Kimmy, a professional vegan chef of over 10 years, shares her recipe for the best oat crackers on Earth. They are best eaten generously dipped in this creamy balsamic beet hummus.
A few weeks ago, my family went away for a weekend trip to Whistler. Admittedly, I wasn’t super keen on going because the weather forecast was rain, rain, more rain, plus some snow and I’d also be missing fun social events at home like birthday celebrations. I had concluded in my head it was the worst weekend to be out of town. But alas I went anyways and to my surprise, returned incredibly rejuvenated and inspired to share. And what better time than the holidays to share?
In preparation for this weekend getaway, I made sure to complete all my school work before departing. One cannot fully relax with to-do lists looming over their head. I’ve never been to Whistler in the fall and the internet did not yield much help when I was searching for ‘things to do in the fall’. The weather ended up being better than expected so when the rain ceased, we bundled up in our warmest clothes and went for a stroll outdoors. In the summer we tackle the more difficult hiking trails but since the forest trails would be too wet and the alpine trails too cold, we opted to just walk to Lost Lake on the first day and the Valley Trail system on the second day.
A few summers ago, my best friends and I went swimming at Lost Lake during the biggest thunderstorm of the year. We got a bit lost trying to find the path to Lost Lake (har har har) and the number of people we passed on the trail could be counted on ten fingers; not many people were as crazy as us to swim outdoors in the rain. Mid-October is especially quiet in Whistler, so the walk to Lost Lake felt oddly familiar. The tranquility of the woods with just the sound of gravel beneath our feet helped me clear my mind. I brought my camera with me so my mind was focused on finding the best photo spot with the prettiest autumn trees. My mission was to capture the perfect fall scene. In short, I was very happy with the outcome and the photos reminded me that beauty can be found anywhere, even among the dreariness of fall, as long as you take time to look. We usually zip along the Valley Trails on our bikes so walking it at a slower pace allowed us to admire the surrounding scenery: the snowline creeping down the mountains, the strips of yellow trees among the evergreens, the ripples in the river as it flowed downstream. It was so relaxing to be on the trails in silence, not rushed, soaking in endless nature. I suppose you can call this outdoor therapy.
In the evening, I spent a lot of time reading novels on the bunk bed of our vacation rental. Armed with a cup of hot tea or hot chocolate by my side, I had my nose in a book for more hours that weekend than ever before. I’m not much of a reader, but recently I’ve developed a fondness for leisure reading during vacations. Not textbooks or ‘heavy’ books that require a lot of thinking, just lighthearted, easy, fun books. I finished the final installment of Jenny Han’s Lara Jean books that weekend. Kind of funny that I started the series in August when Chew and I were in Whistler (yup, I go often) and finished the third and final book there too. I particularly enjoyed that series because myself and the main character, Lara Jean, overlap in many ways. We have hobbies for baking and scrapbooking, attach sentimental value to belongings, fear change in plans, and overall tend to overthink and keep emotions bottled up inside of us until we release them onto paper (or electronically in my case). So in a way, when I read those books, I live vicariously through Lara Jean and get a sense of what my life could possibly be like if I had 2 sisters, a widowed father, was half Korean half American, etc. I may or may not be slightly embarrassed of the fact I like teenage romance books. For me, it’s either that or cookbooks. I spent an entire afternoon inside the Whistler public library flipping through vegan cookbooks. I’m terrible at picking something to read so if ya’ll have suggestions for more ‘adult’ reading, please let me know. Self-help books and non-fiction are also interesting too.
Three days of solitude allowed me to distance myself from the demands of everyday life. I didn’t have a particular agenda to accomplish (other than buy breakfast from Purebread Bakery) so I had time to think about other things. About life. About what I wanted to share with the world. My brain came back charged with a list of blog post prompts in the same way I returned from Hawaii with a list of recipe ideas. These oat crackers have been patiently waiting to be shared, and I think it’s time the world learned about Kimmy’s famous oat crackers.
