It’s starting to feel like fall, y’all (well, maybe not the temperature, but at least the leaves are beginning to change color!) Are you looking for a healthy GF snack to enjoy throughout the fall season? How about a trail mix filled with the colors of autumn and the scent of cinnamon? If you’re saying yessss in your head (or out loud), then continue reading for the recipe!
To make the perfect autumn trail mix that captures the essence of fall and provides important nutrients, you should include a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, dark chocolate, and cinnamon spice. A variety of antioxidant-rich nuts adds a nice crunch to the trail mix and provides a great source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (the healthy fats), protein, fiber, and vitamin E. In addition to all of these nutrients, almonds also provide magnesium and other energy-boosting minerals, which make them a solid choice for a trail mix. Cashews are another excellent choice since they are also a good source of magnesium, as well as copper, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamin K.
Pumpkin seeds are a must for this trail mix because it’s fall—aka pumpkin everything. Pumpkin seeds are rich in protein and both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. They also contain important vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, vitamin B complex, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, copper, zinc, and iron. All of this goodness in a tiny pumpkin seed?! Heck, yes!
Dried fruit gives this trail mix a sweet kick (just be cautious of the sugar content since a lot of dried fruit contains added sugar, in addition to the natural sugars of the fruit). Dried cranberries are a colorful choice and a good source of fiber and antioxidants. You can also use dried apples for an extra burst of fall and vitamin C. Dark chocolate also adds a bit of sweetness to the mix, as well as a huge boost of antioxidants.
Lastly, you should use olive oil and ground cinnamon to coat the nuts and seeds. Olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon is a pretty powerful spice that is also loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It is rich in manganese, fiber, and calcium; plus, it has the added bonus of filling your home with a heavenly scent while baking.
Is your mouth watering yet?! Good timing! Here’s my recipe for Cinnamon Spiced Autumn Trail Mix:
Serving size: ¼ cup (Yes, only ¼ cup—nuts and seeds are full of healthy fats, which means they tend to be higher in calories! But, don’t worry—the combination of healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates in this trail mix will keep you full longer!)
Recipe yields ~12 servings
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. extra light tasting olive oil
- 1 cup unsalted, raw, whole almonds
- 1 cup unsalted, raw, whole cashews
- 1 cup unsalted, shelled, raw pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup dried cranberries (I used Ocean Spray Original Craisins)
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips or chunks (I used Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels, which are certified gluten-free and free from the top 8 allergens!)
**Be sure to check the labels on the packages of nuts and seeds; sometimes they are manufactured on shared equipment with wheat ingredients, so always look for a gluten free label!**
- Preheat oven to 250° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds in a small mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and add cinnamon. Toss the nuts and seeds together so that they are evenly coated with the cinnamon.
- Spread the nut/seed mixture on the baking sheet in a single layer, and bake at 250° F for 20-25 minutes.
- Let the nut/seed mixture cool to room temperature.
- Once the nut/seed mixture has been cooled completely, mix in the dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips.