backpacking soy curls and pesto

Soy curls have got to be a backpacker’s best friend. TVP may pack smaller, but once you rehydrate it, it’s still TVP. Soy curls, on the other hand, plump up into real food. Easily spiced up, throw them in a tortilla or on top of some instant mashed potatoes or toss them in pasta.

Super great shortcuts for camping foods are Simply Organic sauce and spice mixes. Completely ignore the directions on the back and just use them when you’re rehydrating your foodstuffs. And what really comes in handy is the one bulky luxury item I’m willing to pack in: olive oil. I pour it into a plastic flask so I’m not dealing with a glass bottle and I just think it’s worth its weight and space. Sure, you can do without it, but I would rather cut the handle off my toothbrush and all the tags off my belongings to offset those extra ounces.

We were cooking for four on this trip, but I’ll give you the recipe for two. I split this recipe into two small bags and packed them into a third bag, a Ziploc steamer bag. This was a bit of an experiment, but it worked well. The steamer bag can handle having boiling liquid poured into it so it can rehydrate your pasta (or mashed potatoes or couscous)—way handy if you’re just rehydrating and don’t feel like washing a pot.

Bag 1
• 1 c soy curls
• 1 T Butler seasoning

Bag 2
• 1 c cooked and dehydrated macaroni (as simple as it sounds—saves time and water at camp)
• 1 envelope Simply Organic pesto mix
• 1 T nutritional yeast
• red pepper flakes
• pinch o’ salt

In the pot (on your responsible little camp stove)
• Boil 1¼ c water, then add contents of Bag 1 to the pot.
•When the soy curls are softened up, drain the water into the contents of Bag 2 (now in the steamer bag), leaving the soy curls in the pot. Depending on your stove and the weather, you may need more water.
•Add some olive oil to the soy curls and slightly brown.
•When the macaroni softens up, add it and the remaining water (shouldn’t be much left) into the pot and cook it all up until the water evaporates.
•Dig the dig in.

And here’s a little collection of snacks. I was a bit weirded out by the consistency of the Stonewall’s Jerquee, but when you’re hungry you’re hungry. The marionberry chocolate bar was fruit-leathery, easy enough to handle. Then of course are Cilf bars and the bulky but trusty peanut butter-filled pretzels.

We only got to go out for the one night this time, but it was enough to remind me that I need to do this more often. Hard to believe there’s anything magical about eating rehydrated foods out of a plastic bowl using a spork or waking up to instant coffee, but there so, so is.

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