When the team at Nuts.com asked us to put together our favorite trail mix recipe, in honor of National Trail Mix Day (It’s August 31st and yes, there is literally a day for everything.) we both immediately thought of popcorn trail mix. While popcorn might not be a traditional trail mix ingredient like nuts and dried fruit are, we have been using it in our mixes since grad school! We think we make a pretty good case for popcorn being a go-to trail mix component. Here’s our reasoning for adding popcorn to the mix, and for loving DIY trail mix in general:
- Popcorn adds a seriously satisfying crunch. While nuts and seeds offer up crunch, popcorn gives you that super crispy-crunchy mouthfeel that is just. so. satisfying.
- Popcorn gives a mix VOLUME. Some days, a 1/4 cup of nuts/seeds/dried fruit is all we need to feel satisfied. Other (AKA most) days, we need some volume in our snack.
- It provides a lightness. We love nuts and seeds, both for their flavor and abundance of healthy fats, but if you eat too many you feel like you swallowed a boulder. Popcorn is like the Amy Schumer of the trail mix world — it comes in and lightens things up a bit.
- Trail mix satisfies for the long-haul. This trail mix has all of the components of a snack that will stay with you until your next meal. Popcorn and dried fruit provide a nutrient-rich, high-fiber source of carbs, while the nuts and seeds offer up healthy fats, along with some protein and additional fiber.
- DIY trail mix is a blank slate. It can go sweet. It can go savory. It can go sweet and savory. You can really get creative with trail mix by switching up the flavors you impart.
And on that note, we return to our trail mix recipe that we created for National Trail Mix Day. It’s got vanilla coconut oil smothered popcorn that’s dusted in a turmeric-chai spice mixture and then mixed with roasted pepitas and pistachios and dried cherries. Oh, and then it’s drizzled with dark chocolate. Because, well, any chance we have to add chocolate to a snack, we will take.
You don’t have to have an air-popper to get awesome, fast, air-popped popcorn. Here’s a link to our video for a quick way to pop popcorn in a brown paper bag.
When it comes to getting the chocolate to evenly coat the ingredients, we tried a few ways. We found that scooping it up with a measuring spoon and then waving your hand/wrist back and forth really quickly was the best way to evenly disperse the melted chocolate over the ingredients.
What are some of your favorite DIY trail mix combos?? Let us know in the comments and be sure to snap a picture if you try this one, or any other version, at home. And share your creation(s) on Instagram with #cjnutrition and #nuttytrailmix so we can see how you do trail mix!