An assortment of mushrooms, filling egg noodles, and a rich and creamy cashew sauce, this dehydrated vegan mushroom stroganoff is the perfect DIY meal to take on your next backpacking trip!
Store-bought beef stroganoff has been our go-to backpacking staple for years! Creamy, hearty, and completely satisfying after a long day on the trail. Total perfection!
Except… we always wish there were way more mushrooms, and as we try to embrace less meat and dairy, we wondered if there was a way to make stroganoff entirely plant-based.
So with this laundry list of alterations in hand, we developed our own vegan mushroom stroganoff. This new, and improved version has all the great satisfying flavor of the original, but without the meat, more and better mushrooms, and a dairy free cashew-based “cream” sauce.
While freeze-dried stroganoff will always hold a nostalgic place in our heart, we have come to prefer this new, healthier vegan version. The mushrooms deliver that big umami flavor, it’s filling without feeling heavy, and the cashew-based sauce adds back some of the protein we took out with the beef. For us, this recipe is a total win-win.
So let’s dive in and show you how easy it is to make this DIY backpacking meal yourself!
Mushrooms: These are the star of the show, so if you can, splurge for some good ones! Of course regular old cremini or button mushrooms will work fine too, but dehydrating some nice shiitakes, oyster, trumpet, or morels will really take this meal to the next level. Read more about dehydrating mushrooms here!
Egg Noodle Pasta: Egg noodles can often be found in thin, wide, and extra wide varieties at most grocery stores. Which type you pick really comes down to personal preference. We like to go with a regular wide noodle because it holds the sauce nicely and doesn’t take too too long to cook.
Cashews: These are used for the base of the “cream” sauce. You can use roasted unsalted cashews if that’s all that is available, but we think you get a creamier consistency by using raw cashews.
Nutritional Yeast: This is another critical ingredient for the sauce that really helps develop that rich, creamy flavor. If you don’t want to commit to buying a whole package of Nutritional yeast, you can pick up a small amount from the bulk bin. Nutritional Yeast is NOT the same as Brewer’s Yeast. They are not interchangeable!
Vegetable bouillon, garlic powder, onion powder: These are the stroganoff sauce flavor bombs that will be added after dehydrating.
Dehydrator: We used our Cosori Stainless Steel food dehydrator for this recipe, but any dehydrator that has an adjustable temperature setting will work. If you want to learn more about our top dehydrator recommendations, check out our Best Food Dehydrators article.
Reusable bags: In our bid to reduce our disposable ziplock bag consumption, we’ve started packing our dehydrated meals for the trail in reusable baggies. ReZip is a great option, balancing durability with weight. Most of their bags weigh between ½ – 1 oz.
Stove, pot, and cozy: To make this recipe on the trail, you’ll need a backpacking stove (this one is our favorite), a cookpot, and a pot cozy (optional—this will help you save fuel. See our DIY pot cozy tutorial to make your own).
Make The Cream Sauce
Making our vegan “stroganoff” cream sauce, starts by soaking raw cashews in water for about an hour. This is an important step to soften them, which will yield a much creamier sauce in the end.
Drain the water and then add the nuts to a food processor or high speed blender. Add in the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, dijon mustard, salt, and about a 1/3 of a cup of extra water. Blend until completely smooth. You may need to occasionally stop and use a rubber spatula to push down the sides.
Once the sauce is ready, give it a taste for seasoning. If it tastes good, proceed to spread it out on a thin layer on a silicone dehydrator mat (if you don’t have one, a sheet of parchment paper will work).
Prep and Dehydrate
Boil a pot of salted water and cook the egg noodles according to the directions on the package for al-dente pasta. If no specific al-dente time is given, reduce the boil time by 1-2 minutes.
Drain using a colander and then rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from continuing to cook. Transfer to a dehydrator sheet.
Next, you can start to chop up your onion. We prefer for these to blend into the sauce, so we like to go with a relatively fine dice. Onions can be dehydrated raw, so you just need to load them onto a dehydrator tray.
If you bought fancy farmer’s mushrooms, great! Occasionally these will have a little dirt on them, which you will want brush off. You shouldn’t need to actually wash them with water, but if you do, that’s okay. They’re going to be completely dehydrated, so there is no worry about them absorbing a little extra water during a quick rinse.
Slice the mushrooms into slightly-larger-than bite sized pieces (they will shrink during the dehydrate/rehydrate process) and arrange on your dehydrator tray.
You can now load up your dehydrator with the cream sauce tray, egg noodle tray(s), onion tray, and mushroom tray(s). If you are feeling a little extra fancy, you can also dehydrate some chopped up parsley to add a little green to the meal.
Set the dehydrate to 125 F and dehydrate for about 6-8 hours. The time is just a rough estimate, check the actual food to make sure it’s entirely, completely dry.
Equipment Spotlight: Dehydrators
If you’re in the market for a dehydrator, we recommend buying one that has an adjustable temperature, which will allow you to dial in the drying temp to give you the best results for individual ingredients. The dehydrator we recommend (and use) most often is the COSORI Premium. You can also check out our best dehydrators post for a comparison of all the dehydrators we’ve used and would recommend.
Once everything is finished dehydrating, all the ingredients can be mixed together. If you’re making portions for immediate use, you will want to add the garlic powder, onion powder, and bouillon into the serving, but if you’re making a large batch for longer term storage you should hold off until you’re ready to portion.
Short-term use (within the next few days): Store everything in a well-cleaned, resealable bag along with the garlic powder, onion powder, and bouillon.
Mid-term Storage (for next month or two): Store the meal inside a sealed mason jar or other air-tight container in a cool, dark place. If you live in a particularly warm/humid climate, then storing in the fridge will be better. Hold off on adding the bouillon, garlic, and onion powder until you ready to portion it.
Long-term storage (upwards of a year): Store the meal inside a vacuum-sealed bag in the freezer. Hold off adding the bouillon, garlic, and onion powder until you are ready to portion.
On Trail Rehydration
Rehydrating this mushroom stroganoff on the trail is super simple. Place the dehydrated ingredients into your backpacking stove and add enough water to just barely cover the ingredients.
You can either:
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes
- Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes, cover, remove from heat and place inside an insulated cozy.
The noodles, mushrooms, and sauce will have fully rehydrated. Now is great time to stir some olive oil to add a few extra calories.
- To make the cashew cream, soak the cashews in water for an hour. Drain, then add to a food processor or high speed blender with the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, dijon mustard, salt, and ⅓ cup water. Blend until completely smooth.
- Line a dehydrator tray with parchment paper and spread the cashew cream in a thin, even layer. Arrange the cooked noodles, sliced mushrooms, and diced onions on separate trays. Dehydrate the ingredients at 125F until completely dry, 6-12 hours. The cashew cream will likely take the longest.
- Once the ingredients are dehydrated, let them cool completely. Transfer the dried cashew cream to a clean, dry food processor or spice grinder and let it rip (the smaller the ground pieces, the smoother the final sauce will be).
- Divide the dehydrated ingredients, vegetable bouillon, garlic powder, onion powder, and remaining salt between two airtight containers in a cool, dry place for up to two months. When packing for the trail, bring along the olive oil packets or store olive oil in a small leak proof container.
- Add the ingredients to your cook pot along with 200mL (one scant cup) water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, and boil for a minute. Stir, then remove from the heat and place your pot in a pot cozy for 10 minutes or until the meal has rehydrated. If you’re not using a pot cozy, bring the meal to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until rehydrated.
Nutrition (Per Serving)
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