Pretty in Pink Crackers (Raw and Vegan)
September 13, 2011

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Every day, I get emails, tweets, and comments asking me how to “go raw.” Since I don’t tend to think of raw food in all or nothing terms, I find the language of “going raw” a little problematic. But even if you are committed to going all raw, I’d tell you the same thing I tell everyone: add first, subtract later. And I’d add this piece of crucial advice: don’t start by thinking about your favorite cooked entrée (say, lasagna) and trying to make a raw version in the dehydrator. Make every simple dish raw (soups, salads, veggie sides, dressings, dips) and cook the rest. If you get your bearings quickly and want to invest in a dehydrator, go for it, but I don’t think it’s the place to begin.

For this reason, I think I sometimes run the risk of sounding anti-dehydration, which isn’t entirely true, either. If anything, this was the summer of Gena and her dehydrator: every week, I whipped up a batch of kale chips, crackers, raw flatbread, and apple chips at the least. For a lady who owned a dehydrator for a full five months before she even opened the box, this is a pretty impressive track record! I still don’t tend to make any entrees in the dehydrator (if I want lasagna, I’ll make a simple raw version, or I’ll cook one with some regular old noodles), but I do use it at least 3-4 times weekly for packable snacks.

More often than not, my dehydrated goody of choice will be some variation of my juice pulp crackers. I make these again and again and again, using a variety of seasonings, flax/nut/pulp ratios, and textures. I love raw crackers (they get packed as a snack or part of my lunch every single weekday), and now that I have a couple of midday breaks in my school schedule, I can hurry home and use my juicer. More juicing (hooray!) means more organic juice pulp to take advantage of: I really hate throwing away piles of high quality veggies, even if what’s left is mostly fiber.

Yesterday, I had some beets on hand, so I made my first beet/veggie juice in ages (I usually use carrots or apple for sweetness, but I should really start using beets more often). The scarlet colored pulp that was leftover from

  • 4 beets
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • a bunch of kale
  • half an apple

…looked perfect for some vividly colored veggie crackers. Here’s how I used it up:

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Pretty in Pink Crackers (raw, vegan, gluten and soy free)

Makes about 30 crackers

2 full cups of beet and other veggie juice pulp
1/3 cup flax or chia seed, ground
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt (add more if you’d like to)
2 tsp dried parsley OR an herb mix you like: parsley, thyme, rosemary, etc.
1 scant cup water

1) Add chia and/or flax to the pumpkin seeds and grind in your food processor (fitted with the “S” blade) till powdery.

2) Add pulp, sea salt, parsley. Run the processor and drizzle in your water, stopping to scrape sides now and then, till you have a pasty but spreadable mixture. Use your judgment: if your pulp was very “wet,” you may not need a whole cup of liquid.

3) Spread onto Teflex lined dehydrator sheets and score into cracker shapes. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 8 hours (or overnight), flip, and continue dehydrating till crispy. Enjoy!

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If pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas) aren’t your thing, feel free to use almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, or hemp seeds. They all work fabulously in raw crackers. And also feel free to vary your pulp: the point of this exercise is to use up all that glorious produce, so even if you don’t have the beets that give my crackers their hue, you can proceed with this recipe template.

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Later this week, you can expect another application for veggie pulp with beet in it. For now, I’ll remind you that, if you don’t have a juicer, you can always grate and then process veggies to provide the base for these kinds of raw crackers. And you can also always bake them at 350 or so for about 35 minutes. We’re all about flexibility here at Choosing Raw Smile

Speaking of flexible things, I have an organic chem model set that’s begging me to build some cycloalkanes. On that note, I bid you all a good night!

xo

Categories: Gluten Free, Raw, Snacks

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    40 Comments
  1. Thank you so very much for this simple recipe and options. Have been loaned a juicer and really can’t see throwing away all that awesome fiber. I prefer eating raw. Have a dehydrator at home. Will have to borrow the neighbors or do the oven thing.

  2. Hannah, I think I have the same Aldi dehydrator. It’s circular so it’s a real pain to cut out baking sheets to fit each time. Although it’s a bit fiddly it does the job. Ive been making juice pulp crackers reasonably successfully and yesterday I tried kale chips with Gena’s tomato tahini recipe. Pretty delicious!

