In my early days of eating keto, I struggled to find keto friendly hiking snacks and backpacking meals – I won’t lie!
But once I embraced dehydrating my own meat, vegetables and meals, staying keto on the trail became so much easier. Plus, it seriously lightened up my food bag!
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This keto chili recipe is one of the easier backpacking meals to make and dehydrate yourself, since you can prepare it as you normally would and then dehydrate the ‘assembled’ meal, instead of dehydrating all the individual ingredients and then portioning them out and mixing them up afterwards.
Pro tip: I love to make a giant batch of this keto chili at once, like as much as will possibly fit in all the pans I own, and then have it for dinner, freeze a couple containers worth for another day, and also dehydrate enough for several meals on the trail.
Keto Backpacking Chili Ingredients
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp approximately freshly ground pepper
- 1-1.5 lbs ground beef or turkey
- 1 can black soy beans or 1 bag frozen, shelled edamame (optional)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large or 2 small green peppers, chopped
- 1 bag frozen or fresh cauliflower rice
- Olive oil, just to coat the pan
Equipment & Supplies
Making & Dehydrating Keto Chili
This has become one of my go-to keto meals to dehydrate because you can make it once, all in one giant pot or pan, then dehydrate it all together in one batch and just package into individual baggies and bam – keto backpacking chili!
I make it at home as I normally would, although, personal preference, I like my chili thick and not soupy. So, I usually make this in large frying pans vs a large pot as you would if you like it more soupy.
But honestly for dehydrating, you’ll want to drain liquid off anyway, so if you’re only making this to run through the dehydrator, I’d stick to frying pans.
To cook the chili:
- Brown the ground beef or turkey in a pan, using the least amount of oil needed since fats and oil don’t dehydrate particularly well. Breaking it up into very small pieces as it cooks.
- Add the chopped onion and pepper, saute until they start to soften.
- Add the beans and cauliflower rice, stir well.
- Add in the spices and stir well.
- Let it cook or simmer for at least 10 minutes, more if desired.
To dehydrate the chili:
- Let cool for at least 20 minutes, or start this process from leftovers from the fridge.
- Make note of how many ‘wet’ or fresh servings you have chili before placing in dehydrator.
- Using a slatted spoon or fork, spread the chili out in a thin layer on fruit leather trays, or dehydrator trays lined with parchment paper.
- Dehydrate at 155 degrees for at least 8 hours, or until completely crispy. You could check it part way through and stir up the chili on the trays if needed, to break up any large clusters.
- Let cool completely then ration out your chili into quart size Ziploc bags, according to how many servings you originally started with. If you made 6 servings worth of chili, divide up into 6 baggies.
- Label them as keto chili with the date made and store in the fridge or freezer for the longest, safest storage. Or vacuum seal them instead if you have a vacuum sealer.
Then right before my trip I might add powdered cheese to my chili meals, or just pack some fresh cheese to add as I cook it.
I also pack a small bottle of olive oil to make cooking and cleaning my pot a bit easier and also bump up my fat and calorie count for the day.
To rehydrate my keto chili, I empty it out into my pot, add some oil, then just cover the ingredients with water, maybe with a little extra water. Then bring it to a boil, turn off my stove and place my pot in my DIY pot cozy to soak for about 10 minutes.
Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or how your keto backpacking chili turned out.