One of the questions that I am often asked is about snacks. There are various fields of thought on whether you should be indulging in snacks but I personally think they can be the difference between success and failure, especially in the first few weeks and even months of transitioning to the Paleo diet. After a while you will notice that you rely on them less and less but it is good to have some varied recipes on hand to try to satisfy any cravings if they arise.
I personally love a good snack and have a whole host of Paleo favourites which get me through the day from time to time when needed. The best part is that they are all snacks which are nutritious and full of goodness so I never need to feel guilty and I know I am continuing to feed my body what it needs. Some of my favourites are nut butter and apple slices, parma ham and figs or even a homemade Paleo scotch egg.
I also love to use dips for snacks and you can make some really delicious Paleo versions; the problem is most likely to be what to have them with as most traditional options are ladened with gluten, wheat or additives. Paleo cracker recipes have therefore been a mainstay of my snacking repertoire and make a nice alternative to crudites. They are also easy to transport so you can take them with you to work and are perfect with a bit of dip when you need a boost inbetween meals.
I do however try to alternate using crackers with other dipping options such as vegetable crudites. Although there are health benefits to consuming flax seed it can cause digestive issues in some people and if you suffer from an auto-immune disease you may want to experiment tentatively with your consumption.
The dip in this recipe is a delicious roasted red pepper and olive tapenade. This could not be simpler to make and just involves putting the ingredients into a blender. The combination of peppers, olives, capers and anchovies gives a lovely sweet and salty combination that I find moreish and addictive.
The recipe uses roasted peppers; you can roast them yourself or you could use the pre-prepared ones that you can buy in jars. They will work just as well and are widely available in supermarkets and delis and will make your life just that little bit easier. Just make sure they don’t contain any hidden nasties. I have left this recipe deliberately unadorned as the tapenade has so much flavour. Also, it serves as a template for further experimentation with all sorts of herbs, spices, nuts and extra seeds.
A few tips for preparation…
The dough is very sticky so you will have to be patient when rolling it out. I have suggested that you roll it out between two lightly oiled sheets of baking paper. The thinner you can get it the crispier it will be. You can then remove the top sheet of baking paper and replace with a non-stick baking sheet or tray. Flip this over and then remove the remaining baking paper. If you find that you need to break the dough into a few pieces to get it off the paper than this is fine but you should find it is ok.
I have suggested that the crackers go back into the oven after they have cooled for a further drying out period. It can be difficult to get a crisp snap with Paleo ingredients, so lots of drying out is the way forward and well worth doing for the best results.
The time frame provided takes cooling time in to account. I have put four servings but this will all depend on how hungry you are and the thinness you manage to achieve.
Paleo crackers with red pepper tapenade
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
For the crackers:
50g ground flax seed (also known as linseed in the UK)
40g whole flax seed (see above)
40g tapioca flour
3/4 tsp flaked sea salt
For the tapenade:
1 red pepper; roasted, peeled and deseeded
75g pitted black olives
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp capers
4 anchovy fillets
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch parsley
- Preheat the oven to 170C.
- Soak the whole linseed in 100ml boiling water for about 15 minutes.
- Mix the dry ingredients together and then add the soaked linseed with the water.
- You want the water to be cool as tapioca flour will seize in hot water.
- Stir to combine and form a solid dough.
- Only add extra water if you have mixed well and are sure it is too dry and crumbly.
- Place the dough in the centre of some lightly oiled baking paper.
- Squash it down a little into a flat round and then top with some more baking paper.
- Roll out the dough moving only outwards to push the dough from the centre.
- Keep doing this until you have a sheet of dough about 1 to 2 mm thick.
Peel away the top layer of baking paper and replace with a non-stick baking sheet.
Flip over and then peel away the other sheet of baking paper.
Place in the oven for roughly 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
- Break into shards and place back in the oven for 10 minutes to crisp up further.
- Blitz all of the tapenade ingredients together to the consistency of your choice.
- I have left mine quite chunky and you can firm up in the fridge if needed.
- Serve with the crackers once cooled.
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