I love a good trail mix- that perfect mixture of crunchy, salty, and sometimes sweet. Easy to grab, easy to perk you right back up when you need a little energy boost. Unfortunately, most of what we find on the shelves of our local stores don’t offer the best nutrition options. Most of them are made using poor quality ingredients, nuts and seeds that are past their prime, and to top it off the majority of them load up on extra sugars with dried fruits and candies. So what’s a person to do? Make their own of course! It’s really quite simple and you can make a big batch with little work involved. If you have ten minutes to prep and a few hours to find something else to do, you can do this!
First let’s talk about quality ingredients. Nuts and seeds are wonderful options packed full of omega fatty acids, proteins, minerals, vitamins… they make good choices for not just snacks, but meal toppers and unique recipe ingredients too. They’re suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike. The thing is, they also can be somewhat fragile and need to be used and consumed in their best state. For this recipe I recommend you buy raw nuts and seeds from a trusted source. Local health food stores or companies you know and trust for their attention to quality are a great option. Always store your nuts and seeds in a cool, dark place. I like to keep mine in the fridge or the freezer until I am ready to use them. This preserves the natural oils and helps to prevent them from going rancid.
For this recipe I use avocado, olive, or coconut oil. It often depends on what flavor I want as to which one I choose. They all offer good health benefits, so feel free to choose your favorite (or whichever one you happen to have on hand!). Many store bought trail mixes rely on canola oil, soybean, safflower or sunflower oils. While these may look good on paper, they are not as stable when subjected to heat and friction, and therefore can become more problematic when consumed.
From this point on, just check your seasonings for freshness. These are our nutritional powerhouses. You know the saying…They may be small, but they are mighty! Each ingredient chosen for this recipe is packed full of medicinal benefits. From immune system support, to cardiovascular support, to digestive benefits… you name it, they’ve got it covered. You will want your herbs and spices to be fresh (hopefully less than six months old), kept in a cool, dark location; and purchased from a quality source. This will help you to get the maximum benefit from your foods. Once you have these in check, you are good to go. Mix, slow roast, and enjoy! It feels good to know you are eating something good for you, but it almost feels too good to know it also tastes so amazing!
Anti-Inflammatory Trail Mix
➢3c. Mixed Nuts or Seeds (I used Pumpkin, Sunflower, Black Sesame Seeds, etc…)
➢1/4c. Olive or Avocado Oil
➢1/4c. Maple Syrup
➢1 Lime, juiced
➢1 1/2t. Turmeric, ground
➢1T. Each Coriander, Cumin, and Fennel Seeds
➢1/2t. Ginger, ground
➢1/4t. Garlic, ground
➢1/4t. Cayenne, ground *optional
➢Sea Salt, to taste
➢Black Pepper, to taste
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the seeds. These amounts are very forgiving and can be adjusted according to preferences, or substituted for something else entirely! Mix until you have a consistency similar to a dressing.
Now add the seed mixture to the bowl and stir thoroughly, ensuring the seeds are evenly coated.
Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at the lowest oven setting (170-200 degrees) for up to four hours. They will harden more as they cool, but they will feel soft while hot.
Allow to cool completely and then place in a container. Refrigerate or store in a cool, dark cabinet for up to three weeks.
I often say your sauces make the meal. They are the magic blend that takes food to the next level. Chimichurri is a South American sauce used to flavor many types of dishes. It’s one of my favorites, and a cinch to make!
1/4c. cilantro, fresh chopped
1/4c. parsley, fresh chopped
2T. fresh oregano, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely diced
1/4c. red wine vinegar
1/2c. olive oil
2t. red chili pepper flakes
sea salt to taste
Begin by dicing your shallot and mincing your garlic. Set aside and lightly chop your herbs. Add the herbs, shallots and garlic to a wide mouth mason jar. Sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes. Use an immersion blender and mix well. Alternatively, add ingredients to a food processor and process well. Add the red wine vinegar and olive oil and puree lightly again. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes before using.
When the cauliflower heads come in to season and are so full and beautiful, I love slicing them in to thick steaks and roasting them. I’ll roast anything, and honestly I don’t need a lot fo fanciness, but there is just something amazing about the combination of cauliflower and chimichurri sauce.
Ever had chimichurri? I bet you have, even if you don’t know it! Chimichurri sauce is a latin version of pesto. It is a blend of fresh green herbs, garlic, peppers, oil, and a little vinegar. And delicious beyond means! Traditionally it is used on steaks and rice dishes, but put these two together and you have magic!
one whole cauliflower, washed and dried
2T. avocado oil
sea salt to taste
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/2t. dried oregano, or 1/2T. fresh chopped
1/2c. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, diced
2T. red wine vinegar
2 small red chiles, chopped or 1-2t. red chili pepper flakes
1t. sea salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice the cauliflower in to “steaks.” Aim for consistent thickness with each steak.
Dress with avocado oil, sea salt, and paprika.
Roast for 25-35 minutes, until softened through but browning at the edges.
While the cauliflower is roasting, blend the chimichurri ingredients in a food processor until well incorporated. Set aside.
When the cauliflower is done, remove to a plate and dress with the chimichurri sauce. Enjoy!
1c. alternative milk, like oat milk or almond milk
2T. peanut butter (check those ingredients!) or almond butter
2 scoops pea protein or hemp protein
1 scoop collagen (I prefer Great Lakes brand)
2T. maple syrup
1t. vanilla extract (optional)
Options for flavors: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom….