Cheezy Kale Crackers

by Susan on November 25, 2012

If I don’t have a batch of raw crackers or flat bread around, I am at extreme risk of snack attacks. You know what I am talking about. The attacks that an apple or an orange can’t curb. The attacks that find me riffling through the cabinets for something crunchy and satisfying. The attacks that can lead me to less than desirable food.

Raw crackers are tasty and nutritious. Best of all, just a few quickly satisfy that craving and are so filling I never over-eat them. I also know that I am getting great nutrients, not just empty calories when I eat them. 

For this recipe, I wanted to use incorporate kale as I am a huge kale fan. I have also been a little obsessed with making a raw cheese cracker so out came the nutritional yeast (great for a cheesy flavor).

To top it off, I decided to do an experiment. I pulled a bit of dough out and baked it in the oven. Why? Because I am often asked how to make raw recipes (that require dehydration) in the oven and I can’t answer the question. Since this is raw blog, my recipes are developed to be eaten raw. I do not test them for baking times but I decided to experiment with this one just to see what would happen. The rules for dehydration and baking are different (see the FAQ page).  

The baked version.

Please know that baking raw recipes destroys a lot of nutrients. Since these recipes are made with healthy, whole, pure ingredients instead of traditional unhealthy ingredients, I realize people want to try them whether they have a dehydrator or not. Plus they are gluten free. 

What happened when I baked a tray? They did bake. (Please note, some things that are intended to be dehydrated won’t bake correctly.) I baked them 25 minutes at 200 degrees on the convection setting, flipping once. The result? The taste, when compared to the dehydrated raw crackers was seriously lacking the lovely fresh, intense flavor of the dehydrated crackers.

I had friends try both versions, and the consensus was always the same. The baked crackers lost some flavor (not to mention nutrients). And the kale, instead of tasting like vibrant, fresh kale, tasted, well … baked. 

It is interesting to note that I photograph food in many top restaurants. Increasingly I have been seeing dehydrators in quite a few of the kitchens. As chefs search for ways to coax the best flavors out of food, they are increasingly turning to methods like dehydrating.

It makes sense that the dehydrated crackers have more flavor.  But, if you don’t have a dehydrator, and it is not important to you that the crackers are raw, you can experiment with the recipe. Just put your oven on the lowest temp (using convection helps) and keep an eye on it until it looks crisp and done. You will probably need to flip it once for proper drying. If you didn’t have the dehydrated crackers to compare them to, they are definitely passable. 

For this recipe, I decided to include a little photo tutorial that covers the process of making these crackers. You will see one of my methods rolling and cutting the crackers.

 

“Cheezy” Kale Crackers (recipe follows pictures)  

To prepare the kale, strip the leaves from the stems.

A salad spinner is a great way to rinse and dry the leaves.

Chop the almonds until fine in food processor.

Add nutritional yeast, coconut flour and spices. Stir to combine.

Finely chop kale and add to almond mixture and stir well.

Mix in the flax/water mixture. I often do this by hand. SO much easier.

Form 1/3 of the “dough” into a rectangle on a non-stick dehydrator sheet. You can also use parchment paper.

Place another non-stick sheet over the “dough” and roll out 1/4-inch thick.

Peel off the top non-stick sheet.

Cut into strips. This is my favorite cutter. You can find it here: Pastry Cutter

Trim off the excess and set aside to roll out with the next sheet.

 Cheezy Kale Almond Crackers

  • 1 cup ground golden flax
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups almonds, soaked over night, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 cup Raw Coconut Flour
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp chipotle
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Himalayan salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix together ground flax and water. Set aside.

2. Place almonds in food processor and process until finely chopped. Remove to large bowl.

3. Finely chop kale. I do this in the food processor, also.

4. Add nutritional yeast, coconut flour, smoked paprika and chipotle to the chopped almonds. Mix well.

5. Stir in kale.

6. Add flax/water mixture. Blend well. I use my hands at this point.

7. Spread 1/4-inch thick on non-stick sheet (see above for my method). Score into cracker sized pieces and dehydrate at 145 for 30 minutes. Decrease heat to 118 and continue to dehydrate until done (approximately 8 hours*) turning once or moving to screens halfway through dehydration. You want these very dry.

