Sespe Stew

Backpacking stew
275 calories
103 grams

2.67 cal/g

Harmony House green bean1 Tbsp21 cal
Harmony House tomato1 Tbsp21 cal
Harmony House cabbage1 Tbsp15 cal
Harmony House bell pepper1 Tbsp12 cal
Harmony House onion1/2 Tbsp14 cal
Harmony House celery1 Tbsp14 cal
Harmony House peas1 Tbsp33 cal
Harmony House beefish chunks1/4 cup88 cal
instant rice3 Tbsp56 cal
salt1 tsp0 cal
ground pepper1 tsp0 cal

Note: I use mostly Harmony House ingredients, but you can also use your own dehydrated vegetables.
Makes one large single serving or two smaller servings

Serving Size: 

ONE Adventurer


Everything goes into one package

It’s often said that necessity is the mother of invention, and this recipe pretty much embodies that. Nothing more than a last minute, off the cuff, amalgamation of convenient backpacking ingredients that tastes pretty good.

Let’s rewind a couple months. It’s late on a Thursday night and my friends ask me if I’d like to join them on a hike to Willett Hot Springs in the Sespe Wilderness. Count me in! But… they’re leaving the next day straight after work, and it’s too late to go to the grocery store.

Luckily, I received a Harmony House TVP Sampler package that afternoon; definitely taking advantage of that. I then raided the pantry for leftovers of previous backpacking trips, lo and behold, still plenty of veggies in the Harmony House Backpackers kit. All things considered, pretty fortuitous timing.

In the infinite possibilities of this world, I’m sure this combination of ingredients exists elsewhere by a different name. But it was literally just a bunch of available ingredients thrown together with some salt and pepper. Of course I may have more backpacking foodstuff than most, but still a total combination of spontaneity and necessity (maybe a little bit of hoarding).

Does the recipe name make any sense now?

Fast forward to our second night, at Thatcher campground, and I’m sucking down this recipe like I’m trying to dethrone Joey Chestnut. It was a long day of hiking in the hot sun with never ending water crossings. So maybe the day’s agony made the meal taste better; hunger is the best spice after all.

Here are some things I made a mental note of: the crunch and snap from the cabbage makes the meal taste fresh, many backpacking meals tend to be on the mushy side. The peas were undercooked, so use them as the benchmark for overall doneness. The beefish chunk TVP was so tender and actually had a texture like beef, although not nearly as chewy as the real deal. But so much better than my own dehydrated ground beef, that I’ve pretty much decided to use TVP exclusively and forego ever dehydrating my own beef for backpacking. This recipe makes a large single serving or two smaller servings.

So hit the trail, for weeks or a weekend, and remember that backpacking food doesn’t have to be particularly fancy or difficult to be filling and delicious.


  1. Add all dry ingredients into pot.
  2. Fill with plenty of water to cover all ingredients with 1-2 inches of water.
  3. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Turn off stove, cover and wait 5 minutes, or until peas are tender.
  5. Finish with oil for extra calories.