Once upon a time, I could’ve lived on chips and dip. Any variety. Tortilla chips and salsa. Potato chips and ranch. Doritos in that weird “doesn’t need refrigeration” cheese goo. Basically, anything crunchy with anything salty. But all that went away with Paleo.
One of the first parties I hosted after going Paleo I resigned myself to buying all that stuff for my guests and just staying away from the nibbles all night. Like that worked. Total fail.
So the next time I had people over, I got smart. I traded veggies for chips and mashed up all sorts of natural things to dip them in: avocados, black beans, hummus…
But I still missed my chips and crackers. And eventually, just like I’ve managed to figure out with so many other things, I found a do-able Paleo alternative: these sesame crackers.
They are made mainly with flours made from flax and sesame seeds. Both of these are high in fiber and protein and flax is packed with good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids. These crackers are veritable little health nuggets! The tahini (also made from sesame seeds) enhances the flavor, and helps, with the egg, to bind the dry ingredients together.
Sesame is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes so to go with these crackers, I love having a classic Middle Eastern dip: baba ganoush. This dish is common in the area to the east of the Mediterranean Sea: Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt. And there are variations in how it’s made throughout the region. This particular recipe I’m giving you is an Egyptian version. Other versions add onions and tomatoes and sometimes other veggies. But I’m keeping this one simple today.
The main ingredient in baba ganoush, no matter where it is made, is eggplant. I’ve gone on before about how much I love eggplant: it’s so adaptable! Part of the reason why it’s adaptable is that it has a pretty bland flavor so it can take on the flavor of what it’s mixed with. Some eggplants, or “aubergines,” as they are called in Europe, can be slightly bitter, but with all the lemon juice, garlic, and salt in this recipe, your end result won’t be bitter, even if your eggplant is.
The roasting of the eggplant gives it a rich flavor and silky texture. When blended together with the other ingredients, it creates a smoky, garlicky paste. You can just barely chop up things in the food processor, or let it go for a while to get a smoother consistency. Either way, it will taste delicious, especially after you drizzle it with really good olive oil (don’t get the cheap stuff! It’s worth a few extra dollars!)
And this, my friends, is my go-to snack and party dish. Crunchy salty crackers with a creamy smoky dip. I’m in heaven.
- For crackers
- ½ cup flax meal
- ¼ cup sesame seeds flour
- ¼ sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- For baba ganoush dip
- 1 pound eggplants
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 1 small garlic head
- 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
- ¼ tsp sesame seeds (for decoration)
- salt to taste
- To make the crackers, preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor place the flax meal, sesame seeds, sesame flour and salt and pulse a few times. Add the tahini and egg and pulse until combine. Roll out the dough between sheets of parchment paper until about 1/6'' thick. Slice the dough into squares and transfer the entire sheet onto baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve with baba ganoush.
- To make the baba ganoush, wash the eggplants and pierce them with a fork a few times. Place the eggplants under broiler for 2-3 minutes to char them. Remove from the oven and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Cover the garlic head with aluminum foil. Place the eggplants and covered garlic on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Peel the eggplants and squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.
- Place the eggplants, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Pour the baba ganoush into an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Will keep covered in the fridge for several days. Just before serving, transfer baba ganoush into a bowl and make a hole in the middle. Fill the hole with olive oil and garnish with sesame seeds.