Not the cheapest but good.
Trail Cooking/FBC, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
It wouldn't take long to spend enough on all-natural soups to justify the cost of a dehydrator. Think of the fun you're missing chopping up ingredients and the ultimate control.
Yes indeed, and many soups can be made from dry ingredients readily available without the use of a dehydrator, and you can always bring along just a few choice non-dehydrated ingredients without adding much weight. You can also add some stuff from the trail if it is abundant, and you are not in a high-traffic area. Wood sorrel for example.
Some dry goods readily available:
Lentils, split peas, pearl barley, rice, wild rice, instant mashed potatoes, and of course the whole world of herbs and spices, many of which add vitamins and minerals and even calories as well as flavours. Paprika is a good example, as it is really as mucg a dried powdered fruit/vegetable (sweet bell peppers) as it is a herb, so you can carry and use a fair ammount of it and it is about the same calories/weight as most dried food. Most herbs are important sources of iron, as well as other minerals, and so not just for flavour.
Some key ingredients that might be brought in non-dehydrated, and might be readily available when resupplying. These can be dried out some as you hike, or kept fresh and eaten sooner:
Carrots, Beets, Turnips, Onions, Chives, other fresh fruits and vegetables.
Other ingredients that might work in some soups:
skim milk powder, vegetable oil, lemonade powder, tuna, chicken, corned beef, beef jerky, sardines ???
On my last hike I made Dahl Bhat (Rice and lentil stew - national dish of Nepal). It tasted great, but then on the trail, almost anything tastes good. In Nepal the lentil stew is served over rice, but for backpacking, I just cook it all together. Add about 3 parts water to 1 part rice/lentils. Adjust proportions to you own taste. I used curry powder for seasoning. I also add olive oil for a calorie boost (most calories per gram in your pack) and salt for electrolytes and flavor. You can also add garlic powder and dehydrated veggies (or fresh if you want to carry them). Put it all in the pot and bring to boil. When my alcohol stove went out (in about 8 minutes), I wrapped the pot in a dish towel and let it set for 20 minutes. For the complete Nepalese banquet, make some chai tea while your waiting for it to cook (if you have a second pot).
That sounds very good. I like to eat in a similar way, traditional foods, but perhaps more fundamentally, basic natural ingredients, which is really the most essential quality of traditional foods. Some things can be combined or prepared in advance, when it makes sense to do so, but for many things it makes more sense to just pack basic ingredients in bulk, and then combine and prepare them in different ways at meal time, and to do it yourself, of course.
I second the dehydrator suggestion.
You don't even have to get into chopping stuff up if you don't want to. I made a really tasty 'cup of soup' mix from dehydrated frozen vegetables (peas and corn). After they were dry, I froze them overnight and ground them up (separately) in the blender.
I also dehydrated some carrot shreds, but those were fresh and I microwaved them before dehydrating.
When I want soup, I put about 3 teaspoons of veggies in a cup with a boullion cube, then add hot water.
I want to do the dehydrator thing, but it's not really possible. I'm currently living in Mexico, and I'm only going to be home in the States for about a week before I start my hike at the end of July.
Thanks to everybody who replied so far, that Nepalese food sounds great.
Glad to be of help, but a disclaimer: The closest I've been to Nepal is when I ate at a Nepalese restaurant in St. Paul MN. But, I've read a lot of travel guides. I'm sure my adaptation is not very authentic, but its a good backpacking recipe.
I am pretty sure there is a natural soup mix at World Market. Not sure if you have one of those stores nearby but if so, definitely check it out.