Food Finds · Trail Cooking

Commercial Meal Review: Backpacker’s Pantry Red Beans and Rice

I was working on our truck’s emergency ammo can. The one that has a stove, fuel, utensils, a pot and a couple freeze-dried meals. As I was digging through the meals I noted something….first, the expiration dates were getting closer (this meal was dated 10/27/2024) and that the packaging had changed since I picked those up.

Up first? Backpacker’s Pantry Louisiana Red beans and Rice meal. This is a vegetarian/vegan meal.

The version I have is in the older larger mylar bag, where it called for 2.5 cups boiled water, and served 2 people. Each serving had 300 calories, 1 gram fat, 1160 mg sodium, 12 grams protein and 16 grams fiber. The dry weight is 6 ounces (170 grams) for the bag, with the half the package being 85 grams. This version is not low in sodium.

Unfortunately, I do not remember how much I paid for it – or where I even picked it up. Oh well.

The website says 10 years from manufacture, but I know I didn’t buy the old version 9 years ago…..

The newer version is a lot smaller though – but at a low price point for freeze-dried meals. The ingredient list is the same, though salt comes after the chili pepper now.

The new version is one serving, comes in a low mylar bag, and weighs in at 3.3 ounces/94 grams. 330 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 880 mg sodium, 13 grams protein and 10 grams fiber. It calls for 1.25 cups boiled water. One huge thing is the sodium is FAR less in the new version.

It retails for $7.99.

Either version needs 15 to 20 minutes sit time for rehydration. Although the new version says 15 minutes, I would give beans 20 minutes. Your stomach will appreciate it.

The Take-away:

I was aphrenrsive a bit as the meal contains cumin. I am not a huge fan of cumin. For me, it is like cilantro to others. If it is mild, great. But so many meals it is dumped into it. With the old version, that we tasted, the cumin is barely noticeable. So I found I liked the meal. But due to the sodium levels I only took a couple of bites. I may go back and try out the newer version, which is considerably less salty. For what the meal is, it is OK. It’s nothing fancy, but is also vegetarian/vegan friendly.


FTC Disclaimer: We purchased the product reviewed. 

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