Chia seeds prove that good things do come in small packages. We're talking antioxidants, complete protein, omega 3s, fibre, along with heavy doses of vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron! They also have very little flavour; so most people find them more palatable than flax seeds. Let's all get on the chia train, with these nine wonderful recipe ideas and one crafty idea for fun:
1. Sprinkle on salads for a satisfying crunch. You can also add the seeds directly to your salad dressing – chia seeds absorb up to 9 times their size in liquid making for voluminous dressing.
2. Bake with a chia egg. One egg is easily replaced with one tablespoon of ground chia powder and 3 tablespoons of water. Great for vegans or those who want to pump up the nutrition in their baked goods.
3. Thicken your soup or gravies. They don't have the lumpy effect of cornstarch and they're gluten-free.
4. Make chia fresca. Coconut water, a squeeze of lime juice, a few tablespoons of chia seeds and a tablespoon of liquid sweetener (like maple syrup) make for a natural energy drink that'll fuel your next heavy-on-the-cardio workout. The Aztecs saw chia as a running food for good reason (just be prepared for stares if you consume this at the gym – it looks like you're drinking bugs).
5. Voluminous smoothies. Soak chia seeds in almond milk and then stir into oatmeal or blend in a smoothie for more volume.
6. Granola crunching. The next time you make a batch of granola, add whole chia seeds to your recipe.
7. Fluffy eggs. Add some chia seeds to eggs (chia egg-meet regular egg) for a fluffy omelette with even more staying power.
8. Healthy breading. Chia seeds make an excellent breading for fish, chicken or tofu. The crust looks beautiful too!
9. Enjoy chia as dessert (yes please). Google chia pudding and chia ice cream – both are delicious.
10. How could we not? We had to give you the way to make your own chia pet. This is a great way to use up nylons that have a hole in them. Take your nylons (about one leg will do) and wet them. Sprinkle chia seeds inside. Then put some garden soil inside and use elastic bands to shape the animal (a caterpillar might be the easiest). Glue on button eyes and wait a week for your chia pet to grow.
A thickener, a binder, and a chia pet? Versatility at its best.