How to Dehydrate & Freeze-Dry Chickpeas for Backpacking Meals

By Inga Aksamit & Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD • Updated September 15, 2022

This post may contain affiliate links.

Learn how to safely dehydrate or freeze-dry chickpeas for backpacking meals. Then put your new skill to use with our tasty Brownie Batter Hummus Recipe!  #howtodehydratechickpeas #howtofreezedrychickpeas #dehydrated chickpeas #backpackingmealideas #howtodehydratefood #backcountryfoodie

Drying Instructions | Storage | Recipe

Chickpeas are versatile, healthy, and easy to love. You can eat them in dips, taco fillings, soups, and salads. They are a good source of carbohydrates and fiber. Furthermore, they are full of protein and make a complete protein when eaten with grains. This makes them a perfect foundation for plant-based diets. Most importantly, they rehydrate easily and taste great on the trail. With a few tips, you can successfully dehydrate chickpeas to use in your favorite backpacking meals.

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What forms of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) can you dehydrate or freeze-dry?

You can dehydrate any plain, canned chickpeas. However, extra sugar and other ingredients may affect the final product if they are seasoned or flavored.  Canned chickpeas do not have to be cooked before dehydrating.

You can also dehydrate raw chickpeas after cooking them at home. Soak them in water overnight to reduce the cooking time. Replace the water and simmer for 60-90 minutes until tender.

You can dehydrate whole chickpeas, but lightly mashing them first (just enough to break the skins) can be helpful. Fully mash them or puree if you’re aiming for a creamy, consistent product like hummus. Pureed and powdered chickpeas are well suited for cold soaking

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How do you dehydrate or freeze-dry chickpeas?

Step One: Prepare the chickpeas for drying.

  • Drain the cooked or canned chickpeas.
  • Leave whole, mash, or puree.
PRO TIP

Removing the skins, before drying, greatly improves the quality of the final product. If skins are not removed they will separate from whole chickpeas during the rehydration process and create a “sludge”. If skins are not removed prior to pureeing and dehydrating, the rehydrated product will have a somewhat gritty texture.

Rehydrated chickpeas with skins.
Rehydrated chickpeas without skins.

Step Two: Prepare the trays.

  • Spread the chickpeas onto dehydrator trays using mesh tray liners or parchment paper. Fruit roll sheets may also be used.
  • Tray liners are not necessary if using freeze-dryer trays.
Learn how to safely dehydrate or freeze-dry chickpeas for backpacking meals. Then put your new skill to use with our tasty Brownie Batter Hummus Recipe!  #howtodehydratechickpeas #howtofreezedrychickpeas #dehydrated chickpeas #backpackingmealideas #howtodehydratefood #backcountryfoodie
Dehydrator Tray
Learn how to safely dehydrate or freeze-dry chickpeas for backpacking meals. Then put your new skill to use with our tasty Brownie Batter Hummus Recipe!  #howtodehydratechickpeas #howtofreezedrychickpeas #dehydrated chickpeas #backpackingmealideas #howtodehydratefood #backcountryfoodie
Freeze-Dryer Tray

Step Three: Begin the drying process.

  • Dehydrate at 145℉ (63℃).
  • After an hour or two, stir the chickpeas to ensure even drying on all surfaces.
  • If freeze-drying, start the freeze-dryer and allow it to run its cycle.
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Step 4: The chickpeas are done when completely dry.

  • The dehydration process will take approximately 8-24 hours, depending on the humidity. They are done when they feel hard and dry to the touch. The chickpeas may crack open as the skins dry.
  • The freeze-drying process will take approximately 12-15 hours.

Step Five: Prepare the dried chickpeas for long-term storage.

