Vegan Staples: Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds are Nutritious

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Chia seeds, slightly enlarged in this photo to show detail.

Chia seeds (salvia hispanica) are cultivated in Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia, and Guatemala. Historically, chia seeds were highly valued in pre-contact Aztec culture. These tiny, oval, dark-coloured seeds are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, and a good source of thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and folate. Chia seeds are also very high in calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. Incorporating chia seeds into your diet would be a good thing.

Chia seeds love to absorb liquids. They can absorb up to 12 times their weight if you place them in a liquid. It is fascinating how the chia seeds eventually develop a gel-like coating which produces an overall gelatinous texture in the medium. This characteristic of chia seeds enables ground chia seeds to be used as an egg substitute for binding. Chia seeds add a gel consistency to beverages if left to stand. The more chia seeds that you add, the thicker the consistency.

Chia Seeds as Egg Replacer

I wrote about vegan egg substitutions previously, here. To substitute for one egg, simply grind 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. In a small bowl or cup, put in 3 tablespoons of water. Mix in the ground chia seeds, stirring with a fork. Wait for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken. Now you have an excellent vegan egg substitute for binding.

Chia Seeds in Smoothies

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Chia seeds can be wonderful in smoothies.

Smoothies and other beverages can become more interesting and nutritious when you add chia seeds to them. You can simply add the seeds to your usual blend, but keep in mind that if you let the mixture sit for a while, your smoothie will become gelatinous. To mitigate this potential issue, just add more liquid to the mixture. You may adjust the thickness to your liking.

Chia Seeds as a Topping

When you have your oatmeal, granola, or yogourt, you can throw on some chia seeds to top things off.

Chia Seed Pudding

This is my favourite way to use chia seeds.

Raspberries Sweet Dessert Chia Seeds Delicious

Chia seed pudding! You can serve it in so many ways.

There are many ways to make chia seed pudding, but I’ve included a recipe here for Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding.  You can omit the cacao or cocoa powder and add more vanilla extract if you don’t want a chocolate flavour on some days.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) soy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1/3 cup (63 g) chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup (24 g) cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6-10 pitted dates (more if you like it even sweeter)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, add 1/2 tsp of ground ginger
Directions
  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, except for the dates. Mix well.
  2. Place the mixture in the refrigerator overnight, covered. If you need this sooner, make sure that the seeds have soaked for at least for 4-5 hours. You need the consistency to be like pudding.
  3. Place the mixture into a blender, and add the dates. Add more dates if you desire more sweetness. Blend until it is smooth.
  4. Serve cold with fruit, chocolate shavings, coconut flakes, etc.

This makes approximately four servings. Any leftovers should keep in the fridge for 3 days.

Have fun with your chia seeds and enjoy!