Weird Food Win: Gingery Carrot and Sunflower Seed Crackers

by Gena on July 12, 2011

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So glad that everyone enjoyed my big questions. In posing them, I mentioned that my mother simply cannot seem to get used to the weirdness of my food, but made a bold prediction that one day she will. My friend Karen wrote in saying,

Good luck on that prediction that one day your weird food will look normal to your Mom…I’ve been eating a clean vegetarian/vegan diet for 25+ years and my otherwise worldly and intelligent and lovely parents still don’t get it!

Yep, I thought. That’s probably true. I’ve gotten my mom to appreciate almond milk and the odd raw entrée or two, but the foreignness of my diet will never cease to amaze her. Or other people, for that matter.

This week, as I ease into a new and much more intense class schedule, I’m also easing into a lot of bonding time with my fellow post-baccs. We eat together, perform labs together, study together, complain together, cry together, laugh together, and yes, we also eat together. When you’re stuck in class with the same group of people from 8am-3pm daily, you grow very accustomed to seeing what they eat: snacks, packed breakfasts, packed lunches, treats, beverages, and treats.

Most post-baccs eat the predictable stuff: PB&J, turkey sandwiches, muffins, yogurts, fruit, snack bars. And then there’s me, munching on my packed chia and fruit puddings:

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I’ve noticed that I usually get some quizzical looks when I eat these guys. Ditto for my homemade snack bars and energy balls. And let’s not even start on kale salad.

Of course, I’m used to a certain amount of eyebrow-raising when it comes to my diet, and that’s fine with me. But I’m also very determined to share the joys of vegan and raw food with the world. This summer, I’m bringing my plot to take over the world with veggies celebration of colorful food to the Georgetown campus, and I’m starting with my fellow post-baccs.

Today, a few of us gathered in the library for a brief respite between lab and lecture. My friends Peter and Anna eyed me suspiciously as I ate crackers that looked like this:

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What are those,” Peter inquired.

They’re carrot and sunflower seed crackers,” I replied. “They’re a little weird, but tasty.”

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I broke off a piece for Anna and Peter, and, as they began to munch, I had a moment I often have, which is wondering if my food appeals to everyone, or if it’s only tasty to me and my readers and other people who share our (slightly offbeat) tastes. If the latter is true, I think I’m doing a great job cooking for me, but maybe I’m not doing as great a job sharing veganism with others.

Much to my delight, Anna perked up. “Mmmmm,” she said. “These are really good! Do you have more?” I didn’t—I had scarfed them all down—but I was almost giddy with excitement about her excitement. I promised the gang I’d bring more in, and then I breathed a sigh of relief, because the whole exchange reminded me that it is possible to make food that’s simple and good enough to appeal to seasoned raw foods lovers and mainstream eaters both. Thank goodness I can stay true to my own tastes while also delighting the tastes of other people.

And the best part? The crackers started with carrot pulp. Yes, carrot pulp. If only my friends had known.

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Gingery Carrot and Roasted Sunflower Seed Crackers (vegan, mostly raw, gluten free, soy free)

Makes about 40 crackers

1 cup sunflower roasted sunflower seeds*
2 1/2 cups carrot pulp
4 tbsp flax meal
1 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)
Black pepper to taste
1 tbsp minced ginger, or 1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1) Place sunflower seeds in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Grind well.

2) Add the pulp, flax, and spices to the bowl. Process till the mixture is thick but moist enough to spread.

3) Spread mixture onto two Teflex lined dehydrator sheets and score into cracker and/or flatbread shapes.

4) Dehydrate at 115 degrees for about 6 hours. Flip the dough (it should be dry enough to peel off and do this) and dehydrate on other side for another 4 hours.

Non-dehydrator option!: Spread onto parchment lines baking sheets. Bake in an oven set to 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until dry and crispy.

*You don’t have to use roasted sunflower seeds if you feel strongly about it: I did because they really enhance the taste for this particular recipe.

These crackers are oh-so-savory and flavorful!

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Yet another way to use up your juicing leftovers, conserve veggies, nourish your body, snack on quality food, and maybe, just maybe, share the love with others.

And if you’re not into crackers, my raw carrot falafel just might be a crowd pleaser, too.

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What’s your favorite vegan or raw recipe to share with your friends? Do you consider yourself an offbeat eater? If so, how do you reconcile your own tastes with the world around you?

xo

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

pure2raw twins July 12, 2011 at 6:00 pm

That is awesome about your classmates liking the crackers :) You are so inspiring about how you handle yourself. We have crazy eats too that our family for the most part understands and tries things from time to time. And Gary likes everything I make so that is always a plus in my book :) though his family is still unsure of my eats. I mean they have seen me change my eats over 9 years and they sure have changed haha
The crackers look delicious! Now I just need to go make me some carrot pulp :)

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Christine (The Raw Project) July 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm

My mom has been having a difficult time grasping raw foods too, she refuses to believe a salad can be a filling meal. These crackers look wonderful, I adore just about anything with ginger. Thanks!

