Cheesy Flax & Chia Seed Cracker Bread (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

So if you’ve been hanging around IBIH lately then you know that I’ve been doing low carb recipes since the first of the year (also that I start a lot of sentences with the word “So” and a lot of my recipes have the word cheesy in them – note to self, stop overusing the word “cheesy.”)  So Anyway, in doing some research on low carb diets and ingredients I came across something interesting.  Flax seeds are essentially a free food on a low carb diet.  The important number to remember on the average low carb diet is the “Net carbs” which is the total carbs in the dish or ingredient, subtracted by the fiber (or sugar alcohol blah blah, doesn’t apply here)  So flax seeds are made up of only fiber carbs and are therefore “free.”  This is of particular interest to me because I needed something to substitute in for flour to make bread or crackers and flax meal (ground flax seeds) seemed perfect.  Chia seeds also are high in fiber and though not free they are negligible, so I used a small amount of those as well.  They look cute don’t they?  But here’s the thing.  They suck.  A LOT.  At least on their own.  I was going for a cheddar biscuit kind of flavor with the addition of the cheese and a little garlic powder, thinking “this is going to revolutionize my low carb kitchen!”   Um…..no.  Why the heck am I posting the recipe then, you ask?  Because they grew on me.  Because I was on to something and though I haven’t perfected them they have excellent potential.  Because while eaten alone they were acky, (I’m not going to lie to you, they really are) when piled high with cheesy spinach & artichoke dip, used as sandwich bread with ham, cheese and mayo between them, or cut up into squares, fried in butter and used as croutons for soup and salad (yes I have done all of these things) they become actually quite tasty!  And they are the perfect stand in for bread or crackers.  So if you have been doing low carb awhile and you crave something crunchy or chewy (they start out crisp and a day or two in get a bread-like chewy consistency that I actually liked) as a stand-in for sandwich bread or even pizza dough, then you just maybe be broken and desperate enough to make and eat these.  I know I was, and I will be making them again.  I’m going to write the recipe as I made it so you can make your own alterations or try them as is, but here’s what I would do differently next batch 1) omit the chia seeds – I think they are responsible for the flavor I don’t like and without them these are zero carb crackers.  2) use better quality cheese – I used pre-shredded mild cheddar and it had no flavor, I’d go with a good quality extra sharp or parmesan next time.  So let me know what you think and if you have any ideas for making them better!  I know there are some of you low carbers out there that have been doing this forever and have lots of tips and tricks up your sleeve – don’t be stingy, share with the rest of us!  Where is your solidarity people?????   Help your fellow low carber’s out!  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help us create an edible low/zero carb cracker – make them, experiment with them, and share your findings with the rest of us!
Makes 28 – 30 crackers
Ingredients:
1 1/2 c ground flax seeds (I used my Magic Bullet)
2 Tbl chia seeds (highly recommend omitting)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c shredded cheddar (use extra sharp)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir by hand until a thick dough forms.  Spray a sheet of foil or plastic wrap with nonstick spray.  Form the dough into a log shape with your hands and place on the wrap.  Roll it until it is about a foot or so long and an inch and a half in diameter.  You can keep round or press into a squared shape.  Pop into the freezer for about 5 minutes until it firms up.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the dough from the freezer and slice into about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices.  Lay flat on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool.  Taste.  Don’t throw them out yet.  Put something yummy on top first and see if you can stand it.  Report back asap.  This message will self destruct in five….four…..three…..two……one.  Just kidding.  Still here.  Now get cracking…

Comments

  1. says

    Very intersting! I would like to try this recipe and play around with it. I’m a carb lover and a grazer (two things that don’t do so great together) so I love the idea of something crunchy but healthy. Thanks for sharing!

    • CJ says

      I’ve tried these a few different ways and well, the dogs wouldn’t eat the first batch. They were kind of “gummy” in the middle and not at all pleasant to eat. Next I sliced the dough and smushed each cracker out really thin on the baking sheet, sprinkled cayenne pepper on top and baked for 15 minutes. These were a little better, but they were still kind of grainy and weirdly chewy. My last attempt involved smushing and baking for 15 minutes, and then I left them in the oven and turned it (the oven) off to let the crackers dry out. These were crispy like a cracker but still “flax-ey” tasting so I topped them with French onion dip and they were not too bad. Boyfriend won’t eat them yet, but I think with a little more work they could be really great!

  2. Anonymous says

    This looks great and I’m going to try it as soon as I can get out of the office and into the kitchen. Just wondering why you’re going to drop the chia seeds next time? Coincidently, I just bought some chia seeds about a month ago for my smoothies; so I will follow your recipe exactly to start. I’m a fan of hemp seeds too – I’ll experiment with those later. The chia seeds are quite thickening (in my smoothies anyway!) I’m wondering if that’s how you ended up with that choice?? I’m guessing they help hold it all together in the absence of the dreaded gluten.
    p.s. you have a new follower! Just have to figure out how to not be anonymous….

