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Peak Refuel Butternut Dal Bhat

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: Peak Refuel Butternut Dal Bhat vegetarian entrée

A lovely, creamy, curry-spiced freeze-dried meal.


  • moderate sodium
  • vegan
  • good flavor


  • rehydration takes a little longer
  • a little mild?
  • large packaging

Back to the winter proving grounds for another test run of a freeze-dried meal.  This one, like the previous review, is another dal bhat. A wee reminder: bhat is a rice soup, and dal is a relative of the humble lentil.  


So this, this is called a dal bhat, but it's not actually a dal bhat. See, it's got no dal. It does have rice, and lentils, and chickpeas, and chunks of butternut squash. Given the coconut milk curry sauce and the squash and the chickpeas, this is more of an Indian take on the traditional Himalyan dal bhat, but variety is the spice of life, eh?


And a lovely, creamy, coconut milk-based sauce with a pleasant curry blend.  Not too hot, maybe one and half or two stars on a restaurant scale.


So all in all, a very pleasant meal. Relative to the previous review (Firepot Dal and Rice with Spinach), this one is less spicy, easier to rehydrate, and not nearly a gutbuster—just the right size for a midday meal on a long hike. Not particularly salty, and with plenty of fat from the coconut milk, so definitely full-flavored.

My only dings against it are pretty minor. First, the chickpeas did not fully rehydrate in the time recommended on the packaging. This is however not quite the issue that it was with the previous review—this meal is freeze-dried rather than dehydrated, and the freeze-drying process sort of disrupts cellular integrity. So the not-quite-fully rehydrated chickpeas were crumbly instead of crunchy—and the lentils themselves were in fact fully hydrated. Very nice.

Although that brings me to my second ding—I could have gone for a touch more spicy heat. Definitely a very minor niggle, that. And lastly, the packaging was maybe half again bigger than it needed to be for the size of the meal. Again, a very minor ding.


Over four decades of hiking, backpacking, and car camping has sent me down a long road searching for the perfect long-trip backpacking menu.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $14

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Price MSRP: $13.99
Current Retail: $12.99-$13.99
Historic Range: $12.99-$13.99
Reviewers Paid: $14.00
Dietary Vegan
Protein 23g per pouch
Servings 2
Contains Soy, Tree Nut (coconut).
Net Weight 5.85 oz
Made & Packaged in the USA
Calories per Pouch 870
Prep Time 10 min
Product Details from Peak Refuel »

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