Almost Virtuous Cheese Crackers

By • June 18, 2013 • 0 Comments

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Author Notes: Back in the day, road trip food meant a bag of Doritos or Cheezits and a big bottle of Coke; that's all I needed and I was ready to hit the pavement. For better or worse, I'm much more particular about my snacks now and I look for something a little more nutritious and sustaining for my long distance trips. But at the same time, I'm not willing to give up big, fun flavors. Enter these tasty treats -- gluten-free, packed with veggies and whole grains, these crackers have enough protein to keep you going, but won't make you feel like a sack of sodium once you get to where you're going. But they're not totally angelic either -- they have plenty of showy flavors and rich cheesiness to keep your tastebuds interested.

During the summer, my husband and I frequently take long-distance bike rides and these crackers provide a great source of fuel, making them perfect road food for bike rides as well as car rides.

Note: for the sun-dried tomatoes, you can either rehydrate dried tomatoes in hot water for about 20 minutes or you can use marinated sun-dried tomatoes, but if you do, make sure you drain off as much of the oil as you can first.
vrunka

Makes 48-60 crackers

  • 1/3 cup flax seeds
  • 2 carrots (about 6 ounces), peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • several sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted almonds
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 4 ounces grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1.5 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried red chili flakes (or to taste)
  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper (the paper does not have to be oiled).
  2. In a small bowl, soak the flax seeds in 1/3 cup cold water for 20 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, add the carrots, herbs, almonds, cheese, and garlic and pulse several times until you have a fine meal. Add the quinoa, rice, soaked flax seeds, olive oil, and sea salt and process until very smooth. You will probably need to scrape down the sides several times during this process to make sure everything gets well processed to an almost uniform consistency. Once it's well processed, stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and chili flakes.
  4. Put about 1.5 cups of the mixture on top of the parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of that and roll the dough out to a thin layer, about 1/8-1/4-inch thick. Score the dough into squares (or you can leave it be and break them into more rustic shapes later if you prefer). Brush the tops with a bit more olive oil and and grate more parmesan cheese on top.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Watch them carefully and pull them out just as they start to brown. If they get too brown they'll start to turn bitter. If some of the outer crackers are browning, but the inner ones are still pale, I will often just turn off the oven and leave the crackers inside for another 30 minutes to an hour and that's usually enough to finish them off.
  6. Allow to cool completely and then break them into crackers. If any of them are still soft, just pop them in the toaster oven for a few minutes longer to crisp them up.
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