Cumin and Rosemary Crackers
Paleo, vegan; no grain, gluten, dairy, egg, or legumes; low FODMAPS; with nut-free option
Wonderfully crisp, crunchy, stylish and flavourful. Very easy to make, yet deceptively alchemical. Before baking, the mixture looks like porridge, not crackers. The change in structure is thanks to the linseed and chia seeds. Their high soluble fibre content absorbs much of the liquid and acts as a strong binding agent. They are also a good source of minerals and prebiotics which can help gut health.
I’ve seen similar recipes but they oddly leave the nuts and seeds whole. Seems more like a muesli bar than a cracker. And they are usually without seasonings and bland. These crackers have lots of more-ish oomph and the pinch of turmeric adds golden colour. Herbs and spices are among the highest ranking foods for antioxidants. All the ingredients are available in good supermarkets.
The crackers are delicious plain. Or serve topped with avocado, hummus or my Dynamite spread (like 5 minute homemade vegemite). Great blood sugar-regulating, high protein, high fibre snack or as an accompaniment to soup or salad. For dinner parties I’ve served them as a starter with guacamole, or alongside a small, moulded salmon salad.
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin kernels
¼ cup pistachios (or other nuts, or more seeds)
¼ cup whole linseed/flaxseed
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup chia seeds* (or use extra linseed)
2 Tbsp savoury yeast flakes*
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped, or 1 tsp dried
1 Tbsp cumin seed
1 tsp sea salt with kelp*
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup water
¼ tsp flaky sea salt
Coarsely chop the sunflower seeds, pumpkin kernels and pistachios. Place in a small to medium bowl. Stir in linseed, sesame, chia, yeast, rosemary, cumin seed, salt and turmeric. Add water and stir. Mixture will look more like porridge than crackers. Let sit for 15 minutes or more. The linseed and chia will absorb some of the liquid. Their soluble fibre will bind the mixture, which will now look firmer.
Heat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Cover a baking tray with parchment or baking paper. Pour the mixture onto the paper. Smooth into a thin tidy rectangle (roughly 30 x 40 cm) about 4 mm (less than ¼“) thick. Sprinkle with extra flaky salt. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and with a sharp knife, slice into 6 x 8 rows – or as preferred.
Return to the oven and bake 25-35 minutes until crisp. If in doubt, bake more rather than less. Remove from oven. Using a metal spatula, snap and lift crackers onto a rack. If any crackers are moist underneath, put them back in the oven, moist-side-up – with the heat turned off – until dry.
Only when completely cool and crisp, store in an airtight container in a cool dark place, such as the pantry. Keeps well. If the crackers were not fully cooked, they will become soft during storage. Place in a hot oven, or a hot cast iron frypan (no oil needed) for a few minutes to dry out and crisp.
Shopping and Preparation Tips*
• Chia Seeds: are similar in use, looks and nutrients to linseed or flaxseed. Native to Central America, they are members of the salvia family, as is mint. They come in pale and dark varieties. Chia is a good source of protein, soluble fibre, Omega 3, magnesium, calcium and iron. Use soaked, ground or cooked. Have in or with fluid to maximise the soluble fibre and ensure proper digestion.
• Sea salt: is sea water dehydrated by sun. When mixed with seaweed or kelp (containing iodine and other minerals low in our soil) it is ideal in terms of flavour (interesting but not too strong) and mineral balance. Try Pacific Harvest or Malcolm Harker brands; both in health and gourmet stores. NOTE these are less salty in taste than other brands. Ordinary salt is taken from mines or sea and so highly refined over extreme heat that it contains nothing but sodium chloride. All other minerals are stripped away, such as potassium and magnesium which help regulate fluid balance and blood pressure. Bleach as a whitener and chemicals to prevent clumping may be added to table salt.
• Yeast, flaky savoury: this is the yeast used to make Marmite and similar spreads; not the yeast used for bread making. It looks like pale brown chocolate flakes – but there the similarity ends. High in protein, B vitamins, hard-to-obtain chromium and other minerals. High in one of the 5 core tastes: umami, meaning savoury. Imparts a nutty, cheesy flavour. Buy from health stores and many supermarkets.