    I’m experimenting with it to see how much I really use it before I fork out megabucks for an Excalibur or something like that. But I am really looking forward to a rectangular dehydrator with more than 3 trays!

  3. I win! I bought a dehydrator eight months ago and it’s still in the box! This is due to it being a $40 dehydrator from Aldi and my subsequent belief that it won’t work, so why bother trying. Money well spent indeed.

  4. Gena…. I truly enjoy your entries and am so facinated to read your healthy food choices. I am worried though. Ever since I have adapted a more raw food/veg lifestyle people keep harassing me that raw food and vegan eaters are too skinny and malnourished. I even read it online and someone went as far as saying plant proteins are killed off by stomach acids and do not get absorbed. I am so so confused….i thought i was doing a good thing for myself but I am now looked upon as the strange one who eats weird. I wish people would mind their business ….what do I say ….I shouldn’t have to explain to others that this way of eating is obvioulsy more healthy than their fried steak and chips.

    • Teresa,

      It sounds as though you’re far too susceptible to what people around you think and believe! You’ll never be happy with this lifestyle if you don’t have confidence in it yourself, and doubting whether you’re going to become sickly does not indicate confidence 🙂

      It’s not true that all plant protein is destroyed by the stomach. And while some raw foodists really do take it too far and get too thin, that’s their challenge, and not the fault of raw foods themselves. If you eat a balanced diet of raw and cooked plant foods, with an emphasis on raw and whole food choices, you can indeed thrive and be healthy.

      G

  5. I seriously miss my dehydrator over here in Italy! Sure I can use my temperamental oven, but it’s just not the same. Especially the banana chips (I do not recommend trying those in a gas oven). I will be back stateside soon and can’t wait to break out my old friend.

    Here’s to raw pancakes and flax crackers-

    K

  6. THANK YOU . What a revelation. Add First. Subract Later. What a great strategy. Sometimes find myself beating me up for not making it to the end of the day completely RAW. I’ll try to be gentler on myself. Going to try your crackers, they look fabulous. xxL

  7. I think you are so right about the ‘all or nothing’ approach. I’ve recently really been getting into raw foods (thanks to the many raw recipes I’ve found here on your blog) and invested in a dehydrator which I love – juice pulp crackers are now a staple food for me and I love how they reduce waste! But I know that 100% or even 80% raw is not going to be right for me, however, I know how much I am benefiting from starting my day with a mostly raw green smoothie and eating a mostly raw green salad for lunch!

  8. They look so beautiful! How do you get them to be so thin and even? I’ve always wondered that when I get raw crackers in restaurants!
    And I love your advice about adding first and subtracting later, as well as not making raw complicated dishes. It took me a few years to figure that out, but I really think that is the key to making it work. That, and not thinking about being raw in terms of all or nothing.

  9. I love your cracker recipes! They always go do well for dippage — I love the nuttiness. You can get a “rye cracker” effect if you add some celery pulp and caraway seeds. Reminds me of the addictive packaged kind but healthier.

  10. Great and pretty recipe Gena! Beetroot makes everything so pretty :).
    I made a dehydrator free raw burger recipe the other day that I posted about that uses juice pulp. It also has a super easy Carrot “Cheese” Basil sauce. I LOVED it! You must try and tell me what you think. OK so you don’t have to, but I recommend it 🙂

  11. I love making crackers with my juice scraps. My bf calls them “compost crackers” haha. I also love that you advise your readers to add more healthy raw. Such great advice.

  12. I love the feeling of beet juice! I always get a touch of a high from it. I think it is all the minerals. I also love your addition on pumpkin seeds, it gives crackers such a great flavor! Much more interesting than just flax or chia seeds. I also love to add dill, basil and oregano to my pulp crackers.

  13. Perfect timing! I have been juicing for a month now and so love it! I always use beets! I just started saving the pulp with the intention of making crakers – I do not yet own a dehydrator. Thank you for the wise advice to make small moves. The adding before subracting is the best diet advice I’ve ever been given (by my won best nutritionist),
    I was just about to research a recipe for veg pulp crackers and low and behold here it is!

