Gluten Free Roasted Vegetable Spread & Flax Meal Crackers Recipe
I like to nibble. I like little bites of tasty goodness. I like yummy things on salty crackers. Maybe I like it just a tad too much.
My scale mockingly flashed a pretty unacceptable number at me this morning and I swear I saw it smirk.
So after a couple months of indulging in tidbits of fatty meats, creamy cheeses, and sugary sweets it may just be time to lighten up my diet and my waist line.
I don’t like diets. I don’t like deprivation. After all, isn’t the idea of this blog all about celebrating abundance? With that in mind, I made a healthy roasted vegetable dip to spread on homemade, gluten and grain free crackers. The spread was so rich and full of flavor, the fact that it is low in fat and healthy was more like an afterthought, and the crackers have the added bonus of being low carb as well as gluten free. If what I eat satisfies my taste buds and my soul then I don’t need to eat so much of it.
So for the next little while at cocktail time I will have some sparkling water with lime and a few luscious smears of this spread on crispy flax meal crackers. Here’s to healthy living, lightening up and to wiping that snarky little sneer off the face of my scale. (Does anyone have a sledgehammer I can borrow?)
- 1 medium eggplant
- 2 red peppers – seeds & stems removed
- 1 large onion – peeled
- Olive oil
- Kosher or fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 tomatoes
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 handful of fresh basil – or mint or any other fresh herb you can get your hands on
- ¼ teaspoon sesame seed oil
- 1 cup flax seed meal
- ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup water
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt – use divided
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the eggplant and cut into 1 inch pieces. Cut the peppers and onion in similar size pieces. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil – just a teaspoon or two, to coat. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Toss well to coat. Cut about ¼ of an inch off the top of the whole head of garlic and wrap in a piece of foil. Place the wrapped garlic on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Stir once or twice while baking.
Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise and gently squeeze out the seeds. Cut in 1 inch pieces. Add to the rest of the vegetables and continue to bake for 15 more minutes or until the vegetables are soft and starting to brown.
Put the vegetables (and any juices) in a food processor along with the lemon zest and juice, basil and ¼ teaspoon of sesame oil. Unwrap the garlic and squeeze the creamy, roasted pulp in with the veggies. Pulse about 6 or 8 times or until the spread is blended but thick and still chunky. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper and sesame oil if needed. Careful with the sesame oil, it is strong and you don’t want it to overpower the flavors of the vegetables.
Serve at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet.
Mix flax seed meal, cheese, water and ½ teaspoon of salt together. Dump onto the prepared pan. Top with a sheet of waxed paper and roll out into a rectangle that is approximately 10 inches by 8 inches and about 1/8th of an inch thick. Make sure that the edges are the same thickness as the rest or they will cook too fast. Remove waxed paper and sprinkle the top with the rest of the salt (you can add more or less salt depending on your preference, I like salty crackers).
Score the mixture lightly with a knife to aid in cutting the crackers when baked. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until the center is firm and the edges are just starting to brown slightly. Remove from oven and let cool. Crackers will crisp up as they cool. Cut into pieces. If the edges of the cut crackers are not as crisp as you would like, put them back into the oven for a minute or two.
You can flavor these Gluten Free Flax Meal Crackers up in a variety of ways. Try grating 2 cloves of garlic into the mixture (or a teaspoon of garlic powder) or adding dried herbs, cracked black pepper or red pepper flakes. Let your imagination go wild!
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