14 DecemberOne of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. - Andy Rooney
Chickpea Crackers Recipe
(gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, grain-free, egg-free, nut-free)
One of the few food items I bought ready-made for Mila were rice crackers (organic ones). I knew full well that they weren’t a nutrient-dense food, but I used them as a ‘vehicle’ for other nutrient-dense foods like Chicken Live Pâté, Snoek Pâté, Almond Butter with Chia & Hemps Seeds.
But they began to aggravate her gut (in that they caused her constipation) – so they got taken off the menu. But that meant she wasn’t eating the nutrient dense spreads and fillings either. So I started making these chickpea crackers – and they are so delicious! They tend to appear on my plate quite often too, since the banting seed crackers which I would like to eat are too hard on my gut.
Now that summer and holidays and Christmas are upon us – these crackers are so useful! Easy to take to picnics and to the beach, they are also a great addition to a Christmas lunch platter – think pâtés, dips, spreads, fruit, nuts, seeds and… chickpea crackers! (Oh, and don’t forget the Paleo Breadsticks to dip in the hummus!)
Key: gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, egg-free, vegan, great for adults too
Makes: 30 bite-size crackers
(This recipe fills one baking tray. If you are hosting a Christmas lunch, I suggest doubling or even tripling the recipe. The cooking time may vary if your oven has a few baking trays in it, and you may need to turn the trays during cooking to ensure even cooking.)
(t. = teaspoon; T. = tablespoon, C. = cup)
- 2 C. chickpea flour
- 2 T. hemp seeds
- ¼ – 1 t. Himalayan salt*
- 1 t. aluminium-free baking powder
- ½ C. filtered water
- 2 T. coconut oil, melted – plus extra for greasing
*1 teaspoon of salt makes salty crackers (like SaltiCrax)– which may be great for the adults, but too salty for the little ones. Adjust the salt according to your needs.
- Heat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Cut two pieces of baking paper to fit your baking tray.
- Grease both pieces with melted coconut oil. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the chickpea flour, hemp seeds, salt and baking powder.
- Stir / whisk to combine.
- Add the coconut oil and water and stir to combine all the flour. Continue stirring until you have a smooth, very sticky, thick batter.
- Scoop the batter onto one piece of prepared baking paper. Place the other piece of baking paper on top (greased side down). Using a rolling pin, roll out the batter to approximately 3mm thick – ensuring it has an even thickness.
- Remove the top sheet of baking paper.
- Place the bottom baking paper sheet with the batter onto a baking tray.
- Using a sharp knife dipped in water, ‘cut’ the batter into crackers (this batter is very sticky and you won’t be able to cleanly cut through it. These ‘cuts’/grooves will enable you to break the crackers apart once they are baked.)
- Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes (until golden and crispy).
- Allow to cool on the baking tray, then break apart.
- Store in a sealed container in a cool dark place (or in the freezer for longer storage).
Looking for something to put on the crackers?
You can find recipes for the following dips and spreads in my book Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics.
What makes these crackers nutrient-dense?
As I write in the 156-Ingredient Glossary of my book Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics:
“Chickpeas are an excellent source of manganese and protein; a very good source of folate and copper; and a good source of dietary fibre, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.
Chickpeas provide a concentrated source of protein, which makes them a useful addition to your little one’s diet if he/she is not a big meat eater. They also contain a wealth of phytonutrients, which function as antioxidants, and many also function as anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Chickpea Flour (also known as Gram Flour, Garbanzo Bean Flour, Besan)
Chickpea flour is made from ground raw or roasted chickpeas. It is a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistani, Nepali and Bangladeshi cuisines. Chickpea flour is naturally gluten-free and as such is often used in a gluten-free flour mix. Beyond it’s health benefits (see above), chickpea flour is remarkably versatile and has a subtle flavour, which makes it ideal for cooking savoury dishes as well as for baking sweet treats.
Selection: Chickpea flour can be found in most health stores or Indian food stores. As with all ground flours, it is best to buy flours that are as fresh as possible (from a shop with a high turnover). Ensure that they have been stored away from direct sunlight.
Alternatively, you can make your own. The benefit of doing this is that you can soak/ferment the beans overnight that will help release the phytic acid – making the flour easier to digest and more nutritious. Although time consuming, this flour will be more cost effective than the store bought one.
Storage: Store in a sealed container in a dark, cool place/fridge for up to 4 months
Chickpea flour has double the amount of protein than whole-wheat flour and six times more than all-purpose flour. It’s an excellent source of folate, and also provides vitamin B6, iron, magnesium and potassium.”
Why go to the trouble of making your own crackers?
Besides needing a nutrient-dense gluten-free cracker, you might want to avoid store-bought crackers because of their various other ingredients. Take a look at an example of the ingredient list of one brand of store-bought crackers:
That’s a long list of food additives!
The food “additives” used in my crackers, and in all of my recipes, are flavour enhancers – but more than that, they are nutrient enhancers!
As I write in the “Nutrient Enhancers: my kind of food additives” chapter of my book:
“It was important for me to make every mouthful of food that Mila swallowed as nutritious as possible because: good nutrition is so important at this stage of life; only a small amount of food is going to go in (at the beginning for some, or forever like with Mila); and, because a lot of food is going to be turned away or spat out when the toddler emerges…
So I developed a list of ‘nutrient enhancers’ – nutrient dense foods which can be added to almost any purée or meal without significantly changing the taste, texture or appearance… because trust me… there is no greater food detective than an 18 month old!”
Hemp seeds appear on the “My Kind of Food Additives” list for good reason:
“Hemp seeds, oil and milk have a nutty, slightly sweet flavour. Hemp is an excellent source of protein, calcium and omega fats for anyone who is allergic to nuts, lactose and soy.
In any of its forms (oil, seeds or powder) hemp is a nutritional superfood. Each seed contains approximately 44% oil (mostly polyunsaturated fat), 33% protein, 12% fibre and carbohydrates as well as vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and copper as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, carotene, thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B6 and vitamin E.
Hemp oil and seeds are an excellent source of essential fatty acids – more than any fish and most fish oil supplements and with the omega 3 and 6 in perfect ratio. Essential fatty acids are essential for a strong and healthy immune system.
Hemp has a high protein content (more than beef, chicken, dairy and eggs) and it contains all of the 21 amino acids – including the 9 essential ones. The protein is easily digested and assimilated into the body. It is a great source of protein for those avoiding dairy, vegans and vegetarians and a simple way to get more essential protein into your little one. Only a handful of the seeds provides the minimum daily requirement of protein for adults!
In additional to the nutrient content mentioned above, hemp seeds are an excellent source of fibre (both soluble and insoluble).
Hemp has anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-depressant, anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory benefits. It also improves the functioning of the immune system; supports brain health; lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol; regulates blood sugar; and soothes eczema and psoriasis.” – Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics.
Do yourself a favour – buy some hemp seeds today!
Be sure to come back to our advent calendar tomorrow to open another surprise 🙂
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