One Pan Wonders: Vegan & Gluten-Free on the Trail

by Teresa Dicentra Black


Before I met my meat- and-potatoes-loving husband, I was a vegetarian. I was always proud of myself when I could manage to make my meals vegan too.  Somehow, I saw that as some sort of bonus. This recipe was (and still is) one of my favorite go-to vegan dinners.  It dehydrates and rehydrates beautifully, so it is perfect for a trail meal.

Not only are red lentils a great source of vegetable protein, they are gluten-free as well. And delicious!  A lot of people think that vegan and vegetarian foods are bland and not very tasty. This is just one example of how wrong that can be.




Red Lentil Coconut Curry Stew
Serves 6-12 (depending on portion size and how you decide to serve it)

2 cups red lentils
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery (with leafy tops), diced
1 can chicken or vegetable broth
2 cans coconut milk
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons curry powder (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
olive oil

Sauté the onions and celery in a bit of olive oil until the onions begin to caramelize. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the spices.

Simmer until the lentils are tender; about 20-30 minutes. Add more water if the stew has thickened too much.

Stir in the curry powder and ginger. Simmer for 10 minutes longer.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Allow to cool before spreading on dehydrator trays.

Spread as evenly and thinly as possible on lined dehydrator trays. Run dehydrator for 6-8 hours at 145 degrees until dry.

You can add lots of different kinds of vegetables to this too. Carrots, zucchini and yellow squash are particularly nice.  I’m thinking of adding some fresh spinach in camp when I rehydrate this.

The flavor is mild, but not bland. If you want more kick, add more curry powder.

After the lentils simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, they’ll be nice and tender. Let the dhal cool before spreading it on lined dehydrator trays.

A few hours later. Dried dhal. Yum!

I’ll mix this with some cooked and dehydrated basmati rice or quinoa for full trail meals.


profile pic (2)Teresa “Dicentra” Black is a Seattle native. She became frustrated with what was available for backcountry recipe ideas and set out to create her own. Using a lifetime of hiking and camping experience, One Pan Wonders and two subsequent books with the same name are the result. Her dishes have been featured in Backpacker Magazine several times and she writes for several other publications. She is currently the President of the American Long Distance Hiking Association West. Black’s philosophy is that with a little creativity and some preparation before backcountry trips, eating well during outdoor activities is an easily attainable goal.


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