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Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder
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Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder on 06/14/2010 10:54:34 MDT Print View

I am working on the food for a 5-day youth backpacking trip, 13 kids and 5 adults, including some vegetarians and vegans, so a lot of food to make. The kids are doing a lot of the preparation so I need to keep it simple. One of the suppers they want is spaghetti, and another is shepherd's pie.

On previous trips I've made sauce the normal homemade way, and then made it into tomato leather on the dehydrator. But we have found that tomato leather takes forever to rehydrate in camp, even if we've taken shears to it before the trip and rendered it into small pieces. It remains chewy lumps for a long, long time, even in boiling water.

This time I got some Harmony House tomato powder, and some of the HH freeze-dried vegetables, and we can use the dehydrator to do the vegetables that don't come freeze-dried. For the spaghetti sauce, I am thinking I'll just do up a recipe conversion for regular tomato sauce to the proportional amounts of the dried or powdered ingredients. Then I assume we can add the proportional amount of water to the mix and have spaghetti sauce. But this eliminates the normal long simmering process for homemade spaghetti sauce, and there may be other considerations or pitfalls I don't know about.

I will do a small test batch before the trip (especially important to demonstrate to the kids the importance of doing test batches to minimize unpalatable surprises on the trail) but don't have time to do extensive testing.

Can any of y'all share experiences with making up a dry sauce this way? If you can, it could save us some trial and error. Our trip is in 2 weeks.


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder on 06/14/2010 11:07:59 MDT Print View

If you are getting tomato leather that won't rehydrate easily, maybe you are drying it too much. I dry canned tomato paste to the point where it can be peeled up easily, and it is still slightly pliable. Then I break it into chunks smaller than a finger nail. In camp, I simmer those slightly in hot water until they dissolve, and then I add a bit of olive oil to put some of the slimy texture back in. Then I add some Italian seasoning or whatever.


Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder on 06/14/2010 11:12:10 MDT Print View

just thinking out loud, but what would happen if you put frozen tomato leathers into a blender ? Could you get something closer to a powder that rehydrates quicker ?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder on 06/14/2010 11:17:43 MDT Print View

Do you just freeze the leather in order to make it more brittle?


Daniel Goldenberg
(DanG) - M
Re: Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder on 06/14/2010 11:41:20 MDT Print View

I dehydrate spaghetti sauce and then blend it in a cuisinart or pound it in a mortar and pestle thing I've got. I do tend to dry it more than a leather consistency though. Works great.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder on 06/14/2010 12:38:49 MDT Print View

Mina, I do just as Daniel described, and it comes out fine. As for your recipe using tomato powder, could you please post it? I have a bunch of HH tomato powder as well, and I'd like to try your method out.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder on 06/14/2010 14:31:26 MDT Print View

Here's another one who puts the dried spaghetti sauce "leather" (dried really hard) into the blender to reduce it to a powder.

That being said, I have found that the stuff gives me heartburn, so I need to use quite a bit less of it!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder on 06/14/2010 14:38:19 MDT Print View

Mary, that's why they invented Prilosec.


Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
leather vs. powder on 06/14/2010 14:53:50 MDT Print View

Thanks for all your ideas. I haven't ever tried putting the leather in the blender. It's never seemed like it would be brittle enough to work. (I have another backpacking casserole the kids like that involves dehydrating concentrated canned cream of mushroom soup until brittle and then reducing it to powder in the blender, so I know how to do that.)

I don't actually have a recipe for spaghetti sauce from tomato powder, to post. I guess that's what I'm trying to track down or create.

This afternoon I did successfully make a shepherd's pie, though, using some tomato powder. I just put in a mixture of dried vegetables, a little tomato powder, some dried french herbs from a bottle languishing on the shelf. Topped it with boxed mashed potatoes made with olive oil and soy milk powder. Not bad, considering I am not myself vegan and am not used to the substitute flavors. I have one of the kids coming by in a while to help out, and I'll see what she thinks of it.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder on 06/14/2010 15:46:07 MDT Print View

Mina, you have to dry the spaghetti sauce "leather" until it's really brittle for the blender to work.

Have you tried Sarah's "Pizza in a Pot" recipe?

