Revamped Backpacking Ramen

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Forget the ramen from your college days – this revamped version is on a whole other level. Protein-packed soba noodles, veggies, and a savory, spicy broth, this is a backpacking meal that you will look forward to all day on the trail!

Michael holding a backpacking pot filled with ramen with mountains in the distance
If you’ve spent any amount of time backpacking, then there’s a good chance you’ve eaten Top Ramen. In the outdoor community, this budget-conscious “just add boiling water” meal is as ubiquitous as it is salty. But while it does deliver a sodium-powered blast of flavor, it nearly always comes up short in terms of nutritional value.

Especially if you’re putting in long miles out on the trail and burning a lot of calories, a bowl of bleached noodles and salty broth probably isn’t going to be enough hold you over. At least, it isn’t for us. So we developed a version of the recipe that offers a little more substance to go along with its satisfying flavor.

Michael adding noodles to a pot
To start, we swapped out the bleached flour noodles commonly found in Top Ramen and used high protein buckwheat soba noodles instead. Soba noodles can be picked up for cheap in the Asian section of most grocery stores and are often sold in bulk quantities. (There are some brands that are even gluten-free.) While they have slightly more chew than typical flour noodles, they increased protein means you won’t burn through them as quickly.

We also replaced the sodium and preservative ridden flavor packet with a homemade soup base of soy sauce (or liquid aminos if you want it to be gluten-free), toasted sesame oil, and Sriracha. You can portion out these ingredients at home and put them all into a small refillable container.

Michael stirring noodles and vegetables in a potWe then used an assortment of dehydrated vegetables to expand the overall nutritional value of the meal. These can be picked up online at Amazon, REI, and Nuts.com and we’ve even seen them carried in stores at some Whole Foods. Incorporating vegetables into your meals can be difficult enough at home, never mind while backpacking. These super-versatile dehydrated vegetables make it a whole lot easier. Additionally, we used dehydrated shiitake mushrooms to boost the umami flavor and add in some more veggie goodness.

Michael cooking over a backpacking stove with mountains in the background
And finally, drawing from traditional Japanese ramen which is served with sliced pork – we topped our backpacking version with shredded jerky. This definitely bumps up the protein of the meal and elevates the overall experience. We’ve tried a bunch of jerkies, but the one we’ve been raving about recently is this Mango Curry jerky from True Gentlemen. This stuff is just out of this world good: tender, chewy, a loaded with flavor. If you’re looking for a vegetarian/vegan alternative, we’ve also heard amazing things about Louisville Vegan Jerky.

Michael eating out of a backpacking pot with mountains in the distance
So if you often find yourself craving a big savory bowl of ramen while out on the trail, consider elevating your experience with this revamped version. You’ll be the envy of your former college self.

Michael holding a backpacking pot filled with ramen with mountains in the distance

Backpacking Revamped Ramen

Author: Fresh Off the Grid
4.58 from 21 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
1 serving

Ingredients

  • 3.5 oz buckwheat soba noodles, broken in half
  • ½ cup freeze dried vegetables
  • 2 oz jerky
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, quartered
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or liquid aminos
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha

Instructions

AT HOME

  • Place the noodles, vegetables, dried mushrooms, salt, and the bag of jerky into a ziplock bag. Combine the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and Sriracha in a small sealable container.  

AT CAMP

  • Remove the sauce container and jerky and set aside. Empty the rest of the ingredients into a pot. Add 2 cups (16 oz) water. Bring to a boil. Cook until the noodles are tender, about 5 minutes (time will depend on the brand you use). Remove from heat. Stir in the jerky and contents of the sauce container. Enjoy straight from the pot!

Notes

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Cookpot
Backpacking stove
Spoon
Resealable container

Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 688kcal
*Nutrition is an estimate based on information provided by a third-party nutrition calculator

Michael stirring noodles and vegetables in a pot


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7 Comments

  1. Thanks for providing vegetarian/vegan resources too!
    Do you know if the buckwheat noodles will do ok with a quick boil and longer soak?
    Looking forward to trying this. Toasted sesame oil changed my life cooking at home, but I haven’t taken it into the backcountry yet!5 stars

    1. Haven’t tried a quick boil and long soak with buckwheat noodles before. We should give it a try. It might affect how the starch breaks down but will vary depending on the brand of noodle. We’ve had some noodles turn to mush and some stay hold firm. Definitely try it first at home before taking it out into the backcountry.

  2. You didn’t have a problem with the noodles cooking to mush before the veggies were fully rehydrated?

    1. We’ve found that the Just Veggies brand rehydrates pretty quickly, so we didn’t have any issues with the noodles overcooking. However, I know that different brands of dehydrated vegetables have varying cook times, so to be safe you could separate the noodles from the vegetables, and once the veggies seem pretty tender, add the noodles to the pot and cook from there.

    2. Chris M. Christian (aka Hangs4Fun) says:

      Freeze Dried veggies rehydrate very quickly. However, if you are saving money and dehydrating yourself, what you can do, is a couple hours before you stop hiking to make your meal, presoak your dehydrated veggies with cold water in a spare water bottle or sealable container. After a couple of hours of hiking, the toughest dehydrated veggies will be rehydrated, then just add to what ever meal you are making. This trick works for any meal and is why (If I am using dehydrated ingredients), I always keep my dehydrated veggies separate from everything else (when vacuum sealing up my meals).4 stars

  3. This wasn’t a bad recipe. It made a ton of food, though. I think a little more salt or a tad bit of brown sugar to help off set the heat for me personally but my son and husband loved the heat. I’m a wimp. More salt definitely for our liking.4 stars