I wanted to make a few different types of trail mix for quite some time. I have a bunch of bags of nuts and seeds, and I'm moving internationally, this means it's time to start moving through my pantry so I do not need to pack it all in boxes! The plan was to make three different types: one spicy, one citrus-based, and one sweet and hopefully have them all tie together in some way in terms of flavors. So in this post you will get not one, but three different flavors and recipes.
Sumac may sound "fancy", but it is actually a relatively easy to find spice and entirely inexpensive. You may need to go to a middle eastern or indian grocery store to find it, or head online if you do not have one near you. I found a large one pound bag for about $4 at my local grocery store. Sumac has a distinct citrus note, and is fantastic in vinegarettes, sauces, and sprinkled on vegetables (or in this case, trail mix).
The background for this post is a blogger Snack it Forward project, started by Annie from Kitchen Window Clovers. When I saw this idea posted, I was game! I absolutely loved the idea behind it, and was excited to exchange treats with blogging friends. The blogger sending me a snack is Jessica, a Registered Dietitian, recipe developer and culinary nutrition educator from Baltimore. She has an amazing website called With Health & Gratitude, and I will update this post with the link when it's ready!
And then I was to send Sara from Carob Cherub a snack - "snacking it forward". By the way, Sara has an amazing website I encourage you to check out - so many beautiful healthy recipes and a fantastic health and wellness blog.
What a fun idea, right?
So here it is: a set of three different types of (mail-ready, in this case) trail mix - and you can find links to the recipes for both the spice blends and trail mix ingredients below!
Popping sorghum grain
It was exciting to try popping sorghum grain. What is sorghum? It is considered an "ancient grain", and it will pop into a miniature version of the standard popcorn we are all probably familiar with. There are several health benefits to sorghum, which are outlined on this page (which I like because it contains links to related studies). Sorghum is a decent source of fiber, complex carbohydrates, and a moderate source of protein too.
The steps I used to make popped sorghum:
- Heat a deep soup/stock pot on high heat. When you drop a small bead of water into the pan and it evaporates quickly, you're ready to add the grain.
- Add the grain so there is a bit of space between many of the kernels, like this:
I did not add any oil to the pan.
- Wait for them to start popping, and once they start to pop you should jiggle the pot so the kernels move around and don't burn.
- Keep jiggling the pot, and then turn off the heat and remove the kernels once they stop popping (or the popping is very intermittent).
Here is a video of it in action (from my Instagram account):
Where to find sorghum grain
I wasn't successful finding sorghum grain in the grocery store, either in bulk or packaged. I checked at my local Whole Foods, Safeway, Sprouts, and the middle eastern / Indian grocery store down the street and could not find it, so headed online. You can find sorghum on Amazon if you can't find it in the store. Here's what I used.
The three spice blends
For this project I mixed up three different spice blends: two savory and one sweet. The sumac blend is slightly citrusy due to the sumac, which compliments nicely with ginger. And if you do not care for cinnamon, you can also use ginger in that blend which ties together all three of these trail mixes with a ginger note.
The nice thing about these spice blends is you can use them for so many things! The savory blends (the first two) can be used:
- in salad dressings, such as mixing them into a vegan ranch dressing!
- mixed into soy sauce for a bit of a kick.
- on top of roasted vegetables - just toss the vegetables in some spices, and then throw them in your oven.
- as a salt alternative on tofu, or any other dish you make that needs a kick.
And the peanut cinnamon blend can be used in a sweet dessert sauce, or mixed with a bit of water and turned into a nut butter. So think about making a double or triple batch so you can use the blend for something else. Oh yeah, and it tastes pretty good on trail mix too:
Sumac ginger blend
Spicy Ginger garlic blend
Peanut Cinnamon blend
Oil or no oil for the trail mix?
I added a bit of coconut oil to send the mix so the spices would stick to the ingredients, as I knew it would be stored and had no clue how the stuff would travel. However, you can omit the oil if you remember to give the trail mix a quick toss before eating it in the event the spice falls off your ingredients. This works especially well with the powdery spices (peanut flour, onion and garlic powders). I re-made these trail mixes a few times and it worked quite well. The spices don't completely stay on the mix, but you certainly get a flavor kick regardless.
The three trail mix recipes
It was incredibly easy and fun to create these three trail mix blends. Because there is a lot of cross over in the trail mix ingredients, you can prepare several flavors efficiently all at once and have a variety of snacks ready for the entire week - and not get bored. Here are the three flavor combinations I went with, and the images below directly link to the recipe for the spice and trail mix ingredients.
Sumac Ginger Trail Mix
Spicy Ginger Garlic Trail Mix
Peanut Butter Cinnamon Trail Mix
And then it was time to snack it forward to my blogging buddy!
The snacks were headed off to Sara!
The snacks I received!
Check out this spread!
Jessica develops recipes for 88 Acres, and sent me a couple of their bars. The flavors are Apple & Ginger, and Triple Berry and I can't wait to try them out. You can check out their site here for some of the other flavors!
She also sent a couple of UGo bars (Coconut Date and ANutter are pictured) that look fantastic - handmade and vegan. Also a bag of Chickpeatos -- Tomato Basil. Oh my gosh, I can't wait - I have tried a few different types of roasted chickpeas, and can't get enough of them.
Thank you so much to Jessica for the snacks!
And I reckon that I will add some reviews to the website in the near future!
What do you think?
Do you have some favorite spice blends that you'll try out on your own trail mix?
Or favorite vegan snacks to share?
Let me know in the comments!
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Did you make this recipe or read this article? Have something to share or ask? Tag us on any social network, and/or add the hashtag #PlantBasedRecipeBlog! We'd love to see what you make, or answer any questions!
However, please note that although I did receive these snacks "for free", they were not from the company being discussed but as part of this snack exchange from the person who made the recipe they use, and had not tried them yet at the time of writing... so I could take the pictures 🙂 I have no further knowledge of that relationship apart from what is described here -- full transparency!
Jen is currently a Tufts University student in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and founded PlantBasedRecipe.com.
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