On a day-to-day basis, I am a simple eater. It’s partially by choice, but very much driven by necessity. Trying to eat a whole foods-based, mostly grain-free, dairy-free diet with a full schedule means you often choose the fastest option. Snacks are often simply a handful of nuts or some fruit and vegetables. In fact, it’s rare when you can’t find some nuts in my desk drawer at work – right now, there are macadamia nuts. These kinds of things are my “fast foods”.
But when I do have a bit of time, I try to make up something that’s a bit different. Something that feels a bit more special. Like beef jerky, (although most of that goes to my husband, as it’s his favorite snack.) or a trail mix. This time, however, I wanted something a bit different. Savory and satisfying. I was drawn to crackers.
I’ve made crackers before (they’re really pretty easy!) using almond flour. Only this time around, I wanted to challenge myself and make some crackers that are even more allergen-free and omitting the nuts. So I reached for the stash of pumpkin and sunflower seeds in my fridge.
Both of these seeds can do wonders for grain-free, nut-free baking. I’ve played with pumpkin seeds before (making some pretty awesome chocolate cherry cookies!), and so I figured I could try the same with sunflower seeds. Little did I know that simultaneously, Matt from Paleo Parents was playing around with sunflower seed flour! It’s one of those little wonders of the universe. Maybe it’s a sign of a new revolution in grain-free baking? Who knows. In any case, it seems sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are making quite the splash.
I can see why. In just a few moments, I was able to throw together some incredibly satisfying crackers. These crackers have the mouthfeel and look of a rustic “multi-grain” cracker, with a wonderful herbed punch. They’d be a great base for a bruschetta or a tapenade, a macadamia nut “ricotta” cheese, or alongside tomato soup. For me, as most of these things are, it’ll be most likely that they will be in my snack stash, eaten out of hand as a quick snack. They’ll be a welcome change from the usual!
Italian Herb Crackers (grain-free, nut-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)
1 c raw, hulled pumpkin seeds
1 c raw, hulled sunflower seeds, divided
1/4 c ground flaxseed meal
2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t salt
1 T coconut palm sugar
1 T coconut oil, melted
3 T water
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pumpkin seeds, half of the sunflower seeds, the flaxseed meal, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, red pepper, and salt. Process until ground and no chunks of nuts remain. Add the remaining sunflower seeds, coconut oil, water and coconut palm sugar and process again until the dough comes together and the sunflower seeds are in smaller chunks.
Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter and transfer the cracker dough to the paper, “smooshing” it together with your hands to form a flattened ball. Cut another sheet of parchment paper and place on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough between the two sheets of parchment paper, lifting and repositioning the paper as needed, until the dough is about 1/8 inch or less and is as rectangular in shape as you can get it. Peel off the top piece of parchment paper. Using a pizza cutter, cut a grid of 1-inch squares.
Carefully transfer the entire sheet of parchment to your baking sheet, keeping the grid of crackers in tact. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until crackers are golden brown. Remove from oven and run the pizza cutter along the cut lines again. Allow to cool, then separate and serve.
Makes about 30 crackers.