Vege-Carb Trail Soup

I recently got back from a 7-day backpack trip in the Adirondacks.  He asked for my easy, nutritious, ultra-light and delicious soup recipe.  Great for fully loaded bike touring or backpacking.  This is it.

Robert’s Vege-Carb Trail Soup
Serves one.
2 cups (16 fluid oz) water
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon dry vegetable soup mix
1 bunch angle hair pasta (apx. 3 oz. dry)
1 tablespoon textured vegetable protein (“TVP”)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Add salt to water and bring to boil.  Add soup mix and boil apx. 3 min.  Add pasta and TVP.  Then boil another apx. 5-8 min. (until noodles are soft).  Do NOT drain off the broth in which the pasta was boiled.  Serve with olive oil.


You may replace the TVP and olive oil with a can of sardines packed in olive oil.  To preserve the nutritional content of the sardines, I would not them.  Stir them in at the end or in your eating bowl.

TVP comes in various clump sizes.  Use the smallest clumps for this recipe.

If you’re cooking for a group, just multiply all the quantities by the number of people (e.g., for 2 people, use 2 tablespoons of vegetable soup mix.).

To make dish cleaning easier, add the olive oil or sardines to individual serving dishes and not the cooking pot.

This recipe is for a vegetarian soup.  For a carne alternative, I’d serve, on the side, sardines, dry sausage or a hard cheese like cheddar.  I’d figure 2 oz. of sardines, sausage, or cheese per person if you use TVP or, if you leave out the TVP, figure 4 oz per person.
You can make an excellent variation on this by using fresh kale or other quick-cooking veggies in addition to the dried vegetable soup mix.  In my experience, kale lasts a one to three days, depending on the temperature, and can be slightly crushed in a pack without turning to green glop, though I try not to crush it.  I’ve used fresh veggies on the early days of trips or after stopping at a road- or trail-side grocery or vegetable stand.
For best taste, always use high quality, fresh ingredients.

I’ve used miso soup mix and ramen noodles with unbelievably satisfying results.  Strongly recommended.

This link is similar to the vegetable soup mix I buy.

For those doing cozy-cooking, this recipe almost works, but you’ll need to change a few things.  One problem is that big chunks in the soup mix, like peas, must be boiled to rehydrate. Similarly, the pasta is better if it’s boiled.
To ensure the soup rehydrates, put the soup mix in a bowl with a quarter cup of boiling water, seal the top, insulate it with your hat and jacket, and give it a few minutes to rehydrate and get a head start.  You could also pulverize the soup mix in a food processor before you start your trip.  This will help it reconstitute faster. (If you’re cooking at elevation, this is even more important.)  For the pasta, either “quick” thin ramen noodles or cous cous will rehydrate faster and use less fuel.

I specify boiling the water several times.  The main reason for this is to kill anything in the water, on the dishes, or in the food that could make you sick.  Remember that if you’re cooking at elevation, water boils at a lower temperature so merely boiling may not sterilize the water and food.

Stay well and eat well,

Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

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