Hey, What’s Cookin’?
We are heading towards that time of year known as “The Holidays.” That time of year when family, friends, and feasting seem to happen every weekend! It’s a tough time for m.e.l.t.ers, because while we don’t want to give up our hard-earned gains, we do want to relax our high standards a bit and enjoy those traditional “once a year” foods we’ve loved all our lives.
Fancy hot and cold dips accompanied by crisp crackers are just one of many holiday traditions. The problem isn’t always with the dip offered; for example, guacamole and salsas are excellent choices for healthy eating. And this blog features several other healthy dips that you can make and bring to gatherings, such as:
The problem is the nutritionally empty flour-based crackers. Chances are you’ve already done your best to Eliminate or Isolate crackers from your house, because they are usually full of gluten or are mostly made of starches such as wheat, rice, corn, or potato flour. Those foods aren’t going to help you get the physique you’re after. And those “vegetable” crackers in the Health Food section of the store are hella expensive and ALWAYS have some sort of starch in the ingredients list–they are no better than the regular crackers.
That’s why I am repeat posting today’s recipe–to remind you that there are alternatives and that you CAN “have your crackers and eat them, too!”
When you want something crispy and crunchy to nosh on or dip with, you make your own vegetable flax crackers at home! You don’t need a fancy dehydrator, you don’t need expensive ingredients. We all have tomatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, and onions on hand. The only extra you will need is ground flax meal–easily obtainable in most grocery stores.
Flax seed is one of the most nutrient-dense seeds on the planet. It’s loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium, as well as a good source of vitamin B6, iron, potassium, copper and zinc. Imagine all that nutrition in a home-made cracker!
One critical thing to know about flax seeds is that they must be GROUND for all the nutritional goodness to be bio-available to you. Eating flax seeds whole is a terrible waste of nutrients; they will pass through your body undigested. Flax seed is best consumed as ground meal, in oil form, or sprouted.
So grab yourself a bag of flax seed meal, raid the vegetable drawer, and make yourself some vegetable crackers! You can have fun experimenting with different combinations of veggies and spices!
Oven-Baked Vegetable Flax Crackers — An Encore Presentation
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into 8ths
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- water, by the tablespoonful
- 2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 cup ground flax meal (I used golden flax meal)
- (optional) roasted, unsalted sesame seeds
- (optional) roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
- Set your oven to “Warm” and test the temperature with an oven thermometer or a candy thermometer placed on a heat-safe plate.This recipe was baked in a 190-200 degrees Fahrenheit electric oven. Variations upward or downward in temperature will consequently increase or decrease the baking time.
- Place all vegetables, in the order listed, in a food processor or blender. Pulse to begin chopping the vegetables; stop the machine as needed and use a pushing tool or rubber scraper to move the food towards the blades. Switch to slightly higher setting to begin turning them into a smooth paste. Add water by the tablespoonful, if needed, to help the blending process. Use as little water as possible; the more water you use, the longer dehydration will take.
- Add spices and blend one last time. Spoon the vegetable/spice mixture in a large mixing bowl and stir in the flax meal. The mixture will taste rather mild at this point; the flavors will become stronger during dehydration.
- Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop the veggie/flax mixture onto the paper. Using a knife or offset spatula, spread the mixture to a thickness of about 1 sunflower seed. If you need to, use a second cookie sheet. If you are using them, sprinkle with unsalted sesame or sunflower seeds for extra flavor and crunch; use the offset spatula (or a pancake turner) to gently press the seeds into the mix.
- After about 4 hours, pull the pan(s) from the oven and lightly score the mix in a grid pattern (a pizza cutter works great for this; use the lightest pressure you can) to aid in breaking up the crackers later on. Return pan(s) to oven and continue baking.
- After about 6 hours, test the parchment and see if it pulls away easily from the mixture, without sticking. If it does, flip the entire sheet over and peel the parchment off to dry the other side of the crackers. If the mixture sticks to the parchment, return it to the oven, bake for another hour, and test again.
- Dehydrate the crackers for a total of eight to 12 hours, or until the crackers have reached your desired level of crispness. Break the crackers along the score lines.
- Store cooled crackers in an airtight container. Use the broken bits/seeds as a crunchy topping for a green salad!