  • For dehydrated chickpeas, allow them to cool for 30-60 minutes. Then package in an air-tight container.
  • For freeze-dried chickpeas, package them immediately in an air-tight container.
  • You can choose to grind dehydrated chickpeas to a powder using a coffee grinder or a bullet-type blender (optional). This may reduce the time needed to rehydrate.
  • Once dried, the chickpeas will reabsorb moisture from the air, so do not leave them out for more than an hour.
  • To lengthen the shelf-life of the chickpeas, consider vacuum sealing them in vacuum seal bags, mylar bags, or mason jars.
  • You can purchase a mason jar vacuum sealer accessory online.
  • Also, consider adding an oxygen absorber. Oxygen absorbers will remove any extra oxygen from your container.

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    What is the yield?

    • A 15-ounce (425 g) can of chickpeas provides about 1 cup canned, 3/4 cup dehydrated and 1 cup freeze-dried.
    Learn how to safely dehydrate or freeze-dry chickpeas for backpacking meals. Then put your new skill to use with our tasty Brownie Batter Hummus Recipe! #howtodehydratechickpeas #howtofreezedrychickpeas #dehydrated chickpeas #backpackingmealideas #howtodehydratefood #backcountryfoodie
    Canned Chickpeas
    Learn how to safely dehydrate or freeze-dry chickpeas for backpacking meals. Then put your new skill to use with our tasty Brownie Batter Hummus Recipe! #howtodehydratechickpeas #howtofreezedrychickpeas #dehydrated chickpeas #backpackingmealideas #howtodehydratefood #backcountryfoodie
    Freeze-dried Chickpeas (without skins)
    Learn how to safely dehydrate or freeze-dry chickpeas for backpacking meals. Then put your new skill to use with our tasty Brownie Batter Hummus Recipe! #howtodehydratechickpeas #howtofreezedrychickpeas #dehydrated chickpeas #backpackingmealideas #howtodehydratefood #backcountryfoodie
    Dehydrated Chickpeas (without skins)
    Learn how to safely dehydrate or freeze-dry chickpeas for backpacking meals. Then put your new skill to use with our tasty Brownie Batter Hummus Recipe! #howtodehydratechickpeas #howtofreezedrychickpeas #dehydrated chickpeas #backpackingmealideas #howtodehydratefood #backcountryfoodie
    Freeze-dried Chickpeas (with skins)

    How do you rehydrate dried chickpeas?

    • Add hot water and cover for 10-20 minutes for whole chickpeas.
    • Cold water can also rehydrate whole chickpeas, taking up to 2 hours.
    • Powdered chickpeas rehydrate almost instantaneously with hot or cold water.

    How long will dehydrated or freeze-dried chickpeas last?

    • Dehydrated chickpeas can store well for six months in an airtight container. Keep in a cool, dry, dark area.
    • You can store freeze-dried chickpeas for 10-15 years when vacuum sealed with an oxygen absorber.

    Safety Considerations

    • Legumes like chickpeas can be affected by a bacteria (bacillus cereus) that can survive cooking and cause food poisoning with vomiting and diarrhea.
    • This bacteria thrives at temperatures between 59 to 122℉ (15 to 50℃). For this reason, dehydrate chickpeas at no lower than 145℉ (63℃).

    How do I use dehydrated or freeze-dried chickpeas in backpacking meals?

    Dried chickpeas can be used in a wide variety of backpacking meals. They can replace freeze-dried meat as a protein, serve as the base for hummus (or variations like our Brownie Batter Hummus), or be enjoyed cold as part of a salad.

    Here are a few of our favorite recipes using dried chickpeas:

    Give this Backcountry Foodie chickpea recipe a try!

