Do you have fond memories of stroking the tall, grassy head of your chia pet in junior high school? Did you know chia seeds are good for more than adding delightfully unexpected home décor?
Chia seeds are the acai berry, blueberry, broccoli super food of 2013. Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, but I primarily enjoy them for their versatility. Chia seeds are packed with fiber and omega-3s, which is key for most Americans who consume an improper balance of too many omega-6s, and too few omega-3s. (Want to know more? Read Grain Brain.) Chia seeds can absorb 12 times their weight in liquid, which some say helps it satiate you for longer.
All that great stuff aside, it has a very mild taste and texture (think tapioca) and it’s a snap to prepare. It does provide carbohydrates, but far less than a bowl of oatmeal. You can add it to smoothies, muffins and other dishes, but I primarily use it as a porridge (snack or breakfast) or pudding (snack or dessert).
So, here are some basics of working with chia seeds.
- Know the liquid to seed ratio. If you have this memorized, you can make all kinds of dishes with chia seeds. The base ratio is 3 tablespoons of chia seed to 1 cup of liquid. If you find this mixture is too thick or watery for you, add or reduce the liquid.
- Know the timing of chia seeds. The longer you let it sit, the more liquid is absorbed. You can mix up a batch of chia seed pudding and eat it a few hours later; however, I always set in the fridge overnight as I prefer those results. I mix my batches in a glass bowl or mason jar. One cup and 3 tablespoons of chia seeds usually gives me 2 servings with mix-ins.
Now that you know the most important things about chia seeds, time to get creative!
Your Recipe Starter:
- Chia seeds: You can pick these up at most grocery or natural food stores. I use white and black only to curb visual boredom; one does not taste different from the other.
- Liquid: I primarily use almond milk but you can use just about any liquid:
- Almond milk
- Coconut milk
- Soy milk (This doesn’t fit my dietary protocol, but I won’t judge)
- Add-ins: This is the fun part. Go sweet, savory, exotic – it’s up to you. Here are some ideas to get you started!
- Liquid: coconut oil, coconut cream, vanilla extract
- Crunch: almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, any nut butter, paleo grahams or cracker bits (recipe to come), flax meal
- Sweet: berries, mashed banana, shredded unsweetened coconut
- Treat: dark chocolate (70% or more) shavings or chips, unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon
- Spice: nutmeg, cumin, cayenne, mint
Here is my favorite go-to recipe, so you can see all the components together in one example.
Stir or shake:
- ½ cup almond milk (Almond Breeze – unsweetened)
- ½ coconut milk (full fat – 365 organic can is my go-to)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons white chia seeds
Let sit overnight in fridge.
When ready, scoop out half and mix in:
- ¼ cup raspberries
- ¼ cup crushed nuts
Stay tuned for more recipes using chia seeds and much more in the Start with Bacon food series! Please know I am not a food photographer, but I will do my best to take nosh-worthy shots in the future!
no gluten + no dairy + no gluten free grains + no FODMAPs no sugar or sweeteners + no artificial ingredients + low carb