Who’s Kimmy? Kimmy was the head chef I worked with during my internship in Hawaii. She has an incredible culinary resume and chef’s intuition. With over 10 years of plant-based restaurant experience under her belt, every dish she crafted was phenomenal (and that is not an exaggeration). But in particular, her oat crackers were by far a crowd favourite. Dipped in homemade beet hummus and fresh guacamole, nothing trumps her oat crackers. Us interns would beg her to make crackers and dip for lunch at least once per week. On each intern’s last week, she’d let us make special requests for which dishes we wanted to have before we left the island. As her sidekick, I had learned how to make them yet I still requested for them to be on the menu. Funny enough, my ‘final exam’ (totally unofficial, Kimmy just decided to test me for fun) was to recreate these oat crackers with no help. That day, I didn’t tell anyone that I was the one who made them and waited to see if they could tell the difference between my crackers and Kimmy’s. They couldn’t, meaning I passed the test!
Kimmy has kindly allowed me to share her recipe wit ya’ll. She is releasing a cookbook soon and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. I was allowed to see photos of the recipes and there are some super incredible natural vegan foods in there! Inspiration from her time in Japan, Los Angeles, New York, and Hawaii has been infused into her perfected recipes. These oat crackers are not in her cookbook, which is why I can share them with you here!
The beauty of this oat cracker recipe is the ‘whatever floats your boat’ aspect. Any combination of nuts, seeds, and fresh herbs can be used. I choose walnuts, sesame seeds, and rosemary to match the earthy, winter-y vibe of the beet hummus. Kimmy’s favourite pairing is cashew and rosemary, and I also love sesame and fresh mint or dill! Since these crackers are gluten free, it is normal for a few to break. The crumbled pieces are like savoury granola and taste wonderful sprinkled over salads or stews for some extra crunch.
The holiday season is quickly approaching and soon we’ll be scurrying from one party to the next. Herby oat crackers and a fuchsia beet hummus will surely steal the spotlight on every appetizer table. Or bag the crackers up in pretty packaging and ribbon to gift to friends and family! Nothing beets (see what I did there?) homemade crackers and I’m sure you’ll be flagged down several times to be asked “are these homemade?” to which you can happily nod yes.
I’ve developed a liking towards making hummus with red lentils instead of chickpeas. Lentils cook much faster than chickpeas and omit the need to do the whole soak-overnight-then-slow-cook process. It also blends into a smoother hummus so it’s a win-win situation! Ok thanks for making it to the end of my essay. Enjoy Kimmy’s crackers and this beautiful balsamic beet hummus!
- 1 cup oat flour
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- ⅔ cup rolled oats
- 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- ¼ cup olive oil (or another plant-based oil)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup (or honey, if non-vegan)
- Water, as needed
- 1 medium beet, diced
- 2 cloves unpeeled garlic
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- 1 tbsp olive oil + more for roasting
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup tahini
- ½ tsp sea salt + more to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Balsamic glaze, to garnish
- CRACKERS: Preheat oven to 375°F and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the oat flour, flaxseed, rolled oats, walnuts, sesame seeds, baking powder, salt, and rosemary until roughly combined.
- Add the olive oil and maple syrup and mix until fully combined. The dough should be just wet enough to stick together when pressed between two fingers. If it is too dry, add water a teaspoon at a time.
- Transfer the dough onto the parchment paper and use your hands to flatten it to ¼ inch thick. Make sure there are no holes and the edges are not too thin.
- Use a sharp knife to cut about 1cm off the edges (so each cracker has clean edges). Cut the rest of the dough into 1 inch squares.
- Bake the crackers in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then rotate the pan and bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the middle looks dry.
- Cool completely before serving as the crackers are delicate when hot.
- HUMMUS: Increase oven temperature to 400°F and line a second baking tray with parchment paper.
- Toss diced beet and garlic cloves in a bit of oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Roast in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until fork-tender. When cool enough to handle, peel the cloves of garlic.
- Meanwhile, cook the lentils in a medium pot with a generous 3 cups of water according to package directions. Once cooked through, drain thoroughly.
- In a food processor, blend the cooked lentils, roasted beet, peeled garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and tahini. Adjust consistency and flavours by adding more oil, lemon juice or balsamic, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Serve hummus in a bowl surrounded by homemade oat crackers.