    Brownie Batter Hummus

    Backcountry Foodie Recipe
    This chocolate hummus is absolutely divine! We recommend that you make two batches because you'll want to eat a serving before dehydrating it for your trip. This low volume treat is also great for bear cans where space is at a premium.
    Rate This Recipe
    4.70 from 10 votes
    View Comments / Leave A Review

    NUTRITION (per serving)

    cal/oz 133
    cal/gram 4.8
    Calories 440 kcal
    PROTEIN 10 g
    CARBS 39 g
    Fiber 7 g
    Added Sugar 12 g
    Fat 29 g
    Sodium 530 mg
    Home Prep Time 10 hrs
    Field Prep Time 15 mins
    WT/SERVING 3.3 oz (93 g)
    MEAL PREPCold Soak
    Diet TYPESDairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Kid-Friendly, Low-Sugar, Vegan, Vegetarian
    Servings4 servings

    INGREDIENTS
     
     

    OPTIONAL

    INSTRUCTIONS

    HOME

    • Put all ingredients, except the nut butter and coconut oil, in a food processor or blender. If preparing the recipe to eat at home, include the nut butter and oil in this step. See meal prep tip below.
    • Add ½ cup of water to the food processor or blender.
    • Blend until the mixture is free of lumps.
    • Spread a thin layer of the mixture onto dehydrator trays.
    • Dry at 145℉ (63℃) until completely dry. The mixture should be brittle when dry.
    • Put the dehydrated hummus in a coffee grinder or spice mill and blend until a powder forms. Powdering is not required but speeds up the rehydration process greatly.
    • Put one 1.6 oz (47 g) serving in a bag or container to be used in the backcountry. Repeat this step for a total of four servings.
    • Pack 2 Tbsp or 1.1 oz packet (32 g) of nut butter, per serving, to be added when the meal is consumed.
    • Pack 1 Tbsp (14 g) coconut oil in a leakproof container to be added when the meal is consumed. We recommend double bagging the oil in the event there is a leak.

    FIELD

    • Add 2 oz (60 mL) cold water to the bag or container.
    • Stir to mix well and let stand until fully rehydrated.
    • Massage the bag with your fingertips or use a utensil to break up any clumps. The texture of the hummus should be smooth when fully rehydrated.
    • Add 2 Tbsp or 1.1 oz packet (32 g) nut butter and 1 Tbsp (14 g) coconut oil to the mixture.
    • Stir to mix well and enjoy by the spoonful!

    NOTES

    MEAL PREP TIP

    • To create a smoother final product, we recommend removing the skins from the chickpeas (garbanzo beans) before adding them to the blender. This step is optional.

     

    NUTRITION

    • Total sugar (per serving): 20 g, including 12 g added sugar.
    • For a no-added-sugar recipe, replace the cane sugar with a sugar substitute.
    • Keep in mind the level of sweetness provided by alternative sweeteners. Adjust serving size accordingly.
    • To reduce calories by 120 per serving, do not add the 1 Tbsp (14 g) coconut oil per serving.

    MY NOTES

    Did you make this recipe? We’d love to see it!Share photos from your kitchen or the backcountry below.
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    Learn how to safely dehydrate or freeze-dry chickpeas for backpacking meals. Then put your new skill to use with our tasty Brownie Batter Hummus Recipe!  #howtodehydratechickpeas #howtofreezedrychickpeas #dehydrated chickpeas #backpackingmealideas #howtodehydratefood #backcountryfoodie

    Are you new to dehydrating food for backpacking meals?

    Consider checking out these posts:


    ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

    Inga Aksamit is a Northern California-based author and backpacker who writes about exploration, adventure, and eating well on the trail. She focuses on creating delicious gourmet meals with healthy, wholesome ingredients and no-fuss preparation in the backcountry. She has written several books, including “The Hungry Spork: A Long Distance Hiker’s Guide to Meal Planning” and “The Hungry Spork Trail Recipes.”

    Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD, is a registered dietitian and ultralight long-distance backpacker with over 20 years of nutrition and backpacking experience. She’s also the founder and owner of Backcountry Foodie, an online ultralight recipes and meal planning platform for backpackers. She also enjoys teaching hikers about backpacking nutrition via virtual masterclasses, YouTube videos, and podcast episodes. You can follow Aaron’s adventures in the kitchen and the backcountry via Instagram and Facebook.

    Resources:

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