Spicy Smoky Salt-Free Chex Mix
A surprisingly scrumptious spicy crunchy snack mix, full of protein and totally free of any added butter or salt. I made this snack mix with olive oil and a mix of spices from my cupboard. Because I was making this for someone special who has to very carefully watch his sodium, I avoided anything salty and devoid of nutrition (yes, I’m talking to you, pretzels!), took care to check the sodium level on all the seasonings and used healthy nuts and a bit of chex to add that essential crunch, per my son’s suggestion.
The father of both of my children (my ex-husband) recently faced one of those milestone birthdays. The same one I faced last January. We were born in the same year, almost a year apart, but not quite. We were married for many years … no, we are not married anymore but we are still good friends, not in the way that we get together for lunch or anything, but in the way that we know we both genuinely care for the other’s well-being and we watch out for each other. I know if a disaster should befall me suddenly, he will be there for me, and vice versa … and we tag-team caring for our (almost adult) kids way better than we ever did when we were married. I feel like we both want the other one to be happy. (I truly believe this was true during the marriage as well, but we somehow failed dismally at that mission back then …)
Well, the kids and I wanted to get him something special for his birthday. He’s not an easy person to buy for … he tends to buy himself the things he REALLY wants and if he doesn’t have them yet, well, that’s because it’s too expensive to afford (and out of price range for a present). We tend to get him Bailey’s Irish Cream because he doesn’t typically buy that for himself, but he loves it. Well, this year, we went all out and got him Bailey’s AND some special chocolate covered espresso beans from this famous candy factory in Pittsburgh (that I found on a business trip there) AND a cool backpack to carry his soccer stuff AND then my son wanted to get him some of his favorite snack mix because he’s going on a trip this weekend, but just as we were reaching for a spicy snack mix that we thought his dad would like, we remembered … his dad can’t have salt. Which means just about EVERY snack mix on the shelf is just not going to work. Dang! Good idea shot down … I puzzled through it as we walked to the checkout to purchase the backpack … and it came to me. We could MAKE him a snack mix that he can eat! I was thinking of nuts, mostly, but then my son suggested I add some rice chex. His dad LOVES chex mix.
We went to Costco after that and bought all the varieties of Chex and lots of nuts, especially cashews, because his dad loves cashews. And then we went home and concocted this spicy chex mix for their dad for his birthday. I used some of this amazing Trader Joe’s 21 salute seasoning that has no salt in it but a whole LOT of flavor. Here’s what it looks like … (and btw it is amazing on oven fries) …
When he opened his backpack full of presents, my ex took at taste of this chex mix and said, “not bad for a white girl!” … which from him is a pretty big compliment. It possibly also means, this isn’t terribly “melt your face off” spicy (and honestly, it’s not) … so if you want melt-your-face-off hot, well, add more cayenne and chipotle powder … or hey some habanero powder, if you have it.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute (or your favorite salt-free seasoning)
- 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 Tablespoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon sage
- 3 cups chex cereal (I used a mix of rice, corn & wheat chex, but leave out the wheat chex if you want it gluten free)
- 3 cups unsalted nuts (I used almonds, pecans and lots of cashews)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil with the honey and the seasonings.
- Put the chex and the nuts in a large bowl. Drizzle the seasoned olive oil over top.
- Bake at 250 F. for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool, then put in an airtight container.
To make this gluten free, skip the Wheat Chex. Also, check that all your seasonings are gluten free.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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