Adapted from Bon Appetit

We recently moved to Seattle to continue our outdoor adventures in the Pacific Northwest.  In the past, B and I have usually gone alone on most of our backpacking trips, but since joining the Mountaineers, it has become apparent that we will have plenty of opportunities to go out in to the backcountry with larger groups.

This has inspired me to work on some dishes that serve more people, and are easily adapted for those who are vegetarian, gluten-free , vegan, and lactose intolerant.  It is a large order, but this new Curried Chickpeas with Spinach and Tomatoes manages all of them!


Curried Chickpeas with Spinach and Tomatoes

Serves 4 (print trail instructions PDF)

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red jalapeño or Fresno chile, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 pound fresh baby spinach
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 24-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • Flatbread or instant white rice, for serving
  • 2 olive oil packets

Great additions: stir in a can of organic chicken for extra protein, or serve with instant white rice for a gluten free dinner.

At home:

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place in the food dehydrator.  Set temperature between 125F – 135F.  Dehydrate for 6-8 hours, or until peas begin to crack and are no longer wet.

As chickpeas dry, heat 1 tsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, chile, and ginger; cook until fragrant and softened, about 4 minutes. Working in batches, add spinach by the handful, tossing to wilt between additions. Cook until fully wilted and bright green, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tsp. oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add curry powder and chili powder and cook until toasted, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juices, squeezing tomatoes with your hand as you add, and 1/2 cup water. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until tomatoes are broken down and sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Fold in spinach mixture.

Transfer tomato spinach mixture to plastic fruit leather dehydrator trays (about 2) and add to the dehydrator (everything is dried on the same setting). Dehydrate for 6-8 hours, or until leather forms and there are not moist or mushy spots.

Once chickpeas and tomato spinach mixture are dried, divide in to 2 Ziploc bags. Add an olive oil packet to each bag.

On the trail:

Cook one 2-person serving at a time.  Pour two cups of filtered water and one olive oil packet in to a pot.  Bring to a heavy boil.  Pour in contents of one Ziploc bag in to pot and stir, continuing to boil for one minute.  Turn down heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Stir frequently to break down leather.  As curry simmers, make small packets out of the foil and place flat bread in packets.


After 10 minutes, remove curry and let sit for another few minutes.  Place foil packets directly on camp stove to heat.  Flip after one minute.  Remove foil packet from stove and serve warmed bread with curry. (if serving with rice, follow package directions)