Bean bark stew, one of my favorite backpacking meals. It's heart, totally satisfying, and completely delicious!



1/2 cup instant rice
1/4 cup bean bark*
1/4 cup pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce leather*
1/4 cup dehydrated ground beef*
1/4 cup dehydrated mushrooms*
1/4 cup dehydrated mixed vegetables of your choice
taco seasoning, 1 pack per pound
burger seasoning to taste
salt and pepper to taste


For each of these, the bark, leather, ground beef, and veggies, I like to make a large batch and store for future meals.

To make the bean bark: Pureé a large can of vegetarian baked beans. Spread it out on your fruit roll up/plastic tray in your dehydrator. Dehydrate on vegetable/fruit setting (if you have one) until it has the consistency of dried mud. It should be brittle.

To make the pizza sauce/spaghetti sauce leather: Spread out a jar of pizza sauce or meatless spaghetti sauce onto fruit roll up/plastic tray. Dehydrate on vegetable/fruit setting (if you have one). The consistency should be like a fruit roll up/fruit leather.

You can dehydrate these at the same time but you’ll need to monitor as you go because they may not dry at equal rates.

Dehydrated ground beef: You’ll need some lean ground beef. You can make up as much as you want, but you’ll need one packet of taco seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon of burger seasoning for each pound of beef you have. Brown up your meat.  Place in a colander and run hot water over it, removing any grease.

Add the meat back to the pan and add the seasonings and water as per the directions on your taco seasoning. Basically, cook as if you were making tacos. When completely done, make sure you taste it and add salt, pepper, or whatever at this time. Spread that out on your dehydrator trays. You’ll want to dehydrate that on your meat setting or 165°, if you have that option. You’ll know when it’s dry. You don’t want to feel any moisture when you press a piece between your fingers.

To make the veggies: Defrost your veggies if buying frozen. Chop up your mushrooms. Place them on your dehydrator trays on the vegetable/fruit setting until dried. I’ve found the mushrooms you may want to place on your fruit roll up tray because they dry up very small and be careful…they get super light and fluffy. They can become hard to handle once they are dry.

To store, I keep everything separate in zip top bags. The ground beef I’ll actually stick in the freezer if I know I’m not gonna use it soon after drying it. If you were so inclined, you could assemble as below and store in a vacuum sealed bag so everything was already prepped. If you do it this way, make sure you label and date the bags.

Now that everything is dried, this is how you put together this bean bark stew:
Measure out the bean bark, pizza sauce/spaghetti leather, all veggies, ground beef, and instant rice into either a zip top bag with the air sucked out or you can vacuum seal it.

To cook it, place the contents together in your cooking vessel. Add water, just a tad over the top of the contents. Bring to a boil, stir, and cook until rehydrated, about five minutes. You can either simmer it or just let it rehydrate on its own, covered.

Just some further info:

The reason I keep everything separate after I dehydrate them is because there are other dehydrated meals I eat that use those ingredients.  I can assemble different meals just by grabbing what’s in my pantry or freezer.  You can certainly just measure these out together and prep these as the recipe calls for.

This recipe comes from The Backpacking Chef.   It truly is one of my favorite dehydrate meals.  It’s got veggies galore, meat, rice…It’s just really delicious.  It’s my wife’s favorite too.  Well, possibly second after the Alabama Style BBQ Spaghetti.

I don’t have a fancy dehydrator.  I have this Nesco.  It’s not fancy like some others but it works for me.  I got mine on Amazon, but I believe I’ve seen it at Wal-Mart at some point.

If you’re interested in more backpacking dehydrated meals:

Red Lentil Sweet Potato Dal           THE most delicious and hearty backpacking meal I take with me on the trail. Filling but doesn't weight you down and cheap!           Tired of boring dehydrated meals? Whip up some of this delicious BBQ Spaghetti and save money. Plus it's way more delicious than any prepackaged spaghetti you can buy.

Hearty and delicious bean bark stew to keep your belly happy on the trail!Click To Tweet

4 thoughts on “Bean Bark Stew – Backpacking Meal”

  1. With my daughter’s food allergies, I’ll have to bring her own food on our annual 2-day train trip, so I’m beginning to look into homemade dehydrated meals like this. Thank you; this sounds perfect!

    1. I love my dehydrator and not just for backpacking meals. It’s a great way to save veggies when they’re in season.

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