Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Carrot Pulp Flax Cracker Bread and Walnut Spread

Today is another hot one in the Mid-Atlantic. The weather forecasters are predicted a hot and humid 104 degree day. The only thing I have been outside to do today is water my garden and that happened early before the heat got too bad. I am not a fan of heat so on hot humid days like this I find things to do inside in the air conditioning. I expect to spend a little extra time in the kitchen today given the weather. ;-)

Yesterday I made another batch of flax cracker bread. We like ours drier than bread, but still a little soft. I never quite know what to call them but have decided that cracker bread is the most descriptive. Here is what I made:

Carrot Pulp Flax Cracker Bread
Makes 20 crackers approximately 2 by 3 inches


pulp from juicing 8 carrots
1 1/3 cups ground flaxseeds
¼ cup yellow onion (raw)
1 cup water (added slowly until the “dough” forms)
1 ½ teaspoons cumin seed
¾ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place everything in your food processor (except the water) and process until the onion is ground. Slowly add water until the mixture comes together. It will begin to form dough that is similar to pasta but won’t form a ball.

Spread the mixture on a teflex lined dehydrator tray. You want the mixture approximately 1/8 inch thick. I find it easiest to use my hands that I wet with water. The thickness of the mixture and the length of time you dehydrate it will change the final texture. We like ours to a little soft (not quite either bread or cracker). When I think the flax crackers/bread are ready I break off a piece to try to make certain they have dried throughout. If you stop them too soon the interior can have a rare texture. This can be avoided by drying them to the cracker stage.

Nutritional Information (for 1/20th of the recipe):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 64.77
Calories From Fat (59%) - 38.54

Total Fat - 4.42g
Saturated Fat - 0.43g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 5.02mg
Potassium - 8.6mg
Total Carbohydrates - 4.61g
Fiber - 4.19g
Sugar - 0.09g
Protein - 2.2g


This flax cracker bread has a mild taste that will work with many different toppings. I like to keep the individual base recipes as light as possible to increase the way I can use them. I like to keep things like this one hand for Dan to have with a nut spread or to eat with a salad.

Next Recipe:

To go with the flax cracker bread I made a walnut spread with sun-dried tomatoes. I selected walnuts due to their omega 3 to omega 6 ratio that is better than other nuts. Since our goal is to maximize our omega 3 and reduce our omega 6 fatty acid consumption walnuts are the obvious nut choice for us.

This is the spread I made this morning to be served on the carrot pulp flax cracker bread. Here is what I did:
Walnut and Sun Dried Tomato Spread
Makes 16 servings approximately 1 tablespoon each


1 cup walnuts, soaked for at least two hours and drained
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed, or to taste
6 sun-dried tomatoes
water (sufficient to achieve a spreadable consistency approximately 2 tablespoons)
salt and pepper, to taste


Place the walnuts, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes in your food processor and process until the tomatoes and nuts are finely ground. Add water slowly, while processing, until you get a spreadable consistency. You will need to stop the machine and scrape the side at least once. Store in an air container in the refrigerator until you need it. In my experience it will keep for at least a week but we tend it eat it faster than that most of the time. ;-)

Nutritional Information (for 1/16th of the recipe):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 50.04
Calories From Fat (80%) - 40.08

Total Fat - 4.79g
Saturated Fat - 0.45g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 16mg
Potassium - 58.74mg
Total Carbohydrates - 1.48g
Fiber - 0.59g
Sugar - 0.47g
Protein - 1.23g


This spread is almost sweet from the sun dried tomato. The garlic flavor is very mild, definitely a slight background note. This would also be good with a little Italian seasoning added in if you like. It makes s a nice spread for on the flax cracker bread. I served it with a few cucumber slices for crunchy texture.

How do we eat this way every day? Warning soapbox moment coming:

I get many emails from people telling me that they applaud our efforts to eat a healthy diet but that they could never eat this way. Normally this is followed by the question, “How do you eat this way day after day?” Since I get this same question so often I thought I should write a little bit about this to give you our thoughts on a healthy vegan diet.

Some of you know that Dan and I were omni the vast majority of our lives. We weren’t just omni we were devout foodies. We both loved really good (translation unhealthy) gourmet food. Going out to eat was something we did 3 or 4 times a week and we loved going to DC to have dinner at Café Atlantico and/or the MiniBar. From a food perspective nothing was off limits for either of us. I will spare you the gory details.

