Trail Chef: Quinoa-Mushroom Soup

This heartwarming soup goes hand-in-hand with fall foliage hikes and cooler camping

Our usual Trail Chef is on break this week—normally bad news for you, since my version of "backcountry cooking" consists of throwing a couple bouillon cubes in a bag of beef jerky with some hot water and calling it a day. Luckily, when she heard about my plan to share my recipe for Slacker Stew, she came to the rescue with BACKPACKER contributor Nicole Spiridakis's Quinoa-Mushroom Soup.

This soup combines everyone's favorite South American wonder grain with that most flavorful of fungi. It's perfect for the cool fall camping we all can expect this weekend and beyond. Check it:

Quinoa-Mushroom Soup

Serves 2-4,

1/2 cup dry shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 cups baby chard

2 cloves garlic, sliced

12 snow peas or green beans, cut in thirds

1 cup quinoa

1 cube vegetable bouillon

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

At home: if you buy quinoa in bulk, you should wash it before cooking to remove the bitter-tasting coating. Wash with five changes of cold water in a strainer and let dry. (If you buy it in-box, pre-washing isn't necessary.) Cut up the mushrooms, garlic and carrots and place in a bag. Store the spinach and snow peas separately.

In camp: Place the quinoa, bouillon cube, mushrooms, and garlic in 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, until the quinoa has begun to soften and the vegetables are cooked through. Stir in the baby chard and snow peas and cook a few more minutes over low heat until wilted. Salt and pepper to taste.

Hearty, hot, and easy to make—what more can you ask for on a fall weekender? I gotta say, that's much better than Slacker Stew.

—Ted Alvarez

Image Credit: scjody