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A fellow, known online by the name of Oregonhiker, graciously granted permission for me to share his trail recipe for a quinoa-based Jambalaya with you. Quinoa is a favorite in our family, as is Jambalaya and combining the two is a great idea (I wish I had thought of it). If you haven’t used quinoa before and would like to learn more about it, please visit wildernesscooking.com for more information.

I’d like to thank Oregonhiker for taking the time to create this yummy recipe.  Here it is along with some great tips.

I added a new recipe to my camping food list. This is new in two respects, one is the Jambalaya and the other is using quinoa.

Quinoa is a grain that is high in protein, has a nutty flavor and hydrates very easily. My son used this on the PCT, starting from dry grain and adding water.

 jambalaya

dehydration time: 8 to 10 hours
makes 3 to 4 servings

1 1/2 cups quinoa (rinsed and drained)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion (minced)
1 bell pepper (minced)
10 fresh mushrooms (minced)
28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
15 ounces canned white beans (drained)
8 ounces fish – more on this later
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 2 3/4 cups water, bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender and translucent. Set this aside.

Heat a fry pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the onions, bell peppers and mushrooms and stir for 10 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, beans, fish and herbs and bring to a boil, let in simmer for 5 minutes.

At this point your kitchen should be filled with a heavenly smell.

Add the quinoa to the mixture and blend.

For my first attempt I used tuna for the fish. This didn’t work very well as the tuna didn’t seem to rehydrate well and although the taste was very nice it was extremely chewy. The original recipe called for deveined shrimp.

Spread this mixture out onto dehydrator trays and dehydrate. I did it overnight on the plastic trays that hold moisture, and I had to flip the food over in the morning to fully dry it all.

This then goes into ziplock bags. On the trail I simply put the Jambalaya into my cook pot, added water to cover the food and brought it to a boil and simmered a couple of minutes, and then let it sit a few minutes to fully hydrate. The amount of water you add is something you need to experiment with, if you add too much you just end up with a bit of soup to finish off your meal with. I do stir the mix while heating to be sure that it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Some recipes suggest adding boiling water to the ziplock bag. I don’t favor this approach as there is a significant amount of research out there about the potential for unwanted chemicals to leach out of the plastic into your food. For me clean up is a breeze, just a little water in the pot, a quick scrub with my no-see-um net scrubber and the pot is clean.

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This is just a quick hello and a note to tell you what my intentions are for this trail cooking blog. While I have another blog dedicated to trail cooking for backpackers and canoeists, it covers a vast range of topics from gear to grocery store finds. I’ve decided that it would be nice to have a blog simply dedicated to my backpacking recipes and those from other backpackers.

About the backpacking recipes…

Face it, we all have a different style when it comes to food for our wilderness adventures. With that in mind, you’ll see me post recipes here that cover a variety of these trail food styles. While many of these will be my own creations, from time to time I will feature the fare and techniques of other wilderness cooks… so if you want to share a recipe please email me via laurie@wildernesscooking.com.

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