Testing Knorr Pasta Sides for Hiking Meals

 

 

This March, I will be going on a 60 mile hike. I like to eat Mountain House dinners when I go on hikes. I think they taste awesome especially after a long day of hiking up and down hills and being exhausted. I think they are better than Coleman or BackPacker dinners. Working on my menu for a five day hike, I knew that I was not going to be able to afford to have a Mountain House meal each breakfast and supper so I had to do some research on what works best.

I came across Eric the Black’s website chocked full of good information. I ran across one post where he mentioned Knorr Pasta Side dishes. I looked more into them and thought it may be a good idea to try them. My wife went shopping and bought me a couple of the meals. I knew I needed to be sure they were gonna work before I went out on the trail so I decided to test one of them in my cook-set.

The pack says to use 2 cups of water. I’ve always felt that was too much for any freeze dried meal I’ve had. Eric says to use 1 3/4 cups of water. I still feel like it was a little much. I think 1 1/2 cups might be just right. I went with Eric’s recommendation of 1 3/4 cups of water.
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I used the Knorr Alfredo Broccoli. You can see in the picture that it looks like strips of dried pasta. It smelled rather nice in the bag. Don’t be fooled to think that there’s not much in the bag. It’s not like Lays potato chips where most of the bag is fluff. Sure the bag is full of space but when rehydrated the pasta makes a nice sized meal.

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I boiled the water then turned the stove off and poured the pasta into  pot. If you’re an ultralight hiker, try not to criticize my painfully heavy cook-set. I use a Coleman stove and fuel tank. I also use a Coleman pot set. One day, maybe my wallet can afford the lighter side of life. 😉photo4

 

I let the pasta sit for ten minutes while I went to my office to work and let it sit there and do it’s thing. I stirred it once about five minutes in. As you can see, it didn’t soak all the water so it was a little soupy. This is why I feel a cup and a half would be sufficient. All the pasta strips rehydrated just fine.

 

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I added some tuna to the pasta for protein. The one mistake I made (but had no choice really) was I added spicy tuna to an Italian seasoned pasta. It’s all I had. I must admit, it wasn’t bad. To a hungry hiker who’s ready to sit and enjoy a meal regardless of what it is, this meal would make one heck of a dinner at the end of a long day of hiking. I highly recommend it. It’s far cheaper. The pasta costed me a dollar. The tuna was a dollar and some change. Compared to the Mountain House dinners ranging from $5-$8, this meal comes in at a bargain. It feels a tad heavier but not enough for me to make a fuss. Maybe to an ultralight hiker it would weigh too much but I’ll deal with the weight to save me some money.

 

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16 thoughts on “Testing Knorr Pasta Sides for Hiking Meals

  1. Awesome post. I just took a couple of knorr side dishes with me on a weekend trip. I also brought along ‘Sweet Sue’s’ chicken in a pouch. Has a bit more protein for the weight and it works well with the dishes. I just throw it in towards the end of cooking. I like the knorr dishes and with all the choices I don’t have to eat the same thing over and over. Plus they are just at the local grocery store and CHEAP! I find if I am hiking alone I can separate one bag into 2 zip locks and get 2 meals. Cost per meal is a couple of bucks which is nice. It also let’s me add more spice to some of the dishes. Been thinking about getting dehydrated rice, beans and stuff and making my own but these are just so convientent!

    • Sean, when I found these I was totally excited. I don’t know how I hiked without them. I’ve tried a few different ways to prepare them; with spam, tuna, dehydrated chicken. They can be utilized many ways. I agree, when hiking alone you can split one into to make two meals. Thanks for your comment and reading my blog.

  2. Good info . I can’t believe the prices of most backpacking / re-hydration meals . ” Cents-able ” alternatives are always welcome . I thought that pot set looked familiar. Yeah, that Coleman set is a little heavy but very durable and a great value . I noticed Stanley also has 2 or 3 cost effective pot / cup combos that are backpack friendly on the market now . Thanks for sharing your gear experiences . ” Sticker Shock ” is an unnecessary deterrent to enjoying this great pass time . There’s lots of affordable gear , clothing & techniques out there that need more coverage . I think backpacking and hiking need more ” gateway ” journalism to entice others into the ranks . Thanks !

