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Can Dehydrated Meals Style Good and Additionally Be Wholesome?


As an enormous proponent of consuming one thing contemporary at each meal, I had spent rather a lot longer than most individuals within the ready tenting meals aisle at REI, fastidiously studying and re-reading labels. It was laborious to wrap my head round a meal made in a pouch, simply by including boiling water. I used to be going to want some sturdy persuasion to alter my thoughts.

All you want is boiling water. Picture: Sage Friedman/Unsplash

I used to be on the lookout for pre-packaged choices that had been additionally thought-about “wholesome”—that’s, containing substances that I may truly pronounce and that didn’t include phrases like “modified” or “different flavors.” However what I quickly found is that one of these meals has come a great distance, and the alternatives are fairly strong.

My curiosity in easy-to-pack, just-add-water dehydrated meals was sparked after I discovered the story behind Patagonia Provisions—a line of natural, simple-to-make grains and soups, in addition to humanely harvested jerky and salmon pouches, which require no refrigeration till opened. I used to be impressed with the quantity of thought and care that went into the sourcing of every ingredient.

As of late, an increasing number of individuals are on the lookout for the healthiest, most sustainable choices with regards to what they eat, each at residence and on the highway.

So, with that in thoughts (and a narrowed lens to seek out the healthiest labels in existence) I taste-tested a few of the choices on the market. Right here’s what I discovered.

Patagonia Provisions

just add water camp food taste test

Patagonia Provisions Savory Grains. Picture: Patagonia

I used to be actually completely satisfied to get my arms on some savory grains from Patagonia Provisions.

Simplistic packaging and directions had been the right exterior to what’s discovered inside. I attempted the mushroom and kamut khorasan wheat, which had a brilliant clear, wholesome taste—there was nothing too overpowering within the combine, and it tasted like a aspect dish that I might prepare dinner up any evening of the week.

By way of heartiness, this dish is a bit lighter than the others we style examined. One serving (or one pouch) contained 2.5 grams of fats, 380 energy and 15 grams of protein—the best quantity of protein per serving of any the alternatives we tasted. One serving was greater than sufficient for 2 individuals to share as a aspect dish.

just-add-water dehydrated meals taste test

Khorasan wheat is analogous in texture to quinoa, however has a extra nutty taste. Picture: Patagonia

The opposite meal pouches all contained at the very least two servings per pouch, and had been truly sufficient for a number of small meals for 2 individuals, however had related calorie and protein counts per serving.

The truth that the grains are natural, vegan and gluten-free had been additionally an added bonus. One downside is that you could’t make this meal contained in the pouch, so that you’ll have to make use of camp bowls and plates.

Backpackers Pantry

just add water dehydrated meals taste test

Backpacker Pantry Chana Masala. Picture: James Rodney

I cherished that Backpackers Pantry had such a various providing of meals that had been vegan and gluten free. Upon first style of the Chana Masala, I used to be shocked this meal got here from a pouch. It was savory and spicy, and a bowl of this happy my starvation. Plus, it’s a fantastic value for the quantity of meals you get (About $7 per packet).

The directions referred to as for including 2 1/2 cups of boiling water, resealing the bundle and letting it sit for 15 to twenty minutes. I opened the bag at quarter-hour to verify to see if it was cooked all the best way, and I undoubtedly ought to have waited till 20 minutes had handed.

just add water meal pouch taste test

Served with some diced inexperienced onion, this Chana Masala makes a comforting meal for 2, irrespective of the place you’re. Picture: James Rodney

Though I resealed the bag and waited it out for one more 5 to 10 minutes, the rice was barely underdone as a result of consumer error. Regardless, this meal nonetheless ranked as considered one of my favorites in taste.

Taster’s tip: Along with letting it steam longer (resist opening that bag, irrespective of how hungry you’re), ensure to offer the contents a extremely good stir contained in the packet to the get all of the spices blended properly.

On the vitamin aspect, I preferred the truth that all of the substances had been widespread meals I knew and cherished, like lengthy grain rice, garbanzo beans, turmeric, ginger and crushed crimson chili pepper. One serving of the Chana Masala contained 410 energy, 3 grams of fats and 14 grams of protein. The sodium content material is greater than others, at 1420 milligrams.


just add water meal pouch taste test

AlpineAire’s Himalyan Lentils. Picture: James Rodney

This style check then dug into the Himalayan lentils from AlpineAire.

This can be a candy and savory vegetarian dish, and I preferred that the substances, along with rice, lentils and black beans, included diced apples and freeze-dried mango. It’s additionally moderately priced for a beneficiant quantity that may simply feed two individuals.

Sadly, it went a bit past my tolerance for sweetness ranges, particularly for dinner, as I’m usually craving one thing extra savory.

just add water meal pouch taste test

Including some savory greens and inexperienced onion to the Himalayan lentils bowl helped off-set the sweetness. Picture: James Rodney
Picture: James Rodney

One serving incorporates 310 energy, 3.5 grams of fats, and 11 grams of protein. It is available in on the low finish for sodium, as properly, at 180 milligrams per serving. An added bonus to this packet is that it had an additional lengthy shelf life, good to make use of via January 2023 (though I couldn’t discover a precise shelf life for this product).

On the draw back, it did include a few additional filler substances not current within the others, akin to maltodextrin, a thickener starch that’s usually used to increase shelf life.

Good To-Go

just-add-water meal pouch taste test

Good To-Go’s Mexican Quinoa Bowl, with a poblano mole sauce, is likely one of the most refined meals in a pouch. Picture: James Rodney

Good To-Go’s simplistic aesthetic and packaging was a right away bonus—I cherished {that a} fast scan knowledgeable me this meal was vegan and gluten-free. Upon additional overview of the label, I used to be actually impressed on the varieties of substances this dehydrated meal included, akin to mole poblano sauce.

“Dehydrated connoisseur” is what Good To-Go has labeled their creations, that are dreamed up by former New York Metropolis restaurant proprietor and chef Jennifer Scism. And I’ve to agree with that assertion.

just-add-water dehydrated meals taste test

Corn, black beans, butternut squash and tomatoes are all tied along with a savory, complicated sauce. Picture: James Rodney

That is a kind of dishes that will get higher as you proceed consuming it. Extra of the complicated flavors had been revealed on my subsequent spoonfuls, like hints of the diced cilantro, scallion and Mexican oregano. By the point I completed I used to be happy—and in addition speaking myself into having just a bit bit extra.

There are two servings per 6.7 ounce packet. One serving incorporates 350 energy, 8 grams of fats, and 13 grams of protein. Sodium weighs in at 390 milligrams per serving and it has a two-year shelf life—not dangerous, contemplating we couldn’t select one single “filler” ingredient.

Whereas it is a little more of an funding, at $13.50, if you’re somebody who’s health-conscious and has considerably of a refined palette, it is a nice selection.


Taking substances, style and general hunger-quenching into consideration, I might rank Good To-Go because the primary choice. Patagonia Provisions is a really shut second, with the one draw again being that it’s extra of a aspect dish than an general meal. Nonetheless, a full meal may simply be put collectively utilizing gadgets from the remainder of the Provisions line.

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