Crackers are great! Crisp and crunchy texture that carries off all sorts of flavours, they’re perfect to have in the cupboard for lunch or snacking. What’s not to love? Well, for many people, the ingredients in shop-bought crackers are not ideal, particularly if you have food intolerances, follow a specific way of eating for health or want nourishing whole foods that don’t include ingredients that have a negative effect on the environment.
Yup, even ‘healthy’ crackers can have issues. I used to eat oat cakes as a good alternative to bread, but then discovered that many versions contain palm oil. This highly refined, highly saturated and environmentally destructive fat really needs to take a hike, but it appears in a huge amount of products. Just don’t go there if at all possible!
Then there’s the gluten issue – if you’re allergic or sensitive to gluten then you want to find good gluten-free options. That can be a struggle to be honest unless you enjoy eating lots of rice cakes (I don’t mind them but not all the time!) as some are tasteless dust held together with more dust (or so it seems) or contain other ingredients that are off the menu, like palm oil (again), yeast or some dairy derivative. Even if you can tolerate gluten, how ‘whole’ is the flour used? It can be difficult to tell, but always look for whole wheat rather than just wheat and you’re on the right track.
Finally, there’s the other bits and bobs that get added in, like sugar, dairy derivatives and salt – lots of it! If you’ve read my book Eat Well Live Well with The Sensitive Foodie, then you’ll have seen my triad of flavour highs – the flavours that ping dopamine receptors to give us pleasure, which then wants us to have more. Yup, once you start eating crackers, it can be hard to stop.
So what to do? If you want a nutrient dense, filling and super tasty cracker, then my seedy crackers will hit the spot. Packed full of whole seeds with whole nutrients, there’s lots of healthy fats (particularly anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids), plant protein and fibre. Lots of fibre. Held together with the clever binding power of chia and flax seeds (plus a little bit of magic 😉 ), there’s no need for nasty additives and highly refined oils and sugars. The flavour is in the seeds, plus you can add your own additional flavours like garlic and herbs.
For the record, there is salt in these here crackers – I like a little to bring out the flavour. However, if you are eating a low salt diet or working on reversing high blood pressure, then leave it out and add extra herbs or a pinch of celery salt. Although seeds do have good amounts of potassium, so you’re not upsetting your sodium/potassium intake too much.
If you have an intolerance or allergy to any of the ingredients, just leave them out and increase the amounts of other seeds. Sesame seeds can be a big allergen for some people, so do make them to suit your needs. But if you’re ok with sesame, then add them in as they’re also an excellent source of calcium.
I made seedy crackers on my Facebook Live last Friday – then added a little extra video on the end to demonstrate turning the crackers over just so it made sense. I’ve popped the two recordings together in case you want a visual to cook along with.
Do give these crackers a go – it’s not difficult, just a little fiddly. But once made, they keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks, so it’s worth the effort. And if you give them a go, do let me know how you get on.
- 90 grams sunflower seeds
- 80 grams pumpkin seeds
- 80 grams sesame seeds
- 60 grams chia seeds
- 60 grams ground flaxseed
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1/2 tsp dried garlic powder optional but good
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme or mixed herbs optional but good
- 250 ml water
- Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC/300ºF/Gas3. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper or a silicon mat
- Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix well to combine. Pour in the water, mix well again then leave to stand for 5 minutes or so until the water is absorbed and the mix thick.
- Pour the mix out onto the prepared baking tray. Firmly but carefully spread it out to approx 2cm thickness as evenly as possible - a spatula helps make this easier. Try not to make the edges too thin or they will burn.
- Using a blunt knife, mark out the cracker shapes. Be firm with this as it will make it easier to break up once cooked, but don't cut all the way through.
- Place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is firm and lightly browned.
- Remove the tray from the oven. Carefully lift the baking paper or silicon mat and turn the whole thing over, gently laying it top side down. Peel off the paper then return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven, and carefully transfer the crackers to a cooling rack. Once cool, gently break into the cracker shapes you have marked out. Keep in an air-tight container for up to 3 weeks.