Nuts and seeds are great nourishing foods but many of us don't use them enough in everyday meals. There are many traditional recipes of pestos, chutneys, curry powders and even snacks made with seeds like sesame, poppy seeds or flax seeds, but since we look for quick recipes we often miss using seeds in our food.
Nuts have a better chance as we all love roasted nuts and they are available comparatively easily too. After all a bowl of roasted cashew or almonds is handy and one finds them easier as finger foods. But then we Indians eat a lot of namkeens (savories) with our tea and coffee are we are slowly becoming a huge consumer of packaged chips, rice or corn based crispies and wafers.
These trail mixes are a great way to keep away from unhealthy snacks. These are very good for travel also, we always pack some of these for our travels and never ever buy any snacks while traveling. I believe we should be a little more careful while traveling not only to eat healthy foods and snacks but not to buy anything packaged in plastics. When the tourists demand plastic packaged foods the local shopkeepers stock it and it starts a chain reaction of demand and supply, littering all the peaceful places with plastic packets and water bottles. Carrying our own snacks makes much more sense.
We don't have to think much about when and how to include seeds because there are many ways we can easily add some proteins and good fats in everyday meals.
Here are a few ways we can add seeds in our meals.
- Sprinkle some roasted seeds on your salads for extra crunch and added dimension to the flavours. Adding seeds (or nuts) to fruit salads lowers down the Glycemic index further and makes it fit for most diabetics and weight watchers.
- Make a salad dressing with seeds or herb pesto made of any of your favourite herbs. This sesame seeds salad dressing is a much loved recipe in my home.
- Make a paste of poppy seeds, melon seeds or cashew to thicken Indian curries and gravies. It is a great way to supplement protein in vegetarian diet.
- Replace fries, chips and packaged namkeens with roasted nuts and trail mixes. Balance the trail mixes by adding dried fruits like raisins and make them lighter by adding popped amaranth, puffed rice or roasted flattened rice (roasted poha) and season as you like. Keep the trail mixes in air tight jars for the tea time treats. Replace cookies with these trail mixes too.
- Use more nuts and seeds to make dips and pesto. Use them to make your regular sandwiches and wraps. Toss salads and pasta using them.
- Make nut and seed butters and use them in various ways. Most people love peanuts butter or cashew butter. I make mixed seeds butter too and we find it really versatile. Will share my recipes soon.
Coming back to the trail mixes, I am sharing 3 recipes of trail mixes today. Each one of them is so good they are almost addictive. But once you eat a little bigger serving of these you would skip the next meal automatically. This is the beauty of low glycemic index snacks, they fill you up for a longer time period.
1. Honey-lime-pepper peanut and seeds mix
I have used a mix of peanuts, chironji and sunflower seeds here. You need an oven to make this one, a microwave can also be used.
100 gm roasted peanuts
200 gm large sizes seeds like sunflower seeds, melon seeds and pumpkin seeds etc
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp white pepper powder
Split the roasted peanuts and remove the skin.
Mix everything together and let it stand for 10 minutes till the lime juice and honey mix soaks the nuts and seeds.
Spread over a baking tray lined with silpat and bake at 170C (preheated) for about 30 minutes. Check once and bake some more, the seeds will be completely dry but not crunchy when baked. They get crunchy once cooled.
If making in microwave, follow the procedure of this roasted cashew.
Store in airtight glass jar when cooled to room temperature.
2. Flax seeds-coconut flakes namkeen trail mix
200 gm flax seeds
100 gm mix of chopped almonds and walnuts
50 gm grated dry coconut
70 gm raisins
1 tsp sea salt or pink salt (sendha namak)
1 tsp pepper powder
I made this in a pan and it took only about 10 minutes.
Dry roast the flax seeds on medium heat till they start crackle and look puffed. Using a thick base pan will be good for this purpose.
Add the rest of the ingredients (except raisins) together and dry roast for another couple of minutes or till the coconut flakes get firm and crisp.
Take the pan off the stove, add the raisins and mix well. Cool down to room temperature.
Cool and store in glass jars.
3. Seeds and popped amaranth trail mix
This trail mix can also be made in a pan. Though roasting the seeds in an oven or microwave is also an option.
200 gm popped amaranth
100 gm sesame
100 gm flax seeds
50 gm melon seeds
25 gm sunflower seeds
25 gm pumpkin seeds
50 gm peanuts +1 tsp ghee
50 gm fox nuts (makhana) optional
70 gm sweet anardana seeds or raisins
sea salt or pink salt (sendha namak) to taste
pepper powder to taste
1 tsp or 4-5 gm amchoor powder
Heat a thick base pan (kadhai) and dry roast all the seeds separately. Collect them all in one large mixing bowl as they are the roasted.
Roast the peanuts with ghee on low flame till done. Now add the anardana seeds and roast for a few seconds before pouring this mix into the bowl with roasted seeds. This allows anaradana seeds to dehydrate a little.
Fox nuts will also be roasted with a little ghee, I used caramelised makhana to make it this time.
Now add the popped amaranth, salt, pepper and amchoor powder to the warm mix of seeds and peanuts and give it a good mix. The salt and pepper adheres to the surface because of the little ghee used for peanuts when we mix it all while still warm.
This trail mix with popped amaranth seeds is the most popular in my home. I make it with some puffed rice added or some more nuts depending on the requirement.
Here I have added some puffed rice too and the peanuts are roasted along with a tadka of curry leaves and mustard etc. The recipe and seasoning can be adjusted according to taste and requirement. I love adding curry leaves to such trail mixes and even make it with puffed rice whenever we get it.
I use many of these trail mixes to top my salads too. It is very convenient to have a well seasoned and flavourful trail mix that can lift a plain salad made of boring fruits that you may not like eating on their own. Sometimes I just mix some mung sprouts and may be some yogurt and make a quick meal for myself. We do need some of these options sometimes. I am sharing one such recipe next.
Till then, make these trail mixes and stock up the pantry with some nice healthy tea time snacks.
Throw away those plastic packets of chips and kurkure. You and your family deserves better.