How to use chia seeds in cooking and some recipes to enhance these small and precious seeds of healthDon't store avocado like this: it's dangerous
How to use chia seeds in cooking and some recipes to enhance these small and precious seeds of health
I Chia seeds they are very small but particularly precious and nutrient-rich foods, very versatile in the kitchen thanks to their main feature that of thickening and gelling. Let's find out all the benefits of chia seeds and the most creative uses.
Small seeds are extracted from Salvia hispanica which in recent years have managed to gain a lot of popularity thanks to their particular characteristics. Not only are they naturally gluten-free but also contain many useful substances for our body including:
- Essential fatty acids (Omega 3)
- Vitamins A, B, E and D.
- Minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese and others
Due to their richness in nutrients, there are those who consider them a real superfood. But let's first find out the main benefits of chia seeds.
Benefits of chia seeds
Small but rich in properties, chia seeds ensure a series of benefits to those who consume them regularly:
- Excellent source of protein: these seeds contain all eight essential amino acids, a rarity in the plant world.
- Nutrients: despite their very small size, chia seeds are a source of many nutrients useful to the body such as Omega 3, iron, vitamins as well as fiber and antioxidants.
- Energizers: the ancient Mayan and Aztec populations used chia seeds for their beneficial effects on energy level and physical stamina. Even today they are particularly useful for this purpose and in fact waters, gels or energizing bars can be made starting from chia seeds.
- They help stomach and intestines: these seeds are particularly beneficial for digestion and intestinal functions especially thanks to the presence of fibers.
- They gel and satiate: one of the best known and most appreciated characteristics of chia seeds is their ability to gel (a bit like flax seeds) by absorbing liquids for over 10 times their weight. This makes them a particularly satiating food and for this reason they are often recommended for those who want to lose weight.
How to use Chia seeds
Chia seeds lend themselves to various uses in the kitchen. Here are some of them:
Sometimes it is necessary to adapt recipes avoiding eggs. One of the best options here is to use chia seeds. To replace an egg, just one tablespoon of these finely ground mini seeds combined with 3 tablespoons of water.
Read also: How to replace eggs in sweets and savory recipes
You can make a great homemade and healthy chia seed pudding. You can experiment in different variations by adding cocoa, vanilla, strawberries, cinnamon, etc.
Chia seed water or energizing gel
This is a great drink to take with you at all times and an easy way to fill up on Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Among other things, it is a healthier solution to classic energy drinks. Let's talk about chia seed water or chia seed-based energizing gel that is made by adding 2 tablespoons of seeds to a cup of coconut water (you can also add lemon juice). It is then left to rest for about 10 minutes before drinking.
Mixed with almond flour and garlic powder but also on their own, chia seeds are a perfect breading alternative for your favorite dishes. In fact, they are toasted very well and give a crunchy walnut flavor.
To thicken soups
If you don't want to use cornstarch to thicken soups or other preparations, just add a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
Sprouts can be self-produced with chia seeds. Just put them in water, drain them and leave them in the jar for a couple of days, taking care every 12 hours to rinse with water, always draining well. In a short time, small chia sprouts will appear.
Chia seed energy bars
Energy bars are a great snack, especially if you need a little extra energy. There are many variations with goji berries, dried fruit and various seeds including those of chia.
Chia seeds can be used to make a grain-free, low-carbohydrate bread. It is made using the following ingredients: chia seeds, almonds, coconut flour, baking powder, psyllium, coconut oil, unsweetened almond milk and water. Here is the recipe to follow.
Children might appreciate a Chia squeeds, or a homemade snack based on these seeds that can be placed in a special container designed for this use. Whenever they want to drink, little ones can simply squeeze in the center and they will see their thick drink made from chia seeds, lemon juice and other unsweetened fruit juices come out. Here how to prepare it.
To avoid store-bought jams and jellies full of sugar and other added ingredients, you can make a variant exclusively with chia seeds, strawberries, honey or maple syrup. Here the recipe.
An original recipe based on chia seeds sees them as protagonists in the creation of crackers combined with sunflower seeds. Here how to prepare them step by step.
The phytate problem
Like all grains and seeds, chia also contain compounds called phytates that block the absorption of certain nutrients. These antinutrients are the reason many ancient cultures used to ferment grains before consuming them.
It must be said, however, that chia seeds contain not too high levels of these antinutrients and in any case soaking and rinsing the seeds can help to further reduce their quantity.
Have you already integrated chia seeds into your diet? How do you use them?
Learn more about these precious seeds by reading also:
- Chia seeds: properties, uses and where to find them
- Chia seeds: 10 ideas to integrate them into your daily diet