Spicy Sunflower Nori Crackers (Grain Free, Vegan)

Wow, it’s been a crazy few weeks since I returned back to work on March 1st. My, my–where has the time gone? Last night marked a true melding of my work with my avocation, with the first ever college-sanctioned tweet chat for my classes.  The students loved it (and I must admit I had fun), but it meant that this post was deferred until today.  And I’ve been itching to share this recipe!

So, are there any Mad Men fans out there?  On the season premier last Sunday, the ineffable Don Draper–that raven haired, steely eyed, cut-throat ad man with the not-so-washboard-abs–shocked his co-worker Peggy by doing something. . . nice. To what can we attribute this sudden transformation in Don (nee Dick)’s persona?  Well, rumor has it, the kinder, gentler Don is most likely due  to his new French-Canadian bride, Megan. Love heals all psychic wounds! (Well, and it doesn’t hurt to have a killer body in a micro-miniskirt, either).

The show got me thinking about that age-old concept of yin and yang.  You know the one–the ancient Chinese notion positing two complementary forces in our lives (and all of nature), which are natural opposites of each other: Yin is known as the calm, docile, damp, female aspect; while Yang is the fiery, passionate, bright, excitable, male one .  When I first learned about this theory, I was outraged at the ostensible sexism inherent in the ideas: as usual, females were pegged as “docile” and “calm” and “powerless.”  However, more research revealed that the traditional definition proposes both yin and yang in each of us; and, in an endless circle, they come together, move apart, come together again, all the while supporting each other. Each is necessary for the other to exist.  In other words, a perfect symbiosis bewtween equals.

When you think about it, there’s evidence of yin and yang all around us in the natural world: Morning and evening. Vinegar and oil (which actually go together well in salad dressings). Charcoal and Chalk.  Sugar and salt (which go together in many desserts). Summer and winter. Sweating and shivering. Elsie and Chaser. Corvette and Volvo. Love and marriage (which go together like a horse and carriage). The HH and me.

You get the idea.

So, despite her cheesy, ratings-booster rendition of Zou Bisou Bisou during which she twitched and flitted around the room like a boozed up butterfly, Megan, I’ve decided, is the perfect foil for Don.  She’s impassioned,  fiery (definitely some “masculine” yin in that lady) and unaffected; while Don is rendered calmer and more benign because of her presence, suggesting that he’s more of a complex human being and less of a wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s (albeit one with great hair).  It’s a win-yin situation all around.

Before I wrote up this recipe, I posted a teaser photo on Facebook (above) and asked readers to guess what these were.  I was tickled to see how many people guessed “dessert” for this recipe (I guess my reputation precedes me).  My favorite response came from Bob: “If it has to do with all 3 [parts of this blog’s name], then I guess its a rice cake with a carob spread on top but tastes terrible so you give it to the dog!”  Too funny, Bob. In fact, The Girls do tend to “test” almost everything I create (unless it contains onions, chocolate, raisins, or other dog-antipathetic ingredients).

(“We love being your taste-testers, Mum! Your food is delicious! Then again, we never bother to chew anything before we gulp it down, so we don’t actually know what it tastes like.”)

I consider these crackers a perfect embodiment of yin-yang principles in one food.  The black nori sheet provides the necessary backbone for the crunchy, spicy cracker portion to maintain its form.  Alternately, the grain- and nut-free, seed-based cracker is the perfect flavor foil to the seaweed: savory, spicy, and nubby-textured, the yang to the subtle umami nori (which also offers amazing nutritional properties, mega-mineral content and Omega 3 fats).  And, of course, each triangle visually evokes the yin-yang opposites beautifully with its black-and-beige color contrast.

I must admit that I blatantly copied the concept for these crackers from one of my favorite product lines,  Live Organic Raw, which are produced alongside their restaurant of the same name here in Toronto.  The HH and I both adore them, but at more than $1.00 (Cdn) per cracker, we just can’t buy them as often as we’d like. My version isn’t raw simply because I no longer have a dehydrator; but they could easily be made that way if you’re willing to dehydrate long enough to achieve the same effect.

If you’re feeling impatient for these snacks to bake, tap into the yin side of your personality (calm, slow, still) while you wait.

Or, you could just sing a few bars of Zou Bisou Bisou.

I’m sharing this post with Allergy Friendly Wednesdays and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

Other Snacks or Seaweed-Based Recipes:

Grain-Free Hazelnut-Cilantro Crackers (gluten free; ACD all stages)

Spicy Nori Chips (gluten free; ACD all stages)

Kale and Seaweed Salad (gluten free; ACD all stages)

Crunchy Stalks and Branches (gluten free; ACD all stages)

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  1. I love being inspired by raw restos… and I am so glad you were able to devise your own way to make these crackers. 🙂 I had no clue what they were when you posted your teaser but this is a great treat!

