backpacking orzo

camp orzo

The gear’s out of the closet and the roads around the mountains are beginning to open after the winter…’tis the season for just-add-boiling-water recipe development. I wrote before about backpacking food, and I just added a new category (look to your right) because I’d like to add a lot more to this. On a multiday hike, sometimes you don’t even want to think about food, but with some creativity and planning, you’ll be able to surprise yourself with simple yet hearty treats.

Having been playing around with orzo, I’m finding it’s ideal for backpacking: it soaks up water like rice (nothing to dump out), and it’s compact and solid, unlike many pastas, so it takes up less space than, say, macaroni or ramen. And with either a small bottle or individual packets of olive oil, orzo takes on a creamy texture—pretty deluxe when you’re sitting on a rock.

The only downside to this recipe (and it’s a little one) is that the spice/veg mix is added halfway through the cooking, so it’s a 2-bagger. But that’s really it. I’m giving the amounts for a single serving—it might sound like a lot, but you’re burning thousands of extra calories each day, and dinner is when you really need to replenish. I’d eat this, followed by some Tofurky Jurky to repair all that muscle tissue I abused during the day. My vegetable and spice choices may not be yours, but stick to the ballpark amounts whatever you choose—if you add more dried stuff, you’ll need more water.

camp orzo bag

The recipe:
•1 c water
•½ c orzo
•½ T dried herbs (I used parsley and basil)
•2 T nutritional yeast (at least!)
•1/3 c dried vegetables and spices, including a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes (I used minced onion and garlic, red and green bell pepper, and sun-dried tomato…will try kale)
•1-2 T olive oil (2’s better, but you can scrimp a little)

Add orzo to boiling water and cover. After 5 minutes or so, when the water really starts to soak up, add your veg/spice mix and simmer another 5 minutes, covered, stirring after a couple of minutes. (These times are approximate, given altitude and stove power variables.)

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