With 10 minutes of hands-on time, these super healthy, gluten-free Pine Nut Seeded Crackers are perfect for dips, snacking and alongside soups and salads!
If seeds truly are the little nutritional powerhouses that they're purported to be, I should live to a ripe old age. Then again, I know Who calls the shots in that area, so I won't be so boastful as to predict my longevity. But I have been enjoying lots (and lots) of seeds lately with my Ridiculously Easy Seeded Foccacia Bread and now these wonderful Pine Nut Seeded Crackers.
Nutritional Benefits of Seeds
Curious about the health benefits of seeds? Although there's no magic bullet or replacement for a consistently healthy diet, seeds are known to be tiny nutritional powerhouses. Here's a quick rundown on the benefits of the seeds in these crackers:
- Chia seeds - with just 129 calories, less than 9 grams of fat, 11 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per ounce, chia seeds have been shown to help stabilize blood sugar and keep your body hydrated throughout the day. It's also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and calcium.
- Sunflower seeds - are rich in the B complex vitamins (essential for a healthy nervous system), phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, protein and vitamin E.
- Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) - are rich in the amino acids, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain protein, iron and phosphorus and are low in carbs.
- Flax seeds - an excellent source of omega-3, omega-6 essential fatty acids, fiber and manganese.
- Sesame seeds - these little seeds are often used more as a garnish, but they're packed with protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium and phytic acid.
I fell in love with seeded crackers several years ago when my sister Annie (who's always cooking something wonderful) gave me a recipe. I was delighted to discover a crisp, delicious cracker that was super healthy and made a great snack. The only problem was that Scott wasn't crazy about them and I ended up eating whole batches myself. So I took a little break and put the recipe on the shelf.
Recently, I decided to give it another go to see if I could create something that he would also enjoy. I adapted the seeds a bit and added a splash of olive oil, a bit of honey, a handful of pine nuts (deliciously buttery-tasting) and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt (a nice gourmet touch). Voila! He loves these seeded crackers and has called them "addictingly delicious". Mission accomplished!
And it seems that everyone who tries them really enjoys them too. There's always a fun reaction when I serve them: "What are these crackers?" "These crackers are wonderful!" "You made them?" "Can you share the recipe?"
I like to serve these seeded crackers with goat cheese, cream cheese and pepper jelly and dips and spreads of all kinds. They're particularly delicious with Guasacaca (pictured) which is a fabulous Venezuelan version of guacamole (also known as Wasakaka). I also enjoy them with a smear of peanut butter (almond butter would be great too!) and a little drizzle of honey for a healthy snack and energy booster.
There's a wonderful added bonus to these seeded crackers - they keep you full for a long time! Seeds, chia in particular, have tons of fiber, making these crackers a wonderful appetite suppressant. Chia seeds expand to as much as 10 times their size when in liquid. So enjoy a couple of these seeded crackers for lunch or an afternoon snack, drink a tall glass of water, and feel full and satiated until dinner!
So how do you make these delicious seeded crackers? So easy you won't even believe it! Simply combine all the seeds in a bowl, add hot water (which makes the chia seeds expand and bind everything together) and stir. Wait 3 minutes, then turn the thick mixture out onto two sheet pans, spread thin and lastly, sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Into the oven they go and an hour later they'll be almost done. Just turn off the heat and let the crackers continue to crisp for another 30 minutes.
How to spread the seed/nut mixture out? After combining the seeds with water, the mixture can be quite sticky. So I've come up with a super simple way to spread it out to a consistent, thin layer.
I line two sheet pans with parchment paper and spray the parchment with cooking spray (or rub them with oil). In addition, I spray one other piece of parchment to coat with oil. After the seed/nut mixture is divided between the two pans I spread each out with a spatula then lay the third sheet on parchment on top of one. I used the flat bottom of a measuring cup to spread out and flatten the mixture. The parchment pulls off easily to use on the other pan. An easy, no-mess technique!
That's it. It will take you less than 10 minutes of hands-on time for a big batch of healthy, delicious crackers. So gather your seeds (see tips below) and throw together these Easy Pine Nut Seeded Crackers. They keep well in an airtight container and I know you'll love them having them on hand for snacks, appetizers and alongside soups and salads!
Café Tips for making these Easy Pine Nut Seeded Crackers
- You can change up the seeds and even the pine nuts in these crackers with good results. Just keep the amount of seeds and nuts the same and don't mess with the chia seeds (that's what binds these crackers together). Besides the chia, if I don't have one particular seed, I might double up on another. I've also substituted chopped cashew and pistachios for the pine nuts with delicious results.
- Pine nuts can be ridiculously expensive. I find the best buy on them at Trader Joes or online. Costco also carries them (in a huge bag, of course) and the price is quite reasonable for the amount. Pine nuts freeze well so buying them in bulk can be wise.
- Trader Joes also carries very reasonable priced sunflower seeds.
- If you have an Aldi nearby, they have a great price on chia seeds and flax seeds.
- Sesame seeds often come in tiny containers and you'd need several of them for this seeded cracker recipe, making it very expensive. I find them in bulk at Whole Foods and you can purchase big bags of them super reasonably at most Asian markets.
- Seeds can go rancid over time, especially sunflower seeds. I like to store them in the freezer when I'm not using them.
- Don't spread the seed/nut mixture too thin or the crackers will be too fragile. I find spreading them out over about three quarters (see picture above) of two sheet pans works well.
- I LOVE these pre-cut parchment paper sheets. They're the exact size of a sheet pan (18x13-inches) and save lots of time with recipes like this. They last forever (except for crazy cooks like me) and come in a nice flat box for easy storage.
- Need a gift idea for your favorite cook or baker? These Oxo sheet pans are amazing. In fact, I love the whole series of Oxo non-stick Pro Bakeware. It's so sturdy and cleans up so well.
- One other delicious idea for these seeded crackers is to break them up and serve them on top of salads for a nice crunchy topping.
- ¾ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup chia seeds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds
- ½ cup flaxseed (linseed)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups hot tap water
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- flaky sea salt for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 300˚F. Line two sheet pans (18x13 inches) with parchment paper. Spray the parchment with non-stick cooking spray and rub with a paper towel to evenly coat the paper with oil. Spray one other sheet of parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray and, again, rub this one with a paper towel to coat the surface. Set aside the pans and the additional sheet of parchment aside.
Combine all seeds and kosher salt in large bowl and stir to thoroughly combine. Add hot water, olive oil and honey and stir well to combine. Let the mixture sit for 3 minutes.
Stir well again and transfer half of the seed mixture to each of the prepared pans. Flatten mixture with a spatula then place the oiled parchment paper on top of the seed mixture. Using a flat bottomed glass or the bottom of a measuring cup, flatten out the seeds to cover about ¾ of the pan. Don’t try to spread too thin or the crackers will be too fragile.
Sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt and place the two pans in the oven. Reduce temperature to 275˚F and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate and swap the position of the pans. Bake for another 30 minutes.
Turn off the oven and allow crackers to sit in the oven for 30-45 minute or until nice and crisp. (sometimes it even takes a bit longer.) Break into pieces as desired. Store in an airtight container.
See Café Tips above for more detailed instructions and tips for making this recipe.
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