(Raw) Vegan Gluten Free Pizza Crackers

(Raw) Vegan Gluten Free Pizza Crackers

Maybe it is because I am a child of the 80’s that I remember eating pizza-flavored crackers as I grew up. I’m probably thinking of the Combos Pizzeria Pretzel, pizza flavored bugles crackers, or the inimitable Combos Pepperoni Pizza Cracker, although the thought of pepperoni-flavored anything pretty much freaks me out now.  Still, I love pizza and it is probably one of my favorite foods.  So what could be better than a pizza-flavored snack?  A healthy pizza-flavored snack, of course!

Carrots, beets, and red capsicum/bell pepper cut up and ready to be juiced.

Carrots, beets, and red capsicum/bell pepper cut up and ready to be juiced.

So here it is, the ultimate snack of goodness that your kids will love because it tastes like pizza and that you will love because there is nothing that could even remotely be construed as unhealthy in it.  That’s right, they are vegan, gluten-free, raw (if you keep the temperature on your oven below 115 F/46 C), fat-free, and they are even kosher enough for the strictest of Passover-keeping Jews (and there is no diet more strict than that – they make gluten free and paleo look like wimps).  I am honestly convinced that this recipe is the snack recipe to end all snack recipes.  Because it is made of amazing.

Add spices to juice pulp to flavor it.  When the pulp is dehydrated, the flavor concentrates and makes these crackers FULL of flavor!

Add spices to juice pulp to flavor it. When the pulp is dehydrated, the flavor concentrates and makes these crackers FULL of flavor!

The key ingredient in this recipe is juice pulp, so you actually kind of get a two-for-one deal in this recipe.  Sure, you get a crunchy snack cracker that tastes like pizza, but you also get some super healthy (and yummy) juice to drink.  It really is an all-around winner.

Juice pulp and spice mix spread on a baking tray, ready to be dehydrated into crackers

Juice pulp and spice mix spread on a baking tray, ready to be dehydrated into crackers

Vegan Gluten-Free Pizza Crackers

Ingredients

4-5 packed cups juice pulp from red/orange veggies (I used carrots, beets, and red capsicum/bell pepper)
1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
1 heaping tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp rubbed oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt (I use pink himalayan salt)

Instructions

  1. Juice your vegetables and discard the juice.  Just kidding! Drink the juice and keep the pulp to make these crackers.
  2. Mix all ingredients.  I recommend using your hands to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed and to break up any clumps of pulp.
  3. Using the flat of your palm, press pulp mixture evenly onto 2 cookie trays lined with baking/wax paper.  Depending on how thick you want your crackers to be, this will fill 2 medium or 2 medium-large trays (or 1 giant tray).  Alternately, press into the trays provided with your dehydrator.
  4. If you are making thicker crackers, score the pulp with a knife so you can break the crackers apart easily later.
  5. Optionally sprinkle top of crackers with sea salt.
  6. Place the trays in your oven on the lowest setting.  I use 50 C fan forced, but keep it below 46 C if you are going for a raw option.  (Although this designation makes me confused, as it definitely gets above 46C in the Aussie outback on a regular basis, so I suppose nothing grown there could be considered raw… but I digress.)  Bake until crispy.  Times vary depending on your oven, settings, and thickness of the crackers.  I make mine quite thin and with fan force on it takes only 3 hours to fully dehydrate these crackers.  If you are doing thicker crackers, do not have fan force, or use a centrifugal juicer that does not get out as much juice as a masticating juicer, it may well take 5 hours to complete this.
  7. Break apart crackers and test.  If you made thicker crackers, break on the lines you scored.  If you made thinner crackers like I do, you will find they have shrunk and cracked on their own during the dehydrating process.  They won’t be perfect little squares, but who cares when they taste so good?!  If crackers are not crunchy and brittle, return to the oven and check again in 30-60 minutes.
  8. Enjoy crackers on their own or with toppings that pair well with pizza, like sliced olives, sun dried tomatoes, etc.  Store extra crackers in an airtight plastic container or ziplock bag.

Variations

  • Finely chop up “pizza” toppings and mix them in.  My favorite is olives but other toppings such as sun dried tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, roasted red bell peppers/capsicum, crumbled tofu, mushrooms, tempeh, or vegetarian meat substitutes.  Be sure not to overdo it with the “toppings” as you still want your crackers to be crackers!
  • Change the spices added.  These crackers really smell and taste like actual Italian pizza, but mixing in other flavors like basil won’t hurt.  Or change the spice mixture completely, swapping for instance with Mexican spice mix to make “taco” crackers.
The final juice pulp crackers have a nice reddish-orange color that suits their pizza flavor.  They're very high in fiber and also have lots of great nutrition.  Because they are so highly concentrated, they also have a delicious flavor - you will be really surprised!

The final juice pulp crackers have a nice reddish-orange color that suits their pizza flavor. They’re very high in fiber and also have lots of great nutrition. Because they are so highly concentrated, they also have a delicious flavor – you will be really surprised!

I hope your kids love these crackers as much as mine do!  I’ve actually had to restrict my older toddler from eating too many or he’ll eat the whole lot of them.  Of course, if you have a child who suffers from constipation, eating the whole lot of crackers might be a good move – these snacks will keep your kids very regular!  But given that most kids today do not enough enough fiber, these crunchy crackers are a really healthy addition to your kids’ diets.  In fact, even my “big kid” had been sneaking crackers from their box constantly – and he’s the one who’s supposed to be doing a juice fast!

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