However when cancer enters your life you can do one of two things, bury your head in the sand and ignore it, or try to change the situation that contributed to it. After reading everything (and I really do mean everything) I could get my hands on regarding nutrition and health we settled on a healthy vegan diet. Initially the transition was difficult. But the more I read the more convinced I was that we had made the right decision. Now when I look at meat, dairy, flour, sugar and processed food I only see toxins. Neither Dan nor I have any desire to eat anything that isn’t good for us.

To answer the question how do we eat this way, it is very simple we just do it. Food has become something we use to fuel ourselves with. We don’t look at food as an indulgence, or a treat, it is just fuel. When I make a meal I am thinking of what I can incorporate to increase the nutrition first with taste and texture being secondary issues.  While I want it to taste good our food has to be nutritous first.  Our meals have changed dramatically over the last year as I read more about nutrition I can’t help but incorporate those ideas into our diet.

After a while your taste buds will change and adapt,  We find that natural food has a different taste now compared to the past. Raw vegetables which I used to find bland and unappealing have much more flavor now. What I didn’t realize previously is that I had covered up the taste of the vegetables with salt and olive oil. Now when we have vegetables they tend to be plain and we prefer it that way. In fact when Dan was on his last business trip he ended up at a steak house for dinner. Thankfully they had a huge salad bar so he found plenty of things to eat. However one of the first things he noticed was that the vegetables were roasted with a light film of oil and he didn’t enjoy it. What makes this odd is that I used to come home from the farmers’ market and roast trays of veggies with a spray of olive oil. I did this every week for years. We ate our veggies that way for more years than I can count and now when they are prepared that way they just aren’t the same as they used to be. The ability of your taste buds to change and adapt is remarkable.

I hope this gives some of you hope that you can change your diet and your taste buds will adapt. Also you will enjoy your food again. It just takes a while for the taste buds to adjust to the changes. The improvement in your nutrition will repay you with better health and that will happen quickly. I have not had a cold in well over a year. In fact I can’t remember the last cold I had. I believe this is due to my improved nutrition. In the end I feel very fortunate to have had the time to do the research to figure out what we should be eating for maximum nutrition. I wouldn’t have things any other way now.

Unrelated note:

Lunch today was another salad. You are shocked right? LOL. This one had romaine, wheat berries, salsa, broccoli sprouts, red bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber topped with cashew crème fraiche and paprika. Nothing special just a nutrition and fiber packed salad.

I have a few things I need to do today before Dan gets home. I hope to be back later today with another recipe but that may have to wait until tomorrow. Having a holiday on Monday means I need to clear both my Monday and Tuesday to-do list today. I hope everyone is having a great Tuesday.


  1. I love the walnut-s/dried tomato recipe...I usually make something similar with cashews...I'll try walnuts next time I make it.

    I agree about not getting sick/colds by eating vegan...I don't remember the last time I was sick...or even had the sniffles...it has to be more than 4 or 5 years now ...(knock on wood).

  2. Rose,

    Thanks! I like to change the nuts I use but I keep coming back to walnuts because of the omega 3's. ;-)

    It is amazing what a difference nutrition makes in overall health. I used to get colds every winter, at least once. But now I they seem to be a thing of the past. I hope I didn't just jinx us both. ;-)


  3. Your crackers always look so good. What to do when you don't have the pulp though? Just pulse some carrots? I made a similar spread with tofu the other day. Love the idea of the walnuts though b/c it omits soy, you still get protein, and the omega 3's. Nicely done (as always)!

  4. Heather,

    Great question. You can use grated carrots instead. Since the grated carrots include their liquid it should mean you will use less and possibly no added water.

    I like to make walnut spreads because of the nutrition. Soaking the walnuts helps to remove most of the natural tannin in the nut skin.


  5. I've been saving your cracker recipes as I finally have access to a good food processor and dehydrator at my work now :)
    The humid is crazy in the east! Hopefully you, the hubs and your cats are able to stay cool!
    Question about the nut spreads - have you ever used almonds that still have their skins? My hubs asked me yesterday if we could use the almonds skins as I was getting him to skin the soaked almonds lol. I am just curious if you have tried it and what it does to the flavours.
    Your soapbox moment is well received - it is possible and it does make a difference! You should feel pretty proud of yourself for making positive changes in your life and choosing to be conscientious.
    Re the sickness, I have noticed that too - When everyone had the flu at uni last year, I didn't get it at all despite being in close quarters with a bunch of flu-ridden, coughing sick people even the ones that had their flu shots were still getting sick. (side note: i never get the flu shot; please don't get it!)
    Have a good evening!

