Arugula’s deliciously pungent flavor may come as a surprise if you’ve never tasted it. It is characterized as having a “peppery-mustardy” flavor. If you are familiar with arugula, then it’s likely you know how much depth and interest that it can bring to a salad. If you find yourself standing in the produce section, presented with baby arugula and regular arugula, you may be wondering what the difference is. Baby arugula is a young leaf that is mild and tender. The leaves that are a lighter shade of green and don’t yet have the pronounced flavors of mature arugula. Baby arugula is perfect for salads and a great way to introduce yourself to this wonderful green leaf. More mature arugula will be a darker shade of green, and the darker the green, the stronger the flavor. Wild arugula is generally much more peppery than cultivated leaves.
A few weeks ago I popped into the grocery store to buy some spinach for my morning smoothies. I darted in and darted out. The next morning I prepared my smoothie. I piled in all my goodies and then stuffed the blender craft with spinach. I hit the “smoothie” button and patiently waited for my breakfast. Once ready, I poured it into my favorite jar and snuggled up on the couch with Bob. As we were chatting away and I was sipping my drink, inwardly I thought, “hmm, there is a “bite” to my smoothie. How odd.” I finally mentioned it to Bob because the flavor / bite was getting stronger and stronger. Regardless, I finished my smoothie and wiped the green mustache away from my upper lip. Later that day as I was rummaging through the fridge, I went to grab the spinach… it was then that I noticed that it wasn’t spinach! It was arugula! lol Oy-vey! That explains my smoothie. I can’t say that I will purposely do that again but it made for a funny memory.
As I was preparing this cracker I wanted to really showcase the peppery notes. So, to elevate them, I added black pepper and a few other spices. There is no doubt that arugula is a “green” tasting leaf and I didn’t want to hide that, it deserves to be the star of the recipe. The additional flavors of the olive oil and sunflower seeds really help to ground that earthy taste. This cracker is packed full of flavor and great nutrients. So, don’t wrinkle you nose, be adventurous and give it a try. You just might find a great new way to get more greens into you!
Yields 2 (16×16″) trays
1/2 cup flax seeds, soaked in 1 cup water
4 cups (2 large) zucchini, peeled & diced
4 cups, packed arugula
2 Tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked
1/2 cup flax seeds, ground
In a small bowl combine the 1/2 cup flax seeds with the 1 cup of water. Set aside while you prep the rest of the recipe. This will give the flax seeds time to soak and thicken.
Peel the zucchini and dice into medium-sized chunks. You can leave the peel on if it is organic. Place 2 cups worth in the food processor, fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse the zucchini into small bits. Place in a medium-sized bowl.
Pulsing helps to draw the zucchini into the blades preventing it from being over processed.
Breaking this up into two batches will help in controlling the texture. If you try to process the complete mixture at one time you will over-process it, making it more liquidly.
In the food processor bowl, place the arugula in first then on top of that add the remaining 2 cups of zucchini.
By putting the arugula in first, the weight of the zucchini will help hold the arugula down and make it easy to process. Pulse together, but don’t puree it. We want small bits for texture.
Add; olive oil, garlic, sesame seeds, lemon juice, onion powder, salt and pepper. Pulse together until everything is combined.
Add the already processed zucchini and then add in the yellow pepper and sunflower seeds. Pulse a few times to combine everything. Transfer back to the bowl.
Hand mix in the soaked flax seeds and the ground flax seeds. Stir together and set aside for 10+ minutes. Over the years I have found that I don’t like to add soaked seeds in the food processor because it adds a strange look and color to the cracker.
Spread half of the batter on the teflex sheet that comes with the dehydrator. Cover the complete tray from edge to edge. Repeat with the remaining batter on a second tray.
Dehydrate for 1 hour at 145 degrees (F), then reduce to 115 degrees for 2 hours.
Remove the trays and make score lines in the cracker batter as to the size you desire.
Return to dehydrator and continue drying for 8-10 hours or until dry.
You can flip the crackers over on to the mesh sheet part way through the drying time but I didn’t (forgot).
Allow the cracker to cool to room temperature, snap the crackers into pieces and store in an airtight container.
Crackers should keep for a few weeks in a sealed container.
Why do I start the dehydrator at 145 degrees (F). Click (here) to learn the reason behind this.
When working with fresh ingredients it is important to taste test as you build a recipe. Learn why (here).
Don’t own a dehydrator? Learn how to use your oven (here). I do however truly believe that it is a worthwhile investment. Click (here) to learn what I use.
These photos didn’t come out so good but at least they give you a visual of how it looked.
Here is another idea… use part of the batter to also make croutons for salads!