  2. Cool! I thought it was chocolate. 😉

  3. Ricki, first off YEEEESSS!! Huge Mad Men fan on this end (so is my husband). We don’t own a TV so we had to wait and buy the episode and watch it on-line, and it was so worth the wait. That show is the best, no?

    I love how you brought everything full circle here with the show, the energies and the treats. Very true on all levels. I have to agree that we all posses the two energies. But if we were just going on the description alone, I would fit Yang and my husband the Yin. We are opposites in many respects but we are best friends, compliment each other very well, and work excellent as a team. He loves my energetic spirit and I love his even keel. It’s perfect.

    Thanks for this great recipe, Ricki. I do the same thing with some raw foods, as I find making them is much, MUCH more cost effective. We have some super yummy crackers at my Coop but I had to make my own (see link below). Too expensive and I hate the plastic waste.

    I always enjoy reading your posts, Ricki! Thank you for sharing (and fun to know you’re a MM fan). Have a great rest of your week.

    Be Well,


    • Amber, that’s funny–it was my hubby who introduced me to the show, too, and I just love it now. As for the yin/yang descriptions, they are very basic–and I do agree that we all have some of each within us! Thanks for the link. More raw foods, please! 🙂

  4. I love the look of the ingredients in these – sunflower seeds plus seaweed plus cayenne has me completely captivated.

    We are very far behind in Mad Men (we’re very far behind in all TV series!) but definitely like it 🙂

  5. Fantastic recipe! I have been thinking a lot lately about the nori rolls we both made because I’m modifying them for a new recipe. This is on the same theme 🙂

  6. Could there be an easier recipe? And this one is so different!! These crackers would be great with a great big salad and an Asian salad dressing, don’t you think? Yum!!!

    • Ellen, I think that meal combo would be divine! The crackers are easy but it’s tough to wait until they’re ready! 😉 And they are really quite filling all on their own, because of the sunflower seeds.

  7. I don’t know, I still found Don to be really mean! I couldn’t believe how rude he was to Megan after she tried to celebrate his b-day like that. I’ve always thought he was a jerk though, so maybe there’s no saving his image for me haha.
    Love the crackers, too!!

    • Actually, good point about his being insensitive after the party! But then he rushed home to see her when he found out from Peggy that she went home feeling sick. . . to me, the show is trying to show us that Don actually loves this woman and may in fact change because of her. Just imagine, a NICE Don! He might just be the perfect guy at that point! 😉

  8. Love Mad Men! Although I’m disappointed that Betty won’t be in it very much, from what I’ve heard anyway. Me and the hubby spent the hiatus catching up on the first two seasons, so now I’m up to date on all the Mad Men history. I’m curious to see where they’re going to take it with Don and his progressive new wife.
    This is an interesting combination of ingredients, when I first saw the picture I thought for sure that was chocolate and not nori! I’d be very curious to try them as I’ve only ever had nori in sushi form.

    • Me, too, about Betty. But the real person, January Jones, has a baby now, so who knows if that’s why? And it’s hard to believe that actors waited around for 18 months with no work just so they could go back to the show once the writers finally started up again! And funny about the chocolate (I guess that’s what people have come to expect from me!). In this recipe, you don’t really taste the nori. . . once it’s crisped up, it’s just like part of the cracker. 🙂

  9. RICKI! I love the look of these babies- my mouth is watering already. Thanks for sharing, will have to start messing up the kitchen testing my own!

  10. These are so awesome Ricki! And so simple. I love getting inspiration for store-bought yumminess! And LIVE is full of inspiration. Will you still like me even though I don’t watch Madmen? We tried, but couldn’t get into it…but I sure love you 🙂

    • I agree–LIVE is sooooo inspiring! Jennifer is a raw foods genius (have you tried their Joe Louis desserts??? Incredible). And of course I still love you, Don Draper or no Don Draper! Just don’t ever tell me you don’t like chocolate, okay? 😉

  11. Love the nori, I’ll use any excuse to eat more. We’re not big cracker eaters here (post this week notwithstanding), but these sound so easy and delicious.

    • They are indeed very easy (though a bit fussy to spread the mixture on the nori). Think of them as giant nori chips if it makes them more appetizing! 😉

  12. Aack! Don’t get mad at me but I have not gotten into Mad Men…but…I have to say that this recipe sounds absolutely divine!! I love the flavor combos! And I LOVE creating recipes inspired from my favorite restaurants. 🙂

    • It’s fun to recreate restaurant stuff at home, isn’t it? I do love their recipes (and the dehydrated ones from the store are a wee bit different, of course), but still so gratifying to do it at home!

