< Back to Trail Food

Basil Walnut Penne in Cream Sauce

At mile 10 of day 5 is about the time I begin craving a good tasting pasta dish with a thick creamy sauce. This is one recipe that mercilessly handles that craving.

131 cal/oz

2 tbsp dried milk
¼ tsp corn starch
3 tbsp dried basil
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tbsp dried parmesan cheese
3/4 tsp salt
1.4 tsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp brown flax seed
1 handfull of dried kale or spinach
7oz Cooked and dried multigrain penne pasta (half of a 14.5 oz box of penne pasta)
2 tbsp olive oil

At Home
Combine all ingredients into one-quart freezer bag.

On the Trail
Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil (or near boil) and poor into freezer bag.  Add 2 TBs olive oil and seal. Blend well by massaging with fingers and then place into an insulated pouch (see tips below) for 10 minutes.  Open freezer bag and eat with an unrelenting smile. A pita or lavash goes well with this dish.

For the dried milk I use Nestle Nido Instant Dry Whole Milk Powder.  It’s a great source of Vitamins A, C, and D, Calcium, Iron, and Zinc. Vegan alternatives are Nutritional Yeast, Soy Milk Powder, Rice Milk Powder, Almond Powder, or Coconut Milk Powder.  Each have their own textures, richness, and flavor profiles.

Dry your own fresh basil or pick up a small bottle of it at any grocery store.

I like to buy a wedge of parmesan cheese, shred the whole thing with a course grater, then dry in my Excalibur food dehydrator. Whatever I don’t use for one recipe, I’ll use for another. 

For garlic powder it’s easy to buy a jar of it at the store.  Alternatively, you can chop up a couple heads of garlic, dehydrate it, then grind it to a powder using an inexpensive Mr Coffee Electric Coffee Grinder.

Cooking the penne pasta and dehydrating will shorten cooking time on the trail. I like to use Barilla ProteinPlus Penne Multigrain Pasta for the greater nutritional value.

I like to use an insulated pouch (mentioned above). It allows me to save some fuel because I don’t have to bring my water to a full boil. It also keeps my water hotter for longer, helping extend cooking time. With dehydrated food, sometimes the longer soak time makes for more naturally textured food. A good inexpensive and lightweight pouch is the Big Sky International Insulite pouch. Or search the Internet for some DYI options.

The handful of dried kale or spinach is something I like to do to help put more minerals and vitamins in my trail diet. I use mostly greens from my garden, but picking up some fresh produce at the store and drying it works too. It's easy, cheap, and light... and your body will thank you.