Have you been wondering how to use chia seeds? Well, the opportunities are endless so we’ve put together some easy and creative ideas!
Chia seeds have been revered by the Maya and Aztec for their amazing energy and healing powers. One tablespoon of chia seeds was considered capable of sustaining a warrior for up to 24 hours. Today, chia is the force behind long distance runners, professional athletes, celebrity chefs and more!
Neutral in flavor, chia seeds can be added to virtually any recipe for a nutritional boost! Just one tablespoon of chia provides 2430mg Omega-3s, as well as 16% of your daily recommended value of fiber, protein and more! In a gram for gram comparison, chia has…
- 8x more Omega-3s than salmon
- 25% more fiber than flaxseed
- 2x more potassium than bananas
- 6x more calcium than milk
According to Janie Hoffman’s The Chia Cookbook, “Chia has unique characteristics that make it a dream ingredient. Just a few tablespoons of the seeds have the potential to transform the texture, lower the calorie count, and enhance the visual appeal of a recipe. Cook with chia and you’ll not only get the benefits of this nutritional power-house, you’ll also delight in sumptuous, flavorful, satisfying foods.”
Here are some simple and delicious (and fun!) ways to use chia seeds below. Enjoy!
How to Use Chia Seeds in Cooking
According to The Chia Cookbook, “Chia may look like the other seeds in your spice rack, but it’s best to think about this member of the mint family (its botanical name is Salvia Hispanica) as a food rather than a garnish or flavoring. In fact, chia is a whole food, and its qualities are distinctly different from anything else in your cupboard.” Unlike flaxseeds, chia does not need to be ground in order to benefit from the nutrients. However, keep in mind that both whole and ground chia are nutritiously the same.
Chia as a flour substitute
Milled chia is a great substitute for all-purpose flour in a variety of recipes. Use milled chia to thicken soups, mix it with bread crumbs to coat chicken or fish, or use it as a flour replacement in baking! You can even mill your own chia at home with a coffee grinder!
Chia as an egg substitute
“Chia eggs” are probably one of the best ways to use chia in cooking or baking! When chia is hydrated to the right consistency, it forms a gel that’s as thick and smooth as an egg. This makes it a perfect egg replacement in baking, an excellent binder in recipes like meatballs, or an egg “extender” for frittatas and omelets. To replace one large egg, combine one tablespoon of chia seeds with three tablespoons of room-temperature water. Whisk together and let sit until it forms into a gel.
Tip: think beyond water! Using juice, broth, almond, coconut or dairy milk to hydrate the chia will add more flavor to whatever dish you’re creating. Always be sure to use room-temperature gels! Cold liquids can make the gelling process take longer.
More ways to use chia gel
For smoothies, cocktails, and soups, use a thin chia gel by whisking together 2 tablespoons of chia seeds with 1 cup of room-temperature water. More ideas for that are below!
How to Use Chia Seeds in Baking
Photo Credit: The Chia Cookbook
According to The Chia Cookbook, replace up to one-quarter of the flour called for in a recipe with milled chia. This will give your baked goods a healthy makeover, raising their fiber, protein and Omega-3s.
When using chia gel to replace an egg in baking, it will add water to your recipe, which can result in slightly moister baked goods. Try adding chia to your next loaf of banana bread! If you’re aiming for a drier texture, simply add a few minutes to the baking time to allow the excess liquid to evaporate.
How to Use Chia Seeds- Chia Pudding
Chia pudding might be one of the most traditional ways to use chia. It’s so easy to make, we can see why! A creamy chia pudding makes a wonderful breakfast that’s packed with Omega-3s and complete protein to keep you energized throughout the day. Similar to chia gel, combine 1/2 cup of chia seeds with 2 cups milk of choice. Add in your choice of sweetener, extracts or spices; whether it’s cinnamon, vanilla, honey, maple syrup, etc. the opportunities are endless! Whisk all ingredients together, let sit overnight in the refrigerator, and wake up to a beautiful breakfast the next day (makes 4 servings)! Top with fresh fruit or layer it with granola to make a beautiful parfait.
How to Use Chia Seeds in Drinks
Photo Credit: The Chia Cookbook
Chia is a delightful way to add a nutritional boost to your shakes, smoothies or cocktails! Tip: be careful not to add dry chia seeds to your drinks, as it may cause further thickening. When chia seeds are fully hydrated, they won’t cause further thickening to the beverage to which you add them. For best results, use chia gel in smoothies, shakes and cocktails.
How to Use Chia Seeds as a Garnish
Photo Credit: The Chia Cookbook
Chia seeds are wonderful for garnishing any meal! Add a visually pleasing contrast by sprinkling chia seeds over curries and soups! Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons on top of a salad to give it a nice crunch. Whisk chia into your yogurt or sprinkle it on your ice cream. Spread some on top of a bagel with cream cheese, or mix them into a stir-fry or pasta sauce. Mixing chia into condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salsa, guacamole, relish and vinaigrettes will make them go farther, increase their nutrients, and cut their fat and calorie content! Plus, by adding volume to condiments and dressings, chia can also help you consume less sugar, a common ingredient in prepared foods. The opportunities are truly endless!
How to Use Chia Seeds for Your Work Out
This is my metabolic smoothie! Perfect in the morning to get my body ready to WORK! ? The amount of apple cider vinegar here will vary from person to person…if you’re not used to super sour flavors, then start small and work your way up! Otherwise, it’s creamy, slightly sweet, and thick thanks to the coconut milk and the chia seeds from @mammachia! #cheapcleaneats #blogilates
As mentioned above, chia seeds are a wonderful source of complete protein. A complete protein (or whole protein) is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans. To make the most of your workout, aim to eat a chia protein shake within an hour after your workout. This can help reduce inflammation as well as build and repair muscle tissue.
Chia seeds are also an excellent way to stay hydrated! When chia seeds are placed in water, they can swell up to 12x their normal size. This means that you’ll reap the benefits of that additional H2O when you eat them, thus helping you stay hydrated for a longer period of time.
Chia seeds are often used by runners to avoid leg cramping and reduce inflammation and joint pain!
How to Use Chia Seeds for Beauty
A diet rich in healthy fatty foods can help you achieve beautiful hair, skin and nails. In addition to eating chia seeds for their Omega-3 benefits, you can place them directly onto your hair and skin for added benefits! Incorporate them into your next face mask, like this Chia Green Tea Face Mask for an ultra hydrating and energizing lift to your skin!
Or combine them with hydrating ingredients like aloe and honey to create this ultra luxe leave-in hair treatment.
Who knew such a tiny little seed could be utilized in so many magical ways! We hope you found this guide useful and would love to hear your thoughts! Do you have any tips and tricks on how to use chia seeds? Email us your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org! We are looking forward to hearing from you!