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Spicy Tempeh Mac & Cheese

A flexible camp meal from guide Chris Korbulic
12 Jul 2022

This is meant to be a very flexible dish, a spin on a camping classic that you can modify as desired. For me, the primary ingredients are the flavorful Chipotle sauce and of, course, cheese! I like this meal because it’s easy to incorporate a wide variety of available ingredients, including canned options, so you can add or subtract weight as needed. It also creates few dirty dishes, it’s great for sharing, and it’s very tasty. So let’s make some Spicy Tempeh Mac & Cheese.

Chris Korbulic and Ron Griswell prepare mac and cheese at a camp table
Spicy Tempeh Mac & Cheese
Make 4 servings

vegetarian, camping, Customizable

Time to prepare: 40 minutes

  • 600g Rotini cauliflower pasta or rotini pasta of your choice
  • 16oz Tempeh
  • 2x can 6oz Chipotle adobo sauce
  • Sharp white cheddar – local special Wisconsin cheeses would be awesome! A soft creamy
  • cheese(not cream cheese though) and a sharp flavorful cheddar or similar. We used Camembert and a Wisconsin sharp cheddar.
  • 2x Fresh jalapeno
  • 4+ other available spicy and sweet peppers (poblano, Anaheim, banana, serrano common in grocery stores)
  • Big handful of available fresh mushrooms
  • 2x Large ripe Avocados
  • Garlic
  • 1x Sweet Onion
  • Olive oil or other mild sauté oil
  • salt, pepper, hot sauces
  • Can modify based on spice/cheese preferences.
  • Also could really integrate any other local special veggies if anything is in season.


I start by chopping onions, mushrooms, some peppers, and the tempeh. I prefer slightly thicker cuts of tempeh so it doesn’t break apart while cooking. Add a little oil to your fry pan and turn on to medium heat. Wait to add spicy peppers until later unless you want the whole dish to get spicy! Add the chopped veggies and tempeh to the hot pan and sauté while preparing the next steps.

Chop the rest of the veggies.

Add water to a pot large enough for your amount of noodles and bring to boil.

Once the veggies in the pan are mostly cooked, open the chipotle sauce, stick a spoon in it and taste. Add your desired amount to the pan depending on the flavor and spice preference.

Add the other veggies and hot peppers if desired. Simmer low heat. I prefer to leave some of these latter peppers to still have a little crunch in the final dish.

Add noodles to the now boiling water. Halve the avocados and cut into slices.

Grate the harder cheese, and slice or chop the softer cheese to prepare to melt on top. Once the veggies are 95% cooked to your liking, add cheese to the top and cover over low heat to let the cheese melt into the dish.

Drain noodles, uncover your steaming spicy mac’n cheese. Serve the veggie/cheese/sauce over noodles and enjoy!


Exploration Guide

Korbulic began his career spending years living out of a small hatchback traveling between class V rivers in the Western US and airports for overseas adventures. An expedition white-water kayaker and pro photographer, he has ticked a life list of big-water first descents in some of the most remote corners of the globe—from Patagonia to Indonesia to Central Africa and the Arctic. On trips to the world’s most shrouded rivers, Korbulic has tallied more than 90 first descents on sections of rivers in 28 countries while documenting the journey with camera in hand.

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