Each year 3000 students spend two weeks to three months in the backcountry on National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) courses. Thats a lot of backcountry cooking! The folks at NOLS have developed a simple, varied and inexpensive diet that is based on staple foods that can be found at any grocery store. There’s also a wealth of information on planning, packing and preparing meals for extended trips or just a weekend.
My particular favorite receipt is Thai Gado-gado Spaghetti featuring a peanut sweet and sour sauce. Mixing peanut butter in spaghetti raises some eyebrows but I have never had any leftovers.
NOLS Cookery at Amazon
1/2 pound spaghetti or ramen noodles
4 cups water
3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp oil
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp dried onion, rehydrated
1/2 Tbsp or one packet powdered bouillon base (see notes)
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp hot sauce (optional)
1/2 tsp spike (optional)
3/4 cup water, or more as needed
3 Tbsp vinegar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp peanut butter
Sliced green or wild onions, if available
Notes: A spicy peanut butter sauce makes this a light spaghetti dish
that is excellent either hot or cold. This dish can have a fairly salty
taste. Cut back or eliminate the base if you are concerned about
saltiness. This recipe is designed to be made in a camping or hiking
environment, but work just as well at home.
Break pasta in half and put into boiling unsalted water to
which 1 tsp of oil has been added. Cook until done; drain immediately.
In a fry pan, heat 3 Tbsp oil and add the sunflower seeds and
rehydrated onions. Cook and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add
the base with the brown sugar, garlic, other spices if desires, and 3/4
cup water. Add the vinegar and soy sauce. Add peanut butter and stir.
Do not burn! To eat this hot, heat the sauce thoroughly and pour over
This recipe is best cold, and it loses some of its saltiness as
it sits. Mix sauce and spaghetti, cool quickly, and serve chilled. If
available, sliced green or wild onions as a garnish add to the flavor.
Yield: 2 to 3 servings