It is officially the season for all things delicious — cheerful music, sparkling decor, glad tidings and foods filled with sugar and spice. While I adore baking holiday cookies and sweet treats, I also love having a good savory snack on hand, and this Triple Nut Spicy Chex Mix is a terrific twist on a classic seasonal favorite.

While Christmas cookies, candies and baked goods may be the norm this time of year, this savory snack option offers a great alternative for holiday gifts and platters. Featuring a comfortable amount of heat and a trio of nuts — pecan halves, cashews and peanuts — this salty treat is loaded with addictively spicy flavor.

I prefer to buy the nuts separately versus using a mixed nuts variety, so that I can control the amount of each nut included in the batch. There are equal parts of each nut in the recipe, creating a perfect balance of texture and flavor between them. The soft pecans combine with the tender crunch of cashews and salty snap of peanuts to ensure that every mouthful is a blend of nutty flavor.

To ensure a balanced blend of nutty flavor, Sarah's Triple Nut Spicy Chex Mix features a trio of nuts including pecan halves, cashews and peanuts, which are roasted for 15 minutes before any seasonings are added. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
To ensure a balanced blend of nutty flavor, Sarah's Triple Nut Spicy Chex Mix features a trio of nuts including pecan halves, cashews and peanuts, which are roasted for 15 minutes before any seasonings are added. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Like the classic recipe, this Spicy Chex Mix includes three types of Chex cereal: corn, rice and wheat. Where it differs is in the method of preparation and the additional spices. This is an easy recipe and the perfect cooking project for a holiday weekend (and if you don’t feel like making it yourself, the mix is included in my holiday menu at sarahbakesnd.com).

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The nuts are roasted first at 300 degrees for 15 minutes to give them a toasty finish and are then tossed in a mixture of melted butter, sugar, pepper, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper and salt. Dressing the nuts while they are hot from the oven allows them to better absorb the flavors, and a final five-minute turn in the oven ensures that the spices are sealed in.

As the nuts roast, a sauce is prepared to coat them with spicy flavor, featuring melted butter, sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
As the nuts roast, a sauce is prepared to coat them with spicy flavor, featuring melted butter, sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The toasted nuts are tossed in the spicy butter sauce until evenly coated, and then returned to the oven to finish baking for five minutes. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The toasted nuts are tossed in the spicy butter sauce until evenly coated, and then returned to the oven to finish baking for five minutes. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

As the nuts are roasting, the next step is to prepare the dressing for the Chex cereal — and that includes more melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, garlic powder, and salt.

Once prepared, the cereal is then added, along with salty pretzels and broken bagel chips, and the mixture is tossed until evenly coated and well-combined. You can use any kind of pretzel shape, and feel free to swap out the cracker with a cheesy flavor or even Goldfish crackers.

Pretzels and bagel chips are also featured in the snack mix, bringing even more texture and salty flavor to the party. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Pretzels and bagel chips are also featured in the snack mix, bringing even more texture and salty flavor to the party. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

You can use the same baking sheet as the nuts (without the nuts), but I prefer to use a large roasting pan or baking dish for this step. The cereal mix is roasted for 40 to 45 minutes, again at 300 degrees, until dry and toasty. It is important to stir the mixture every 10 minutes so that each piece is evenly roasted and full of flavor, and the larger pan makes this task much easier.

Spicy Chex Mix can be stored at room temperature in a large tin or airtight container for at least 10 days, or even longer. This batch makes about 3 quarts of snack mix, which means you will have enough for a few gifts and even some left to enjoy at home.

Best wishes for a happy and blessed Thanksgiving and a holiday season that is filled with delicious flavor.

Sarah's Triple Nut Spicy Chex Mix is a savory and delicious snack and the perfect treat for filling holiday gift tins and treat bags. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Sarah's Triple Nut Spicy Chex Mix is a savory and delicious snack and the perfect treat for filling holiday gift tins and treat bags. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Triple Nut Spicy Chex Mix

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Makes: 3 quarts

Triple Nut mixture ingredients:

1 cup pecan halves

1 cup roasted and salted peanuts

1 cup roasted and salted cashews

6 tablespoons butter, melted

2 teaspoons sugar

1 ½ teaspoons black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¾ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Triple Nut mixture directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the nuts on the baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Remove from oven and transfer nuts to a medium bowl. Toss nuts with remaining ingredients until evenly coated and combined.

Spread the coated nuts evenly onto baking sheet again and roast for another 5 minutes. Remove tray from oven and set aside to cool. Leave oven on at 300 degrees.

Chex Mix ingredients:

7 tablespoons butter, melted

2 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or favorite hot sauce)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups Corn Chex

3 cups Rice Chex

2 cups Wheat Chex

1 cup sea salt bagel chips, broken into small pieces

1 cup pretzel sticks, broken in half

Chex Mix directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder and salt until combined.

Add the cereals, bagel chips and pretzels and toss until evenly coated and well combined. Pour the mixture into a large baking dish or roasting pan, spreading out into an even layer.

Roast at 300 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the mixture is dry and toasty. Remove the dish from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Add the nuts to the Chex mixture and toss until well-combined. For best flavor, prepare the mix at least 10 hours before serving so that the flavors have time to meld together. Store at room temperature in large tins or plastic zipper bags for up to 10 days.

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.