Skip to content

The Hive’s Arkansas Trail Mix

You had us at Arkansas, Matt McClure.

Executive Chef of The Hive in Bentonville, Ark., Matt McClure has two dishes on his menu that are soy delicious we couldn't wait to try it ourselves. Luckily, Dining with Debbie's Debbie Arnold showed us how on THV11.


Now that you've received Debbie's tips and tricks, give it a try in time for your next gathering and let us know how it turned out.


Matt McClure’s Arkansas Trail Mix {Kitchen|Fields Table Tour}


Chef Matt McClure's Arkansas Trail Mix
Disclosure: I serve as a Brand Ambassador for the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. All opinions expressed are my own. #ad #ARSoySupper #ARSoyStory
The Hive, Bentonville, AR

Photo courtesy of Lyndi Fultz and



Another restaurant on this year’s Kitchen|Fields Table Tour, an educational food program created by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, is absolutely one of my very favorites and has been since we first dined there during their opening week.  The Hive, located in Bentonville’s 21C Museum Hotel just off the square, “showcases the unique culinary identity of Arkansas.”


Executive Chef Matt McClure of The Hive, Bentonville

Executive chef and Arkansas native, Matt McClure, focuses on sourcing local products and supporting local farmers and producers. “The Kitchen|Fields Table Tour speaks so much to The Hive’s desire to source local food. We are always looking to support the farms in our region which serves our ingredient-driven approach to cooking.” The Hive’s menu reflects his desire to tell the Arkansas food story and soybeans are a part of that story.


The Hive is a partner restaurant in the Kitchen|Fields Table Tour which kicked off in November at Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. during Arkansas Soybean Month. The KFTT returns in January with 6 Arkansas-owned restaurants. In addition to The Hive and Three Fold, those restaurants are:


McClure’s Arkansas Trail Mix is a multi-stage recipe which is why I always double the recipe. It sounds rather complicated, but it really isn’t, y’all. It just takes some advance planning. I suggest preparing it over the course of a couple of days when you have the time to dedicate to it. If you’re looking for a unique gift to share with family and friends, this would make an excellent choice.


The trail mix combines house-made cheese straws with a whole host of local additions: candied black walnuts, candied pecans, flash-fried spiced soybeans and flash-fried black -eyed peas. It definitely says “Arkansas,” doesn’t it?  McClure says, “I wanted to give people a snack that told the story of Arkansas.”


There are a few shortcuts I can suggest if you are time strapped during this busy holiday season. Know that you can easily freeze the components if you want to really get a head start on the preparation. The ingredients I’m using on this week’s THV11 This Morning segment have been in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Easy peasy!


For centuries, soy has been a staple in Asian dishes; it is now a commonplace ingredient in diets worldwide. It’s not all tofu or tempeh either which, by the way, are delicious alternatives to animal protein. My granddaughter is an edamame lover as am I. Edamame are just immature soybeans. High protein soy flour can replace some flour in many recipes — a boon to those who are gluten free or those who are trying to reduce the wheat in their diets. We typically drink soy milk at our house; do you? If you use vegetable oil for frying or baking, you are most likely using soybean oil. Most soybeans are processed for their oil and protein for the animal feed industry. Soybeans are also used in many industrial products. (


Why is that important to me as an Arkansas?

  • Arkansas ranks 10th in the nation for soybean production.
  • In 2016, Arkansas farmers harvested over 3 million acres and more than 160 million bushels of soybeans
  • By consuming soy and foods that consume soy, Arkansans support local Arkansas soybean farmers and contribute to Arkansas’s $2 billion soybean industry.


That’s why.


I can’t wait to hear what you think about this Arkansas Trail Mix from my friend Matt McClure of The Hive. I sure hope you’ll stop by for a bite on your next trip to Northwest Arkansas. Tell them “thanks” for being such a great supporter of Arkansas soybean farmers and producers. Be sure to follow them on social media:


Matthew McClure


Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board


Be sure to catch my segment this Tuesday on THV11 This Morning. I’ll be on at 6:15, y’all. Grab a cup of coffee, prop your eyelids up and sit a spell with me.