    • Thanks Art for visiting and commenting. I think the industry takes advantage of those who are less educated. They package dinners and put them with the gear and most folks like myself when I first started hiking will go with it because it’s quick and easy just to pick up an expensive Mt. House or Backpacker meal. I’ve learned on long hikes (three or more days) I will create my own menu. Over nights I will take the expensive meal because it doesn’t hurt the wallet too much. I’ve also started building my food supply so when I go out I don’t buy the food then. I have a tub that I keep everything in and when I go to the store for other things, I’ll just pick up something to throw in my supply. It’s there when I need it regardless of what my wallet is telling me. I agree that there are many great alternatives to the higher priced stuff out there. You just got to find it or get creative. Thanks again for reading and adding to the conversation.

  3. I’ve been eating Lipton/Knorr sides on backpacking trips for years. They are wonderful. You can shed a lot of weight and ditch that Coleman Cookset without spending mega bucks. Get an Imusa 12 cm or an open country 2 Quart. Each of these pots costs less than $15 and both are fantastic. Add an alcohol stove (supercat) and a lot cosy and you are set. A much lighter setup.

    • Josh, I must say I apologize for not replying. Not sure how I missed your comment. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I have since upgraded (if that is what some would call it) to a titanium Snow Peak pot and Snow Peak stove. Very lightweight and works well. I did pay for them but I had the money thanks to some birthday gifts.

  4. I had tried Knorr’s side dishes in the past and could not get them cooked all the way- a little too al dente for my taste. However, I started to use a pot cozy on my cook kit that held the heat in a little better which kept the water temp up a little longer. I got some heating duct foil insulation from the hardware store and along with duct tape I fashioned a great pot insulator. I did not see if you used any milk, all the side dishes that I have come across call for milk, so I have been adding a little powdered milk. Do you find that not using milk they taste any different? I really like your blog, good job and God Bless.

    • Joe, first of all thanks for reading and commenting. To answer your question, no I didn’t and don’t use milk. They may have a slightly better taste with milk but I am unsure because I have never tried using milk or powdered milk, for that matter, for anything on the trail. Of course I used more water than needed and had to drain it off. I did find that they cooked through very well. But as they say, hike your own hike. If milk works best for you then go for it and it looks as though your pot insulator works well for you too. I have since converted over to a titanium Snow Peak pot and still works the same for Pasta Sides. Thanks again for reading and subscribing to the blog.

      • First off, great post. I was looking for some validation no using the Knorr Packs and definitely found it here. Actually, I am currently testing some varieties out right as I write this! I have tried the rice and broccoli so far and it was great. Doing a pasta dish now. Both times I have put the boiling water into the bag with no issues at all. I seal the bag by folding the top a couple times and holding the fold in place with my spork. It works perfectly.

      • Interesting Brandon. Thanks for you addition to the conversation. I will say the bags hold up nicely since I’ve taken the same package on a few trips and never ate it and the bag has held up well. Never would have thought it would hold water though. Would love to know how your experiment works out.

      • Great timing on the response. I just finished my meal. I have to say after I tried 1 rice side and 1 pasta side, the rice is the clear winner. Both taste great, but the pasta is really tough to get the correct water to pasta ratio and the mixture can be bit soupy. Pro Tip: use a little more than half of the suggested water to get a good texture with both the rice and the pasta. The instructions assume that a lot of the water will boil off, but that isn’t the case if you are cooking in a sealed bag.

      • You definitely have to play with it to get the consistency you like. Did you put the water in the bag? Did it work, leak, or any other negative experience?

      • I did put the boiling water directly in the bag. Works perfect. No complaints or issues at all. Definitely beats cleaning your pot every meal.

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