Appetizers,  Gluten free,  Recipes

Guilt-free snacking that actually tastes good

It’s amazing how our expectations change in the face of dietary restriction. Case in point: My recent experience with these crackers …

Sister walks into my kitchen.

“Ooooh, homemade crackers?!”

Nom, nom, nom … confusion … sad face …

Me: “They’re low carb.”

Eyes light up … expression turns to delight and ravenous hunger … dives in for more …

“OMG, SOOOO good!”

And despite her initial reaction, they truly are yummy—as long as you realize that nothing that has absolutely no carbs can taste like a food item that is typically made almost entirely of them. These almond-meal crackers will never taste like a crumbly, buttery Ritz, but when you know that you can eat them on your gluten-free/carb-free/Paleo diet, they’re suddenly the best thing since sliced … uh … well, you get my point. Loaded with flavor and great with soft cheeses, these little snacks get rave reviews—assuming you under-promise (they’re wheat-free!!) and over-deliver (wow, they don’t taste like cardboard!!!). Have to give a shout out to my friend Nicole for turning me on to this delicious-yet-nutrutious concoction.

Gluten-free, carb-free, Paleo* super crackers

*For the Paleo version, simply substitute more almond meal for the parmesan cheese. 

You’ll need:

2 cups almond meal (You can make this by grinding almonds in a food processor until they are fine. Be careful not to over-blend or you’ll have almond butter.)

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for coating

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon mixed herbs (I used basil, oregano, chives, rosemary and parsley)

Sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients thoroughly with your hands. Divide into four parts and roll out flat on parchment paper with a rolling pin or other cylindrical object (I used a glass). Roll out to about 1/8 or 1/10 of an inch thick and cut in desired shape with a pizza cutter. Place individual crackers about one-half-inch apart on a parchment- or tin-foil-lined cookie sheet. Brush the tops of the crackers with olive oil, salt generously and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until crackers are golden brown and crispy.


  • Carolyn

    Can this really be considered ‘paleo” with parmesan cheese in it? My understanding is that a paleo diet should be dairy free as well…

  • admin

    Hi Carolyn–yup, you’re right. No dairy allowed on paleo, that’s why I used the asterisk* to indicate that you can make it paleo by using equal part almond meal (in addition to what the recipe already calls for) as a substitute for the parmesan!

  • Kristi

    Thanks for this recipe. We are a paleo family and I halved the parmesan and replaced with almond meal and felt good about it. These crackers are scary good with mashed avocado mixed with squeezed lemon to taste!! This is a great snack to have around with three teens and my husband in the house!

  • admin

    YUM! I will def have to try the avocado thing. Going paleo this month and I am craving cheese and cracker, but I bet some avocado on these would for sure do the trick!!

  • jacque p

    Made these today and they turned out great! I did a different combination of seasonings but did everything else the same. These will definitely hit that “crunchy carb craving” spot. Thanks!!!

  • admin

    Tristan–yup, I stand corrected: not carb-free, just low carb. Nowhere near the amount in normal flour (about 180 grams of carbs in 2 cups of regular flour, by comparison). Also, I’d guess you wouldn’t eat the whole batch of crackers in one sitting, so a reasonable serving would likely be less than 10 carbs or so.

  • Isabel

    hi! I just want to ask how can it be guilt-free if 3 cups of almond flour is used? From what I know its 720 calories per cup of almond flour. Would you know how much is really made per batch and the calories. Thanks!

  • admin

    Hi Isabel–for me “guilt” + carbs :), so if I’m eating a snack (in moderation, of course) that limits them, I feel much less guilty. The paleo diet, which I “dabble in” asserts that healthy fats are good for you, and I whole-heartedly agree. In other words, I’m not really one for counting calories and fat so much as monitoring carbs and grains (that is, when I’m actually watching my diet, which admittedly isn’t all the time :). Plus, these babies are pretty filling–I’d be willing to bet you won’t be able to stomach nearly as many as you would eating from a box of cheeze-its!

  • Rebekah

    I replaced the Parmesan with 1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal, added 1/2 teaspoon salt (since I omitted the salty Parmesan), added another egg, and put in lots of herbs instead of the red pepper. They had a strong garlic rosemary flavor and were delicious! I made them thicker than called for because I like being able to scoop up dips. 🙂

  • Jenni

    Instead of using extra almond meal flour for the parmesan, substitute the same amount for nutritional yeast. You can buy it at your local health foods store or but it has a yummy cheese like flavor and works the same as Parmesan yet it is Paleo Friendly 🙂 Plus Nutritional Yeast has 8g of protein per 2 T, pretty neato if you ask me!

  • Wynonah D Bates

    If you’re paleo, can you use nutritional yeast for the parm to get the similar flavor without the dairy? Thanks!

  • BWB

    Probably, but you might need to experiment with using a little more egg to hold it together. Let me know how it turns out!

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