My favorite vegan recipe to share is probably avocado mousse, kale chips, or banana soft serve because they demonstrate how great whole ingredients can be.

I guess being vegan is offbeat, but I try to live as normally as possible when hanging out with friends and ordering what I can when eating out, even if it’s off the menu.

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Stephanie @ Aspiring July 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm

My parents and I eat totally different foods. While I blame it mostly on the cultural influences, my parents never move away from this odd idea that carbs=rice, and protein=red meat. My dad also thinks milk is the only way you can get calcium…

So I do have difficulty explaining the wonderful variety of foods that I discovered online and in WFs to them. Recently though, I’m getting more support; I’m also trying to act as a “missionary” to spread healthful foods to my family and friends. Already my family members on my dad’s and mom’s side in Korea have gotten the chance to enjoy chia seeds! Isn’t that great? lol.

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 12, 2011 at 6:38 pm

The crackers look awesome, Gena! Way to make use of all that juice pulp, maybe still some from Valerie’s stash. Wish I had a friend like that…that way I wouldnt even have to deal w/ juicer cleanup :)

You know, I was pretty “okay” with where I was with my eating habits, dietary path, etc until I went to Mexico this past weekend. Two things…the amount of meat-eating (worldwide) is shocking. And I was as shocked as Ive ever been about it. Truly, I thought maybe the overall meat eating in the world may have gone down..and maybe it has…but not where I was. Whoa. And I was truly an oddball that I didnt want meat.

And also didnt want cheese, fried food, food doused in salt, all kinds of sugary syrups with neon bright colors. In San Diego and So Cal, there’s enough ‘weird’ eaters like me…haha…but not where I was.

It reinforced I just needed to stand tall and hold my own, and I did, but my group thought I was strange (pretty sure that was the consensus) and the culture as a whole where I was really couldnt wrap their mind around vegan/vegetarian/plantbased/fresh/raw/not processed food I think, based on ALL the looks and confusion I was met with. Sigh.

But it reinforced who I am, what I am all about, and I am more resolute now than ever before :)

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Hannah (Balancing on Two Feet) July 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm

The crackers look awesome. I wonder if I can make them with just ground up carrots since I don’t have a juicer?

Yes, it is amazing how much differently the majority of people eat, especially when they aren’t paying attention. I was at a job fair today and the food out was cookies, doughnuts, muffins, and for the “healthy folks,” chewy Quaker granola bars.

SIgh.

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Jen July 12, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I don’t necessarily consider myself an offbeat eater, but some of my friends and family do! Maybe I’ve just grown accustomed to a lot of foods that aren’t mainstream. I would probably get weird looks from my cousins if they saw me scooping hemp seeds and lucuma powder into my morning smoothie. My brother used to tell people that I eat birdseed. I guess I shouldn’t contest that one–birds DO eat millet!

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maria @ Chasing the Now July 12, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Pretty amazing about your classmates not only trying, but liking the cracker! Kudos!!! I’ve gotten my husband drinking green smoothies, which is about a miracle in my book!

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn July 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Oh my god. Being in high school / college as a healthy eater, I get lots of “Hey um…what is that?” I’ve learned not to be offended ;)

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blossjoss July 12, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I would say my food choices are a bit off the beaten trail.

But not as adventurous as I would like. I reconcile my oddness by hiding it. Having/recovering from an eating disorder is something I’ve hidden, and I’m more comfortable if my eating choices fit in with those around me. The less attention my eating and non-traditional opinions receive, the better. :/ In order to hide my struggle, I hide who I am…

I’d be interested in hearing about how you might’ve handled a situation like this, and I’m inspired by your recipes and conquering the world with veggies! Perhaps one day I will be so brave.

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Heather McClees July 12, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Hi Gena! I’m still a fan of your website after two years of following you! I recently posted a post on my blog detailing how much of an offbeat eater I am too! I’m often made to feel out of place in my home, but know eating this way works best for my body. Thanks for sharing the inspiration to follow our hearts, and not the world’s ideals!:)

You can check out the reading at the link below, if you like:)

http://www.thesoulfulspoon.com/2011/07/why-being-healthy-comes-with-price.html

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FoodFeud July 12, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Gena I just got a dehydrator so I looked at your carrot falafel recipe and am so, so excited to make them. They also DON’T seem to take 8+ hours to dehydrate, so that’s a plus. Do you feel safe leaving your dehydrator on when you’re asleep/not home?
Also, one question about the food you bring to school – how do you store it? Is it stuff that can all be eaten room temperature? I feel like if I left collard/hummus wraps in my bag all day, they’d be gross and melty by the time I got to them. Or, chia pudding I like to eat cold – do you eat it first, when it’s still cold?
Thank you!

