Don’t Head Into The Mountains Without Packing These!
If you’re planning to enjoy some time in the great outdoors this weekend, you’ll definitely want to throw one (or more) of these delicious energy-sustaining snacks in your backpack. Nuts, seeds and whole grains are the perfect fuel for a strenuous or long hike – packed with protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats – they provide long lasting energy.
However, some trail mixes can be a bit bland – and while ‘getting back to nature’ can be synonymous with ‘getting back to basics’ – there is no harm in enjoying a little bit of ‘gourmet’ (aka flavour!) while you’re taking in the best of Mother Nature!
These 5 recipes for healthy homemade hiking snacks will spice up those standard trail mix ingredients and reward your physical activity with loads of good nutrition and flavour.
1. Chile-Lime Cashews
Preheat oven to 325°. Combine 4 cups raw cashews, 15 dried chiles de árbol, 10 kaffir lime leaves (optional) cut into 1/4-inch slices, 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ancho chiles in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread nut mixture in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.
Roast, stirring occasionally, until cashews are evenly toasted and fragrant, about 20 minutes. Let nut mixture cool completely on sheet on a wire rack. Transfer nuts to a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest, making sure to evenly distribute spices and zest. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
(Source: Bon-Appetit Test Kitchen Photograph: Romulo Yanes)
2. Spiced Pumpkin Seed and Cashew Crunch
Servings: makes about 1 cup (about 6 )
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1 large egg white
- 1 teaspoon light agave syrup (nectar)
- ½ teaspoon garam masala or curry powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup raw cashews, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- ¼ cup shelled sunflower seeds
Preheat oven to 300°. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Whisk egg white, agave, garam masala, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add nuts and seeds and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mixture to baking sheet, letting excess egg drip back into bowl. Bake, tossing once, until mixture is golden brown, 20–25 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.
Crunch can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
(Source: Bon Appetit / Photograph Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott)
3. Spiced Pistachios
Preheat oven to 350°.
Whisk 5 large egg whites, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. thyme leaves, 1/2 tsp. ground allspice, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, and 4 dashes of Angostura bitters in a medium bowl to blend.
Fold in 1 lb. unsalted, shelled raw natural pistachios.
Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet brushed with vegetable oil.
Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and beginning to crisp, 30–35 minutes.
Let cool on sheet on a wire rack (nuts will crisp as they cool).
(Source: Bon Appetit / Photograph: Zach DeSart)
4. Marcona Almonds with Smoked Paprika
- 2 cups Marcona almonds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Marcona almonds can be found at natural and specialty foods stores and at latienda.com
. Smoked paprika is available at most supermarkets.
Preheat oven to 350°. Toss almonds, oil, and paprika on a rimmed baking sheet to coat; spread out in a single layer and toast, tossing occasionally, until dark golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat. Let cool.
5. Nutty Grain & Oat Bars
Servings: makes about 16
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 6 large Medjool dates, pitted, chopped
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or virgin coconut oil
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup raw almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, or cashews
- ½ cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- ½ cup shelled sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons amaranth
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat an 8½x4” loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on long sides; spray parchment.
Bring dates and maple syrup to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat to medium-high, and boil, stirring often, until dates are very soft and maple syrup is slightly reduced, 8–10 minutes. Remove date mixture from heat and stir in butter until it is melted. Mash dates with a potato masher or fork until as smooth as possible. (If you have an immersion blender, it will work, too.) You should have about 1 cup.
Toss oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, amaranth, and salt in a large bowl. Mix in date mixture until evenly coated. Scrape half of oat mixture into prepared pan and press very firmly and evenly with a rubber spatula to compress it as much as possible. Add remaining oat mixture and press until very tightly packed into pan.
Bake, tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until loaf is darkened in color and firm around the edges, and center gives just slightly when pressed, 45–50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let loaf cool in pan before turning out (it can even sit overnight). Cut into ½”-thick slices with a serrated knife.
For crisp bars, lay slices on a baking sheet and bake at 350° until golden brown, 8–10 minutes, or toast as desired in a toaster oven.
- Do ahead: Loaf can be made 5 days ahead. Keep tightly wrapped at room temperature.
Tips: We can’t stress it enough: Pack the mixture as tightly as possible into the loaf pan. This is essential for the slices to hold together when cut. Also try it with sesame seeds (instead of amaranth).
(Source: Bon Appetit / Photograph: Ditte Isager)