  14. the summer of the dehydrator! good for you! to be honest i have never even heard of a dehydrated raw lasagna. a lot of people try to get into the recipes from raw food real world, which are super complicated, and really would do better with a book with simpler recipes like raw food made easy or alive in 5 or something off your site. for me, it tried to make one new more-to-the-complex side raw dish each week, like crackers, raw tacos, or something like that. i think i still am more that way, although i’ve gotten even simpler over time. i need to get on the juice pulp crackers too although the juicer and the dehydrator are both still packed. let’s hope not for 5 more months…

  15. great tips on going raw 🙂 it took us some time to figure how much raw foods our body liked, but we love both worlds of cooked and raw food!

    and you know we love our beets…and crackers! YUM!

    xoxo
    Michelle

  16. Gena the crackers sound great. I LOVE beets! And the pulp in cracker form is awesome. I love the name you gave them: Pretty in Pink. Cute 🙂

    Organic chem model set = SHUDDER at the memories. I just got sweaty and clammy thinking about it. Hope your experience is WAY better than mine!

    And “going raw” …love your advice. Doing things like trying to recreate a holiday dinner party with dessert and replicate every single cooked item into a raw item is a big challenge..and people usually feel like it’s all or nothing. All meals raw, or it’s “futile”. I am of the same mindset; do what you can, just eat more raw food that’s naturally raw is what I tell people, i.e. eat an apple rather than chips. Eat raw carrot sticks rather than french fries. Simple swap outs!

  17. Yay for cycloalkanes and organic chemistry!! I’m doing some Chem work myself tonight. Pre-med degrees rock. Oh, and so do your pink crackers. I totally need to get myself a dehydrator, and until then, I’ll just eat my juice pulp with avocado and a spoon :p.

  18. I really want to get into juicing!! And I’d like a dehydrator, mostly for the snacks you mentioned (kale chips never seem to work for me in the oven!). One thing at a time. These crackers are definitely on my list once I get there. I would like to start incorporating more raw foods into my diet if for nothing else besides variety, though I do have quite the varied diet I like to think.

    Good for you for breaking out the modeling set! In orgo we were allowed to use ours on tests and I ALWAYS forgot. Imagine me rolling up pieces of scrap paper into sticks wishing I had more hands to hold the “molecules” together. In a silent exam.

  19. What a great way to use all that veggie pulp. I usually give it to our chickens, but sometimes there’s even more of it than they want to eat! Are there any veg-pulp ingredients you would recommend not using in the crackers?

    • Hi Katie!

      I saw your question and thought I might anwser even though I’m far from an expert in raw crackers. The only thing I don’t like in mine is lemon pulp. When I juice with a lemon, I always take out the pulp from the other fruits and vegetables before. It gives the crackers a bitter taste.

  20. I made my first foray into juice pulp crackers last week and unfortunately they were terrible! They smelled and looked like dried hay and I couldn’t even eat them. I think I may not have processed the mix long enough or the mix needed more water. Either way, I am going to try, try again and hope for better results! This template seems like a perfect starting point (or starting over point, I should say). Thank you

  21. I love your add first, subtract later philosophy. I’ve certainly adopted it for my cooking classes and recipe creation! And thanks for sharing the cracker recipes with the oven option. Before I moved I sold my dehydrator (the horror!) and now want it back desperately… like Jen said, mostly for the kale chips! aloha, a

  22. Have you ever made crackers with grated and processed vegetables instead of juice pulp? I’m just wondering, because I would think that the water content in the grated/processed veggies would interfere with the recipe. (Not that I don’t trust the tip!) I don’t own a dehydrator, and have never even used one, so maybe it doesn’t make a difference at all.

    Speaking of dehydrators, I’ve been thinking about investing in one once I get an apartment with a bigger kitchen (major lack of space), mainly to make kale chips! I don’t know if homemade raw kale chips taste anything like the overly priced raw ones I buy packaged, but if they do, the texture definitely beats any oven-baked kale chips I’ve made in the past!

    Oh, and good luck on those cycloalkanes. Sounds like fun stuff. Haha!

    • Hi Jen. Sorry to chime in but I highly doubt it would make a difference at all, it would just add to the dehydration time as that is what the dehydrator does, removes the moisture/water content (or reduces it) 🙂

      • Right — you might end up with a soggier dough, but you won’t ultimately get a different cracker. It is worth always being smart and using kitchen intuition, however — if a full cup of liquid is making the crackers really runny, stop adding, for sure.