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Emily July 12, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I LOVE this post. I just graduated from high school, so you can just imagine the looks I got from my classmates when I brought in my food at lunch. My close friends are getting used to it – they even bought me my first juicer for my birthday- but everybody else? They think it’s weird.

Luckily, I have some food “wins” too; black bean fudge is one of my favorites, but if you tell somebody it has beans in it, they often don’t even try. So once I brought it to a group function, not telling anybody the main ingredient. Everybody liked them, and were actually pretty excited when I told them the ingredients.

“You mean that this is actually HEALTHY!? What’s the recipe!?”

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Beth July 12, 2011 at 11:56 pm

oh my goodness, whats the recipe??!!!

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Lara July 13, 2011 at 8:56 am

You have to wait until after they try it to tell them the ingredients. I get people to eat weird stuff all the time that way.

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Eat Hike Sleep Repeat July 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm

The crackers look a little “hairy”, kind of like homemade paper :) I am a juice pulp junkie though so I will be definitely making them.
Hit vegan and raw foods that I’ve shared? Your chia pudding, black bean brownies, tofu cheesecake.

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Natalie July 12, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Black bean brownies??? I need a piece of this!

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Natalie July 12, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Great post, Gena! I also feel nervous when other people try my food! What a relief that they loved your crackers :)

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Mallory July 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm

What does one do when they do not own a juicer and do not have a generous friend willing to give them carrot juice pulp? I really want to make these crackers, but alas, I am that poor, juicer-less, generous friend with a juicer-less soul!

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Ali (urbanfruitbat) July 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Haha, aw, I am sad to hear that you had doubts about your culinary skills! To many of us sing their praises! I used to make a raw dessert called Matcha loaf. It was blended coconut, coconut oil, dates, matcha powder vanilla and salt. It looked like a dark green brick. My baby sister loved it, but was asked many many times “what the heck is that?” at school. Always funny for people to see raw food! But awesome.

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Ali (urbanfruitbat) July 12, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Oh! And also, I suppose all those frozen bags of carrot pulp on the bus really were worth it, hey? (;

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Mama Pea July 12, 2011 at 11:25 pm

So this is kind of funny…I loaned my juicer to a friend who wanted to possibly buy one, and I’ve been happy making green smoothies instead. But now, I want it back. Just so I can make carrot pulp. Just so I can make these crackers.

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Ali (urbanfruitbat) July 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm

You are such a good friend mama, I don’t think I could ever lend out my juicer… no matter how much I loved someone.

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Valerie @ City|Life|Eats July 12, 2011 at 11:44 pm

These crackers look lovely :)

I am realizing from your posts and reader comments that I should give my parents more credit about food – my husband keeps telling me this too, mainly because his mom (who has acute IBS) never even considered changing her diet or lifestyle habits, while my mom (who, as you know had had some health problems) took me up on my suggestion to move her diet to a plant-based ones. While not 100% plant-based, she very quickly moved away from dairy and meat, with only some fish and the occasional egg, and saw tremendous improvements in various aspects of her health.

She has willingly eaten chia pudding, choco-swee-potato-mole, used chia as a binder for nut meal crackers, made chard wraps to eat with me (though I don’t think she’s made them since, but still), tried your raw walnut cheddar recipe, your tofu scramble recipe, and one day surprised me by saying “i really think you should learn how to make your own almond milk. i saw it on tv,and it really seems easy. i am going to try it.” My dad loved chia pudding with blueberries and the calls chard wraps “veggie spring rolls” and eats hummus with a spoon. Both my parents as long as I remember, love ginger-carrot-apple juice and have a tiny juicer for that, which is a frequent 11am snack of theirs, and even occasionally make green smoothies (my mom does not love them, but my dad does and requests them). Granted, not all of these things are raw, but I really should give them more credit – both for things they have done for a long time, and how they have been willing to add to that.

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Sarah July 12, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Hmmm, I guess I am an offbeat eater. People don’t seem to get my love of salads and larabars. However, most people who try my fudge babies/raw balls (whatever you want to call them) really love them. Apart from my father-in-law. On trying one he spat the remains out of his mouth and took a swig from an open bottle of wine that was lying around in the kitchen, in the middle of the day, to get rid of the taste! Luckily, I lack subtly and tact sometimes and am used to him so I wasn’t offended in the slightest.

