A refreshing alternative to instant oatmeal, this dehydrated quinoa is a warm and filling backpacking breakfast. Creamy coconut milk, toasty coconut chips, and bright-tasting strawberries – it’s a wonderful way to start your day on the trail.
Oatmeal is a morning staple for many backpackers – ourselves very much included. However, it’s easy to get burnt out on it. A nice way to mix things up is by switching to quinoa!
Quinoa has a slightly different texture and flavor, while still making a sweet and delicious morning porridge. The only problem is cooking raw quinoa is hardly instant. So to help accelerate the process, we turned to dehydration.
By cooking and dehydrating our quinoa porridge at home and then simply rehydrating it out on the trail, we could get all that delicious flavor and texture with a fraction of the weight and cook time.
So if you’re looking to switch up your backpacking breakfast routine, we can get you up to speed on how to make this delicious quinoa porridge in no time!
Quinoa: Whereas oats tend to break down into a homogeneous mush, quinoa retains its soft yet distinct granular texture. Quinoa also has a slightly nutty flavor, that can really add to the overall flavor of a meal. But be sure to rinse before using it!
Flavors: To add flavor to this particular porridge we used a combination of maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla. Honey, agave syrup or brown sugar would all work as well.
Berries: We used strawberries for their bright color and flavor, however, you could easily use blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries as a substitute.
Coconut Milk: This is where the creaminess (and a lot of the calories) comes from. If you’re looking for a creamier or more calorie-dense porridge, you could tinker with adding more coconut milk powder.
Coconut Flakes: Adding the essential texture component of crunch, these toasty coconut flakes are a great addition that really rounds of the meal. Out on the trail, we’ve found a little crunch can go a long way!
↠ Dehydrator: For this recipe, we used a Nesco Snackmaster Pro. While it lacks some of the fancy controls of more expensive models, we have found it to be a great, budget-friendly starter dehydrator. There are more expensive models out there, but this one has worked for us so far.
↠ Dehydrator Sheets: If your dehydrator doesn’t come with solid fruit leather trays, then you will need to pick them up. The porridge will be wet, so you’ll need a solid tray in order to properly dehydrate it.
↠ Backpacking Pot: When we’re cooking our own meals out on the trail, we use this MSR ceramic coated pot. The aluminum body distributes the heat well while the non-toxic non-stick surface prevents us from scorching our food.
↠ Backpacking Stove: We use an MSR Pocket Rocket 2 with our pot. Lightweight, compact, and reliable. This has been our go-to stove for most backpacking trips.
How to make dehydrated strawberry & cream quinoa porridge
This recipe starts by making a large batch of quinoa porridge at home in your kitchen. The first step is to thoroughly rinse your quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under running cold water. This will clean away the natural exterior coating called saponin that can give quinoa a bitter or even soapy flavor. If you’ve ever had problems cooking quinoa in the past, we highly recommend that you try rinsing beforehand. After rinsing, it tastes like a totally different product.
Cooking the quinoa is just a matter simmering it with the correct ratio of liquid (see recipe card below). For this recipe, we used water and a touch of salt, but you could experiment by simmering your quinoa using non-fat, non-dairy milk (almond milk, oat milk) to give it a slightly different flavor. Just make sure it’s non-fat, otherwise, the fat will impact the ability for the porridge to dehydrate correctly..
After about 20-25 minutes of simmering and occasionally stirring, the quinoa will be soft and the liquid absorbed. This is when we add in our flavorings of maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla. At this point, it’s important to taste test the porridge and dial in the flavors. Does it need more sweetener? More salt? If the porridge is tasting good now, then it’s ready to be moved to the dehydrator.
We used the solid fruit leather trays that came with our dehydrator, which are perfect for dehydrating wet ingredients like this. Before we add anything to the trays, we like to rub a very light layer of oil on the trays with a paper towel to make it easier to remove the ingredients once fully dehydrated. We’re talking about a drop or two per tray, so it’s a very minimal amount of oil. But you can omit this step if you’re really concerned about the longevity of your dehydrated meal. On a separate dehydrator rack, we evenly space out some sliced strawberries.
With the temperature set at 135 F, we run the dehydrator overnight for 6-8 hours. You can’t really “over dehydrate” this meal, so don’t worry if it runs a little long. The next day we remove the ingredients and divide them into portions. In each portion, we add the coconut milk powder and the toasted coconut flakes.
Out on the trail, all we need to do is empty the dehydrated porridge mix into our cook pot, add just enough water to barely cover the dry ingredients and reheat. At a light simmer, the porridge rehydrates in about 10-15 minutes. Since all the quinoa has already been broken down, it rehydrates much quicker than if it were raw, saving your time and fuel.
Before we know it, we have a piping hot bowl of creamy strawberry quinoa porridge. Creamy, nutty, and bright, this is a wonderful meal to start your day with. So if you’re looking for a fresh idea to mix up your backpacking morning routine, give this quinoa porridge a try!
Tips & tricks
↠ It’s really important to thoroughly rinse your quinoa before you start, otherwise, it may have a bitter and slightly off-taste.
↠ Feel free to mix and match sweeteners, flavors, and fruit.
↠ Rubbing a very light layer of oil on your dehydrator sheet can make it much easier to remove ingredients after everything has dehydrated.
↠ If you want to increase the calorie density of this meal, consider upping the coconut milk powder or including more toasted coconut chips.
↠ Coconut milk powder can often be found in your local grocery store’s Asian section, otherwise, it’s widely available online.
Other backpacking breakfasts you’ll enjoy
Strawberry & Cream Quinoa Porridge
- Rinse quinoa under running water. Bring water, quinoa, and salt to boil, partially cover and reduce to simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stir every few minutes. Add additional water as needed. Remove from heat, then stir in maple syrup, ground cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice strawberries and arrange on a dehydrator tray. Once the quinoa is fully cooked, spread in a thin even layer on dehydrator trays that have been lined with a fruit leather insert or parchment paper.
- Dehydrate at 135 for 6-8 hours, until the quinoa and strawberries are completely dry.
- Place in an airtight container or bag with coconut milk powder and coconut flakes.
- Place a portion of the quinoa porridge in a small pot and add water to cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender.