A large portion of planning for a canoe trip is dedicated to healthy food preparation. Whenever possible, fresh vegetables and fruit are purchased along the route. However, for lightweight and long–term travel, homemade dehydrated food is used and prepared in advance. Healthy foods packed with vitamins and minerals are like fuel to our bodies giving us the necessary energy needed to accomplish the rigours of the trek. The right food will eliminate our bodies from breaking down enabling us to stay healthy for months at a time. Below are just a few of our favourite recipes!
Fruits, vegetables and legumes will be dehydrated at home and vacuum-sealed to take with us and for friends or family to mail to us along the route. Fresh produce, along with other supplies that have multi-functional medicinal benefits, are purchased along the trek in bulk. Our diet consists of the following:
- Unsaturated fats like avocados, fish, nuts, seeds or oils from fish and preferably unrefined, cold-pressed, vegetable oils like olive oil or sesame oil.
- Ideal proteins for maintaining muscle and fat like beans and legumes, chicken, fish and shellfish, eggs and dairy, sun-dried tomatoes, seeds and soy.
- Energizing complex carbohydrates like beans and legumes; grains like brown rice, buckwheat, oats and quinoa; nuts and seeds, sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables.
Whenever possible, we choose fresh local produce and herbs from our garden to dehydrate in our nine-tray Excalibur. What we like about the Excalibur is that it has a thermostat range of 105°F (41°C) to 165°F (74°C) with a 7 inch (18 cm) fan for excellent air circulation. It is easy to operate. It has 9 trays with 15 sq ft (1.39 sq m) capacity, user-friendly and thermostatically-controlled warm air for continuous circulation. The drying time ranges anywhere from 7 to 10 hours.
- ¾ cup (180 mL) quinoa
- 1-3/4 (354 mL) cup water
- 1/4 (60 mL) cup figs
- 1/4 (60 mL) cup dried apples chopped
- ½ tsp (2.5 mL) cinnamon
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) honey (optional)
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) ground flax seed
At camp, combine the quinoa, water, apples, figs, honey, and cinnamon in the same saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit/rest covered for a further 10 minutes. Add milk (powder milk/water mixture) if desired. Sprinkle with flax. Also great with prunes or dates.
Tip: Alternate quinoa with oatmeal, millet or other grains. If available, serve with fresh fruit from the trail! Serves 2.
- Unsweetened dried fruit such as apricots, apples, figs, dates etc.
- Trail mix, energy bars, sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds, dried ground ginger, dried vegetable blend, or protein powder added to water.
- Leftovers from the night before! Always served cold.
- 2 cups (472 mL) (dry) spaghettini quinoa pasta
- ¼ cup (60 mL) each of sun-dried tomatoes, dried cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and red sweet peppers
- 6 strips of bacon (pre-cooked)
- 3 cloves of fresh garlic minced
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) of extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp (5 mL) of dried basil
- 1 tsp (5 mL) of Mrs. Dash
- freeze-dried parmesan cheese
At camp, pour boiling water over dried red peppers, cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and mushrooms. Let soak for 15 minutes or until reconstituted. Drain and set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm. Cook bacon and garlic in a skillet for 1 minute. Add vegetables and spices and cook until tender. Toss with pasta, parmesan cheese, and olive oil until evenly distributed. Serve immediately. Serves 2.
Warm Green Lentils
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
- ¼ cup (60 mL) each of dehydrated finely diced onion, carrots and parsnips
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup (236 mL) green lentils
- 2 cups (572 mL) water
- ¼ cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
- l tsp (5 mL) turmeric
- 3 tsp (15 mL) dried parsley
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) sherry vinegar (balsamic or red wine vinegar if sherry vinegar not available)
At camp pour hot water over dehydrated onions until just covered and let sit for 15 minutes or until reconstituted. Meanwhile, cook lentils until just tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add the reconstituted onions, carrots and parsnip to cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and turmeric and cook for 2 more minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ¼ cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil with vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the lentils, vegetable mixture and parsley and stir well. Re-taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serves 4.
Coconut Curry Chickpea Chili
- 1 cup (236 mL) of brown rice
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 cup (236 mL) chopped sweet onion or 1/2 cup (118 mL) dehydrated
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped garlic
- 1 tsp (5 mL) grated fresh ginger
- 3 tsp (15 mL) curry powder
- Pinch of chilli flakes
- ½ tsp (2.5 mL) salt
- 1 cup (236 mL) sodium-reduced vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) dehydrated tomato leather
- ½ cup (118 mL) dehydrated garbanzo beans
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) coconut milk powder
- ¼ cup (60 mL) instant skim milk powder
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch
At camp blend broth with the coconut milk powder, instant skim milk powder, and salt until smooth. Add the tomato leather and garbanzo beans and let sit for 15 minutes or until reconstituted. Set aside. Meanwhile, cook brown rice. Set aside. Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add the onion to cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in the curry, chilli and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until spices are fragrant. Stir in coconut milk mixture and bring to a boil. Add corn starch and reduce and simmer until thickened. Serve sauce over rice. Serves 4.
Tip: Make this also with freeze-dried chicken and vegetables such as sweet red peppers. Substitute lentils for garbanzo beans. Add chilli flakes for more heat. Great with lime, cilantro and sour cream as a garnish!
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
- ½ cup (120 mL) dried vegetables – i.e. cabbage, onions, carrots
- ½ cup (120 mL) of TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tsp (5 mL) Mrs. Dash
- 1-1/4 cup (296 mL) water
- 1-1/2 cup (356 mL) instant mashed potatoes.
At camp pour hot water over dehydrated vegetables and TVP until just covered and let sit for 10-15 minutes or until reconstituted. In a frying pan or small pot, sauté vegetables and garlic in olive oil until tender. Set aside. Add boiling water to instant mashed potatoes stirring quickly for 10 seconds. Stir in vegetables, cover, and set aside.
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) powdered milk
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) cornflour
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) turmeric powder
- ½ tsp (2.5 mL) Mrs. Dash
- 1 cup (236 mL) water
Add olive oil to the frying pan or small pot, heat, and gradually add flour/milk mixture, stirring to form a smooth paste. Stir briskly and slowly add water. Serve sauce over potato/vegetable mixture. Serves 2.
Tip: Add freeze-dried chicken, fish or beef to the sauce if available. Make twice the amount of the potato mixture and fry patties for lunch the next day.
Coconut Curry Soup
- 1-1/2 (370 mL) cup of potatoes (fresh or freeze-dried)
- ½ cup (120 mL) dehydrated mushrooms
- ¼ cup (60 mL) each of dehydrated: onions, sweet peppers, leeks, cabbage
- 4 cups (560 mL) water
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) coconut milk powder (add additional to taste)
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
- 2 tsp (10 mL) curry powder
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) Mrs. Dash or your favourite seasoning
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 package of Salmon
Pour hot water over dehydrated vegetables and let sit for 15 minutes or until reconstituted. Once the vegetables are reconstituted, squeeze out access water – preserve water for the soup base. Place olive oil in a saucepan and sauté vegetables for 5 minutes. Add all seasonings to the vegetables. Sauté for 1 minute further or until fragrant. Add water to the pot. Mix the coconut powder with a little water and add. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 5 minutes. Add salmon including juice; turn off the heat and let sit covered for an additional 15 minutes or when vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tip: add wild rice, chickpeas, corn instead of potatoes. Substitute any of the vegetables to make your own delicious blend!
Here’s how we dehydrate food in pictures: