Long time no blog, folks!
I’ve been bouncing around in my head what I want to do with this blog after-the-fact, and I guess I’ll just fill it with little backpacking things here and there. It doesn’t have to be a strictly 2017 PCT blog, y’know?
I just recently flipped through Anna Herby’s “The Dietitian’s Resupply Box: A Guide to Thru-Hiking on a Plant-Based Diet” (It’s currently free on Kindle!), and while I noticed a lot of common recipes, Anna also had a few unique ones in there. Like the butternut squash mac n’ “cheese”. I don’t know why I didn’t think of something like that earlier this year when I was putting my meals together, but man if that doesn’t sound good.
(In case you forgot, I started my PCT adventure as a vegan, but ended as a vegetarian. That’s all I’ve got to say about it, please keep your opinions to yourself.)
But there’s something else I’ve been noticing in meatless/plant-based backpacking recipes all around: the severe lack of soy curls. Seriously, what gives? Most of the vegans I spoke to on trail had never even heard of them. I was baffled. Post-trail I did some research and discovered that they’re actually a local Oregon thing that I found when I went vegan while living in Portland. It never occurred to me that they were only available here (insert a news article I read a while back about growing demand and expansion that I can’t find anymore). I can’t even find them in Redmond, where I’m living now. We ended up ordering a case of it online, and I think we’ve blown through half of it in the last few months.
For those that don’t know what soy curls are, they’re a chewy protein made from 100% soybeans and resemble the texture of shredded/pulled chicken. I’ve fed the stuff to die-hard meat eaters and they were convinced it was meat. It’s good stuff. And what’s better is that they are a dehydrated food that rehydrates in hot or cold water, and stores for a long time. It’s basically TVP but can’t be mistaken for cat food (I’m just sayin’). It’s perfect for backpacking!
So here’s one of my favorite recipes using these miracle things: Buffalo Chick’n Wraps. I only made two of these for my thru-hike and that was a HUGE MISTAKE. I ate the first one for lunch when I summited Mt. Baden Powell without elevation sickness and died and went to heaven. The second time was my first night once reaching Washington, and I brought an avocado with me from Cascade locks and, well, it was awesome. SO AWESOME.
Buffalo Chick’n Wraps
2 large-ish servings
575 calories per serving (wow!)
Fat: 12g – Carb: 94g – Protein: 19g
- 3/4 cup dry soy curls, crushed into smaller pieces.
- 2 tbsp Frank’s Red Hot sauce
- 1tsp cayenne pepper powder
- Salt, to taste.
- 1 tsp salt
- 2tsp, dried minced onions
- 2 tbsp, dehydrated diced celery
- 3 tbsp coconut milk powder
- 2/3 cup couscous, uncooked
- 2-3 packets of hot sauce, any kind (KFC’s hot sauce is essentially Red Hot)
- 2-3 packets of mayonnaise (optional!)
- 4-6 standard-sized tortillas
- A paper towel
AT HOME: Cover the soy curls with enough warm water to cover them, and mix in the Frank’s, cayenne, and salt. Use more or less hot sauce according to your tastes. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, or until hydrated. Spread out on your dehydrator sheets–make sure to include some of the leftover liquid! If it’s too runny, just use a little bit. Dehydrate at 135F at least 8 hours until dry and crunchy again (I went overnight, plus a while longer). Let cool, then break up into pieces, including the now dry sauce. Divide into two Ziploc bags.
Divide the couscous mix into another pair of Ziploc bags. Pack these, the soy curls, hot sauce packets, mayonnaise packets, and paper towels together. Don’t forget your tortillas!
ON TRAIL: Once you’re ready to eat, cover the soy curls with warm water and let hydrate 10-15 minutes. You can use either cold or warm water for the couscous. Hydrate these separately. When ready, take your tortilla and smear some mayo on. Divvy up the soy curls as you see fit, top with more hot sauce, then couscous. Enjoy the heck out of it, but make use of those paper towels when it drips.
These measurements aren’t exact, and both times I ended up with fewer tortillas than filling, but I wasn’t complaining because it was great with a spoon anyway.
One day I’ll update this with a few photos, but I was so hungry when I finally had these I didn’t bother. I have future backpacking food plans with soy curls, including fajitas, ‘roast beef’ wraps, chick’n salad, etc. It’s easy to whip together a backpacker’s chick’n noodle soup too. Should I share that recipe?
Thanks for reading!