  6. Your cracker bread looks like a great snack:) It's really hot here too, but I don't mind at all. I prefer this to winter any day!

  7. Possum,

    A dehydrator at work? That sounds like a job I would enjoy. I hope you are too.

    The felines and I have not left the comfort of the air conditioning. The humidity was quite nasty yesterday on top of the 104 degree heat. *ugh* Dan was only in the heat to go from the car to the office so we all stayed cool. But thanks for asking. :-)

    I have made almond cheese with the skin. It leaves little brown flecks in the otherwise white creaminess but doesn't add much flavor (just a little tannin). If you are going to add sun dried tomatoes, carrot or bell pepper then you may as well leave the skin on since you won't see it. I have been known to save the skin, dry it and them pulverize it in my food processor and add it to veggie burgers if you are looking for a use for it.

    I get so much email which says the same thing that people can't eat this way long. I felt like that at the beginning too but now it is just what we do. Thanks for your kind words.

    I am glad you were able to avoid the flu as well. I don't like the flu shots either. I have not gotten one since I left health care. As a hospital employee it was forced on me many times. *shakes head*

    I hope you are having a great day,

  8. Janet,

    Thanks, both Dan and like to snack. ;-)

    The weather was miserable yesterday, 104 and high humidity. Today we are only expecting to reach 102. *ugh* It is hard to believe I was in 2 feet of snow 6 months ago. I could go for a little more moderate weather overall. ;-)

    I hope you have a great day,

  9. I desperately need a dehydrator. I do the oven trick often, but I want to make sure I'm keeping thing 100% raw.

  10. Tracie,

    Great question, I should write a post about this with more details. But let me try to answer your question quickly here.

    I do have a Vitamix that we purchased about 5 years ago. It is the most used appliance in my kitchen hands down. It definitely gets more use than my stove. I think a good blender if really important to have. If anything happens to my Vitamix I will be buying another the same day. I can’t imagine not having it.

    If you have a Vitamix then a food processor is nice to have but not a necessity.

    We use the heck out of our juicer too. It is how we get more veggie servings in everyday. I don’t think it is a requirement but it is really nice to have.

    A mandoline is definitely a luxury item. Mine gets used most often because it has a spiral cutting attachment (which is why I bought this model). I would say buy a separate spiral cutter and save yourself a couple hundred dollars. You can always upgrade later when you have the disposable income.

    I can go either way on the dehydrator. I like having it and use it because I have it. However I don’t see it as a necessity. I think it falls more in the nice to have category.

    I hope that helped,

  11. Krystina,

    I do like having my dehydrator in the summer. ;-)

    Good for you making the crackers in the oven! If have never tried that but had heard that it works.


  12. Okay, I REALLY have to make this cracker-breads!! They look and sound great. And I love that they use carrot pulp, which I otherwise have to throw away (I tried giving it to my dogs, but they wouldn't eat it!). I agree wholeheartedly about how to eat this way, and yes, taste buds absolutely change over the years.

    While I, too, always think about nutrition first, I am way more focused on the enjoyment aspects of food (maybe too much?) and can still get carried away on occasion even eating "healthy" foods (dessert, anyone?). I applaud what you do and love coming here for inspiration! I'd say your vegan recipes are still just as "foodie" as you were before--definitely live up to your blog title--and always appealing. :)

  13. Ricki,

    I hate throwing away the pulp all the time. It seems so wasteful though it really is only fiber, LOL.

    Thanks for letting me know your taste buds have adapted as well. I tell people that all the time and they look at me like I am nuts. I really appreciate the confirmation.

    What a very nice thing to say. Thank you so much for making me smile. I have worried that my food was getting to healthy for my blog name. I can't seem to help myself now. The more I learn about nutrition the healthier my food gets. Dan keeps asking is there is anything else I can possibly do to make our food healthier. Probably, LOL. Though I have no idea what it is yet.

    I hope your weekend is going well,


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