Matt McClure’s Arkansas Trail Mix {Kitchen|Fields Table Tour}


Crunchy Black-Eyed Peas
  • 1/2 cup dried black-eyed peas (See Note)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into thirds
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into thirds
  • Kosher salt
  • Fine zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika (more or less to taste)
Candied spiced pecans
  • 1 1/2 quarts heavy syrup
  • 3 cups raw, shelled pecans (or walnuts or a combination)
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • Kosher salt
Candied black walnuts
  • 1 1/2 quarts heavy syrup
  • 3 cups raw, shelled black walnuts
  • Kosher salt
Crunchy soybeans
  • 1 cup dried soybeans
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika (or to taste)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fine zest of 1 lemon
Cheese straws
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, at room temperature (See note.)
  • 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter (not melted)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (We like them hotter.)



  1. Soak soybeans in cold water overnight. (See note.)
  2. Soak black black-eyed peas in cold water overnight. (See note)
Cheese Straws (see note)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine cheese and softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Beat on medium speed until thoroughly blended.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and cayenne.
  5. Slowly add flour mixture to the butter and cheese.
  6. Continue to beat until no longer crumbly.
  7. Roll cheese straw dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 1/2-inch x 4 1/2-inch straws.
  8. Place 1-inch apart on a parchment covered cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. Store in an airtight container. (Can be frozen at this point.)
  1. Strain soybeans and spread on paper towels to drain and dry 5-10 minutes.
  2. Strain peas, removing other vegetables, drain on paper towels and dry 5-10 minutes.
Crunchy Soybeans
  1. Heat vegetable oil to 325 degrees.
  2. Fry soybeans about 5 minutes or until the beans begin to toast. Drain on paper towels.
  3. Toss soybeans with salt and lemon zest; set aside to cool.
Crunchy Black-eyed Peas
  1. Heat vegetable oil to 325 degrees. Fry peas until crispy. Toss with salt, lemon zest and paprika; cool completely and set aside.
Candied Spiced Pecans
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring heavy syrup to boil with pecans. Reduce heat and simmer gently 30-45 minutes.
  2. Strain syrup and allow pecans to cool 5 minutes.
  3. Heat vegetable oil to 325 degrees; fry pecans until they just start to toast.
  4. Remove and toss with kosher salt and cayenne; spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, shaking gently periodically to prevent sticking.
Candied Black Walnuts
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring heavy syrup to boil with walnuts. Reduce heat and simmer gently 30-45 minutes.
  2. Strain syrup and allow the walnuts to cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. Heat vegetable oil to 325 degrees and fry pecans until they just start to toast.
  4. Remove and toss with kosher salt; spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, shaking periodically to prevent sticking.
Trail Mix
  1. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. If packaging for gifts, do not toss in cheese straws. Instead, add 2-4 cheese straws per bag after tossing the other ingredients together and packaging.



  1. Soybeans: You can actually buy roasted soybeans and substitute those for these if you prefer. I purchase soybeans at Mr. Chen's Oriental Grocery in Little Rock or online through Amazon.
  2. Black-eyed Peas: I cook my peas in a slow cooker so soaking is not necessary. I use my 2-quart slow cooker and cook on LOW until the pea are just tender, about 7 hours.
  3. Cheese Straws: You can use purchased cheese straws if you prefer. If you make them from scratch, do not use pre-shredded cheese. It has a coating on it that prevents it from melting smoothly. We like to use extra sharp cheddar and lots of cayenne, but we're weird that way:)
  4. You can substitute 2 cans of drained and rinsed black-eyed peas. Allow them to dry on paper towels for a few minutes before frying.


During his tenure at The Hive, McClure has been named the winner of FOOD + WINE The People’s Best New Chef award in the midwest region and is also a four-time James Beard Foundation Best Chef Semifinalist Nominee.



Scroll To Top