These have zero additives--just 100% pure veggies. They're nutritious and taste great. Mixed veggies, corn, and tomato bits are used in the 6 instant meal recipes. (Click below for freeze dried herbs & more,)
This is an economy size 1-lb can.
This has all natural ingredients and adds great flavor to the instant meal recipes. Click below for the vegetarian and beef versions.
This is a great way to incorporate healthy whole grains into an instant meal.
These are the best noodles for these soup mixes! They are nutritious, vegan, gluten-free, and they rehydrate quickly.
This adds yummy cheesy flavor to the Broccoli Cheddar Instant Soup Mix.
This is used in two of the soup mixes with Asian flavors.
This is used in two soup mixes: Minestrone and Tomato Basil.
This adds a touch of lime flavor to the Thai Coconut Milk Instant Soup.
This adds delicious, authenitic flavor to the Thai Coconut Milk Instant Soup.
This adds creaminess to the Tomato Basil Instant Soup. Click below for buttermilk powder.
These are a delicious main ingredient in the Potato, Chive & Bacon Soup
These recipes are homemade, healthier, tastier alternatives to cup-a-soup packets from the store. I developed these instant soups as a follow up to my posts about 6 Instant Meals-On-The-Go and A Week of Lightweight Nutritious Backpacking Food . These light, portable, instant recipes all began as a way to help my husband (aka King-Man) eat well on his frequent backpacking trips by simply adding boiling water to them. Hot soups are a good way to help hikers rehydrate quickly and add some needed calories after a day on the trail, so these have become an appetizer of sorts for King-man on his hikes before he eats his main meal. He recently returned from hiking the John Muir Trail, and these soups got rave reviews from him and his hiking companion, Nick. So, they're trail tested in advance for you!
Skip the photos and tips and jump straight to the recipes. Here are quick links to each of the 8 complete printable recipes. Each is explained in more detail further down in this post.
Here's how the dry soup mixes look when they're bagged up. Keep reading for lots of tips about supplies, storage, and use.
Here's how they look after boiling water is added:
Lots of uses! Backpackers and campers love these soups, but they're also great for a quick on-the-go meal for travel, the office, or dorm rooms. All you need is a microwave or another way to boil water. You can also keep these on hand at home or in the car for emergencies.
Nutritious ingredients. Although I'd normally choose fresh ingredients over dried for home cooking, these are about as healthy as it gets for dry, instant soups. My recipes are so much better for you than the cup-a-soup packets that you'll find at the store; those are loaded with sodium and mystery ingredients. I searched for and tested numerous products to find those with the best nutrition and flavor.
Here's a link to detailed nutritional information for the soup mixes:
Calorie & Nutrition Information for each of 8 soup mixes
Where to get dry ingredients. I'll explain all of the ingredients I use in the 8 instant soup recipes. They are all available on Amazon, but I've also found many of the ingredients at my local grocery store, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods.
Light, portable, and shelf-stable. All of the ingredients in these recipes are dried so they have a longer shelf life (at least 1-2 months), and they are light and easy to carry along with you. Each bagged soup mix weighs 2 to 4 oz.
Vegetarian? No problem. Most of these recipes can be easily adapted by omitting meat and making substitutions. I suggest some alternative ingredients in the tips below.
This is lengthy! This post is filled with lots of tips and suggestions for assembling your own instant soups. Freeze dried ingredients aren't often used in everyday kitchens, so I thought a detailed explanation was needed in order to assemble these soups in a way that they will have an extended shelf life. So, bear with me. This post is a long one!
First I'll explain the variety of ingredients used in these soups followed by what is used in each of the individual 8 recipes. They all use the exact same prep and cooking procedure. All of the soup mixes rehydrate quickly (9-10 minutes) when soaked in boiling water.
All but 3 of the 8 instant meals use either rice, whole wheat cous cous, or noodles. These can be switched out in any of the recipes, if you prefer one over the other.
Use these amounts interchangeably in the soup recipes:
1/2 cup noodles, or 1/4 cup rice, or 2 tablespoons cous cous
They all work well and taste good. However, the cous cous and noodles are the fastest to rehydrate when mixed with boiling water and were King-Man's favorites. The rice can remain a bit chewy if you want to be able to eat quickly--it requires more soak time to soften.
