How to Eat Chia Seeds: 10 Ways to Use Chia That Won't Gross You Out!
For most of us, the idea of eating plain chia seeds or pure chia gel is, simply put, gross. Even though the ancient Aztec warriors – the first proponents of the positive effects of chia on health – consumed these super-seeds mixed with just water, few people in modern times have taste buds that can handle the slimy, flavorless gel made by soaking chia seeds in plain water. With your palate in mind, we compiled a list of tried-and-tested ways to use chia seeds and chia gel that won't gross you out. So, here it is – our top 10 tips on how to eat chia seeds or gel:
Unless you live in the tropics, the price of a single passion fruit is likely to make you skip this beloved culinary treat. But there's a way to get around this problem: add chia seeds to a glass of passion fruit juice, which is generally much cheaper than whole passion fruits, and wait for at least 15 minutes. You'll be surprised how similar the consistency of this mixture is to fresh passion fruits.
Chia gel, made by soaking whole chia seeds in water for at least 15 minutes, can be used as a thickening agent for soups and stews. This is an excellent way for celiacs and people with a corn allergy, who cannot use regular flour and cornstarch to thicken soups and stews, to add body to their dishes. To protect the nutrients in chia, add the chia gel to the soup or stew toward the end of the cooking time.
Most people find chia seeds more palatable when these little powerhouse seeds are toasted instead of soaked. Toasted, chia seeds are commonly used to add crunch and nutrition to salads. Keep in mind, though, that eating dry chia seeds may cause constipation, so be sure to wash down your meal with plenty of water.
Lacking ideas for healthy breakfast dishes that will give you energy for the whole day? Try this: In a food processor or blender, mix soaked chia seeds with srawberries, stoned cherries, raspberries or any other fruit you like. The resulting chia & fruit jam is a lot like regular jam – except that it is healthier as it is made with fresh fruit and contains no added sugar. Add the chia jam to your oatmeal or yogurt for a sweet and delicious treat.
Yet another way to use chia to supercharge your breakfast is to add chia gel to your omelet batter. Simply add a few spoonfuls of chia gel to beaten eggs, mix the batter thoroughly, and fry your omelet as usual. Note that while chia seeds are tasty in omelets, they are not well suited for scrambled eggs.
Not only are they a good complement to eggs, chia seeds also make a good egg substitute for use in baking. To replace one large egg in your recipe, use a mixture of one tablespoon of ground chia seeds and three tablespoons of water. Ground chia seeds are available at many health food markets, or you can make your own by grinding whole chia seeds in a pepper mill.
In Australia, commercial chia bread is widely available, but if you don't happen to live Australia (or you simply prefer the aroma and taste of homemade bread), take heart: making your own chia bread is easy as pie. Simply replace a small portion of the flour your favorite bread recipe calls for with ground chia seeds.
Chia seed gel is an ideal ingredient for healthy puddings. Here's a basic recipe for a healthy chia pudding, that doesn't taste too bad, either: Mix 3 tablespoons of whole chia seeds with 1 cup of almond milk and 1 teaspoon of powdered vanilla. Sweeten the pudding with honey before refrigerating it for at least two hours. Serve with chopped fruit.
If you get bored with eating chia seeds day in day out, here's an alternative use for chia seeds that will also help fulfill your nutritional needs: Get a small, shallow tray and fill it with organic potting soil suitable for growing herbs. Next, sprinkle food-grade chia seeds (don't use seeds labeled "for decorative use") over the potting soil.
Place the tray next to a sunny window, and keep the soil moist but not soggy (check daily). In a few days, your chia seeds will start sprouting. When they reach a few inches in height, your chia microgreens are ready for harvest. Use your home-grown chia microgreens to add flavor and texture to salads, sandwiches, green smoothies, and cold soups.
Using soaked chia seeds in smoothies is probably the best known use of chia. While practically any fruit can be combined with chia seeds in smoothies, one fruit you should definitely try is kiwifruit. Not only will you be rewarded with a delicious smoothie, you will also be nourishing your body with an extra dose of omega-3s. Both chia seeds and kiwi seeds are loaded with these super-healthy fatty acids. To learn more about how omega-3 fatty acid in chia can give your health a real boost, continue to the article Are Chia Seeds Good for You?.
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