Backpack Mushroom Stroganoff

An assortment of mushrooms, hearty egg noodles, and a rich and creamy cashew sauce, this dehydrated vegan mushroom stroganoff is the perfect DIY meal to take on your next backpacking trip!

Megan's hands hold a bowl of dehydrated mushroom stroganoff

Store bought beef stroganoff has been our backpacking favorite for years! Creamy, hearty and completely satisfying after a long day on the trail. Absolute perfection!

Except… we always wish there was way more mushrooms, and since we’re trying to embrace less meat and dairy, we wondered if there was a way to make stroganoff completely plant-based.

So with this laundry list of changes in hand, we developed our own vegan mushroom stroganoff. This new and improved version has all the great satisfying flavor of the original, but without the meat, more and better mushrooms, and a dairy-free cashew-based “cream” sauce.

While freeze-dried stroganoff will always have a nostalgic place in our hearts, we’ve come to prefer this new, healthier vegan version. The mushrooms add that big umami flavor, it’s filling without feeling heavy, and the cashew-based sauce adds some of the protein we took out with the beef. For us, this recipe is a total win-win.

So let’s dive in and show you how easy it is to make this DIY backpacking meal yourself!

Ingredients for dehydrated mushroom stroganoff

ingredients

Mushrooms: These are the star of the show, so if you can, get some good ones! Of course, plain old cremini or button mushrooms will work just fine too, but dehydrating some lovely shiitakes, oysters, trumpets or morels will really take this meal to the next level. Read more about dehydrating mushrooms here!

Pasta with egg noodles: Egg noodles can often be found in thin, wide and extra wide varieties in most grocery stores. Which type you choose really depends on your personal preference. We like to go with a regular wide noodle because it holds the sauce well and doesn’t take too long to cook.

Cashews: These are used for the base of the “cream” sauce. You can use roasted unsalted cashews if that’s all that’s available, but we think you get a creamier texture by using raw cashews.

Nutritional yeast: This is another critical ingredient to the sauce that really helps develop the rich, creamy flavor. If you don’t want to commit to buying an entire package of nutritional yeast, you can pick up a small amount from the bulk bin. Nutritional yeast is NOT the same as brewer’s yeast. They are not interchangeable!

Vegetable broth, garlic powder, onion powder: These are stroganoff sauce flavor bombs that will be added after dehydration.

Equipment

Dehydrator: We used ours Cosori food dehydrator in stainless steel for this recipe, but any dehydrator that has an adjustable temperature setting will work. If you want to learn more about our best dehydrator recommendations, check out our Best food dehydrators Article.

Reusable bags: In our effort to reduce our use of single-use ziplock bags, we have started packing our dehydrated meals for the trail in reusable bags. ReZip is a great option that balances durability with weight. Most of their bags weigh between ½ – 1 oz.

Stove, pot and coziness: To make this recipe on the trail, you’ll need a backpack stove (this is our favourite), a cooking pot and a cozy pot (optional – this will help you save fuel. See our DIY pot cozy tutorial to make your own).

Cashews in a food processor before and after blending
ONE mini food processor make quick work of creating the “cream” sauce

Make cream sauce

Making our vegan “stroganoff” cream sauce starts by soaking raw cashews in water for about an hour. This is an important step to soften them, which will make for a very creamy sauce in the end.

Drain the water and then add the nuts to one Food processor or high speed blender. Add lemon juice, nutritional yeast, dijon mustard, salt and about 1/3 cup extra water. Blend until completely smooth. You may need to stop occasionally and use a rubber spatula to push down the sides.

When the sauce is ready, season it with spices. If it tastes good, proceed to spread it out in a thin layer on a silicone dehydrator mat (if you don’t have one, a piece of parchment paper will work).

Prepare and dehydrate

Boil a pot of salted water and cook the egg noodles according to the instructions on the package for al-dente pasta. If no specific al-dente time is specified, reduce the cooking time by 1-2 minutes.

Drain with a colander and then rinse with cold water to prevent the pasta from continuing to cook. Transfer to a dehydrator sheet.

Next you can start chopping your onion. We prefer these to mix in the sauce, so we like to go with a relatively fine cube. Onions can be dehydrated raw, so just place them on a dehydrating tray.

