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Saturday
Feb162013

Heart-Healthy Crackers


This Valentine's week I have participated in Gluten-Free and Heart-Healthy 2013—an event spearheaded by Cara's Cravings in support of American Heart Month (thank you to Cara for wrangling us all together!). It's been a week of heart-healthy eating inspiration. If you missed any of it, you can catch up with all the contributors here:

Spicy RD with Chocolate Pecan Love Bites
All Day I Dream About Food with Maple Glazed Salmon Salad

Beard and Bonnett with Almond Joy Raw Bar
Tasty Yummies with Dark Chocolate Red Wine Truffles
Jeanette's Healthy Living with Walnut Crusted Seared Salmon

A couple of years back my husband and I discovered the book Eat Right for Life: How Healthy Foods Can Keep You Living Longer, Stronger and Disease-Free by Dr. Raymond A. Schep and Nicole Kellar-Munoz. It is a fantastic book and a highly recommended read. Schep and Kellar-Munoz's list of the "100 Best Foods for Curing Disease and Maintaining a Healthy Mind and Body" is spot on. I have a copy of it taped to the fridge to inspire me to add more of those foods into our everyday meals! 

A handful of the heart-healthy all-stars on this list have found their way into the Onion & Sun-Dried Tomato Almond Crackers recipe I am sharing today. They are:

SESAME SEEDS: In Eat Right for Life, the authors offer a lengthy discussion on copper—a critical necessity for heart health. Just under two ounces of sesame seeds will supply your daily requirement of copper. They have a very high phytosterol content which works to enhance the immune response and in doing so decrease cancer and disease.

ALMONDS: A Harvard Nurses' Healthy Study showed that women who consumed more than five ounces of nuts a week lowered their risk of heart disease by 35%, compared to women who rarely ate nuts. Almonds contain significant stores of antioxidants, as well as fiber, arginine—a protein that keeps arteries elastic—and more of those phytosterols to help lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels while maintaining beneficial HDL levels. And like sesame seeds, almonds are excellent sources of copper and manganese. Almonds are best enjoyed raw, and preferably organic which have not been irradiated. Roasting destroys the nut's delicate vitamin E content. 

CHIA SEED: Omega-6 fatty acids are abundant in the modern diet (in meats, soy and plant-based oils). Omega-3s not so much. We need both, however we need to be consuming them in a 1:3 ratio. Excessive levels of omega-6 fatty acids, relative to omega-3 fatty acids have shown to increase the probability of a number of diseases. These missing omega-3s in our diet are necessary to prevent inflammation in joints and arteries and chia seed is an excellent source—a super food really—of omega-3s. And arthritis sufferers get this, the authors of Eat Right for Life suggest that a heaping tablespoon a day of chia seed provides enough alpha linolenic acid (ALA) to cure arthritis and even prevent it! And to top it off, chia seed packs an astounding amount of protein and is extremely high in fiber. Here's a popular post I wrote on chia.

Onion & Sun-Dried Tomato Almond Dehydrator Crackers

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Easily Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Dehydrating Time:  8-12 hours

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons ground white CHIA SEEDS (grind seeds to a meal in a clean coffee grinder)
1 cup WATER
2-1/2 cups ALMOND FLOUR (Bob's Red Mill or Honeyville or make your own)
1/2 cup raw white SESAME SEEDS 
1-1/2 teaspoon GRANULATED ONION
1-1/2 teaspoon OLD BAY SEASONING
1 teaspoon CHOLULA or other hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon SEA SALT
2 tablespoons minced SUN-DRIED TOMATOES
2 tablespoons DRIED ONION FLAKES
2 tablespoons raw black or white SESAME SEEDS

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl whisk chia meal and water. Add remaining ingredients, except for onion flakes and black sesame seeds. Mix well.
  2. Gather dough into a ball and place between to sheets of unbleached parchment. Roll to 1/8-1/4" thick. 
  3. Remove top layer of parchment. Sprinkle surface of dough with onion flakes, sesame seeds, and a few dashes of salt. Gently press into crackers. 
  4. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice/score dough into 1-2 inch squares. 
  5. Transfer sheet with dough to dehydrator tray.
  6. Dehydrate until crisp (8-10 hours or overnight depending on temperature), flipping once onto a new tray, and removing second layer of parchment. 
  7. Our friend Elana of Elana's Pantry offers tips on how you can dehydrate in an oven if you don't have a dehydrator. 
  8. For the crackers pictured I used 1 cup of almond pulp (reserved from making almond milk) and 1-1/2 cups almond flour. If you have almond pulp to use up, by all mean do. Crackers made with part pulp come out a tad crispier than those made with all almond flour.
More Tasty Cracker Recipes


Vegan Almond Pulp Crackers over at Elana's Pantry
Maggie's Crackers over at She Let Them Eat Cake

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Reader Comments (12)

Lexie,
These crackers look amazing. I've never tried sun dried tomatoes in my dehydrated crackers. Great idea! I tried to leave a comment on the other site, but no matter what I did, it said I didn't have the "code" right. After about 10 tries, I gave up.
Anyway, I will definitely be trying this recipes. Thanks!
Melissa

I'm always looking for some new recipes to do in my Excalibur. This looks like a great one to make before we go camping. I can see some salsa and hummus dipping in these cracker's future! :)

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle S

Thanks for this great idea. It's early in the morning for me, but I couldn't find the type or quantity of oil to use. Did I miss it somewhere?

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanneke

These sound fantastic, and I really like the idea of cooking them in the dehydrator! I'm going to try them:) Thanks

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLise

these look sooooo good - I don't have a dehydrator, but I suspect a very low oven would do the trick without actually creating a "baked" cracker - I shall try, anyway:) thanks

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterchristine

Janneke, so sorry. I omitted the oil for this dehydrated version of the cracker. So to answer your question ... no oil in this recipe. I have gone in and omitted the "oil" in the recipe directions ... my oversight. Thanks for letting me know. xoLexie :)

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLexie

I love these crackers. They look amazing. Thank you, Lexie, for sharing it.

February 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngie@Angiesrecipes

Lexie - Another fabulous recipe. These look and sound delish. I love making gf crackers. There's so many possibilities! Thanks for linking to my crackers :) xo

February 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

I'm so excited to make these! I really want a dehydrator, do you recommend a certain brand?

February 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGwen @SimplyHealthyFamily

Gwen, I love my excalibur. Though I rarely use 9 trays all at once. I think you really have to plan ahead to use that many (lots of fruit or jerky, etc). I believe they have a 5-tray model. I will say that I originally bought a round dehydrator and that was lousy. I could not spread a square of anything. The trays are rings. Unless you are a super raw food enthusiast an needing super accurate temperature, I think any square tray system would work. Check for used online ... this is the kind of gadget that people think they will use and then never do :) xoLexie

February 20, 2013 | Registered CommenterLexie

These look just wonderful, Lexie! Thank you for sharing.

February 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGena

Hey Lexie,
This is so amazing. It looks so wonderful in its shape. And so Healthy as well.
I have to try this at home. And thanks for sharing.

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Olson

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