A cheese board, with some red wine and a couple of dips – like pâté and fresh basil pesto – was an easy and pampering dinner choice for us since ever. Before we became creatures of healthy(er) habits, this simple but scrumptious little meal was usually accompanied by thin crackers or canapé toasts, like Melba. But since starting keto, we were at a loss as to what less-carbohydrate laden options we could use instead.
For a long time, we were having the cheese selection by itself, with some nuts, deciding to forgo the pesto and pâté altogether because there was no appropriate low-carb or keto crackers. But the softer cheeses were really missing their crunchy base… It’s hard to bring pieces of soft Brie or Camembert into your mouth with your fingers without dirtying the wine glass after. A keto solution was needed.
These keto flax meal cheesy crackers are easy to make, gluten-free, and can be made in a dairy-free version as well, using nutritional yeast instead of cheese. They are super thin and crunchy, and are a great keto substitute for Melba canapé toasts.
Ingredients for the keto flax meal and cheese crackers:
Flax seed meal: You can use either brown (the one I used) or golden flax seed, depending on what you have available and/or your cracker color preference. It is said that the brown seeds have a bitterer taste, but I disagree. From my experience, what gives the flax seeds a stronger taste is how long ago they have been milled: freshly ground flax seeds will taste stronger and more bitter than flax seeds that have been ground for a while, or that have been bought already milled.
Given the choice, as I go through them reasonably fast, I prefer to buy pre ground flax meal instead of seeds, because the texture is much finer than what I get when I grind the seeds myself. A finer ground flax meal gives a much better result in keto baking.
Ground Parmesan cheese OR nutritional yeast flakes: For a hint of cheese flavor, you can use whichever you prefer, making this recipe optionally dairy-free. The Parmesan can be the cheapest, driest powder that comes in cardboard tubes and lasts forever. For nutritional yeast, choose non-fortified if you want to avoid consuming synthetic vitamins.
Garlic powder, black and white pepper & salt: These savory keto crackers just take a little bit of each and the flavor is well rounded up to match anything on your cheese board! Freshly ground pepper corns are always the superior choice. Of course, you can vary the spices as you like it: some dried oregano or basil, chili powder or flakes, onion powder and/or dried spring onion are just some ideas that come to mind. Sesame seeds are also a nice addition!
How to grind your own flax meal
If you just have the flax seeds at hand, it’s pretty easy to grind them yourself. You need a good grinder – it can be a coffee bean grinder, a spice grinder, or even a high powered blender. With the appliance jar and blades really dry, add your flax seeds – don’t fill up more than half of the jar at a time – and just start grinding, on maximum speed.
Flax seeds grind easily, the difficulty stems from the fact that they don’t grind equally – there’s almost always seeds left in different sizes that don’t get powdered. That’s why you shouldn’t overfill the jar: so you can shake it and grind, and shake it and grind again, until you catch all those pesky little seeds that escape the blades. It requires a little patience, but it can be done!
I am not the most patient person, that’s why whenever I try do grind the flax seeds myself the results are not the best… See my flax tortillas and you’ll know what I mean.
How to make the keto flax meal and cheese crackers dough
Mix the finely ground flax meal, Parmesan or nutritional yeast, garlic powder, peppers and salt – or your own variation of spices. Add the water, and mix it very well, until a mud resembling paste is formed (3).
Cover the keto flax meal cracker dough with plastic film or a tea towel and let it sit for about 15 minutes, until the flax meal is completely hydrated and its mucilaginous properties are activated. This will allow for this super simple cracker dough to get elastic enough to be rolled out thinly.
Transfer the dough to either a silicone mat or wax paper, sitting on a flat surface.
Cover the dough with plastic film, and start flattening the dough into a rectangular shape using the heel of your hand, or a spatula (4). After shaping a (reasonably) nice rectangle, continue flattening the dough using a rolling pin or glass bottle, over the plastic film (5), to as thin as possible (it should be about 2 to 3 mm thin at least).
Be careful not to make the borders much thinner, as they will get overcooked before the center of the dough has a chance to bake. If they are too stretched, remove the plastic film and fold the edges over a little, then flatten them down slightly again.
Cut the keto flax cracker dough into rectangles (6). If using a silicone mat as a surface, use a non-sharp blade. You can also very gently use a pizza cutter.
How to bake the keto flax meal and cheese crackers
Carefully slide the silicon mat or wax paper onto your cookie tray, and take it into the oven at 200 °C (392 °F), fan forced, for 10 to 15 minutes. The time may vary more according to how thin or thick you rolled out the crackers.
You’ll know your keto flax crackers are ready when the borders are browned and the cut edges start separating from one another. You can then turn off the oven and let the keto crackers sit inside for another 10 minutes to finish crisping them up. They’re now ready to complete your cheese board, with your soft cheeses and dips, and to help holding wine glasses without cheesy fingers. Enjoy!
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- 60 grams flax seed meal (fine powder)
- 60 grams water
- 15 grams grated grated Parmesan cheese OR nutritional yeast powder
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon fine grain salt
- black and white pepper (a couple of turns on the grinder of each)
- In a small bowl, mix the finely ground flax meal, Parmesan or nutritional yeast, garlic powder, peppers and salt.
- Add the water, and mix it very well, until a mud resembling paste is formed.
- Cover the keto flax meal cracker dough with plastic film or a tea towel and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to either a silicone mat or wax paper, sitting on a flat surface, and stretch plastic film over the top.
- Working over the plastic film, use the heel of your hand to flatten the dough into a rectangular shape.
- Continue flattening the dough using a rolling pin or glass bottle, over the plastic film, to as thin as possible (it should be about 2 mm / 0.2 cm thin)
- Cut the dough into rectangles. If using a silicon mat as a surface, use a non-sharp blade.
- Carefully slide the silicon mat or wax paper onto your cookie tray, and take it into the oven at 200 °C /392 °F fan forced for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the borders start browning and the cut edges recoil from one another.
- Turn off the oven and let the crackers sit inside for another 10 minutes to crisp up.
US Cups approximate conversion: Use 1/2 cup flax seed meal, 1/4 cup water and 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese OR nutritional yeast powder. Other ingredients as indicated.
Careful when rolling out the dough: If the edges are stretched too thin, they will overcook. To make the edges level with the center of the cracker dough, remove the plastic film and fold them over a little, then flatten them down slightly again, only slightly.
Nutrition information is shown for a serving size of half the whole recipe, in the Parmesan version.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 10
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 177Total Fat: 14.3gCarbohydrates: 7.7gNet Carbohydrates: 0.6gFiber: 7.1gSugar: 0.6gProtein: 9.5g
Nutrition information is provided as a guideline only. Different brands of ingredients may have different nutrition facts. If tracking macros, remake the calculations using the nutrition facts from the labels of the ingredients you selected. Net carbs calculated exclude carbs from insoluble fiber and sugar alcohols.