Gluten-free backpacking meals

Gluten-free backpacking meals

Harmony House foods

As I discovered this summer, gluten-free dehydrated meals are extremely hard to find and very expensive (unless you want to live on jerky and spongy freeze-dried scrambled eggs).  But good food doesn’t need to be expensive or unhealthy – here are some of my favorite recipes that I tried out this summer.  I bought most of the dehydrated ingredients on, where you can get good deals if you’re prepared to buy in bulk.  Harmony House Foods now has a backpacking kit filled with dehydrated veggies (though we just bought the ingredients separately). Since the food lasts nearly indefinitely I didn’t mind the fact that I ended up with way more food than I needed.

All of these meals are non-gluten-free husband endorsed (he swore we ate better on our trip than we did at home).   Many are dairy-free, soy-free and vegan as well.


Carrot Cake Oatmeal

– 1/2 c Gluten free oats (Bob’s Red Mill has certified GF oats), whirled in blender until 1/3 of original size.
– 2 tbs dried carrot, also whirled in a blender until it approximates shredded carrot.  (I used Harmony House Foods for my dried vegetables.) 
– 2 tbs raisins or other dried fruit
– 1 tbs Coconut Milk Powder (a wonderful find on Amazon!)
– 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
– salt to taste (1/8 tsp)

In campground: add boiling water to cover, stir well, let sit tightly for 5 minutes.  Reheat if necessary. Serves 1-2.

Blueberry Almond Quinoa

– 1/3 cup instant Quinoa Flakes (found at PCC)
– 2 tbs dried blueberries
– 2 tbs slivered almonds
– 1 tbs Coconut Milk Powder
– 1 tsp sugar, or to taste (1 tsp is mildly sweet)

In campground: add boiling water to cover, stir well, let sit tightly for 2-5 minutes.  Reheat if necessary. Serves 1-2.

Blueberry Mango Oatmeal

– 1/3 c GF oats, whirled in blender until 1/3 size.
– 1 tbs dried blueberries
– 1 tbs dried mangoes, chopped
– 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
– 1 tsp brown sugar
– 1/8 tsp salt

In campground: add boiling water to cover, stir well, let sit tightly for 5 minutes.  Reheat if necessary. For a calorie-dense breakfast in the backcountry add 1-2 teaspoons of oil (light olive oil or other cooking oil). Serves 1-2.

Lunch & Dinner

Cashew Chicken

– 1 cup instant rice
– 1 7-oz pouch of canned chicken (a little hard to find, but I got mine at QFC)
– 1/3 cup Dried bell peppers (also Harmony House)
– 1/2 cup Dried mushrooms
– 1 cup unsalted cashews
– 2 tsp garlic powder
– 2 tsp ginger powder
– 1 tsp crushed red pepper
-1/2 tsp cumin
-3 tbs cooking oil.

At home:
In one plastic baggie mix cashews and spices, mix rice and veggies in another bag.  Keep oil chicken in the pouch until at the campground.

In campground: “saute” cashews and spices in 1-2 tbs oil (careful! it burns quickly!).  Add chicken pouch and 2 cups of water – bring to a boil and add rice/veggie mix.  Cook until water is absorbed.  Delicious!  Serves 2-3.

Mashed potatoes & jerky (husband’s favorite recipe)

– 1 2 oz package instant mashed potatoes (I used Edward & Sons Organic Mashed Potatoes)
– 2 tbs shelf-stable parmesan cheese
– 1 tsp parsley flakes
– 1 tsp dried sage
– 3-5 strips gluten-free beef or elk jerky, torn into small pieces

In campground: combine with ~ 2 cups boiling water (until covered), stir well and enjoy.  Also extremely tasty.  Add black pepper to season if desired.

Sun dried tomato pasta

– 1/2 cup GF spaghetti (I like the corn spaghetti the best), packaged separately from sauce ingredients.
– 4 tbs dried tomato powder (Harmony House again)
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
– 2 tsp basil (preferably freshly dried and fragrant)
– 1/2 tsp oregano
– 1/2 tsp thyme
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– Parmesan cheese to taste

In campground: cook GF spaghetti according to manufacturer’s directions.  For sauce: add boiling water to tomato mixture to rehydrate, add to spaghetti and mix well.  I noticed this turns out to be more of a pesto-like texture rather than a sauce, but still quite delicious.  Serves 1-2.

Chicken chow mein

– 1 cup rice noodles, broken in 1/3’s (use thin noodles for fast cooking)
– 1 7-oz pouch canned chicken
– 3 tbs dried shiitake mushrooms
– 2 tbs dried mixed vegetables
– 1 tsp GF chicken of vegetable bouillon (this can be tricky to find, I ended up using a vegan bouillon).
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1 tsp ginger powder
– crushed red pepper to taste, OR sliced dried hot pepper (like you find in Mexican markets).

In camp: bring 1 1/2 cups water to boil, add noodles and vegetables, simmer until noodles are cooked.  Add chicken and heat through before serving.  Serves 2.

Well folks – tell me what you think!


Gluten Free Backpacking Meals! From #Naturopathic #Pediatrics

Erika Krumbeck, ND, FABNP
Erika Krumbeck

Dr. Erika Krumbeck is the proud founder and editor of, the leading internet source for trustworthy natural health information for children and naturopathic pediatric providers. She is also the owner of Montana Whole Health, a primary care naturopathic practice in Missoula, MT. She is one of few doctors with the FABNP designation, meaning she is a board-certified pediatric naturopathic physician. Dr. Krumbeck has specialized training in treating chronic conditions in children using safe, gentle and effective natural remedies. She helps bridge the gap between conventional medicine and complementary/alternative medicine by using both new research and traditional naturopathic therapies to guide treatment.


  • Avatar
    September 1, 2013 at 3:54 am

    My bf and I cooked up the Blueberry Quinoa for our hiking trip in the Eastern Sierras last summer. I’m back on your site for the recipe to backpack the redwoods at Butano State Park near Santa Cruz. That recipe is to die for! I went heavy on the coconut cream and sugar because the fat and sugar tastes so good when you’re hiking 🙂 and you need the calories so who cares?! Thanks for making happy tent mornings!

  • Avatar
    May 16, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Wow! Sounds delicious!! I’m going to make that cashew chicken recipe for dinner tonight! I can’t wait for my next camping trip to try these out 😉 Thank you for posting this!

  • Avatar
    Kathleen Jameson
    May 5, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Great idea to put oats in the blender to get a quicker cooking consistency. Thanks for those recipes. Carrot cake oatmeal is definitely to be included on my next hike.

  • Avatar
    July 8, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Thank you! sounds yummy and just what I was looking to find for an upcoming camping trip!

Tell us what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.