Lightweight and protein-packed, this homemade dehydrated chili is vegan and gluten-free. Fresh Off the Grid contributors Kira & Brendon Hak of Adventure Haks share how to make one of their favorite backpacking meals.
Life on the road or in the backcountry can use up a lot of energy so it is essential for any adventurer to eat meals packed full of nutrients for restoration. At the end of a full day of adventures, when the sun is setting and the air begins to cool, nothing beats a hearty and warm bowl of chili.
This has been our go-to vegetarian chili recipe for years so when we decided to try dehydrating our own meals this was one of the first recipes in the line-up. A healthy, convenient, and quality meal for anyone on the go!
Have your own favourite chili recipe? Perfect! Throw all of the ingredients into a pot, but omit the water and/or broth. Heat & Cool. Dehydrate. Package and plan your next adventure!
GEAR SPOTLIGHT: Choosing a Dehydrator
From making jerky and fruit leathers, to drying fresh fruits and vegetables for longer term storage, or even creating dehydrated just-add-boiling-water for backpacking trips or emergencies, there are dozens of ways to use a dehydrator.
As with most kitchen appliances, there are a number of options to choose from. There are two that we see over and over again. If you’re budget conscious (🙋) the Nesco Snackmaster Pro is probably your best bet. If you will be doing a lot of dehydrating, you’ll likely be able to recoup the cost of one of the Excalibur model dehydrators, which has long held the position of best-of-the-best in the dehydrating community.
Quinoa ChiliPRINT RECIPE
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cans diced tomatoes 28 oz total
- 1 (398 mL / 14oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 can diced green chiles *Optional
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons cacao powder (cocoa works too)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cane sugar (or any sugar you have on hand)
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper *Optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 (12 fl oz) can corn drained & rinsed
- 2 (19 fl oz) cans kidney beans drained & rinsed
- 1 (19 fl oz) can black beans drained & rinsed
PREPARE THE CHILI
- Cook 1/2 cup quinoa as per directions on bag & set aside (makes 2 cups cooked).
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot add the onion and cook until tender, add garlic for the last few seconds.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, cooked quinoa, chili powder, cumin, cacao, paprika, sugar, coriander, salt, and pepper. Add the chiles & cayenne if you like it spicy.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add in corn and beans, cook until heated through.
- Remove from heat and let the chili cool.
DEHYDRATE & PACKAGE
- Spread evenly onto dehydrator trays. Dry at 145F/63C for 8-10 hours. Chili is done when the beans are dry.
- Evenly package into 6 servings, in air-tight containers (like ziplock bags) or vacuum seal. Store in a cool, dark & dry place.
ON THE TRAIL
- Pour dry chili into the pot; add 1 cup water per serving and stir well. Bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
*this information is an estimate based on myfitnesspal.com - actual values may be different based on your ingredient selection.