Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
15 Jan

Sweet and Salty Primal Trail Mix

Sweet and salty. Few combinations of words can simultaneously strike both fear and pleasure. On one hand, a sweet/salty combination can result in amazing flavor, like a savory Apple Stuffed Chicken or Pork Loin with Mango Salsa. On the other hand, the food industry caught on long ago that sweet and salty was an addictive combination and proceeded to load snack foods with obscene amounts of salt and sugar.

The great thing about making your own snack food at home is that you control what goes into it. You can have a little sweet and a little salty together without any fear of sending your healthy diet into a nosedive. Sara Hatch adds a teaspoon of sea salt and 1/4 cup of raw honey to her Sweet and Salty Primal Trail Mix (Primal Blueprint Reader-Created Cookbook contest submission) to give it tons of flavor and a sticky, clumpy texture similar to granola. When you make this recipe in your own kitchen, tailor it to your own sweet/salty preference. Add a little more or less salt and cut back on the honey if you like, or, for that matter don’t add any – the dried fruit will add plenty of sweetness for some. However you make it, this trail mix is still a fresher, healthier option than most store-bought versions.

The combination of nuts and seeds brings plenty of healthy protein and fat to this snack mix. You can toss the nuts and seeds together raw, but Sara’s touch of baking them briefly in the oven give the nuts a rich, toasted flavor and slight crunch that’s hard to beat. This is a perfect non-perishable snack to take hiking or camping (it is, after all, trail mix) or, keep an airtight container of Sara’s trail mix in your car or at work for snacking during the day.

Sweet and Salty Primal Trail Mix


  • 1/2 cup each raw walnuts, almonds, and pecans
  • 1/2 cup each raw pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup or less raw honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roughly chop nuts and mix with seeds, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread on a cookie sheet or rimmed baking pan lined with parchment paper, and sprinkle with half of the salt.

Toast in the oven for 2-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to be sure the nuts and seeds are merely toasted, not burned (keep a watchful eye).

Take pan out of the oven and let cool, then add the remaining salt and drizzle the honey over the top. Toast in oven for another 5 minutes, stirring often (I keep my oven cracked for this). Remove from oven, mix thoroughly with apricots and cranberries and let cool.  It will be clumpy and sticky like granola when done. You should end up with 12- 14 quarter-cup servings (approximately).

You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. Sounds good!

    I do a similar one with almonds, walnuts, roasted pine nuts, acorn squash seeds, sunflower seeds, cranberries, chocolate chips and fig pieces. mmmmmmm….

    jfarley33 wrote on January 16th, 2010
  2. Yum! Now THAT is a trail mix!

    Mike Cheliak wrote on January 16th, 2010
  3. my favourite is a combo of macadamia nuts, almonds, dried blueberries, dried apples, freeze dried strawberries, pumpkin seeds, and some random dried fruit i found at trader joes one time. On the other hand, i have not made this yet and will do so soon and judge. boy this looks good

    Rob wrote on January 16th, 2010
  4. ZOMG, I could not have that in the house. Even if I skipped the honey (and I would), I would definitely over eat that.

    Astrogirl wrote on January 16th, 2010
    • I wouldn’t even get to the final product; I’d eat everything while cooking xD

      Mary wrote on January 16th, 2010
    • .I agree,,,,,,,,,I couldn’t have that stuff in the house either………….:)

      dave p wrote on January 17th, 2010
    • Ditto that. This would be kryptonite to me!

      Indiscreet wrote on January 18th, 2010
  5. Why bother with the salt at all? In fact I would actively avoid it.
    This salt victim says it all.

    Bill wrote on January 16th, 2010
    • Without a doubt, processed foods generally contain too much salt (as well as high fructose corn syrup, other modern sugars and numerous substances that pose as food) However, REAL SALT, and by that I mean Celtic Sea Salt, Himalyan Salt and other salts that show some color: pinks, greys, tangerines, are a good source of MINERALS…and, minerals are co-factors in assimilation- they make things happen in the body. As well, chloride (as in: sodium chloride) is necessary for the body to manufacture HydroChloric Acid, which is responsible for converting Pepsin into Pepsinogen,which breaks proteins into smaller peptide chains, so that we can utilize our proteins. PURE WHITE sea salt is a processed food…

      cloudbird wrote on February 11th, 2010
  6. Wow, looks delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

    Ruby Queen wrote on January 16th, 2010
  7. This looks awesome! I’m so excited. Thanks Sara!

    gilliebean wrote on January 16th, 2010
  8. Yeah..I’d have zero self control!

    Barbara(Blood, Sweat and Heels) wrote on January 16th, 2010
  9. Can anybody tell me if this mix would be safe for someone who is sensitive to gluten? If not, what ingredients could be left out?

    Jim Purdy wrote on January 16th, 2010
  10. mmm. The top one looks so nice and minimal. I could eat it right now. Keep up the blog, great post.

