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12 Best road trip snacks

BY Helen Best-Shaw

26th Jul 2021 Recipes

12 Best road trip snacks

Going on a road trip but don't have any snacks to bring along? Look no further! 

Driving to our holiday, rather than flying this year means no in-flight meals; not a great loss. And yes, I can break up a long drive with a stop at a service station, but most food on offer is both expensive and dispiriting at best. Far better to take a bit of preparation and I can have a small selection of delicious snacks perfect for a road trip. The essential requirements are minimal crumbs and fuss; bite-sized, non-greasy, not too smelly, and a variety of both savoury and sweet snacks.

Here are 12 recipes to start with: your next road trip doesn’t have to mean scoffing nothing but chocolate bars to keep you going.

Spaghetti carbonara

I love frittatas. They are super easy and quick to pull together, only need basic ingredients and are almost black-hole-like in their ability to absorb leftovers. A frittata is also super portable, and perfect for packed lunches, picnics and travel snacks. This spaghetti version is especially robust and holds together very well making it ideal finger food.

Trail mix—a mixture of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, is popular in the US as a snack to eat while hiking. Not stopping for lunch saves time and means you don’t get cold when carrying a backpack. But it’s also great for car trips. Here’s a guide to mixing your own, but as always, making something yourself gives the opportunity to tailor it to your tastes.

I like mini muffins for a road trip, and I love this recipe that includes nuts, dates and grated apple and carrot. I think that with muffins, it’s generally better not to overmix the batter; a blotchy unmixed mess with areas of dry ingredients that haven’t combined with the liquid gives a much better result than a batter that’s fully mixed.

These mini pies tick every one of my road trip boxes—bite-sized and bursting with umami flavours from the mushrooms. They’re vegan too, so a helpful addition for meat-free travelling.

A delicious change from salted peanuts. Roasting your own chickpeas means you can add extra spices as desired; this comprehensive recipe gives full details on any question you might have.

Cold brew coffee is a revelation if you haven’t tried it. Naturally sweeter than normal coffee, it’s a summer favourite of mine. I find that a flask of chilled cold brew on a road trip is drinkable for far longer than one of hot coffee. The other thing is that you don’t need very much of it: a small serving is plenty.

Chouquettes are choux pastry balls, frequently sweetened with pearl sugar for small, light-as-a-feather sweet mouthfuls. Once this basic recipe is mastered, other popular toppings include  chocolate chips (press them into puffs before baking) or crushed nuts (hazelnuts, pistachios, etc) combined with chocolate chips. And once you’ve mastered choux pastry, a whole new world of profiteroles and cheese puffs opens up for you!

Sticky black rice triangles, filled with a crushed avocado and lime juice mixture. These snacks originate from Japan, making for a filling snack that’s easily eaten. They are frequently wrapped in nori seaweed, but it’s not essential, and are found in Japanese convenience stores.

Baked pita bread chips like this are a low-fat alternative to regular, deep fried chips. There are all sorts of things you can do with them, from sweet to plain and savoury flavours. Make them small enough to eat in one mouthful and there’s no crumb problem!

Sweet, crunchy, healthy, and delicious. Apple chips are so simple to make at home and the best thing is you don’t need a dehydrator, as they’re baked. The secret to this recipe is that the apple has to be sliced thinly, the thinner the better. The best way of doing this is to use a mandolin, but do take care! It’s very easy to cut yourself using one of these, as I know from experience.

This recipe just oozes America. Pecan nuts glazed with a hint of cinnamon just shouts stars and stripes. I love pecan nuts, though; pecan pie is an absolute favourite. What I love about this recipe is the combination of saltiness and sweetness, making sure it’s not just an overwhelming sugar bomb.

This easy vanilla traybake recipe is fuss free, mess-free, perfectly practical and easy to pack. Simple and delicious, it’s cakey rather than spongy, so doesn’t crumble, making it perfect for picnics, lunchboxes and travel. This traybake recipe gives quantities for a regular 8″/20 cm square pan. This yields 12–16 servings that will last for a week, so I’m not overwhelmed by too much.

Helen Best-Shaw is a freelance food & travel writer, recipe developer & photographer. She has been blogging at Fuss Free Flavours for over ten years

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