10 Fun Ways To Use Chia. (original article)
by Sarah Wilson
Chia seeds are the new quinoa. The new ingredient to wriggle its way into the mainstream after a few decades as the fibrous, whole-mealy staple of the granola belt. I know many of you out there are still trying to work out what to do with them once you’ve bought a packet. And since I hate the idea of anyone buying a packet of anything and having it sit there going to waste, henceforth a wee list of clever applications.
I’ve written on why chia seeds are so healthy before. Amongst many things. they’re godsends when you’re quitting sugar. They help to control your appetite because they fill you up (with the addition of liquid they swell to 17 times their original size) and they’re a fabulous source of protein. They’re also full of nutrients – vitamins A, B, D, E, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium – which help with the detox hell that some can suffer.
Here are 10 ideas on how you can use chia in your diet.
1. Use In Place Of an Egg In Recipes
Substitute 1 tablespoon of chia seeds (preferably finely ground) + 3 tablespoons of water per egg.
2. Thicken Up Soups Or Gravies
If you don’t want to use cornstarch or other thickening agents, add a teaspoon of chia seeds or chia bran at a time until you reach your desired thickness. Bear in mind it takes a minute or two for the seeds to swell and work their magic. Be patient!
3. Sprout Chia Seeds To Use In Salads.
These things are quite zesty…a bit like broccoli sprouts. Chia seeds are mucilaginous so you can’t use the usual tray or jar sprouters. Instead…
- Sprinkle a thin layer of seeds on the bottom of an unlaquered terra cotta dish or plate.
- Put the terra cotta dish in a larger plate of water.
- Cover with another plate.
- Small amounts of water permeate the terra cotta plate upon which the chia seeds sit, and provide exactly the right amount of water to sprout them.
- Day 2, lightly mist the seeds (or sprinkle) with water.
- Day 3, they should be right to eat.
4. Add To a Chocolate Brownie or Truffle Recipe To Turn Them Into Protein Bars
Throw in a few tablespoons of protein powder while you’re at.
5. Try a Chia-coconut Goob, Especially if You’re An Athlete
Just mix coconut water and some seeds to form an electrolyte-laden “goo”. I got my Dad onto this. He runs marathons and does 24-hour mountain bike races and swears by the idea (and he’s a hard guy to get on board!). It’s infinitely better than the commercial goobs and energy drinks.
6. Use as a Slow Cooker Aid.
Cooking with a slow cooker can often leave you with a lot of excess liquid. I do two things.
The first: I thicken the sauce by adding some seeds or chia seed bran.
The second, I remove any excess liquid (a very brothy, nutritious mixture) and put in a jar with some chia seeds and then eat with toast, over rice, pasta or vegetables.
7. An Easy Thick Omelette.
Add chia seeds to beaten eggs, soak for 10 minutes and turn into an omelette or frittata.
8. Make Crackers.
Make a thin batter of ground chia seeds and milk and cook in a slow oven to make crackers.
9. Make a Cinnamon Chia Butter.
Add ground seeds to nut butter and amp the nutrition. Or add to butter with some cinnamon and spread on hot toast.
10. Make a Healthy Pudding.
Add 1/2 cup of chia seeds to 1 1/2 cups of almond or cashew milk. I make mine in a jar and carry it to the office, or on planes when I’m travelling. It’s filling, can be made the night before and is spill-proof!
Chia is a regular part of my daily eating. I most often add it to my oatmeal, use it as an egg substitute, or make my own chia pudding recipe:
- 1 cup plant-based milk
- 1 really ripe banana
- 1 teaspoon organic cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- Optional “bonus items” such as chopped dates, frozen or dried fruit etc
- Whirl banana, plant-based milk and cocoa together in a blender for 5-10 seconds until well combined.
- Pour mixture into a container which has a lid (I usually use my big Pyrex measuring cup which has a silicone lid).