*Dehydration times can vary widely due to different dehydrators and humidity. Read about why we start dehydration at 145 here: FAQ. Yes, it stays raw.

 

 

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{ 177 comments… read them below or add one }

sylvia May 8, 2014 at 3:35 am

Can you use an alternative to coconut flour? Thanks x

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Susan May 8, 2014 at 10:19 am

You can leave it out but you will have to adjust the liquid in the recipe. Cheers!

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hanah May 21, 2015 at 7:58 pm

You could try it with oat flour.

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Susan May 24, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Oat flour will be drier than the almond and might require more liquid to be added. Cheers!

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Bayley May 12, 2014 at 3:30 am

I was on the Vegan Chat Room When I came across this recipe, I am a budding vegan trying for a healthier lifestyle and a healthier planet. Do you have any tips for someone like me? could really use the advise as im not sure where to start, ive been reading books and talking about it with family but they seem unresponisive about the idea to my change and im not sure how to put it across that i am serious.
Many Thanks
Bayley

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Sue May 16, 2014 at 6:33 pm

When my son was a baby I could not give him any dairy. When I used mustard, it would mimic a sharp cheese flavor. I wonder that would work for the girl who is allergic to nutritional yeast.

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Sue May 17, 2014 at 2:51 pm

I have them made and ready to put in my dehydrator. The dough has a nasty, bitter aftertaste. I am praying the “baking” will take that away. I did everything perfect to the recipe, and the dough is just overwhelmingly bitter. I added organic sugar to it to soften the blow. Anyone have any advice?

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Jenn September 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm

I find dehydrating softens flavours in recipes anyway. How did it go?

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Nick October 22, 2014 at 2:32 pm

That describes how my crackers came out when I neglected to use the golden flax.

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Susan October 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Nick…you are correct. The golden flax has a much better taste for these. Also, your flax could be rancid. The dough shouldn’t have a nasty, bitter aftertaste.

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Arlis December 14, 2014 at 10:26 am

Kale can be very sweet to very bitter depending on the temperature it is grown in. It likes cold temperatures. If it has been below freezing at night, it gets very sweet. If it gets above 80 degrees (F), it becomes bitter. It also makes some difference in the type of kale. I highly recommend tasting the kale first.

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The Vegan Pixie June 3, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Ooh wow, these sound fantastic! I love cheesy kale chips, and I have half a bag of kale to use up.. I think I know what I’m doing with that!
(Also, I’ve found that white miso can add a “cheesy” flavour to things. As can (of all things!) pomegranite! Just a little bit, but it really does! Might be worth a shot for those adverse to nutritional yeast? :) )

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patty June 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Are the almonds in this recipe raw before you soak them? Or are they already roasted?

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Susan June 21, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Hi, Patty, we use raw almonds as this is a raw food site. Cheers!

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kate July 9, 2014 at 7:16 pm

I know that a lot of recipes in the ‘raw’ food world call for nutritional yeast. I wonder if folks really know about this stuff, and how undesirable it really is. I’m sure we would be horrified to know how it is really made. it’s not raw, for starters, and i do know that synthetic vitamins are added, and who knows what else. I noticed one comment on here referring to being allergic to it. I’m not surprised. I think we would all do well to skip the NY when at all possible.

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Geneva March 31, 2015 at 9:27 am

I’m not sure how accurate you are about your statement. I might do some more research and before you start saying things like that especially about adding synthetic ingredients. It’s just not true in this case. Just saying…

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Susan March 31, 2015 at 10:07 am

Hi, Geneva, I am not exactly sure what you are referring to when you talk about adding synthetic ingredients? There isn’t anything in the post about that. Cheers!

