Super Portable Black Bean and Pumpkin Stew

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A portable just-add-water backpacking meal or emergency meal that is gluten-free and can easily be made vegan.


Units Scale
  • 2 cans pumpkin (15 ounce or ~425 g cans)
  • 2 cups (473 ml) vegetable or chicken broth (equivalent powdered or condensed version preferred)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cans beans (15 ounce or ~425 g cans)
  • Green onions
  • 3 cups instant rice (I use Minute Rice) (~700 ml, sorry about the wonky conversion)
  • Optional: Beef jerky (or lean ground beef to make your own in the dehydrator) - this can be added in addition to or instead of beans


  1. In a large mixing bowl, add pumpkin and broth if liquid (powdered broth can be added later with spices). Mix well.
  2. Drain the beans and place in a separate bowl.
  3. Chop the onions into 1 inch (3 cm) long rods.
  4. Set up your dehydrator. If your dehydrator does not have plastic tray inserts, you may need to line with aluminum foil or parchment paper. You will need two trays for beans, two trays for pumpkin, and 1 tray for green onions with this model.
  5. Spread each item evenly over the trays. Do not mix ingredients since they will have different drying times and will be processed differently post-dehydrating.
  6. Set the dehydrator to 135 degrees F (57 C).
  7. The beans require 3-4 hours to dry, the onions 4-5 hours, and the pumpkin can take 6 hours or longer if it is spread thickly on the tray. The more space between beans and the thinner the pumpkin layer the more quickly they will dry. It is ok to leave items in the dehydrator beyond the full drying time.
  8. Once the ingredients are dry, remove the beans and set aside.
  9. Collect the green onions and put them in a blender or food processor. Then peel the pumpkin off the tray and add it to the blender also.
  10. Blend together until thoroughly mixed and as close to powdered as possible.
  11. At this point, you can choose to keep the contents separate for greater flexibility (see notes for proportions) or combine for an all-in-one ready-to-go mix! Don't forget to add the salt, pepper, and other desired spices to the broth mix if you are keeping them separate. To mix, continue to step 12.
  12. Empty blender contents into a mixing bowl or large plastic ziploc bag.
  13. Add salt, pepper, and other desired spices.
  14. Add dried beans.
  15. Add rice.
  16. Stir with a spoon (or shake sealed bag) until thoroughly mixed.
  17. To rehydrate, add 1 1/4 cups (~300 ml) water to 1 cup (236 ml) dried stew mix for 1 serving. Add additional water in small increments until desired consistency.


If keeping your components separate, the proportions for one serving are approximately: 1/2 cup (120 ml) rice, ~1/4 cup (60 ml) beans, and ~2 tbsp powdered mix.

This basic recipe has a full, hearty taste. Feel free to add other spices for a boost of flavor. I find herbs de provence compliment the flavors well.