I wouldn’t call myself the outdoorsy type by any means. I’ve only hiked a handful of times in my life—and never willingly, if we are being honest. I don’t own a tent. I don’t enjoy dressing to prevent ticks. I don’t know how to identify bird calls. But I do love trail mix.
The customizable mixture of protein-packed nuts, antioxidant-rich dried fruit, and chocolate (always chocolate) is the perfect portable snack for those of us with busy schedules, outdoors or indoors. I’ve had many a day ruined by hangriness rearing its ugly head, as I've found myself snack-less while on the go. I’ve learned my lesson though, and now I'm never without my trusty trail mix companion, even on days when I’m just stuck behind the desk.
Through all my sporadic snack adventures, I’ve learned a thing or two about the trail mix market. Although seemingly convenient, pre-packaged mixes can be outrageously expensive and usually contain ingredients that end up getting picked out (raisins, anyone?).
Instead of blowing your budget or wasting valuable time sorting through shriveled grapes, try one of these five homemade trail mixes that will cure your midday munchies and leave your coworkers envious of your snack drawer. Once you have the basics down, you’ll be on your way to mixing and matching your own custom concoctions that will open the door to a whole new world of snack heaven.
For work, travel, or even as a nosh at your next fancy cocktail party, these five recipes will cover all your summer snacking needs. And don't worry: They're all raisin-free.
If you like Pina Coladas...
Even if you’re stuck in the office all day, this taste of the tropics will have you dreaming of your next beach getaway. It’s also great pre-workout fuel!
Tropical Trail Mix
Makes about 3.5 Cups
1 cup puffed quinoa
1/4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup brazil nuts
1/2 cup banana chips
1/4 cup chopped dried mango or papaya
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
Put the lime in the coconut and mix it all up! Seriously, though: Just mix up all the ingredients, and you're done!
Not nuts about nuts?
If you have nut allergies or are just plain over almonds, try this enticing seed and berry blend. The colorful combo is packed with antioxidant-rich berries, seeds for those omega-3s, and velvety cocoa nibs to curb even the health-conscious chocolate lover's cravings.
No Nuts Trail Mix
Makes about 3 cups
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup goji berries
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw cocoa nibs
Mix all ingredients together and go nuts (or don’t).
Did someone say tapas?
Adapted from the classic Spanish bar snacks, this heartier meat and cheese pairing is rich with depth of flavor and chock-full of protein. It’s simple to make and impressive enough to serve at your next gathering—along with a pitcher of sangria, of course.
Tapas-Inspired Trail Mix
Makes about 4 cups
2 cups Marcona almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1 cup cubed pitted dates
1/2 cup cubed smoked chorizo
1/2 cup cubed Manchego cheese
Toast the almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until fragrant. Sprinkle with the smoked paprika and orange peel, then toss together. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to let cool. Toss almonds with the apricots, dates, chorizo, and cheese. Keep the mixture chilled until you’re ready to fiesta.
If you’re into Japanese cinema...
This crave-worthy mix combines all the crunchy goodness of popcorn and edamame with delicate flavors of matcha, sea salt, and apricot. Drizzle the whole thing with dark chocolate, and you’ve got yourself a perfect snack to munch on during whatever you happen to be bingeing on Netflix.
Trail Mix for Watching My Neighbor Totoro
Makes about 6 cups
1 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
½ cup roasted edamame
½ cup chopped, dried apricots
1.5 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoons matcha powder
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the kernels and partially cover. Cook until there are about fou, five seconds between pops while gently shaking, then immediately remove from heat.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate and coconut oil while stirring constantly. Mix the apricots and edamame into the popcorn and sprinkle the matcha powder over. Stir until the mixture is well-coated. Drizzle the melted chocolate over and sprinkle with the flaky sea salt. Allow the mixture to chill in the fridge until the chocolate hardens (if you can wait that long).
If you can’t beat the heat...
For snackers who are more into heat than sweet, this savory creation is sure to give a pleasant kick to the ol’ taste buds. The aromatic rosemary and fiery cayenne add a complex zing to the toasted mix, giving you an addictive snack that satiates—even though you'll still want to keep eating more and more.
Hot and Spicy Trail Mix
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup coconut chips
1 cup cashew/almond/pistachio mix
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 sprig rosemary
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 tbsp. sesame oil
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Spread the mixture onto a lined baking tray and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the coconut chips begin to brown. Allow the mixture to cool before eating.