Pros: Low-calorie, nonfat, high fiber, versatile for toppings.
Cons: No hint of flavor at all. None.
I am nothing if not curious. After covertly observing a coworker of mine, who invariably makes little open-faced sandwiches for lunch each day with Wasa crispbread, cold cuts, and cheese or veggies, I got to wondering what was so great about these odd-looking crackers, and whether they would help me with my chronic bread addiction. Seeing them on sale at the grocery store sealed the deal, and I triumphantly brought them home, ready to watch the pounds melt off as I nibbled on Swedish crackers.
Here’s what Wasa says about their products: “Wasa Crispbreads are the healthy alternative to bread. They have the delicious, crisp texture of a cracker, are made with whole grains and low in fat, and they'll leave you feeling satisfied. Available in a variety of flavors, Wasa Crispbreads are versatile, healthy and delicious and can be eaten instead of bread at breakfast, lunch and dinner, or as a light snack. Or use Wasa to replace crackers with soups, salads, or your favorite toppings. When you combine the crunch of Wasa Crispbread with savory spreads, meat, cheese, or fruits and vegetables, the delicious and healthy recipe options are endless.”
Wasas come in a waxed-paper brick with minimally wasteful packaging, which is a little strange to us Americans. You tear open the paper and there they are! Which means you’ll have to store the package in a plastic bag or transfer the crackers to a Tupperware container (which is what I did). Because the wrapper is the exact size of the product, it feels like you’re getting a lot, unlike the half-filled plastic inner bags we’re used to seeing inside cracker boxes.
A serving size is two crackers (each cracker is roughly the size of a graham cracker), but since they weigh in at 30 calories each, you could go nuts and double up on the portion size without feeling too much guilt. The cracker is not terribly attractive – it’s a dusty, pockmarked light grey with an internal structure that reminds me of corrugated cardboard. In fact, it’s best not to look too closely at it at all, and proceed straight to the delicious toppings.
Wasas come in a variety of flavors, but I started off with Light Rye because I’m a rye fan. Let me tell you, though, this rye is so light it’s practically nonexistent. In fact, when I eat a plain Wasa (which I don’t really recommend), there’s basically no flavor at all. This might be different with the multi-grain or “hearty” flavors, but the Wasa website is pretty upfront about Wasa being a flavorless vehicle for toppings. According to them, you can use Wasa anywhere you would normally use bread, but I’m not sure I agree. For crumbling up in soups, snacking with dip, or slipping into recipes in place of breadcrumbs, sure. But sometimes you just want a fluffy, flavorful, SOFT slice of bread, and Wasa can’t do that.
So far, I’ve tried topping Wasas with cream cheese, sliced Gouda, and marmalade, all of which tasted pretty good. The Wasa website has some snack suggestions that sound quite tasty, too: feta, cherry tomatoes, and red onion; hummus and cucumber; peanut butter and banana; avocado and cream cheese. For breakfast, try smoked salmon and cream cheese, or yogurt and fresh berries. For lunch, you could do sliced turkey with avocado and tomato, or tuna salad. At dinner, toast up some Parmesan Herb Wasa or Garlic Wasa in place of your bread or rolls.
I think these crispbreads have a lot of potential for times when you’d normally be mindlessly eating bread – like my coworker who uses them for sandwiches. Pasta dinners feel joyless without garlic bread, but garlic parmesan crispbread would fill that need fairly painlessly (and much more nutritiously). They’re also good for tricking yourself into eating veggies and healthy toppings as a snack, since they provide that all-important crunchiness that really makes something feel satisfying. They can be a bit expensive – from $3 to $4 for a package of 32 crackers – but given that you get 16 servings in a box, that’s pretty affordable. Wasa supplies the low-calorie, high-fiber nutrition, but the flavor is up to you.
Serving Size: 2 Slices (17g)
Servings Per Container: about 16
Calories from Fat: 0
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans fat 0g
Total Carbohydrate 14g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Ingredients: whole grain rye flour, water, salt