Trail mix is so named because it has everything you need for a day on the trail. Nuts, fruit and even a bit of chocolate help hikers power through fields and forests with strength.
But there are times when even this tried-and-true blend of power foods gets old. Thankfully, backpackers are ever-experimenting in the kitchen to craft compact, nutritious and — most importantly — delicious recipes that leave trail mix in the dust. Here are three of my favorites.
Coffee, Nut and Date Bars
- 2 cups nuts (cashews, walnuts, peanuts, or a mix of them all)
- 1/4 cup roasted coffee beans
- 1 1/2 cups dates, pitted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
One of my old hiking buddies loves dates. He tipped me off to this recipe a while back and I don’t let a month pass without making a batch. In a food processor or blender, blend nuts and coffee beans together until they’re the consistency of sea salt. Then add the dates and salt and blend until the mixture comes together into a ball. Line a bread loaf pan with plastic wrap and press down the mixture evenly. Put it in the fridge to set for an hour. Remove the pan from your fridge, cut them into bars and wrap them individually in plastic wrap. You can store them in the fridge or the freezer until your trip to the trail.
Chocolate, Raisin and Peanut Clusters
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup peanuts
I know a lot of chocoholics. With them in mind, I turn to this snack to make their time on the trail that much more enjoyable. First, you’ll want to melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Once melted, mix in the raisins and peanuts and stir well to coat them fully. Spread them on a lined baking sheet and put the sheet in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden. Once hardened, break the chocolate up into clumps and store them in a container until you’re ready to eat. Bonus Tip: you can also add dried fruit to the mixture for a little something extra.
Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
- 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper
I won’t lie to you, this recipe has earned a spot right near the top of my list. Aside from hiking and camping, I make these to snack on throughout the week or even as a healthy alternative to popcorn when it’s time for a Netflix binge. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Coat the chickpeas in olive oil and spices and pour them onto a lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake them for 30-40 minutes, or until they’re crunchy and brown. You can thank me later.