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Mexi-Cali Beef & Bean Quinoa : Instant Backpacking / Survival Food FBC

Something I love about "ethnic" foods on the trail is that the spices and herbs that make up the flavor profile allow the food to taste the same on the trail as it does at home. On a winter backpacking trip last week I tucked into this comfort food with finesse. Spork-licking good stuff.

Keep in mind that you don't have to follow the ingredients exactly. Mix and match your favorite ingredients to your taste. Don't feel like drying tomato sauce and chilis? Just dry some salsa or add packets of salsa available from McDonalds or Taco Bell. Don't have freeze-dried corn? No sweat: just skip it.

Watching your carbs? Simply reduce the amount of quinoa and add extra meat!

Dried Beef, Beans, and Quinoa with Veggies and Spices. Yum!
Keep reading for the recipe!

Mexi-Cali Beef and Bean Quinoa Recipe

Makes ~4 servings

  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey (cooking directions below)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (low sodium)
  • 1 can pinto beans, mashed and dehydrated
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked and dehydrated

For Each Meal:

  • 1/4 c. Taco Meat dehydrated
  • 2 T Beans, dehydrated
  • 1 T freeze dried corn
  • 1 T dried green chili
  • 2 T dried tomato sauce or dried salsa
  • 1/4 t lime powder or  packet TrueLime
  • Oregano
  • Cumin
  • Salt
Optional Ingredients: 

  • Packet Trader Joe's Chicken Broth (low-sodium)
  • Cheese (not optional in my opinion!) Freeze Dried is best

Preparations at home:

Cook ground beef or turkey at home and drain, cut up larger pieces.  Add taco seasoning and water according to seasoning packet instructions.  Dehydrate at 145°F until dry and crumbly. (Read my article on drying meat for further instruction).

Place ingredients into quart-sized ziploc freezer bags and label.

At Camp:

Rehydrate by adding boiling water to not quite cover the ingredients; you want a casserole, not a soup.  Allow to sit in cozy for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!

DIY Trail Survival Backpacking meals freezer bag Cooking
Beef and Bean Quinoa Sprinkled with Cheddar Cheese

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 298 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat      1 1.3g
Saturated Fat  2.9g
Trans Fat         0.0g
Cholesterol   81mg
Sodium        346mg
Potassium   1414mg
Total Carbohydrates 60.7g
Dietary Fiber  11.7g
Sugars 3.0g
Protein 39.5g
Vitamin A 16%Vitamin C 32%
Calcium 9%Iron 83%
Nutrition Grade A
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional Analysis

Good points


  1. Hey, can you explain what to do with the quinoa in this recipe? Do you cook/mix it in with the beef when you're cooking it? Thanks :)

  2. Hi Jack,

    I cook the quinoa separately and keep it in my pantry to add to my trail dishes. It's great to bulk up any meal, including breakfast!

    Thanks for reading!