Mmmmm ..... DINNER !!!
It’s often on the minds of hikers long before time comes around to crank a stove up. For some it’s just fuel, for others it’s a dangling “carrot” to look forward to. Whatever your motive, everyone wants to have a nice satisfied belly at the end of it and some nutrients to replenish your hard working body. It also needs to be lightweight and robust enough to withstand the rigours of being squished in a pack with no refrigeration.
Our Radix , Strive and Feed The Hike range of freeze dried and dehydrated meals from Australian and NZ companies are quick and easy, provide high energy, nutrient-dense meals and come in some amazing new flavours and textures. Plus we think we've got the best tasting brands out there!!
Radix is the newest kid on the Ultralight Hiker block. A New Zealand born company founded in 2013 by a group of former professional athletes who have truly lived to push the boundaries of their own human performance. Their meals are designed using the latest research so you can supply your body with the macronutrients it needs to thrive – both mentally & physically.
Strive dehydrated meals are manufactured in Tasmania, Australia. They offer a substantial and tasty reward after a long day’s hiking. Their meals have been designed to replenish lost nutrients and to offer long-lasting energy for the day ahead by their qualified nutritionist. Each meal is built and thoroughly tested for taste in their kitchen to high standards and must satisfy an active adult.
Feed the Hike are Vegetarian/Vegan soups and meals manufactured in WA, Australia. They are aimed at sustaining your adventure with great nutrients in your diet through simple, lightweight and healthy dehydrated food. All their products are made with REAL FOOD, packed with loads of vegetables and produced so the adventurer can get a quick meal without using a lot of fuel or water.
DIY Meals with Store Bought Ingredients
However, not everyone loves a commercially prepared adventure meal. With a little imagination you can make great meals with ingredients straight off the supermarket shelf. It’s not always gourmet (although sometimes it’s pretty close) but these meals will tick all the boxes in terms of flavour, weight and nutrients.
WAYS WITH PASTA
It’s a hiker favourite but there’s many ways to prepare it. Easiest is grabbing an off-the-shelf packet mix complete with sauce (eg, tomato & basil or carbonara – add the specified milk powder and skip the butter) but you can get cleverer than that. Mix and match your lunch leftovers: swirl through a few big dollops of pesto dip (any dip can make an interesting sauce however oil-based ones last better) or add some salami to chunk it up (dry salami doesn’t need refrigeration). Dehydrate your own sauce to add to some angel hair spaghetti on the trail - that’s the thin stuff that cooks quickly - for a hearty home-cooked meal in under 80 grams. And note that you don’t need to cook pasta for the entire seven minutes; just bring to the boil, turn off the gas and let it sit until al dente. (Note, you might need some pot insulation in cold weather for this method). Hard cheese, like parmesan, stands up well to no refrigeration and goes perfectly with your pasta.
KEEP ON GOING WITH QUINOA
You can literally feel the boost of energy on the trail that comes the day after a meal of quinoa. It’s high in protein and carbs, loaded with nutrients, extremely compact and you don’t need much of it to fill the stomach. A soup from our Feed The Hike range or a store bought Cup-A-Soup makes a great flavour base (don’t add as much water as specified if you want more of a ‘stew’ finish and less of a soup). Keep things interesting by adding a handful of dried mushrooms, onions or whatever else takes your fancy. If you’re into dehydrating, this quinoa chilli bean recipe is very satisfying.
Whether it’s potato or some of the new varieties of cauliflower, sweet potato, pumpkin or broccoli & pea mash, it is guaranteed to fill you up. In fact its capacity to keep expanding in your stomach is so great that you’ll want to be careful not to prepare too much because it’s very easy to suddenly find yourself forcing down spoonful’s like you’re in the last moments of an eating competition. Believe me, no hiker wants leftovers to carry out. Mash needs friends so add things like flavoured tuna, sundried tomatoes, salami.
Cheese makes a great addition to anything but particularly mash as it melts with the heat to create silky strings of yumminess. This is a very quick and energy efficient ‘just-add-water-and-stir’ kind of dinner – perfect for nights when you’re too knackered to be bothered with anything complicated.
Like mash, polenta is great at expanding so you only need a few tablespoons of it to make a meal, and instant polenta cooks in around five minutes. With less than 100g you can make fancy meals like Basil polenta with sun-dried tomatoes, or mushroom polenta with chorizo chips.
Polenta is actually ground cornmeal so if gluten-free is important to you, this one is a winner. It’s also an excellent source of complex carbohydrates (the ones that break down slowly to give you a slow release of sugar in the blood). Flake some salmon into it for extra protein or add dried peas.
OODLES OF NOODLES
One cake of rice noodles (serves one) weighs a tiny 47 grams making it a very appealing option on the trail, and one super delicious way to serve it is in this Coconut curry soup.
Or go for the trusty Feed The Hike or Cup-a-soup flavour base option. If you want to pimp it up, throw in some dehydrated peas, beans or even something fresh. A pre-washed bag of spinach is super light and will last for the first few days of a hike. Snow peas and carrots are pretty resilient too.
Create this miso soup from scratch or buy ramen noodle soup from the supermarket – it’s very filling and the spiciness is fantastic for warming up the body on cold nights. Adding tuna gives it extra oomph.
Believed to have originated in Morocco and Algeria, couscous is made from semolina flour (ie. durum wheat), making it part of the pasta family. You can get flavoured ready-made varieties from the supermarket, such as lime and coriander or sundried tomato and garlic, or concoct your own creation. Couscous needs only an equal part of boiling water or stock added to it and then let sit for five minutes. Sprinkle in any number of dried herbs and spices, onion or garlic powder, etc, then throw in something more substantial like a sachet of beans or tuna. Chickpeas love couscous and you can now buy them in little foil pouches. If you want to keep things traditional go with something that uses a Moroccan seasoning mix like this chorizo and tomato dish.
Bon appetit hikers !!