Trail Chili

Trail Chili

This super-easy and yummy trail chili has to be one of the best dishes to serve on a backpacking trip.

servings: 4 | calories: 681 | cooking time: 20 min | weight: 150 gr / oz
Category: dehydrated, dinners, gluten-free, high-energy, lightweight, one-pot

nutrition info:

calories: 681, protein: 58.1 g, carbs: 88.2 g, fat: 13 g, sugars: 11.2 g, sodium: 90 mg

you'll need:

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
600 gs lean beef mince
2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 can canned kidney beans, drained
1 can canned sweet corn, drined
2 tablespoons chilli con carne spice mixture (Santa Maria)
1 can diced tomatoes

at home:

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add onions and garlic, cook until soft and golden.
Add the ground beef and cook until fully brown. Transfer meat to a colander. Drain and then return the meat to the saucepan.
Tip in red pepper, beans, sweet corn and chilli con carne spice mix.
Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour in the diced tomatoes together with their juice into a saucepan. Bring to aboil and season to taste.
Reduce heat to low, put a lid on and leave to cook for a further 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and cool thoroughly.
Spread the trail chilli mixture  on dehydrator trays covered with non-stick sheets or parchment paper.
Dehydrate at 63C/145F for 8-10 hours until brittle.
Divide the dried meal into equal portions (about 1 cup each) and pack them into medium-sized zip lock bags.

on the trail:

To rehydrate 1 portion:

Pour dry chilli  mixture into the pot; add 1 cup water and stir well.
Bring to a boil and cook,stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, cover, and let stand another 5-10 minutes to rehydrate meal completely.


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  1. Deb Bradford on August 6, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Does this need to be actually cooked for 5 minutes or will adding hot water andxwaiting an hour sufficient? Really trying to just use hot water.
    Thank you

    • Tanya Krezevska on August 10, 2023 at 10:34 am

      You can just add hot water, however, rehydration in this case can take more time.

  2. Connor on August 6, 2023 at 10:21 pm

    I made this without the beans, and a little extra tomatoes. It made a great meat sauce that was awesome over instant potatoes!

    • Tanya Krezevska on August 10, 2023 at 10:42 am

      Great idea!

  3. Lynn on June 20, 2023 at 6:37 am

    Do you know how much Fibre is in each serving.

  4. Rebecca on April 28, 2021 at 9:41 am

    How long would this last unfrozen in my backpack?

    • Tanya Krezevska on May 5, 2021 at 12:16 pm

      Vacuum seal it or pack in a zip-lock bag. I kept mine up to one month at room temperature.

  5. Will on August 2, 2020 at 12:31 am

    So the weight that says 150g, is that the weight of all four servings or the weight of one serving? Same question for the calories. Is each serving 681 calories? Thanks, Will.

    • Tanya Krezevska on August 3, 2020 at 9:37 am

      Nutrition info (calories) and weight are shown per portion/serving.

  6. Greg on July 20, 2020 at 12:55 am

    How thick of a layer should I put on each tray?

  7. Megan on July 7, 2020 at 6:51 am

    Is it better to dehydrate the meat separately or is it okay to dehydrate all together?

    • Tanya Krezevska on July 14, 2020 at 11:15 am

      Absolutely fine to dehydrate trail chicli as a whole meal

  8. Jennifer on April 20, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe. I’ve been looking for high protein meals that I can make and dehydrate for backpacking and this one is perfect.

    • Tanya Krezevska on April 22, 2020 at 7:44 am

      Thank you, Jennifer!

  9. erin on February 18, 2020 at 1:30 am

    What would be a good vegetarian substitute for the meat?
    Thank you!!

    • Tanya Krezevska on February 20, 2020 at 4:21 pm

      Hi Erin! You can use TVP instead. More info here >>

    • Darran on April 11, 2020 at 7:01 pm

      I use split red lentils as a substitute for meat in chilli when I fancy a change or the pennies are hard to come by. Good source of protein and tastes great. Enjoy

    • Snuss on November 1, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      Made a batch with impossible burger and it’s not bad.

  10. Roni on August 24, 2019 at 4:09 am

    Sounds delicious. At what point do you add sugar and salt? To taste?. Thank you.

    • Tanya Krezevska on August 26, 2019 at 11:21 am

      Hi Roni! I put some salt and sugar after adding tomatoes, as their acidity need to be balanced.

  11. Charlotte on June 25, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Is a 1:1 of dehydrated chili to water and acceptable ratio?

    • Tanya Krezevska on June 26, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      Hi Charlotte! Yes, the ratio is correct. However, you always can add more water in order to get consistency you want.

  12. [email protected] on June 24, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    How many portions does this recipe make? Thanks!!

    • Tanya Krezevska on June 25, 2019 at 9:47 am

      I’ve updated recipe. Now it makes 4 portions.

  13. Sam Baldwin on August 15, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    what is the shelf life of this

    • Tanya Krezevska on August 16, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Hi Sam! If your dehydrated meals have been dried properly and are packed in jars or zip-lock bags, you can store them up to 1 month in a cool, dry place. Vacuum-sealing and freezing can preserve them for years.

  14. Fan on April 11, 2016 at 8:04 am


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