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bitt July 12, 2011 at 11:50 pm

My parents like a lot of the stuff I throw their way (after over a decade of my veganism) and are even trying to serve their friends veggie stuff! This took awhile. But they were never really resolute in another way of cooking, they just cooked average stuff because that’s all they knew. They weren’t foodies or bakers who were stuck in their ways. I find those types of parents might be harder to suck in.

I get those types of responses all the time to my food: “Oh it’s so healthy” healthy code word for gross. But sometimes I can get them to try something and they like it.

Would just food processed carrots work? I packed the juicer and it never makes much pulp anyhow. I am the one who wants alternatives for pulp not more pulp recipes! Probably the only one. Not everyone has a juicer though.

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Sarah July 12, 2011 at 11:50 pm

PS forgot to mention how great these sound! We’re moving in the next couple of weeks and I cannot wait to get my juicer out of storage and have juice pulp to try these (and many more recipes) out.

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Ela July 13, 2011 at 1:42 am

Gosh, this strikes such a timely chord with me!
When I was in college, and most places since then, I was loved for my quirky food (when I wasn’t actively in an eating disorder). People definitely thought it was weird, but were very open to it and appreciative of what I made.

Here in AK, it’s not like that, and sometimes I feel sad. My husband’s grandkids are here (yes, my husband’s kids are older than me!) and I was excited to help out with fixing the food, but it was all highly rich and delicious American fare. A potato/kale salad was a hit with my husband’s son’s wife, but otherwise, even the raw cheesecake didn’t come up to the ‘regular version’s snuff. Some people here do appreciate some of it. But even the most spectacular things (that people pay me money to make) are eclipsed by a cheesecake from Safeway. Sigh…

I’m glad you’re having such great bonding with your new cohort.
love
Ela

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Emilia @ Namaste Gurl July 13, 2011 at 2:07 am

Those crackers look delicious- now I want to juice again just so I can make those yummy crackers :) I love sharing the foodie knowledge- I try to do so whenever I eat and people question my veggie friendly foods. I share things like quinoa, vegan muffins and desserts, yummy salads, etc…

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Tiina McKay July 13, 2011 at 2:44 am

LOL, love it!! I love sharing my raw brownies (with avocado)…. everyone loves them! The food I eat is so weird my husband won’t touch it, haha. My 1 year old son doesn’t know any better and loves it :)

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Johanna July 13, 2011 at 3:32 am

Banana soft serve. I have never ever, ever had a fail with that recipe – everybody loves it and look at me like I have dont some magical trick. :) One of my best attempt was made with frozen banana, half-frozen grapefruit juice, a little bit of cocoa powder and some zested chocolate on top. Delish!:)

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Sue July 13, 2011 at 6:31 am

I’m absolutely an offbeat eater in my part of the world! It’s all about meat, sausages, and bread around here. I always get weird looks and comments about my food. “What the *beep* is THAT?!” I’m only vegetarian, but often eat ethnic (mostly Asian) food. Most people haven’t even heard of hummus, tahini, falafel, nori, quinoa, kimchi, etc.
Sometimes I bring some baked goods with me to work, they are usually devoured within minutes! Some of them might be vegan/whole wheat/gluten-free – I love to experiment – but my mostly male co-workers seems to like them anyway. Success!

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Ricki July 13, 2011 at 8:24 am

Yay for tasty vegan food that appeals to everyone! They look fabulous to me–not in the least weird! Can’t wait to try them out, too. :)

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Heather July 13, 2011 at 8:57 am

There is nothing quite like an unexpected-yet-pleasant introduction to the world of veganism. Especially when you are the chef! Hats off to you, Gena. Another successful recipe! (:

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Nikki July 13, 2011 at 10:40 am

So far my best secret raw veggie weapons are cheesy kale chips, killing the desire for Doritos one bite at a time :)

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Nathalie November 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Umm I realize this is months after the fact, but I thought I would let y’all know how how my attempt at making these with shredded carrot and the oven method went: Shredded carrots worked wonderfully! The oven method, on the other hand, was fine but I must say that this method kind of inherently sucks because it’s so hard to spread everything out perfectly even, so some places start to burn while others aren’t fully dried out yet. But that’s not the recipes fault, and these were super tasty (with your sweet potato hummus!) regardless!

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Erinn May 2, 2013 at 2:12 am

Love you site! Any suggestions on brands of food dehydrators to purchase?

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