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: leather vs. powder on 06/14/2010 16:15:56 MDT Print View

Not sure if anyone has said this yet...but on leathers? Dry them, then freeze them and then powder them! It is way easier and removes the "sticky" factor.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
re: Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder on 06/14/2010 16:53:07 MDT Print View

I buy a big can of spaghetti sauce. I spread it onto "fruit leather" tray that came with my dehydrater. I run it until I can just peal it up into one giant sheet of dry sauce. I break it into pieces and drop them into a blender (an old cheap one). I run the blender for a few minutes and it turns into a fine powder. I store the fine powder in a ziplock bag. For longevity it goes into the refrigerator with the rest of my dehydrated stuff.

I use Sarah's recipes to make the sauce powder into ramen spaghetti, etc (I really recommend her FBC book). It rehydrates by just pouring in hot water and letting it set a bit.


George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: re: Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder - Sarah's FBC on 06/14/2010 18:57:38 MDT Print View

Agree with Jamie. Highly recommend Freezer Bag Cooking book by Sarah. Really great ideas.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder on 06/14/2010 20:05:19 MDT Print View

Tomato powder works great. We add dry veggies and a packet of spaghetti sauce mix (primarily spices). We substitute the powder plus water for the tomato sauce the mix packet calls for.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
I think I've got it on 06/16/2010 13:54:17 MDT Print View

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!

I am trying to come up with something that uses the tomato powder, and that doesn't involve going through dehydrating the complete sauce and then breaking it down small enough to rehydrate easily. Partly because we have 19 people worth of this to make, and partly because running it through the blender after dehydrating takes the texture out of the sauce. I tried a couple of mixes with the tomato powder and herbs, vegetables, etc. The first thing that became apparent was that with just those ingredients, it comes out too thin, but with less water the flavor is way too strong. Even adding some instant mashed potatoes to thicken it, it didn't taste right.

I did some more poking around on the web, and found these:

Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce

1 packet dry spaghetti sauce mix (see below)
3/4 cup tomato powder
1 cup TVP (I'm using hamburger gravel for the omnivores)
2 tablespoons minced dried onions (home dehydrated)
2 tablespoons julienned sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried sliced mushrooms (home dehydrated)
1 2.25-ounce can sliced olives (I am not taking cans on the trail. Chopping up the drained contents of a regular big can of olives and dehydrating that seems to work.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound pasta
At home, combine the spaghetti sauce mix, tomato powder, and TVP in a small plastic bag, In a second bag, combine dried onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms. (Tried putting a small test batch of everything into one bag, and found the moisture in the sun-dried tomatoes makes the tomato powder clump all up, so 2 bags it is.)
In camp, pour contents of spaghetti sauce bag into a pot and gradually stir in 4 cups water. Add dried vegetables. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and add olives and olive oil. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes, and serve over pasta. (I found bringing it to a boil and then turning off the stove and letting it sit for 15 minutes produced about the same result as simmering it.) Serves 4. (So for 19 on the trail I am making 5x of this.)

Spaghetti Sauce Mix

This makes 4 batches of spaghetti that serve 4-6 people each, so one recipe of this mix should be enough for 5x the recipe above.

1/4 cup instant minced onion (I used granules from bulk jars at my food coop)
1/4 dried parsley flakes (could have dehydrated myself but it was too easy to get from the bulk jar at the coop)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon dried green pepper flakes (I had some Harmony House already)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic (coop bulk jars)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning (I was working out what that would contain, probably basil, oregano, marjoram, maybe fennel? but then found it in bulk at the coop.)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and blend well with a wire whisk. Spool mixture into a tightly closed container and store in a cool, dry place. Use mix within 6 months.

I treated each 1/5 of this (about 1/3 cup) as 1 packet in the spaghetti recipe above.

Like I said, it comes out a little thin, but probably folks won't mind, or maybe I'll put in a bit more cornstarch. Only so much time left for experimenting, though.

And yes, I have FBC which has a *lot* of very handy recipes but not any particular guidance on using tomato powder.

Once again, thanks to all!

Edited by elmvine on 06/16/2010 14:55:02 MDT.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Spaghetti sauce from tomato powder on 06/16/2010 15:12:44 MDT Print View

Thanks for posting that, Mina. Sounds perfect.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: I think I've got it on 06/17/2010 09:07:16 MDT Print View

Mina...I have done a lot with tomato powder but yeah, not in the first book. It came later :-) If you haven't tried it look up the DIY Salsa recipe I have posted here - it is a good one also.
If we ever get book 2 done you will see a lot of the powder used in it.

Great find on those recipes though you posted!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: I think I've got it on 06/17/2010 09:10:32 MDT Print View

One last could also use "hamburger" flavored TVP as well (Harmony House carries it). That would make it very shelf stable.