If you bought fancy farmer’s mushrooms, great! Sometimes these will have some dirt on them that you will want to brush off. You don’t actually need to wash them with water, but if you do, that’s okay. They will be completely dehydrated, so there is no worry about them absorbing a little extra water during a quick rinse.

Cut the mushrooms into slightly larger than bite size pieces (they will shrink during the dehydration/rehydration process) and arrange them on your dehydrator tray.

You can now fill your dehydrator with the cream sauce tray, the egg noodle trays, the onion tray and the mushroom trays. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can also dehydrate some chopped parsley to add some green to the meal.

Set the dehydrator to 125 F and dehydrate for about 6-8 hours. Time is only a rough estimate, check the actual food to make sure it is completely, completely dry.

Equipment Spotlight: Dehydrators

If you are looking for a dehydrator, we recommend buying one that has an adjustable temperature, which allows you to set the drying temperature to give you the best results for individual ingredients. The dehydrator we recommend (and use) most often is COSORI Premium. You can also check our best dehydrators post for a comparison of all the dehydrators we’ve used and would recommend.

Dehydrated ingredients for mushroom stroganoff with a reusable bag

Storage

When everything is completely dried, all ingredients can be mixed together. If you’re making batches for immediate use, you’ll want to add the garlic powder, onion powder, and broth in the serving, but if you’re making a large batch for longer storage, wait until you’re ready to portion.

Short-term use (within the next few days): Store everything in a well-cleaned, resealable bag along with the garlic powder, onion powder and broth.

Intermediate storage (for the next month or two): Store the meal in a sealed mason jar or other airtight container in a cool, dark place. If you live in a particularly hot/humid climate, then storing in the fridge will be better. Hold off on adding the broth, garlic, and onion powder until you’re ready to serve.

Long-term storage (more than a year): Store the meal in a vacuum-sealed bag in the freezer. Wait to add broth, garlic and onion powder until you are ready to serve.

Top view of a bowl of dehydrated mushroom stroganoff

On Trail Rehydration

Rehydrating this mushroom stroganoff on the trail is super simple. Place the dehydrated ingredients in your backpacking cooker and add enough water to just barely cover the ingredients.

You can either:

  1. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes
  2. Bring to the boil for 2-3 minutes, cover, remove from the heat and put in a isolated cozy.

The noodles, mushrooms and sauce are completely rehydrated. Now is a good time to stir in some olive oil to add a few extra calories.

Megan's hands hold a bowl of dehydrated mushroom stroganoff
Top view of a bowl of mushroom stroganoff
  • 4 oz wide noodles, egg-free for vegan, cooked according to package directions
  • ½ lb mixed mushrooms, sliced ​​¼” thin
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoonfuls vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoonful garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoonful onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoonful sea ​​salt
  • 2 olive oil packs, or 2 tbsp

Avoid your screen going dark

  • To make the cashew cream, soak the cashews in water for an hour. Drain, then add to a food processor or high-speed blender with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, salt, and ⅓ cup water. Blend until completely smooth.

  • Line a dehydrating tray with baking paper and spread the cashew cream in a thin, even layer. Arrange the cooked noodles, sliced ​​mushrooms and chopped onions on separate trays. Dehydrate ingredients at 125F until completely dry, 6-12 hours. The cashew cream probably takes the longest.

  • Once the ingredients are dehydrated, let them cool completely. Transfer the dried cashew cream to a clean, dry food processor or spice grinder and grind (the smaller the ground pieces, the smoother the final sauce will be).

  • Divide the dehydrated ingredients, vegetable broth, garlic powder, onion powder, and remaining salt between two airtight containers in a cool, dry place for up to two months. When packing for the trail, bring the olive oil packets or store olive oil in a small leak-proof container.

On track

  • Add the ingredients to your saucepan along with 200ml (a small cup) of water. Cover the pan and bring to the boil and cook for one minute. Stir, then remove the pan from the heat and place your pan in a cozy place for 10 minutes or until the meal has been rehydrated. If you’re not using a pot cozy, bring the meal to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until it’s rehydrated.

Serves: 2portions | Calories: 483kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 13g | fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g

*Nutrition is an estimate based on information from a third party nutrition calculator

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