cooking · Dinner · Lunch · Trail Cooking · Travel

Vegetarian Dayhiker’s Picnic: Snack, Entree and Dessert

For the past 1½ years Kirk and I have written/photographed the “Trail Eats” Column for Washington Trails Association’s magazine Wa Trails. The most recent issue is May/June 2011 and our column can be found on page 38:

Washington Trails Association (WTA) is a highly rated non-profit that does incredible works. I know I bug people a lot about supporting them but what can I say, I happen to love when I hike on trails lovingly maintained by the many volunteers! My developing and writing recipes for them is one small way I try to give back for what they do.

Usually I post the recipes on Trail Cooking after each issue runs, this issues recipes were “prepare at home and take” style so it seemed better suited to my personal blog.

Vegetarian Dayhiker’s Picnic: Snack, Entrée and Dessert

Honey Roasted Almond and Cranberries


  • 1/2 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 2 Tbsp butter (or margarine if preferred)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cups whole almonds (or nut of choice)
  • 6 ounce bag dried cranberries
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a heavy medium saucepan bring the agave or honey, butter, salt and cinnamon to a boil, let cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Put the nuts and cranberries in a large heat safe mixing bowl, pour the hot syrup over and stir to cover. Spread out on the baking sheet.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the nuts are golden. Take out and allow to cool down.
Knock the nuts into a large mixing bowl and toss with the sugar, cinnamon and salt till coated. Spread out on a new piece of parchment paper to finish hardening up.

Cheery Cherry Pasta Salad


  • 2 cups lower sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled
  • Dressing
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
  • 1 tsp dry parsley
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt, if desired

Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, add in the couscous. Take off the heat, cover tightly and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff up the couscous with a fork into a large bowl, toss with the chickpeas, cherries and almonds.
Whisk the dressing in a small bowl, taste for seasoning. Pour the dressing over and toss to coat. Let chill overnight and then pack into lightweight sandwich containers (such as Glad or Ziploc brand ones) with tight-fitting lids.
Makes 2-3 large portions.

Low Fat Fudgy Brownies


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 ounce jar or tub of stage 2 baby applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350℉ and spray an 8×8″ glass baking pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl whisk the dry ingredients together.
In a large bowl whisk the wet ingredients together. Add the dry to the wet, stir or whisk until combined.
Spread into the prepared baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, checking at 20, until a toothpick in the center comes out mostly clean (moist crumb but not wet dough).
Let cool and cut. Carry in small plastic bags or wrapped in plastic wrap. Eat within 2 days of baking for best results.

To carry a picnic lunch easily acquire a lightweight children’s insulated lunch bag (found at all big box stores). Pack ice cubes in quart freezer bags, double bagged. Your lunch will stay cold and after lunch you will have ice-cold water/ice to add to your water bottle!
Add in a couple of paper napkins, spoons, some crunchy fresh veggies (baby carrots and pea pods are great) and your favorite drink mix – and a scenic lunch spot and enjoy lunch.

4 thoughts on “Vegetarian Dayhiker’s Picnic: Snack, Entree and Dessert

  1. Brownies – they’re my weakness! I love these – the ingredients are REAL, plus, I ran it through the WW recipe builder & for 9 brownies they only come out to 3pp each – A MUST this weekend!

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