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Sonia July 23, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Hi. Love the recipe. Just one question.
What can I use instead of flax seeds. ?

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Susan July 28, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Hi, Sonia, You can try chia seeds but you might have to adjust the liquid. Cheers!

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Anita August 9, 2014 at 11:02 pm

So I have given these yummy looking treats a go and they are on their drying journey.
I must say they seem a little on the dry and crumbly side but I’m hoping that they will be very tasty once they come out!
Thanks :)

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Susan August 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm

If your dough is a little dry, you can always add a little water. It won’t affect the final product as it will just dehydrate off. Cheers!

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laurie August 19, 2014 at 2:06 am

kate, do you have any references on the addition of synthetic vitamins to NY?
Sue, did you cut the center vein out of your kale leaf before you chopped ? If my kale is overgrown, or theres been a dry spell…I sprinkle some sea salt and ice water on the kale before I chop finely ( I have already cut out the center vein) rinse and discard the water …I know it loses some nutrients, but it has to be edible !

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Susan August 21, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Laurie, some of the nutritional yeast is fortified with synthetic vitamins. But if you do a search, you should be able to find nutritional yeast that isn’t. Another note: I always remove the stems from the kale. Cheers!

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shirley August 21, 2014 at 8:58 pm

This is great. I love nutritional yeast, And these crackers rock!!!! BOOM!!!

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Susan August 21, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Thank you, Shirley!

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Adrian Parks September 21, 2014 at 8:32 pm

How many servings is this recipe? Looks really good!

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Kat October 1, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Hi! I love the looks of this recipe! My dehydrator can be set at either 115° or 120° but not at 118°. Can I use this recipe at 115°?

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Susan October 19, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Hi, Kat, You can dehydrate it at 115. Many people dehydrate at 105 but I think it encourages fermentation and bacteria build up because of the long dehydration times. If you want to keep it raw, just keep it under 118. Cheers!

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kate October 20, 2014 at 5:21 pm

With reference to synthetic vitamins in Nutritional Yeast….that’s what is used. They are most certainly not whole food vitamins….there is a brand, it’s in a can….non-fortified….but the taste is VERY different . It wouldn’t work in these recipes, i’m pretty sure. I think that yeast in a can is ‘Kal’….can’t remember for sure. Hope this is helpful.

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Susan April 1, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Hi, Kate, You might want to check out one of our favorite sites concerning nutritional information, NutritionFacts.Org. Dr. Greger has some great articles on nutritional yeast. It is staying on our table! Here is a link to one of them: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/nutritional-yeast-to-prevent-the-common-cold/ Cheers!

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Terri October 28, 2014 at 11:57 am

Tried this recipe last week. Had fun “mushing” everything together. Everyone I let sample, wanted to put in their order for more. Sorry guys, I’ll give you the recipe instead. Thanks for sharing.

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Stephanie November 2, 2014 at 4:14 pm

What would you pair these with, such as a dip or a “cheese”?

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Susan November 3, 2014 at 11:48 am

You can pair them with any thing you wish! The simple cashew cheeses, use them as a base for a slice of avocado and tomato. Use them any way you would use other crackers. Cheers!

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Mo November 5, 2014 at 8:48 pm

May I use this recipe for my food truck?

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Susan November 10, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Hi, Mo, Please contact me through the contact form. Cheers!

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Dena November 25, 2014 at 7:09 am

These look great!
Just wondering what I could use to replace the almonds – I have a severe tree nut allergy
Would sunflower seeds work?

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Raine November 26, 2014 at 9:43 am

Hi Susan,
I love your blog, have bought your books. I look forward to every post! What flour would you suggest as a substitution for raw coconut flour?
Thanks
Raine

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Patty January 8, 2015 at 5:25 pm

I have made these countless times. I absolutely LOVE them. If you haven’t yet, get to it. It is so worth it.

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Anna January 14, 2015 at 9:16 am

Hi, I’m new to the dehydrating world and pretty new to kale as well. Can frozen kale be used the same way when dehydrating? Thank you!

