Braised Chickpea Chard Coconut Meal
Translated for Backpacking!

1 c dehydrated braised chickpea chard coconut & couscous
1.5 c hot boiled water
About 35 minutes sit time, stir after 20*

Bored with your dehydrated backpacking meal rotation?
This just in: braised coconut chickpea & spinach recipe from The Kitchn works out as a dehydrated camp meal! Completed my trial of it yesterday with a taste test with some old friends.** Clockwise from top left: in my friend Alessandra‘s dehydrator, vacuum sealed +couscous (stored in freezer for optimum dryness while I was out galavanting), mid-hydration, ready to eat! Special thanks to Alessandra for loaning the dehydrator, and Torey for pointing me to the original recipe years ago while we were waiting for our S.O.s to finish the Vermont Beast.

Edits & Tips:
-I’ve been making it with chard instead of spinach for a sturdier vegetable, and those rehydrated especially well.
-For dehydrating, I recommend using a moderate amount of oil to cook (not ghee), the coconut milk will have a lot of fat in it already (that is why it’s so tasty), which is something you’re supposed to minimize for dehydrated meals for best preservation potential (um, yuck).
-For an easy grain I put in couscous, in the future I’d cook that raw part separately since it cooks so much faster -you can see how it is fluffy mid-cook already. For a lower carb option (but don’t you love eating carbs while burning backpacking calories?) you could do dehydrated brown rice or quinoa.
-This dehydration with coconut milk sauce in it took TWICE the time vs other meals I did, maybe 12+ hours (so long my iPhone timer timed out), so turning the liquid to powder might be faster as a separate thing, this was just easier in passive time.
-1 cup dehydrated mix + 1.5 cups boiling water + 30-35 minutes wait time = 😋

*Climbing caveat: 30-35 minutes is for at 518ft. altitude (Seattle). Kim at Outdoor Herbivore (est.2010) gives us a rule of thumb: if you go above 5,000 feet: add 1 minute cook (soak) time for every 1,000 feet you go above. So, for instance, if you hoofed it up to Mount Adams’ Lunch Counter camp site to watch 4th of July fireworks at 9,000 feet, you’d add 4 minutes (9,000-5,000=4,000, 4 minutes). Check out her website for more tips on high altitude cooking (e.g. insulate to cook, loss of appetite risk).***

Tasting notes:
– As something that is commonly pre-soaked before regular cooking, I was not super surprised the chickpeas were maybe only 80% as delicious as original, but it was still tasty and a great source of non-meat protein and fiber.
– This has always been one of my favorite lactard-friendly recipes.
– **Jenny says: if you over-hydrate, add potato flakes. A cleverly delicious solution.
-***Well, in my case, to eat any rehydrated meal, I had to add two hours, which is how long it felt to eat a tiny cup of food after I made it to 9,000 feet and promptly caught altitude sickness. #worthit.

What’s your favorite backpacking meal?

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Further Reading:

13 Pro-Tips on Dehydrating food for Backpacking (Sierra Club)
Braised Coconut Spinach & Chickpas w/Lemon (Food the Wong Way) – the recipe test from 2015


I climbed to 9,000 feet on Mt. Adams for July 4th and ate some rehydrated mushroom risotto at the top. This would also be an ideal spot to munch on the chickpea chard coconut meal. Still coloring in the paint-by-number I made the morning after. Wistful sigh.


Dear Reader,

Yes, I just wrote a whole blog entry on Instagram and re-posted it later to WordPress. Special kudos to my spouse Kris for reaching his goal of leading a climb up Mount Rainier, and successfully getting all three  (Chase! Greg!) back safely! My other excuses for being more scarce on here are: some work projects at the local university lately, and Summer calling -as it is want to do with all the Pacific Northwest. Feel free to write in for more updates. Happy trails, folks!



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