D.I.Y.convenience foods raw snacks

Flax & Veggie Crackers with Roasted Garlic

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“Baked” in the dehydrator crackers compete with the most gourmet crackers you’ll find at the market. Designed for a square dehydrator, like the Excalibur, this recipe yields about 1 3/4 lbs. of scrumptious, savory, vegetable- and seed-crammed crackers you can feel good about snacking on! Irresistible topped with sliced avocado.

Dehydrator crackers are a variation on the fruit leather theme, believe it or not. If you have ever made fruit leather you understand the basic principles:
1. Make a puree
2. Spread it on lined dehydrator trays
3. Pop in the dehydrator and dry.

If you have ever tried to make vegetables into leather you know that it doesn’t yield a satisfactory result: the “leather” is crispy, prone to cracking, and resists rolling up into a nice, neat roll. Why not take advantage of these crispy, cracking qualities and make crackers?

You will need a few tools to make the task successful: a square dehydrator (Excalibur preferred; I have not used a round dehydrator for crackers), parchment paper, long offset spatula (the kind used for base icing a cake), and a Vita Mix (or regular kitchen blender). Gather up the ingredients and let’s get started…

Ps. Have fun with this recipe! Consider it a template for your own signature cracker creations. Try substituting raw or toasted nuts, chopped, for the sunflower kernels; 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree for the tomatoes; mild onions, broccoli stems, zucchini or yellow crookneck squash for celery or any combination of vegetables pureed to make 3 cups. Or use 1 cup homemade Veggie Powder reconstituted with 2 cups water in place of the prescribed vegetables and play wth adding herbs for flavor.

1 1/2 cups brown flax seed
1 1/2 cups golden flax seed (or 3 cups total of either brown or golden flax)
1 cup raw sunflower kernels
5 cups water
2 Tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar or kombucha tea, optional

Combine in large bowl and soak 4-6 hours. The flax seed will soak up the water and turn into a thick, gelatinous mixture.

Meanwhile, prepare your dehydrator. Wipe it clean inside and line 4 screened trays with parchment paper or Teflex sheets.

4 tomatoes
3 stalks celery
4 cloves garlic, peeled (roasted is nice, in which case use up to 1/2 head)
1/4 cup coconut aminos or low sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon chili powder (mild or spicy, how you like it)
2 teaspoons sea salt

Puree in Vita Mix or blender, then pour in bowl with soaked seeds.

2 large carrots, grated
1 red bell pepper, diced 1/4-inch

Stir into flax and vegetable mixture until a homogeneous batter forms. It will be thick and rather gluey but non-sticky. The small bits of carrot and bell pepper add interesting color to crackers. Alternatively, you cold puree them with the other vegetables.

Scoop up about 2 1/2 cups of batter (a 2 cup Pyrex measure makes this easy – just fill a bit past the 2 cup mark) and plop onto prepared dehydrator tray. Use a long, offset spatula (the kind used for base icing a cake) to spread the mixture about 1/4-inch thick in a large square-ish shape. Spread mixture slightly thinner toward the center and slightly thicker toward the edges for even drying.

Slide tray into dehydrator set for 105-110 degrees F. Repeat with remaining batter.

Drying time is about 24 hours at 105-110 degrees F. This will yield “raw” crackers, meaning many of the enzymes present in the fresh, raw vegetables used will be retained in the finished product. You may choose to speed the process up by increasing the dehydrator temperature to 130 degrees (sacrificing some of the enzymes as you increase the temperature) and have crackers ready in about 18 hours.

If you want nice, even square crackers pull the trays from the dehydrator when they are about 3/4 done; after about 16 hours. Slide the cracker sheet with its parchment paper backing onto a cutting board and cut into squares of desired size with a chef’s knife or pizza cutter. Return cut crackers, with or without the parchment paper backing, to dehydrator tray in a single layer and finish drying in the dehydrator. (Do not cut on Teflex sheets.)

Crackers will be completely dry and crisp when done. There should be no moisture or flexibility at all. If you chose not to precut the crackers simply break into irregular pieces for gourmet free-form crackers.

Cool crackers completely before storing in an airtight container such as a gallon-size cracker jar, up to 3 months, as pictured. For best flavor, texture and keeping qualities storage container should be glass with a tight lid. Crackers stored in plastic bags and plastic storage containers will stale in 2 weeks.

What will you top Flax & Veggie Crackers with?