These gluten-free crackers and so simple to make, no dehydrator required. They are also a low-carbohydrate snack making them popular with those following a keto, paleo or whole 30 approach to eating.
When the days are long, there is more time spent with friends and family. Whether it be potlatches, camping or dinner parties, most gatherings are centred around good food. In the past, get-togethers meant a time to indulge. Now, maybe due to age or experience, the food choices tend to be healthier. My go-to dish these past few months has been this seasonal Wild Fennel Pesto with Dates and Hazelnuts and I wanted to share these gluten-free seed crackers that I love serving it with. These gluten-free seed crackers are surprisingly simple to make and are a great replacement for the heavily processed grocery store crackers. These low carb crackers allow room for other indulgences later on (did someone say dessert?). Give them a try and your guests and friends will thank you for it.
“Flaxseeds are one of the best sources of lignans, a fibre that has been demonstrated to be cancer-protective. Other sources include pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, and sesame seeds, as well as legumes, whole-grains and berries.”
Low Carb Crackers
Working primarily in diabetes, I am always looking for lower carb options to offer clients. This recipe makes 10 servings, containing 7.7g of carbohydrates and 6g of fibre per serve. When interpreting nutrition labels remember to always subtract the fibre to find the ‘net’ or ‘available’ carbs. Fibre doesn’t break down into glucose so shouldn’t contribute to total carbs – this recipe contains 1.7g of net carbs per serving.
Health Benefits of Seeds
Seeds are the life-giving part of a plant, responsible for the survival of the species. Brenda Davis, a plant-based Dietitian and Author has reported that “there is less research that has been conducted on seeds than most other plant foods and that their value in human nutrition is sorely underestimated.” I’ve compared the different health and sustainability aspects of flaxseeds, chia seeds and hemp hearts in Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds and Hemp Seeds Which One Is Healthier and More Sustainable?
Health Benefits of Flaxseeds
Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Flaxseeds
Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) can be found in various plant-based sources including flaxseeds, and I’ve shared more information on the best sources in my post Getting Enough Omega-3 For The Vegetarians. Not only are flaxseeds a high source of ALA but they also have a remarkable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 1:4, which can go a long way towards helping correct an imbalance of essential fatty acids.To access the omega-3s, it is best to grind the flaxseeds and always store ground flax in the refrigerator.
Flaxseeds and Lignans
Flaxseeds are also one of the highest dietary sources of lignans, an important fibre with preliminary evidence that suggests they may help to reduce the growth of human cancer cells (1,2,3).
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds Calcium and Iron
Chia seeds are a regular addition to my day because of their high calcium content. Just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds contain 142 milligrams of calcium, and most of us need a total of 1000 milligrams per day. They are also a good source of iron with 2.2 milligrams per 2 tablespoons (3). Try them in this Blueberry Kefir Post Workout Snack.
Chia Seeds and Soluble Fibre
Chia seeds are one of our best sources of soluble fibre, the type of fibre that can help our body rid of excess sugar and fats. A diet high in soluble fibre is one of the primary recommendations for both diabetes management, and high cholesterol.
Benefits of Hemp Hearts
Hemp and Sustainability
Hemp is known for being one of the ‘greenest’ crops on the planet due its fast-growing nature, its versatility in use, and the need for little to no pesticides or fertilizers. They are one of the most easily digested plant-based sources of protein (4) which can take the pressure off our populations high animal protein consumption thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Hemp and Gamma-Linolenic Acid
Hemp hearts are one of the few foods that provide the beneficial gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) a particularly helpful omega-6 fatty acid. Other sources are limited to evening primrose oil (EPO), blackcurrant seed oil, and borage seed oil. GLA taken for 6-12 months may reduce symptoms and prevent nerve damage in people with nerve pain due to type 1 or type 2 diabetes (5,6). Gamma linolenic acid seems to work better in people with good blood sugar control (6).
What Some Other Hemp Recipes
My love for hemp has been shown in numerous recipes including one of my favourite spreads that pairs great with these gluten-free seed crackers, Hemp and Sunflower Seed Pate. For something sweet try these Raw Vegan Chocolate Date Bars with Hemp or these High Protein Peanut Butter Energy Balls with Hemp.
Notes For Making These Gluten-Free Seeds Crackers
I’ve used many different seeds in this recipe. The flax and the chia are necessary for their water binding abilities, but feel free to play around alternatives to the hemp hearts and sunflower seeds. The original recipe uses pepitas (sunflower seeds). I have also made these crackers with slivered almonds which tastes great.
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend often made with ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, or some combination of these, mixed with toasted sesame seeds, and salt. I have made these crackers with fresh rosemary, or dried oregano. They can also be made without the herbs and spices, simply using salt for flavour.
Cooking Time For Seed Crackers
I love this recipe because no bulky food dehydrator is required. Simply mix all the ingredients, and then bake at a low heat. You can’t skimp out on the baking time, so be prepared to let these crackers bake for at least 3 hours plus some additional resting time, but they are worth it I promise. Cooking at a low heat also helps to preserve some of the heat-sensitive nutrients in the chia and flaxseeds.
Storage of Seed Crackers
They store well for up to a week in an air-tight container, be careful not to leave them out as they will go stale quickly.
I’ve adapted this recipe from May I Have That Recipe. I found that no more than 1/2 teaspoon of salt is necessary, and I prefer to make it using smaller seeds so have substituted the pepitas for hemp hearts. I also like to sprinkle mine with some additional hemp hearts prior to baking, but this is optional. Enjoy!
Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you! Share it on Pinterest and leave a comment below. Take a photo of your recreation on Instagram and tag me @theconsciousdietitian so I can see it!
Gluten-Free Low Carb Seed Cracker
These simple gluten-free seed crackers are so healthy and do not require a dehydrator. Simply mix all the ingredients and let bake at a low heat for 3 hours. They are packed full of nutrition from the flaxseed, hemp hearts and chia seeds and free of refined grains and added fats. They are super high in fibre, making them a very low net carb cracker.
- 1 cup flaxseeds whole
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 3 tbsp hemp hearts (+ extra for sprinkling)
- 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 3 tbsp herbs or spices (I used za'atar)*
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup water
Preheat the oven to 200F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Combine all the ingredients, except the extra hemp hearts for sprinkling, in a mixing bowl. Mix well and ensure everything has been coated with the water. Let sit for 20 minutes.
Spread mixture as thinly as possibly onto parchment paper lined baking tray using the back of a spoon. Make sure there are no holes, and the mixture is evenly spread. Sprinkle on additional hemp hearts if using, and press them in gently with your fingertips or the back of the spoon. If you want your crackers to be uniform, now is the time to score them with a knife (I prefer my crackers to be broken freestyle).
Bake for 1 1/2 hours, then flip the cracker mixture over using a spatula. It should stay together, but still be a bit flexible at this point. I sometimes find placing a new sheet of parchment paper on the tray and flipping the mixture onto that works best. Bake for another 1 1/2 hours.
Once it has baked for a total of 3 hours, turn the oven off but let the crackers stay in the warmed oven to cook further.
Remove from oven and let the crackers completely cool. Break into your desired cracker size. Store in a sealed container on the countertop for 5 to 7 days.
*Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend commonly made with ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, or some combination of these, mixed with toasted sesame seeds, and salt, though other spices such as sumac might also be added,
Don't have Za'atar? Try using cumin instead, or coriander powder or even dried rosemary. I also love it with just oregano.
What some variation? Try pepitas instead of the hemp hearts or sunflower seeds for a boost of zinc.