    • says

      Yay! Thanks for the follow! Unfortunately, so far on blogger unless you have a google ID (which you can create with any email) or a blog url to link back to, it’s almost impossible to leave a comment with a name. Not sure what to do about that but I’m looking into it. Even my inlaws were having to comment anonymously until I created them an ID – definitely an issue so sorry about that and I’ll work on it! The chia seeds (which I usually love) seemed to add a sliminess and aftertaste that I didn’t like. My next batch will leave them out just to be sure I’m not blaming them unfairly. The flax seeds and eggs already act as a binder but I had thought the chia seeds wouldn’t hurt and the extra fiber is always good–we’ll see how it goes without them. Definitely interested to hear what you thought when you try the recipe with them vs. without them. Oh and I love hemp seeds too but don’t have any so let me know if you try those too! Thanks!

  3. says

    So, I have to tell you, I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I stumbled upon it from Pinterest. While you make these crackers sound awful (alone), I’m still going to try them. My husband and I have been on low carb dieting since June of 2011. I was able to come off of my insulin and lose weight and my husband has lost almost 80lbs so far. His goal is 100 and so is mine, but I’m trailing behind. One thing we like is Tastefully Simple dip mixes. We started using those so much for condiments, dressing, etc that I decided to start selling it to get the discount. LOL! I’m thinking these crackers and some spinach and herb dip mix may just go great together. I am a crunch person, no matter what I eat, I need crunch to go with it. If you are ever interested in ordering some Tastefully Simple, you can check it out on my website. http://www.tastefullysimple.com/web/kpowell7

    • says

      Thanks Crafty Gal and welcome! Let me know what you think of the crackers and how you change them up! Low carb is definitely challenging – especially if you stick with it for a long time like you guys are! Kudos on all the weight loss, that’s awesome! Haven’t heard of tastefully simple before, I’ll have to check it out, thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Anonymous says

    Ok Anon here again. Well, I chickened out on the chia seeds based on your comments Mellissa. I used 2 Tbsp of hemp seeds instead and went a little bit heavier on the cheddar cheese. I like them!! Admittedly, they’re a little… I don’t want to say bland, but they’re definitely a blank canvas to pile (or thinly spread) all kinds of tasty things onto. I actually used roasted golden ground flax because I didn’t have whole seeds, which gave them a bit of a nuttier flaxy flavour. So they DID have a subtle flavour. I think they could easily be spiced up a bit for special meals or appetizers- I’m thinking curried, or Greeked or gingerbreaded even! I spread a little laughing cow cheese on them…yum. (Is there nothing that stuff can’t do?!) Add a blob of homemade raspberry jam or fresh squished fruit for a little mini cheesecake! Some liver pate or a thin slab of cheddar and a slice of fresh ginger, oohhhh the possibilities are endless…. GREAT basic recipe that holds together beautifully. Thanks!

    • says

      Thanks “Anon!” :) I’m so glad you made them and reported back! I think because the base flavors ARE kind of bland (it’s a good word honestly) the chia seeds stood out too much and were overpowering. It’s also why they are so versatile though and work with so many things as you mentioned! Lots of great ideas you have there and I’m going to steal some of them for sure! Can’t wait to make them again sans chia and see if they taste better to me. You can definitely flavor them with other seeds and spices too – I was thinking maybe caraway or something could work. Appreciate all the feedback! Glad you liked them!

    • says

      Magic bullet works like a charm, I never use my coffee grinder for anything but coffee because I hate having the clean the coffee out of it every time I do! I guess if you had a coffee grinder specifically for other things you could use that but it only grinds small batches. Enter MB – love that thing! :) If you had a mini food processor that would also work.

    • Chris says

      I used my regular blender on nut setting and it did job grounding up the flax seeds. Don’t bother trying to use a mini food processor. I tried and and it just gave me another gadget to wash!

  5. Anonymous says

    Read all of the comments and will definitely try this recipe. A touch of tobasco sauce would add a little ‘piquant’ but do love to experiment like all of you. Thanks ladies! I am also on a low carb diet. My husband lost 30 lbs as I didn’t need to loose any but did the diet for better health reason. I would say right now I feel GREAT!

  6. says

    I tried to do them. I used brown flax seed. I didn’t use cheese. I added dry thyme, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt and black pepper. And I loved them :D They are great and I don’t need to cover them with anything. Thank you for so great and easy and healthy recipe. :)

  7. says

    I like that this is a “blank canvas” recipe. I am partial to buffalo flavored snacks (i.e. Synder buffalo pretzel pieces, which are so bad for you!)and thought that possibly a quick coating of sauce before baking could accomplish a similar snack. What are your thoughts?

    • says

      That’s genius! I’d still omit the chia seeds because I didn’t like the flavor but yum! I’d bake for a few minutes to firm them up first, then toss in the sauce, and then re-bake to crisp back up. Let us know if you try it!

  8. Karen Simonsen says

    Just made these — fiddled with it just a bit: omitted the chia seeds, and used one cup ground flax, quarter cup hemp hearts, quarter cup amaranth flour, plus a mix of sharp cheddar and Parmesan. Everything else the same. Results: delicious!! I’ve made them for the weekend, but have a bad feeling they’ll be gone in a couple of hours… Thanks! Karen

  9. Luis Piloto says

    I added some parmesan cheese and toasted sesame seeds to the mix and used it for bruschetta – not too shabby, thanks for the recipe!

  10. rotha says

    im not going to lie, but i made these and they tasted better than what i was expecting based on your comments. i also left out the chia seeds and added minced garlic instead of the powder. i believe cream cheese was a pretty good addition as a topping.

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