- Add chia seeds and whisk well (1-4 minutes depending on how enthusiastic you feel that day).
- Stir in any “bonus items” which appeal to you.
- Refrigerate for anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours.
- Stir well and enjoy.
I don’t know about you, but none of the commercial “faux bacon” does a damn thing for me , but his stuff on the other hand is amazing and satisfying as a bacon substitute. I also enjoy making my own faux bacon bits using TVP and liquid smoke etc. I find actual bacon to be pretty revolting these days, but sometimes a dish or a craving really does benefit from the salty, smokey flavour profile which these faux bacons provide. Nothing beats cruelty-free and healthier options for old favourites, like my Grandma’s Ukrainian Chinese Food recipe (weird family favourite which formerly involved fried white rice made with egg, bacon and diced dill pickles, which I’ve now veganised using brown rice, organic smoked tofu, coconut bacon and dill pickles. I’ll post the basic recipe soon for those of you who are brave enough or curious enough to try it)
Vegan Good Things: By Popular Demand: Coconut Bacon!. (original article)
A couple notes about this recipe first – the original recipe says to bake it at 400, until it gets crisp. It doesn’t say how long it will take to get crisp. A few other people who made it advised baking it at 400 for up to 30 minutes. I will tell you that the first batch I made, I put it in the oven at 400 and in 10 minutes it was burnt to a crisp. I don’t think that baking pan will ever recover. So I’m printing the recipe below with the time and temperature that I used for my second batch, which came out successfully. If anything, the next time I make it, I might bake it at an even lower temperature, for a longer period of time. My suggestion for you is to just check it every 5-10 minutes or so to make sure it’s not burning, and take it out of the oven when it is just crisp. It will continue to crisp as it cools.
Many of my twitter followers have been requesting this recipe, and I am very excited to share it with you, so without further ado:
makes about 3 cups (enough for 4 – 6 sandwiches, depending on how big you make ’em)
3 large handfuls of large flake, unsweetened coconut
1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
2 Tbsp. tamari
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (optional, but recommended)
Preheat oven to 300. Place coconut in a shallow baking pan. Combine other ingredients together in a small bowl and drizzle over coconut. Use your hands to mix and make sure the coconut is evenly coated. Bake at 300 for 20 minutes, or until crisp. It will continue to crisp as it cools, and is best eaten at room temperature.
My Fritter muffins
So, as you know I posted pictures of my attempt at making the Happy Herbivore’s apple fritter cups and mentioned that I just didn’t enjoy the texture of them at all. I adored the idea and the flavour profile very much so, I decided to modify her recipe (I LOVE 95% of her savory recipes, but her baked goods often disappoint me) and make my version into a cross between her apple fritter cups and my whole wheat muffins.
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (or granulated sweetener of choice)
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (adjust to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger (adjust to taste)
- 3 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 cup diced apples
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 3/4 cups non-dairy milk of choice
- 1 1/2 cups diced apple
- 3 tbsp (or to taste) brown sugar (the glaze in the original recipe was not a hit in our house, so I made the topping more sugary instead)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
Preheat Oven 400 deg
Oil or line 12 muffin cups and set aside
1). Combine apple sauce (I just throw an apple, some cinnamon and a splash of water in my blender to make the apple sauce) with the chia seeds in a small bowl, stir well and leave to gel on the counter.
2). Combine milk and apple cider vinegar and whisk together well until frothy, set aside.
3). Mix 1 1/2 cups chopped apple with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tbsp brown sugar to make topping.
4). Combine remaining dry ingredients in a mid sized bowl.
5). Add remaining 1/2 cup diced apple and wet ingredients (don’t forget your apple chia gel) into the dry ingredients and just mix together until just barely wet.
6). Spoon batter into muffin cups, then top with your cinnamon, apple, brown sugar mixture.
7). Pop muffins into your preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into a muffin comes out clean.
8). Allow muffins to cool completely and enjoy with friends and family.