Dehydrating · One Pot Meals · Trail Cooking

Ski’s Spaghetti Sauce – Dehydrator Special

After helping a fellow poster on the NWHiker forums this week, I had to ask him if I could post his write-up and photos – and share it with everyone. Enjoy taking a peek at Ski’s homemade spaghetti sauce. If you love a rich flavored red sauce, this is the one for you! (Or is that a Sunday Gravy?)


(I love seeing so many bowls! ~ Sarah)

Ski’s Red Sauce


  • 1 pound of ground pork sausage (sweet Italian sausage here)
  • 1 big onion, chopped fine (I used a big Walla Walla sweet)
  • 4 sticks of celery, chopped fine
  • 1 small carrot, grated through the small side of the cheese grater
  • 1 head (at least) fresh garlic, minced (I used 2 heads, minced fine)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2-3 cans diced tomatoes (with or without garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes, oregano, basil, ad nauseam)
  • 6 big white button mushrooms, sliced (maybe) (for purposes of dehydrating, I did not use mushrooms, as I don’t really care for the leathery texture of dried mushroom)
  • 1½ tsp fennel seed
  • 1/3 cup of oregano leaf
  • 2 tsp sweet Italian basil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • pinch dried red chile flakes

Grind all the herbs, salt, and pepper (except for the fennel) into a powder with a mortar and pestle to bring out the flavors.

in a great big pot:
Brown pork sausage and toss in about a half tablespoon of fennel seed. Drain on paper towels.

For purposes of dehydrating, I cooked the hell out of the sausage to reduce the fat content as much as possible:


Heat olive oil, saute onion, garlic, celery, and add the herbs:


Add cooked sausage, carrot, tomatoes. Add twice as much water as what’s in the pot. I added half a bottle of red wine:


Simmer two or three hours minimum, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. I used a wire whisk to break down the tomato as small as possible:


Spread sauce thinly onto parchment-lined drying racks in the dehydrator:


Dried at 135° F for fourteen hours:


Drying reduced the volume by about half. One cup of sauce yielded just over half a cup of dry product resembling bacon bits:


Now it’s time for the field test.
I figured I may as well try it with the equipment I’ll actually have in my pack, so I dug out the Dragonfly and my camping cookware.
I added ½ cup boiling water to the dried sauce and let it reconstitute in my bowl while the pasta was cooking:


When the pasta was cooked, I drained it and added the reconstituted sauce and mixed it in and let it stand for a few minutes:


A little parmesan on top, and it was just like home:


This entire process was just shy of 24 hours. we had spaghetti last night for dinner, and I had enough left to get five one-cup servings, one of which I just had for lunch.

The dehydrator, if you are wondering, is an American Harcest Nesco Snackmaster. Packaged each ½ cup (dry) serving into individual zip-lock sandwich bags, and those four bags into a one-quart zip-lock freezer bag.

It comes in at .59 pounds, or approximately 2.36 ounces per serving (including packaging.)

Thank you Ski, for letting me share your efforts! PS: Keep an eye out for more dehydrator posts coming this summer……


8 thoughts on “Ski’s Spaghetti Sauce – Dehydrator Special

  1. that look so good! I will have to try that sauce recipe. I made a sauce recently and mixed in the cooked noodles(I made sure to break them up into ~1″ pieces and dehydrated the mixture. It rehydrated so well. Everything turned out perfect (It was a tofu base, instead of meat and the tofu was a little on the chewy side, but still good)

  2. Can you tell me how many servings the whole thing (not only the leftovers) is?
    Sounds delicious!

  3. Is anyone still reading this who has made this recipe? I doubled the recipe and let it simmer for about 5 hours and all I have is a pot of soup. There is no way I can put this in my dehydrator like it is now. There is no thickness to it whatsoever.

    Any suggestions?


  4. While it wasn’t my recipe (it is Ski’s), it sounds like the water didn’t simmer off enough to thicken it. A few tricks are you can thicken it (cornstarch), or also cook it at a much higher rate of heat, stirring often.The doubling most likely made it harder to simmer it off.

  5. Thanks Sara, I finally got it. I switched pots and let it simmer overnight and it finally reduced. I probably let it simmer for a total of 15 hours. Looking forward to having this on the trail.

  6. Hi just wondering how long the dehydrated meals last after you take it out of the freezer. Eg are the meals still good if going on a 10 day hike and they’re obviously out of the freezer from the first day. Thankd

  7. Dried meats and fattier meals (with cheese or added oil) do well up to 30 days 🙂 Meals without meat that you home dehydrate use up within 6 months. Meals you make from dry ingredients (FBC style) a year or more!

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