All-One Nutty Trail Mix

Finding the Balance

If you’re a hiker or camper, then you likely already have a love affair with trail mix. It’s easy to carry and it provides both fast-acting and long-lasting energy right when you need it. If you’re like us, you’re as likely to consume handfuls of the stuff in the course of a regular workday as you are out on the trail. A store-bought mix can be expensive and over-salted, preserved with ingredients you would rather avoid. Making your own trail mix is straightforward and allows you to feature the ingredients you love the most.

Making the perfect mix is about finding the right balance of flavors—a mix shines when it has the right proportions of savory, sweet and tart. This also helps achieve a good nutritional balance.

The main elements in a mix are:

  • Nuts (almonds, pecans, coconuts, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts and peanuts)
  • Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, flax, hemp)
  • Dried Fruit (raisins, cranberries, figs, apricots, apples)
  • Sweet stuff (chocolate, yogurt chips)

Getting a good variety of nuts and seeds in your mix will help you make it a nutritional powerhouse—which is why our recipe is loaded with almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts and shredded coconut.

Making it Work for Hot-Weather Hikes

If you’re planning on hiking in hot weather, then chocolate is not always the best idea. Once heated past a certain point, the chocolate can melt and make a mess of the trail mix (still delicious though!). Dark chocolate—70% to 80% cocoa—tends to melt at higher temperatures and will work better in a mix. We like to use sweetened cacao nibs in our mix as well. They have a subtle crunch and an intense chocolate flavor which balances nicely with the sweeter elements in the mix.

If you’re planning on making a mix for hiking in hot weather, then consider not skimping on the salt. Your body tends to lose a lot of salt from sweating when exerting in hot weather, and a salty trail mix can help replenish your body’s salt levels and keep your muscles from cramping up.

We buy organic and fair trade chocolate whenever possible. Alter Eco and Equal Exchange are both brands that we respect and whose products we love.

Using Seeds

Seeds are wonderfully nutritious, but the problem with adding them to a trail mix is that they are much smaller than the other ingredients and can sink to the bottom of the bowl or bag. Our solution is to soak small seeds like flax or chia and then blend them into a paste that can be used to coat the other nuts. We’ll show you how to do this with both a sweet and savory coating.

To make the flax mix, soak the flax seeds in plenty of water (a cup of water for every ounce of seeds), then blend thoroughly until it forms a paste. Let the mixture stand for at least five minutes before using.

Making Candied Walnuts & Pecans

Sweetening and roasting some of the nuts in your mix will really help them play off of the savory elements… and let’s face it, candied walnuts and pecans are scrumptious. We like to use agave nectar, since it has a lower glycemic index than sugar. Because it is a liquid at room temperature, agave nectar is very easy to work with—but any sweetener will do.

To make the candied nuts, mix 4 tablespoons of agave nectar with 1/2 a cup of the flax mix you prepared earlier. Toss the walnuts and pecans in the mix until well coated, then bake in the oven for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Making the Savory Almonds

These savory almonds are next-level. To be honest, they can hold up perfectly well on their own as a snack—and in a trail mix they add a great savory punch. We use nutritional yeast, which gives the mix a strong dose of umami (think slightly cheesy, slightly nutty flavor), as well as Dr. Bronner’s Organic Coconut Oil which gives the nuts a great coconut flavor. Along with the flax mix, a dash of nutmeg and dash of salt, these nuts come out intensely savory without being overly salty.

Once you’ve prepared the savory mix and coated the almonds in it, lay evenly on a sheet pan and bake in an oven for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Putting it All Together

All that’s left now is to put the whole mix together. We use quartered mission figs as our dried fruit, but any dried fruit will do. Just try to make sure that you’re purchasing dried fruit that doesn’t have a lot in the way of added sugar or preservatives. Similarly, when looking for coconut flakes, try to find an unsweetened variety. The fruit and chocolate add plenty of sweetness to the mix, and the added sugar is unnecessary.

Put in a bowl and leave it on the counter… we guarantee you it will get eaten quickly!

All-One Nutty Trail Mix

Ingredients

Base Ingredients

  • 2 cups candied walnuts and pecans (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups savory almonds (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups cashews (toasted or raw)
  • 2 cups dried fruit (we use quartered mission figs)
  • 2 cups coconut flakes
  • 3 cups sweetened cacao nibs
  • 2 cups 80% dark chocolate chunks (¼ in cut)

Flax mix

  • 2 oz flax seeds
  • 2½ cups water

Savory mix for almonds

Instructions

Make the Flax Mix

  1. Blend the flax seeds with water in a blender. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Make the Candied Walnuts and Pecans

  1. Mix 4 tbs of agave with ½ cup flax mix
  2. Toss walnuts and pecan halves in sweet flax mix until well coated
  3. Lay the nuts evenly on a sheet pan
  4. Bake for 8 min at 350 degrees in a preheated oven

Make the Savory Almonds

  1. Combine the flax mix with melted coconut oil, nutritional yeast, nutmeg and salt in a bowl
  2. Toss 2 cups whole almonds in savory flax mix until well coated
  3. Lay the nuts evenly on a sheet pan
  4. Bake for 8 min at 350 degrees in a preheated oven

Make the Trail Mix

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until well blended

 

Author Profile
Felix Alcaide and Mike Perez

Felix Alcaide and Mike Perez are key culinary contributors and advisers—playing a major role in coordination and sourcing for the Healthy Meals Program at Dr. Bronner’s. Mike and Felix have over 50 years of combined experience in food service, with a wide range of techniques and expertise in diverse cuisines.

See all stories by Felix Alcaide and Mike Perez
  • Taryn Anderson

    I am in love with all brothers peppermint stuff💗