Backpacker's Lazy Lasagna

This recipe requires a dehydrator.

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Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with this “lazy” lasagna recipe – and no, it’s not actually lazy, but it is delish. We like to call it lazy because it’s deconstructed, which basically means you can skip crafting an aesthetic casserole – just dig in and enjoy. Meat? Check. Cheese? Check. Spices? Check. So roll up your sleeves, let’s get cooking!

Dietary Preferences: High-protein

Approximate weight (per serving): 24g

Macronutrients (per serving):

Carb Energy

41.5g | 166 kcal

Protein Power

37.6g | 150 kcal

Fat Fuel

14.7g | 129 kcal

Lazy Lasagna Ingredients

Before you go running to the store, let me give you the inside scoop on the key ingredients:

Egg Noodles

Invented in: China

Top 3 nutrients: carbohydrates, protein, B vitamins 

Egg noodles are best used because they require little time to cook, and provide extra protein! I recommend using broad egg noodles because they’ll provide a similar texture to classic lasagna noodles. 

Lean Ground Beef

Native to: world-wide (*domesticated)

Top 3 nutrients: protein, iron, zinc

Use lean ground beef because fattier meats require longer drying time and run the risk of spoiling quicker. 

Cottage Cheese

Invented in: protein, calcium, phosphorous

Top 3 nutrients: protein, calcium, phosphorous

Dry curds are a bit more difficult to come by these days, but if you’re able to get your hands on them they’re the best choice because you’re buying pure cheese curd protein without the added salt. If you can only buy classic cottage cheese, you will need to rinse away the brine. 

Red Onion

Native to: west Asia

Top 3 nutrients: fiber, vitamin C, quercetin

Red onion is the best type of onion to use because it has a very pleasant flavour rehydrated (especially since they’re dehydrated raw)

Tomato Sauce

Native to: South America (tomatoes)

Top 3 nutrients: vitamin C, potassium, lycopene

Opt for plain, simple, straight up tomato sauce because it’s guaranteed to dehydrate evenly. A sauce with some herbs or fine vegetables is fine – but skip past ones with cheese, meats or chunky vegetables. 

Sugar

Native to: New Guinea

Top 3 nutrients: protein, calcium, phosphorous

White sugar is recommended, but you can use any alternate sugar of your choice. The touch of sugar softens the acidity and amplifies the flavours of the herbs and spices. 

Garlic (powder)

Native to: Central Asia

Top 3 nutrients: protein, calcium, phosphorous

Although you can mince and dehydrate fresh garlic, garlic powder disperses throughout and flavours the sauce best. 

Basil (dried)

Native to: India

Top 2 nutrients: vitamin K, antioxidants

You can dehydrate your own basil, but dried basil store-bought is easily found year-round. 

Parsley & Oregano (dried)

Native to: Mediterranean

Top 3 nutrients: vitamin K, vitamin C, folate (parsley)

Top 3 nutrients: antioxidants, vitamin K, fiber (oregano)

Like basil, you can dehydrate your own parsley and oregano as well, but store-bought is easily found year-round too.

Fennel (seed or ground)

Native to: Mediterranean

Top 3 nutrients: fiber, vitamin C, potassium

Ground fennel will add a mellow and even flavour throughout the sauce, whereas fennel seed will add that mellow flavour plus a few bites with some extra punch. I personally prefer using seed. 

Salt

Native to: world-wide

Top 3 nutrients: protein, calcium, phosphorous

Table, kosher, sea, himalayan… whatever salt you have will do! 

Black Pepper

Native to: Southwest India

Top 3 nutrients: protein, calcium, phosphorous

Like my dad says : “I’m not saying I put black pepper on everything, but if it doesn’t have black pepper, I’m probably not eating it.”

How to dehydrate the ingredients

Dehydrating ingredients is quite simple. You’ll want to plan ahead and prep your ingredients so you can make best use of your time. If you have enough space in your dehydrator, you can dehydrate all ingredients that require the same temperature at the same time (but keep an eye on them since they likely have different dehydrating times)

Note: dehydrating times may vary (the water content and thickness of the ingredients, as well as the humidity and altitude of where you live in impact the time)

Basic steps:
  1. Slice items into about 1/4″ thick pieces (smaller is ok)
  2. Arrange on a dehydrating tray with enough room for air to circulate between pieces (no over lapping)
  3. Place in dehydrator/oven and set at appropriate temperature

It’s that easy! Wanna know more? Check out our dehydrating “How To’s”

Vegetables

135℉

Cheese

125℉

Meat

165℉

More specific instructions, including individual dry times for the ingredients in Lazy Lasagna are provided in the recipe below.

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Storage Instructions

Here are some tips to help you maximize the shelf life of your Lazy Lasagna:

  • Keep stored in a sealable container or bag
  • Vacuum sealing can extend the shelf life by up to three times its normal duration! This is useful if you’re prepping lots for longer term use. 
  • Store in a cool, dry and dark place. For longer term storage, it’s recommended to keep stored in the freezer (especially if not vacuum sealed)

When dried and stored properly, your lasagna should keep at room temperature for 2-3 weeks, or 6 months in the freezer. 

