your bowl.
Backpacker’s Fortified Ramen
Yield: 1 serving
Weight: 3.25 ounces
Time: Prep time at home: 10 minutes – Trail time: ~5 minutes
- 1 package ramen
- 1 Tbsp. arame seaweed, somewhat crumbled
- 1 Tbsp. dried sliced shiitake mushrooms, broken into small pieces
- 1 Tbsp. lentils, dehydrated
- 1 Tbsp. carrots, dehydrated
- 1 Tbsp. cabbage, dehydrated
- 1 Tbsp. green beans, dehydrated
- 1 1/2 cups/12 oz. water
Remove ramen from it’s original packaging. Place ramen contents into a sandwich size bag. Add all other ingredients except water.
Bring water to a boil. Turn off heat. Add in all ingredients. Stir. Cover with a lid. Wait 5-8 minutes. Stir and enjoy.
Sometimes I create my own backpacking meals, other times I repackage somethings from the grocery store and then (when I’m not in the mood or short on time) I purchase my backpackers meal ready to go from REI. But no matter which method I choose, I add nutrition with my stash from Harmony House Foods. I boost nutrition, flavor and color and that makes me feel better about spending many days on the trail.
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