I added this recipe a long time ago to TrailCooking and it called to me to visit it and update it.
This version won’t be the lightest but it is good – and vegan friendly. I decided to look at the ingredients from an “easy to source” and “better ingredients” viewpoint. Originally I had called for Vegan Soy Milk Powder or Vegan Rice Milk Powder, but both contain less-than-quality sugars. There is the brand, Now Foods Instant Soy Milk Powder, which is unsweetened, but to be honest, at home we use almond or coconut milk to cook with and I avoid soy milk now. Dry coconut milk powder (or cream) is easy enough to find, most though contain casein, a milk derivative, so are not vegan. I have had success though with Let’s Do Organic Creamed Coconut, which comes in bars. It is easy to mix it up. But it isn’t easy to source unless you have a well stocked natural foods store down the road or buy online. If you want to use the creamed coconut, you can mix the milk up in a water bottle or quart freezer bag, then proceed as directed below.
So it occurred to me that maybe I could think it from a heavy backpacking viewpoint and not from the mindset of a UL hiker. If I was going out with my 3 kids and husband, we could easily use a quart of non-dairy milk in 24 hours. And it isn’t like we do long miles with the kids anyways! So why not make the dish with shelf stable coconut milk or the new protein infused almond milk? While I prefer the So Delicious brand, you can find other brands, such as Silk, in most grocery stores, often near the cereal aisle. Just read the labels and get unsweetened – that is important for savory dishes. They key is planning meals around it. And take it on trips where you can stash leftovers in a cold creek or lake to keep chilled. Or better? Make dinner, then make a warm pudding using the rest! Easy to use 4 cups of it quickly.
The recipe is an “FBC-Hybrid” meal where the starch is made in a bag, the sauce in a pot. You can of course make both in pots if you carry two. It is up to you!
Cheezy Rice and Vegetables
Pack into a quart freezer bag –
- 1½ cups instant brown rice or home cooked and dehydrated brown rice
- ½ cup freeze-dried vegetable mix (such as JustVeggies)
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
- Pinch of fine sea salt
Pack in a snack bag –
- 1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tsp granulated garlic powder
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt and ground black pepper, each
Pack in a small bag –
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch or favorite thickener (arrowroot, potato starch, etc)
Also take –
- 2 cups shelf stable unsweetened non-dairy milk (see above for links and options)
- Raw or spiced cashews for topping, if desired
FBC Hybrid –
Bring 2 cups water to a boil, set aside for a minute or two. Add it to the rice bag, stir well, seal tightly and put in a cozy for 15 minutes.
Two Pot Method –
Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a 1 Liter pot, add in the rice bag contents, return to a boil, take off the stove and cover tightly. Put in a pot cozy for 15 minutes.
For Sauce –
Add ¼ cup of the milk to the cornstarch bag, seal and shake to dissolve cornstarch. Meanwhile, add the remaining milk to a 1 Liter or so sized pot with the nutritional yeast bag contents, bring to a boil, turn the flame down on the stove to maintain a low boil. Add in the cornstarch liquid, whisk or stir rapidly till thickened, take off the stove.
Fluff up the rice and divide, top with the sauce. If desired, sprinkle cashews on top.
Serves 2 to 3 (2 very large servings, 3 smaller.