I’ve been trying to figure out how to make a healthy, crunchy snack-type food in the dehydrator for several weeks now. One of the biggest problems I’ve had is spreading out my mixtures on the ParaFlexx sheets. I’ve just had no end of sticky messes. I’ve tried everything from spatulas to rolling pins to get everything even so it dries properly. My mixtures have (mostly) tasted good, but the texture has been a bit weird, drying uneven, and sometimes just too dense and chewy because of the thickness or ingredients.
I finally hit on a magical idea! Before I show you how I did it, and give you the recipe, you have to just look at these delights! I call them Rain Crunch Snacks, because of the teardrop shape!
So, the first trick was getting the mixture right. I used the following mixture of grains, seeds, vegetables and beans:
1 c chick peas, cooked and well drained
1 c baking potatoes, cooked, mashed with skins on (the bake potatoes are dry and starchy)
1⁄2 c Bob’s Red Mill Organic Creamy Buckwheat, straight out of the container, not cooked or soaked
1 c brown/wild rice blend, precooked
2 garlic cloves
1⁄4 c celery, chopped
1 c raw peppers, chopped (in this case I had some red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and part of a fresh jalapeno)
1 c raw kale, chopped
1 c previously sauteed onions (white and yellow onion sauteed in a little olive oil, deglazed with a little red wine vinegar, seasoned with salt, pepper and zatar seasoning)
1⁄8 c white sesame seeds, roasted
1⁄2 c raw sunflower kernels
1⁄4 c roasted Pepitas
1⁄8 c golden flax meal
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon Zatar seasoning
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, ground (I actually use a mixture of coriander, allspice, black-pink-white-green pepper corns)
1 teaspoon salt (optional, if your Zatar seasoning already has salt in it you could omit this. Otherwise, use it so your snacks aren’t “flat” tasting.)
These are made in the food processor.
Put the chick peas and the buckwheat in the food processor. Pulse until thoroughly mixed together.
Add the potatoes, onions and garlic. Pulse until well mixed in. (Some chunks are fine.)
Add all the veggies and pulse until they are small colored bits mixed in, but not totally gone. Texture is a good thing!
Add all the seeds and the flax and pulse.
Add the seasonings and the rice and pulse until the mixture is well blended and most of the rice isn’t full grains any more.
The mixture looks like this.
Dump out the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour to let all the flavors meld together.
After one hour, remove from refrigerator. You’re going to use this to make the shapes:
Yep! That’s a Wilton Comfort Grip Cookie Press. It’s not very expensive, and it worked like a charm! I put the multi-petaled flower disk on the bottom of the tube. I filled it up with snack mixture, held it against the ParaFlexx sheet and pulled the trigger. Bingo, perfect! And really easy breezy!
They look like this before the drying started.
Tips and Tricks
To keep the ParaFlexx sheets from sliding around on you, use a damp dish rag and wipe down the counter. Don’t dry it, just put the sheet on the damp area. It will “stick” to the little bit of moisture.
Make sure the cookie press is flat against the sheet, and where you want it before you pull the trigger.
Lift straight up after pulling the trigger to get the nicest shapes.
Slip the mesh dehydrator sheets under the ParaFlexx sheets and back onto the trays. I put the trays in for 2 hours at 145 degrees.
At the 2 hour mark, I rotated the trays and lowered the heat to 125 degrees.
After another two hours you should be able to flip the snacks out onto the mesh tray inserts to dry the rest of the way. At this point, most of the flowers will have broken into tear drops. You don’t have to break apart the remaining connected petals, but they will dry a bit faster if you do.
Keep dehydrating the snacks until they are dry and crunch. Store in a tightly sealed container (to keep them dry and crispy) in your pantry. It took mine about about 4 hours at the 125 degree temp to be completely done.
Note: The length of time it takes to dehydrate something depends on ambient humidity and the moisture in the product. As with all dehydrator recipes, your time may vary.
Using the cookie press made life a million times easier. I’m looking forward to trying other shapes and coming up with more recipes, now that I have a method that works for me. And best of all: great homemade, healthy snacks on the horizon!
These came out really yummy with a good, crisp crunch to them. Next time, I will not add the extra salt because my Zatar seasoning had quite a bit in it already. But other than that, we count this as a success.
On a humorous note, these are currently being called “Human Kibble” around here.