    Richard Shelmerdine wrote on January 17th, 2010
  11. Jim–

    Generally speaking the recipe should be gluten free if you got your nuts, seeds, and dried fruit from a gluten free source–there is no gluten in any of the ingredients, but cross contamination can occur if the company you get your nuts and seeds from uses the equipment to process grains. If you read the labels carefully you should be fine.

    Sara wrote on January 17th, 2010
  12. I just got done making this and portioning it into bags so I don’t overeat. What I “sampled” was incredible!

    Thanks for the scoop!

    Jeff P (P stands for Primal) wrote on January 17th, 2010
  13. Ummm…I just made this and can’t stop eating it hot straight from the oven. This is definitely a treat. I will have to have some severe self control with this one…or just let my husband eat as much as he wants! Great recipe.

    Donloree wrote on January 17th, 2010
  14. My wife just made this with coconut flakes and dried currants added. It is so delicious. We nixed the salt and put in more nuts than fruit, but it is definitely a to-go snack that is at the top of my list!

    Will wrote on January 17th, 2010
  15. I really respect the work both Mark and Worker Bee do, but this snack seems fairly high in sugar.

    paleoberg wrote on January 18th, 2010
    • Enjoy in moderation and as it relates to your own personal goals.

      Mark Sisson wrote on January 18th, 2010
      • I see what you mean, but I think there should be a disclaimer for newbies. I know when I was starting out, I would have used any excuse to keep sugar in my daily diet.

        paleoberg wrote on January 18th, 2010
        • To keep mine at a lower sugar level, I took 3 or 4 dried pieces of fruit (of choice) blended it up with about three tablespoons of water and the prescribed vanilla & spices (nixed the salt). Then I added the wet mixture in after the initial five minutes of roasting. I made a granola mixture and put it in the oven for a few more minutes to evaporate most of the water. Voila- granola with a little bit less sugar (and most of it from the small bits of dried fruit).

          Granted, not totally sugar-free, but for those watching the sugar intake, it can definitely get you over your on-the-go moments of weakness!

          Marissa wrote on January 20th, 2010
  16. Sara, where did you find dried cranberries sweetened with apple juice?

    smc2009 wrote on January 18th, 2010
  17. yummy going to try it

    Handy wrote on January 18th, 2010
  18. smc2009–

    I found the cranberries at Whole Foods. Very expensive though, beware…

    Sara wrote on January 19th, 2010
  19. Has anyone calculated the nutrition information for a serving of this?

    Eric wrote on January 26th, 2010
  20. I was under the impression set by CW that heating nuts/seeds destroys the yummy fatty acids in them. Can someone clarify this for me, please and thank you?

    pat wrote on January 28th, 2010
  21. I couldn’t either have this in my house. This is far to yummy for me. I would also overeat it and even though it’s a very healthy food, it contains to much calories.
    I’d rather stick to my 150 calories Sweet & Salty bar even if it may contain a bit more sugar. It seems less “tricky” to me

    Mido wrote on January 30th, 2010
  22. I’ll make this when I start going hiking again in spring, I wouldn’t keep it at home, but if you’re going all day, the extra sugar is no big deal.

    Dagny wrote on February 3rd, 2010
  23. I made and brought this trail mix to a potluck at work… it was a big hit and very tasty. But as Mark said, enjoy in moderation, especially if you include the full prescribed amount of vanilla/honey/fruit.

    ThePrimalBrett wrote on February 4th, 2010
  24. We have made this recipe (in bulk) a couple of times and love it. We decreased the amount of honey by at least half. We added unsweetened dried apples, unsweetened coconut and unsweetened dried apricots. But it is so good that it is hard to show any restraint.

    Rhonda wrote on March 4th, 2010
  25. I’m curious that nobody has mentioned the possibility of adding bits of bacon to trail mix…I would think it would be an amazing salty smoky counterpoint to some fruits. This would be really good using homemade bacon which can be cut into small cubes…

    Adriana G wrote on May 15th, 2011
  26. Just made this for myself and the kids. It was a big hit. I cut back on the honey and added 1/4 cup toasted, unsweetened coconut. I ate about 1/4 cup of it and it filled me up. I mean my stomach felt FULL for over 2 hours. Great stuff! I think next time I’ll try it without honey and cut back to 1 tsp coconut oil, just enough to make the spices stick to the nuts. It was a bit too wet for my liking.

    Shelly wrote on June 26th, 2011
  27. My wonderful, health-conscious neighbor left a sample of this Delicious snack on my doorstep…only I ate it all before my husband even knew about it! Oops. Now will have to make some more for him for our next trip! Thank you Roger Long!

    Anna and Donald Gordon wrote on June 29th, 2011
  28. How long does this last?

    Kelly wrote on January 14th, 2012

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