Your whole food, plant-based life.

Cruciferous Crackers (Raw)

Talk about an “aha” moment. I was listening to one of our favorites, Dr. Greger of NutritionFacts.Org talk about ways to cook broccoli so that you get the biggest bang for your buck. He mentioned (say that with an elongated meeeennnnnntioned) that one of the most potent cancer fighting antioxidants, sulforaphane that broccoli contains is actually bioavailable in raw broccoli, not cooked. Unless you chop the broccoli, let it sit for 45 minutes and then cook it.

Romanesco Broccoli


Broccoli contains an enzyme that needs to be present to activate sulforaphane. The whole reaction happens when the broccoli starts breaking down, like when you chew it. The enzyme is released, it activates the sulforaphane and presto, a super cancer fighting, cancer protecting, brain protecting, body protecting antioxidant, sulforaphane is activated. Here’s kicker. Cook that broccoli first and the enzyme gets destroyed and that wonderful cancer fighting antioxidant never gets activated. Three cheers for raw.

Dr. Greger goes on to explain that you can still get the benefits of sulforaphane if you pre-chop the broccoli, let it sit for 40 minutes as the enzyme does it’s thing. At that point, you can cook it and get the benefits.  I am still saying, three cheers for raw. Because we can just make a wonderful salad with raw broccoli and the wonderful deed is done.

I am not sure why, but this really lifted my spirits. Raw takes so much heat for not being based in science. And granted, many claims that have been made cannot be scientifically backed up. It’s a drag because people want to point a finger and say, “See! Raw isn’t any better” basically throwing the baby out with the bath water. One negative does not delete all the positive.

I love hearing positive, scientific backed facts that support adding raw food to our diets is good for us. And in this case, it looks like we should be eating a good portion of our cruciferous vegetables raw.

This is what I do. I eat both. Cooked kale will give you tons more vitamin K than raw. But raw kale will give you wonderful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that cooking destroys. If you eat both, you get the best of both worlds. I always refer to it as the biggest nutritional bang for your buck. Eat food that energizes and heals our bodies. Eat foods that help protect us from all of the environmental hazards we encounter daily.

You can read more about Dr. Greger’s research on broccoli here: How to Cook Broccoli

Cruciferous Crackers Raw and Vegan

I have really been trying to incorporate a lot more cruciferous veggies into our daily eating. They are the power houses of health and the great soldiers for fighting disease. I can make salads, soups, and veggie dishes for the dinner table but what about turning them into a snack? That is exactly what I did with these crackers. The first batch is made from Romanesco Broccoli and the second is made from orange cauliflower! I will be bringing you the cauliflower recipe later in the week.

Romanesco is a cruciferous vegetable. It is a member of the brassica oleracea family. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale are some of the other members of this family. It is also called Romanesco Broccoli and Romanesco Cauliflower. It’s flavor is more mild than broccoli. You are probably wondering why romanesco instead of broccoli after all the previous rambling. Simple, it showed up in my CSA box. And if you don’t have romanesco, you can easily substitute broccoli! The good news is that it has many of the same health giving properties as broccoli.

For this recipe, your food processor is your best friend. A quick whirl, a spread on the non-stick sheet and a good overnight dehydration gives you light, airy, healthy, tasty crackers. They passed the taste approval here as I am noticing that there are not many left!

Looking for some great raw broccoli recipes? We have some here:

Broccoli Mushroom Stir-Fry

Broccoli Raisin Salad

Avocado Mango Broccoli Salad

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  1. Jikan wrote on June 14, 2016

    Hi, do you know how long there would take using an oven instead of dehydrator? Thanks

    • Susan wrote on June 14, 2016

      Hi, Jikan, I have not had a lot of luck baking raw recipes. The texture just doesn’t work. The recipes are made for the dehydrator and dehydrators work very differently than ovens. Cheers!

      • Jen wrote on June 21, 2017

        This is the first recipe I have tried from your site and am looking forward to trying many more 🙂
        I enjoyed the taste of the recipe, but for some reason the crackers did not adhere together. Do you have any suggestions to solve this issue? I used the broccoli stem and flower; and omitted coconut aminos. Thank you.

        • Susan wrote on June 21, 2017

          Hi, Jen, If you omit a liquid, you have to replace it with something. That 3 tablespoons can be important! Cheers!

  2. Lauren Deegan wrote on April 10, 2016

    Could not get my hands on any romanesco so had to do with broccoli. I am definitely making these again.

    • Susan wrote on June 14, 2016

      So glad you liked the recipe!

  3. Kim wrote on March 20, 2016

    Hi Susan! Great recipe. How long would they last once dehydrated? Kim

    • Susan wrote on March 23, 2016

      If stored properly, and they are very dry, a couple of weeks. Cheers!

  4. Gill Passingham wrote on March 20, 2016

    Hi, I have been a vegetarian for 30+ years but 6 months ago become Vegan.
    I love all fruits and veg and want to eat as fresh as possible. Your recipes look amazing. I see lots of recipes using dehydration, can you tell me if I need a dehydration machine, or do the sheets work as well. I don’t want to spend lots of machine.
    Look forward to hearing from you.


    • Susan wrote on March 23, 2016

      Hi, Gillian, I am not sure what you mean by “the sheets”. Can you elaborate? Thanks!

  5. Angela Becker wrote on March 18, 2016

    Susan, I recently spent a week at Optimum Health Institute where I was introduced to many new things including dehydrating, sprouting and your website. My first try at dehydrating was to make your cruciferous crackers. I took them to work and my staff (not the healthiest bunch!) went crazy for them. They were asking me if I would make them more if they bought me the ingredients. I am so happy to be learning new, healthy habits and recipes and especially to be able to share them with others. Also, I just wanted to tell you how beautiful I think your website is!! Your photography is amazing! And from the few recipes I have tried so far they are just as tasty as they are beautiful!!

    • Susan wrote on March 18, 2016

      Thank you so much, Angela! It is so wonderful to hear such nice words. I appreciate it! 🙂

  6. Christine wrote on March 2, 2016

    Just made these yesterday and they are so tasty! I subbed almonds for hazelnuts. I recommend spreading these a little thicker than you think you need to so that the cracker comes out solid. Very yummy! Thank you!

    • Susan wrote on March 18, 2016

      You are welcome, Christine!

  7. katie webb wrote on February 27, 2016

    hi – do you think i could substitute sprouted broccoli seeds in this, and if so, should i use the same amount? thanks

  8. Jo-Anne wrote on February 20, 2016

    The crackers are in the dehydrator now. They’re done but we want them to crisp up a bit more. I could not find romanesco so I used organic broccoli. The crackers have a nice earthy taste and are very filling. The colour darkens and improves with dehydration. I like to rotate ingredients so having a recipe without flaxseeds is a welcome change. Thank you, Susan. Adding chopped hazelnuts was an inspired idea!
    If anyone wants to try recipes in their oven before buying a dehydrator press the Keep Warm and Less buttons to reduce the temperature to 145. It’s not quite the same but worth a try!

  9. Susan wrote on February 20, 2016

    Quartered onion stirred in? Or should be finely chopped?

    • Susan wrote on February 22, 2016

      Hi, Susan, Finely chopped. Thanks!


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