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Susan January 15, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Hi, Anna, Usually when greens are frozen, their structure breaks down quite a bit. I have not tried dehydrating frozen kale but I would question whether you would get the same results. Cheers!

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Clesha February 26, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Hi Susan!

I finally got a dehydrator and I’m trying your delicious recipes. I tried this one and had some trouble rolling out the dough. The finished product was very light (delicate) and a bit crumbly. I’m wondering if there was something I may have done that the batter didn’t hold together well. Should the almonds be processed to almost a powder? I’m also wondering about storage. I put them in a glass jar (not in the fridge) and they were getting soft by the next day. How do I keep the crackers crisp?

Thanks!
Clesha

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Susan March 1, 2015 at 11:32 am

If it is too dry, you can just add some water. Cheers!

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Natalia March 16, 2015 at 3:52 am

No temperature control on my dehydrator, but strong desire to try out this recipe… Any suggestions?

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Susan March 17, 2015 at 10:52 am

I would just watch it as there would be no way to predict the time. Dehydrators without temp controls tend to run very hot. Cheers!

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Natalia March 20, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Thanks! At what temperature does food cease to be considered raw?

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Susan March 20, 2015 at 5:09 pm

I am sure you are wondering why we start at 145 degrees. In the beginning, the food is just throwing off water. It stays very cool. Dehydrating at a higher temp speeds up the dehydration process, cuts down on spoilage or fermentation and bacteria formation. It stays raw because the food temperature never goes above 118 degrees. Then we turn it down so that it stays raw as it dehydrates. I have written about this in the fyi section. Cheers!

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Geneva March 31, 2015 at 9:29 am

I don’t have a dehydrator. Is there another way that I can prepare these without one. Like possibly using my oven on a very low temperature?

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Susan March 31, 2015 at 10:08 am

Hi, Geneva, If you notice, I did include instructions for baking these in the post. Cheers!

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Geneva March 31, 2015 at 9:31 am

Plus, I will not be in the position to buy one anytime soon! I am praying that there is another way to be able to prepare foods such as these without having to own a dehydrating machine. I own a tiny studio apartment and cannot lose anymore Space and I’m living on a fixed income.

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Gaby April 7, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Hi! how do they last?

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Susan April 9, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Hi, Gaby!

You can keep them for a week or two in an air-tight container. Make sure they are dried thoroughly. If there is still moisture, they will spoil more quickly. Cheers!

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Janene Steenkamp June 6, 2015 at 10:17 am

Thanks for this. Just popped mine into the dehydrator. Made minor modifications as I’m allergic to flax seeds (used chia, quinoa and gluten free oats, powdered). I’m also not convinced I added as much kale, and I threw in some powdered feta cheese from a batch I dehydrated this week. I’ll let you know how it goes…

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Beth June 27, 2015 at 2:43 pm

I can’t find nutritional yeast. What does it do for this recipe? Can I just omit it?

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Rosemary July 3, 2015 at 11:12 am

Could I use raw cashews in place of the almonds. I have a lot of cashews and I was looking for a recipe to use them in.

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Susan July 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm

You can try but just know that it will completely affect the flavor and texture. You might have to make some adjustments so taste as you go. Cheers!

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Joyce August 20, 2015 at 10:17 am

Umm 3/4 CUP nutritional yeast? Is that amount correct? Why so much and what is the difference between regular yeast and nutritional?

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Susan August 20, 2015 at 11:22 am

Hi, Joyce, Yes, 3/4 cup is correct. Nutritional yeast and regular yeast are two COMPLETELY different products. They are not interchangeable and they do not serve the same purpose. Nutritional yeast is used for flavor and also nutrients. It is a deactivated yeast. It is the ingredient that many vegan and raw recipes use to get a cheese flavor. You can read more about it here: http://www.rawmazing.com/raw-food-and-nutritional-yeast/ Regular or active yeast is an ingredient that is use to make bread rise. The two are totally different products.

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