Chia seeds—the very same used to grow Chia Pets—are widely recognized as superfoods and are cherished by vegans for their high Omega-3 fatty acid content. That makes them a perfect alternative to fish, without the drawbacks of animal cruelty and mercury exposure. One tablespoon of Chia seeds has more calcium than a glass of milk, more antioxidants than a bar of chocolate and more Omega-3’s than a serving of salmon.
Chia seeds have the unique property of being hydrophilic, enabling them to absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid and to become gelatinous. The unique gel texture can be used to make a wide variety of creative vegan foods. Here are four favorites to get you started:
Mix two cups coconut or nut milk with ½ cup chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or agave nectar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract. Mix and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or up to several days). Dig in and enjoy!
Give your morning cereal a boost by adding chia seeds. You can simply sprinkle some seeds over your cereal, or create a nutrient-dense gluten-free cereal by forgoing cereal together and instead combining a few tablespoons of chia seeds with fresh fruit, raisins and nut milk. If you go this route, let it sit for 30 minutes to give the chia a chance to absorb the liquid.
You may have seens these in the grocery store (Mamma Chia is a great brand), but it’s easy to create your own! Simply take a glass of juice (any juice will work) and add 2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds. You can adjust the amount based on how thick you like your drinks. Allow at least 30 minutes for the chia to become gelatinous before drinking.
Chia seeds work well as an egg replacer in baked goods. Simply use one tablespoon of finely ground chia seeds soaked in 3 tablespoons of water for each egg.
You can find Chia seeds at your local natural foods store or on Amazon.com with free shipping.