view on Amazon: Instant Brown Rice, Instant White Rice, Whole Wheat Cous Cous
view on Amazon: Millet and Brown Rice Ramen (Monica's favorite); Annie Chun's Brown Rice Noodles; Al Dente artisan pastas
view on Amazon: Vogue Cuisine Chicken Base, Vogue Cuisine Beef Base, Vogue Onion Soup Base, Vogue Vegetarian Chicken Base, Vogue Cuisine VegeBase,
Additional tasty dried ingredients that boost flavor in the instant soups:
view on Amazon: grated Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese powder, dried tomato powder, dehydrated soy sauce powder, True Lime powder
view on Amazon: organic nonfat powdered milk, organic whole powdered milk, buttermilk powder, organic powdered coconut milk,
view freeze dried veggies and herbs on Amazon: just veggies, peas, tomato bits, broccoli, mushrooms, spring onions (scallions), chives
view on Amazon: 1 lb can freeze dried chicken, 1 lb can freeze dried beef
IMPORTANT TO KNOW ABOUT SHELF LIFE OF FREEZE DRIED MEAT: These sealed cans of freeze dried meat are supposed to last for many years (the can packaging says 25 years); however they only last that long if they're left unopened. Once the can is opened and exposed to air and moisture, it begins to decay and bacteria can form. The meat should be rehydrated and eaten within a week or two. To extend its storage life, you can store any leftover freeze dried meat in the freezer for future use. If you have a Foodsaver, vacuum sealing will extend the freezer shelf life for up to 1 year. I divide the unused freeze-dried chicken into 1-2 cup portions before vacuum sealing it for future use.
view on Amazon: Foodsaver Vacuum Sealer
view on Amazon: organic instant potato flakes, real bacon bits
view packets on Amazon: olive oil, Sriracha, Cholula hot sauce
HOW TO MAKE THE 8 INSTANT DRY SOUP MIXES:
view on Amazon: freezer quart Ziploc bags, Baggy Rack, half-pint mason jars, Sharpie markers
view on Amazon: Baggy Rack
Here's how the mixes look in bags and jars. Both ways store compactly.
view on Amazon: oxygen absorbers
Method 1: In the plastic bag. If you use quart freezer bags, they are sturdy and large enough to pour the boiling water directly into the bag. (Ziplocs are BPA-free.) Give it a stir, seal the bag, and let it rest for 9 or 10 minutes. I recommend putting the bag on a plate or bowl to give it a foundation (and also as a safeguard in case your bag springs a leak). Open, stir, and eat. Easy!
Method 2: In a covered bowl. The main advantage of eating directly from the bag is that there is less clean-up. But it's a lot easier to eat soup from a bowl or mug. That's what King-Man prefers. Pictured below is one we found that is an insulated nesting bowl, mug and lid. It is lightweight and made specifically for backpacking. It was cold where he was hiking, so those features help keep the soup warm while the ingredients soaked in the hot water.
view on Amazon: insulated nesting bowl and mug
Method 3. In microwave-safe soup mugs. These are not for the trail, but are good options if you are making these instant soups at the office or in a dorm or hotel room. You can add the instant ingredients to the mugs along with the water and microwave them until they boil, cover them and let them rest until the ingredients have all softened. Or, boil the water separately and pour it into the mug with the instant ingredients; stir and let rest for 9 or 10 minutes. I have used both of the soup mugs linked below; both worked well.
view microwave safe mugs on Amazon: white ceramic soup mug with lid, plastic soup mug with lid (BPA-free)
The weight and calories of each recipe are included, since backpackers like to know that kind of thing. Each recipe makes 2 cups of prepared soup--1 to 2 servings. Detailed nutritional information for each soup mix here.
1. Minestrone Vegetable Instant Soup Mix
view/print Minestrone Vegetable Instant Dry Soup Mix Recipe
2. Creamy Potato, Chive, Bacon Instant Soup Mix
view/print Creamy Potato Chive Bacon Instant Dry Soup Mix Recipe
3. Pea, Scallion, Ginger Ramen Instant Dry Soup Mix
view/print Pea, Scallion, Ginger Ramen Instant Dry Soup Mix Recipe
4. Broccoli Cheddar Instant Soup Mix
view/print Broccoli Cheddar Instant Dry Soup Mix Recipe
5. Chicken Noodle Instant Dry Soup Mix
view/print Chicken Noodle Instant Dry Soup Mix Recipe
6. Creamy Tomato Basil Instant Soup Mix
view/print Creamy Tomato Basil Instant Dry Soup Mix Recipe
7. Mushroom, Beef Broth, Cous Cous Instant Dry Soup Mix
view/print Mushroom, Beef Broth, Cous Cous Instant Dry Soup Mix Recipe
8. Thai Coconut Milk with Rice Instant Dry Soup Mix
view/print Thai Coconut Milk with Rice Instant Dry Soup Mix Recipe
Substitutions. Feel free to make substitutions to the ingredients in all 8 of these instant soups. Swap out any of the veggies or seasonings for others that you prefer, add meat, make them vegetarian or gluten-free. Get creative and make them your own.
Make it a Yummy day!
More food for the trail. You can read about all of the food I prepared for a week-long backpacking trip--breakfast,lunch,dinner,snacks--in this post: A Week of Lightweight Nutritious Backpacking Food. (King-Man has since added these instant soups to the food he packs for long hikes.) Here are three more posts with recipes for nutritious on-the-go food.
Healthy Instant Oatmeal Packets
Instant Hot Beverage Mixes. These are great to enjoy at home, in dorms, while traveling, or on the trail:
Instant Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix
Instant Latte Mixes: Vanilla, Cafe Mocha, Pumpkin Spice