How to Rehydrate Lazy Lasagna

Rehydrating dehydrated meals is a simple process that allows you to restore their original taste, texture (to an extent), and nutritional value. Keep in mind that the amount of water and time required may slightly vary:

Simmer & Soak (*preferred method)
  1. Combine dehydrated ingredients in a pot with 1 1/4 cup water; cover with a lid
  2. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes
  3. Turn off or remove from heat and let sit for an additional 5 minutes
  4. Stir & enjoy
Just add water
  1. Add 1 1/4 cup boiling water
  2. Stir
  3. Let sit for 20-25 minutes
  4. Stir & enjoy

Rehydrating Tips:

  • Use a container with a lid to contain as much heat as possible… Have a packable insulated container? Even better. 
  • After soak time is finished, add more hot water if you find the meal dry or crunchy.  

*Simmer & soak is my preferred method because it’s quicker and often provides a better texture and final product.

Lazy Lasagna FAQ's

Can I use a different protein?

Yes! Feel free to swap out the beef with ground turkey, chicken or pork. The measurements will be the same. I personally like doing a blend of beef and pork from time to time.

Can I use classic pasta noodles?

Using classic noodles isn’t recommended because they need to be boiled for 10-12 minutes, and the sauce is intended to be thick. This runs the risk of ending up with burnt sauce stuck on the bottom of your pot. If you’re adamant on using classic noodles, I recommend boiling them separately and adding them to the rehydrated meal afterwards (FYI, you’ll beed to reduce the water used to rehydrate by about 1/4 cup)

Can I add more vegetables?

Sure you can! This recipe was made with a classic lasagna in mind, but you can customize as you please. Just remember that you’ll need to increase – or decrease – the amount of water you use when rehydrating. 

Can I dehydrate my own herbs and spices?

Absolutely. Simply wash and disperse herbs onto mesh-lined dehydrator trays. I recommend leaving some stem or even stalk intact and removing them once the herbs are dried. If you de-stem and chop the herbs before dehydrating, you can end up with wet herbs that clump together (making it difficult to spread out on the tray) and it’s more tedious. It’s easier to chop or grind into finer pieces once dried. 

Backpacker's Lazy Lasagna

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Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with this "lazy" lasagna recipe - and no, it's not actually lazy, but it is delish. We like to call it lazy because it's deconstructed, which basically means you can skip crafting an aesthetic casserole - just dig in and enjoy. Meat? Check. Cheese? Check. Spices? Check. So roll up your sleeves, let's get cooking!
COOKING METHOD: Dehydrating
Course Main Course
Servings 1
Prep Time 45 minutes
Dehydrating Time 14 hours

Equipment

  • 1 Dehydrator

Ingredients
  

Raw ingredients needed (measurements before dehydrating):

  • ¾ cup broad egg noodles
  • ½ cup lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup dry curd or regular cottage cheese, see notes
  • ¼ small red onion
  • cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • tsp dried oregano
  • tsp fennel seed or ground fennel
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

Ingredient measurements for final recipe (once ingredients above dehydrated)

  • ¾ cup broad egg noodles
  • cup dehydrated ground beef
  • 1.5 tbsp dehydrated cottage cheese
  • 1 1 tbsp dehydrated red onion
  • 1 tray dehydrated tomato sauce (⅓ cup wet) about 9 grams dry
  • 1-2 tsp sugar optional
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • tsp dried oregano
  • tsp fennel seed or ground fennel
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • 1. Slice onion into ¼" thick rounds (use a mandolin if possible) and disperse on a mesh lined dehydrator tray
  • 2. Pour ⅓ cup tomato sauce into fruit leather tray. Put tomato sauce and onions in the dehydrator and dehydrate at 135℉ for about 5 hours. **See notes
  • 3. Disperse cheese curds on mesh lined dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 125℉ for approx 5 hours. **See notes if using wet/regular cottage cheese
  • 4. While cheese is dehydrating, pan fry the ground beef. Avoid using any oils in the pan. Once cooked, drain oil/fat and, if needed, use a paper towel to pat and absorb excess fats (excess oil increases drying time and decreases shelf life). Set aside in fridge.
  • 5. Disperse cooked ground beef on mesh lined dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 165℉ for approx 4 hours
  • 6. Combine all dehydrated ingredients with egg noodles and spices in a sealable container. See below for rehydrating instructions.

Notes

  • Dehydrator tray sizes vary so you may need to adjust the amount of sauce you put in your tray. You want a thin, even layer (1/16" - 1/8" thick or 2-3mm). If you need to use more or less than 1/3 cup on each tray and you don't have a weight scale, you'll need to guestimate how much dehydrated sauce equals about 1/3 wet. For reference, mine are x" x x" squares.
  • If using wet/regular cottage cheese, you'll need to rinse as the liquid/brine off the curds. Put cheese in a fine mesh strainer and rinse - lightly shake and allow time for liquids to strain out. 
  • You can make your own dried herbs if preferred (dry fresh herbs at 95°F; times vary) 
  • The raw ingredients needed (measurements before dehydrating) are simply the minimum amount of raw ingredients needed for this recipe. You can always make dehydrated ingredients in bulk and use them in various recipes. 
  • Incase you missed the storage instructions, click here

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 444kcalCarbohydrates: 41.5gProtein: 37.6gFat: 14.3gSaturated Fat: 5.3gCholesterol: 106.2mgSodium: 437.1mgFiber: 3.3gSugar: 7.2g
Keywords: backcountry cooking, dehydrated recipe

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The Foodie Behind the Screen

Hi there! I'm Bri. I'm sharing my love for cooking - and the outdoors - one recipe at a time.

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