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Quinoa Pilaf Adapted for the Trail

Quinoa Pilaf with Spinach, Toasted Pine Nuts, and Feta Cheese
Avoiding dishes containing pasta, rice, and high-carb grains can be tricky when eating out or especially when dining with friends.  The "I have celiac disease" tends to work better than "I don't eat grains because cavemen didn't eat them."  Regardless, you're not likely to be invited back if your Standard American Diet (SAD) hosts believe you are a dinnertime pain in the @$$.

Appalachian Trail camping Mahha
Hammock-filled woods at MAHHA Hang
Pot luck dinners can be challenging in a SAD crowd, but gatherings can also be a great way to find some new dishes to add to your recipe book.  Take our regional hammock hangs, for example.   Last year we had hand-tossed pizza over a fire, roasted whole pig, and steamed ramps, just to name a few dishes. I contributed some sautéed wild mushrooms after finding a beautiful chicken of the woods mushroom near camp.  Definitely not your usual pot luck food.

So it was at one such hang that I  found this fabulous new quinoa dish to add to my repertoire thanks to HF hanger Dylan.  Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") is the seed of Chenopodium quinoa, a close relative to one of my favorite wild edible foods Chenopodium album aka goosefoot. Quinoa is considered a "pseudo cereal," even though it is a seed and not technically a cereal grain, because it has a high glycemic load similar to other grains.  However, quinoa is tasty and versatile, and a great addition to my backpacking staples.

See the recipe by clicking the "read more" button below...

 Quinoa pilaf is delicious at home, and very simple to make.  Enjoy it hot or cold,  but I prefer heated, bringing out the sharpness of the cheese.  With a little tweaking, this recipe can be savored on the trail as well.   The trail recipe, which follows, is slightly different; packets of parmesan in lieu of the the feta, walnuts or sunflower seeds for the pine nuts, and True lemon for the lemon juice.  Rehydrate at breakfast for a very easy and satisfying cold lunch, or add boiling water and set in a cozy for a hot meal.

Quinoa Pilaf is a delicious addition to your trail recipe book

Spinach and Green Onion on Drying Trays
Like many backpacking recipes, this one calls for dehydrated ingredients.  I dry food in quantity, stocking my pantry with dried food in mason jars, then grab ingredients for the recipes as needed.  

Make the quinoa for the pilaf at home, cook a double batch and dehydrate half of it on a solid dehydrator tray (or paraflexx sheet in the Excalibur).  The spinach and spring onions are a staple in my dried pantry, so always on hand.   Save packets of parmesan cheese when eating out, but bulk cheese may be repackaged in a small ziploc bag.

**Printable Recipe**

Quinoa Pilaf

One large serving, or two smaller ones

Bag 1 (Quart size zip lock):

1/2 c Quinoa (cooked and dehydrated)
2 T   Spinach, dehydrated
1 T   Green Onion, dehydrated
1/2 t  Garlic (Litehouse freeze-dried has the best flavor)
1-2 packets True lemon (you can use one and bring one to use if needed)
pinch of salt

In a separate, small bag:

2 T Walnuts or Pine Nuts (toast in a pan and cool before packaging)

Also add:

1 Packet Olive Oil (from Subway or package your own)
2 Packets Parmesan Cheese (or one heaping tablespoon in a separate bag)

In camp, rehydrate quinoa with enough boiling water to not quite cover quinoa: you don't want this to be watery, so less is more. Right before serving, add nuts, oil, and parmesan cheese and mix well. 

Enjoy!!  Please feel free to leave your comments. I always appreciate your feedback.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 349 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A 12%Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 27%Iron 116%
Nutrition Grade B
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional Analysis

Good points
                                                                           ~Happy hiking <3 Demeter

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