  13. oh my goodness, these sounds awesome! i’ve been crazy for nori lately and will enjoy trying this switch up from my usual maki fix. is braggs or tamari an easy substitute for the coconut aminos? i can’t get them here…

    • Jess, yes, you can absolutely use Bragg’s or tamari. I had a bottle of coconut aminos that I bought and was just experimenting. I think the flavor is a bit more pronounced with the coconut aminos, but not all that different! 🙂

  14. These are so yummy-looking! I love nori and was just thinking about how I need to use it more often. What a great way to do so!

  15. Christine R. says

    Now these look awesome. Since I can’t do grains or legumes, it’s great to see seaweed recipes that aren’t Sushi or totally Asian. I’m forwarding the email to some friends I know will appreciate this!

  16. Tasty sea veggie crackers–yes please! These are brilliant Ricki (as are all your recipes!). I was just reading an article today that reminded me I need to include more sea vegetables in my diet. And I haven’t seen MM, but I keep hearing about it. I think some MM watching is in store for this weekend 🙂

    • I’m the same with sea veggies–I enjoy them but always forget to add more! So these come in handy. 🙂 If you watch MM, be sure to start at the beginning–there are lots of twists and turns that would be meaningless otherwise!

  17. Quick question, does the recipe call for 1 – 1 1/4 cups of sunflower seeds or 1 + 1/4? …

  18. You’ve addressed two favorites of mine in this post — Mad Men and nori. The crackers sound great to me. I wonder if my husband will eat them; he’ll eat sushi but won’t eat nori under any other circumstances.

    • Hmmmm. . . .I wonder if there’s a way to feed them to him without his knowing they’re nori? (Maybe upside down?). Hee hee! And glad you’re a fan of MM, too!

  19. Ricki you are such an inspiration!
    I already made some Rosemary Almond Crackers (my latest post) that were partially based on your Hazelnut-Cilantro Crackers and being in full cracker making mode, today I put together some Sesame Almond Crackers that are vegan and now I’m going to have to run out and buy some Nori so I can make some of these!
    Not sure I can wait the whole length of time it takes to bake them tho. You might find me trying to sneak a bite before they’ve finished 🙂

    • Aw, thanks, Laureen! 😀 Let me forewarn you: these do NOT taste as good raw, or partly baked!! I found the raw onion in them overpowering until they were crisp (and the onion browns a wee bit). But go ahead and nibble if you think you’d like them! 🙂 I’m off to check out your Rosemary Almond ones.

  20. Ricki! I’m always amazed by your recipes! I love this idea!

    I’ve only just become aware of Mad Men this last week ..I think it’s been hidden away on BBC4 and I rarely get chance to watch TV anyway! I must find time to watch it!

  21. i love sunflower nori snacks! there’s a local company here that makes some, so good. i was planning on doing some of these crackers with my leftover sunflower seed pate and nori sheets but we ate most of it fresh. oh well, next time.

    funny how you worked mad men into it. i am interested to see how the season pans out.

  22. Wow these look really interesting! I love sunflower seeds and imagine the onion makes everything even more delicious. I’ve never seen a cracker recipe with onion in it like that.

    • After it’s baked, the onion adds a delicious flavor–just like caramelized onions! But don’t try tasting it raw. . . yuck. 😉

  23. I would have guessed chocolate covered rice krispie slice! Because even when I saw the title of the post on my blog reader I expected the nori to be mixed in – but I think I would love these. And am glad to know that at least you have some interesting food to comfort you in your return to work after your bread

  24. Yahoo!!! Our family loves these crackers, but they are so expensive that I feel guilty buying them, even once in a blue moon. When I first looked at the picture of the cracker, I thought that it looked like the ones we like. And then I read that it was a copy of the ones I love. I am so excited! Thank you!

    • Yay! Glad to hear you’re a fan, too! I felt the same way about the price, though (sorry, Live). These aren’t identical since they’re not dehydrated, but they are darned close! 🙂

  25. These look great! Thanks for all the recipes Ricki. Your website has been such a gift!

  26. These look awesome – I’ve been trying to get away from processed and refined flours, but I’m always in need of something crunchy so these would be perfect!

  27. Thanks so much for the recipe! I love these and end up splitting these with a co-worker because they are so expensive! I recently tried the curried pumpkin one and love it too. Have you tried making those as well? Do you know what temp you would use for a dehydrator?

    Much thanks,


    • Thanks so much, Shilpa! I am not sure since I no longer have a dehydrator, but I’d say 2-3 times the baking time should do it. You can just look at it every hour or so and test the dryness–once they’re dry, they’re done. 🙂

  28. I made these today and they are fantastic! I’ve never seen crackers like this – what a great recipe.


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