I’m going through one of my superfood fetishes and this time around it is with chia seeds.
Bob’s Red Mill sent me a sample of their wonderful chia seeds, a part of their Grains of Discovery series (thank you, Bob!), and since I already had a half-used bag in the freezer, I decided it was time to share some chia recipes.
Chia seeds have fast become one of my favorite ingredients–I add them to smoothies, oatmeal, muffins, homemade power bars, and breakfast cookies–for fueling my workouts. The Aztecs knew what they were doing when they ate these tiny seeds for stamina, because they really do give me incredible energy. As for specific nutritients, chia seeds are chock full of fiber (which keeps you happily sated for hours), omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, and calcium.
But chia seeds are more than mere fuel, they are lots of fun, and extremely versatile in the kitchen, too. Here’s why: When you combine chia seeds with liquid, the result borders on magic. within a short time, it a glistening gel (if you have kids in your life, this is a great summer day cooking experiment).
You can use gelled chia seeds as an egg subsititute (much like flax seed meal) in all sorts of baked goods. For each egg you want to replace, simply combine 2 teaspoons of chia seeds with 1/4 cup water and let sit until it gels (about 10-15 minutes). Pretty neat.
But this enchanting mix also makes a wonderful base for a host of no-cook–and almost-zero effort– puddings. Because I am desserts-first kind of person, that’s where I’m headed with today’s post.
The easiest chia dessert is vanilla pudding, made with your favorite dairy or nondairy milk, your sweetener of choice (including stevia, if you would like to keep it sugar-free), the chia seeds, and a splash of vanilla. Here is the first recipe I ever made (and I still make it); it comes from the wonderful blog Detoxinista: Vanilla Chia Pudding. As you can imagine, the possibilities for variation are almost endless.
Coconut milk makes a to-die-for variation, too. Check out Gina’s amazing recipe (with mangoes on top!) over at SkinnyTaste: Coconut Milk Chia Pudding.
You can make chia pudding for breakfast, dessert or a snack. I love to eat it before a tough workout because it is satisfying and energizing but not in the least bit heavy. I think we all need more power pudding in our lives, yes?
Once you have tried one of the basic puddings (tasting is believing!), try my blueberry chia pudding. We have a huge blueberry festival in our town every June, and yes, as much as I love blueberries, I have to challenge myself to come up with new ideas for using the bounty in my freezer. This is a perfect fit. Blueberries plus chia seeds equals one gorgeous and delicious treat!
- 2 cups frozen blueberries
- ⅔ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used plain almond milk)
- 5 large dates (soak in hot water beforehand if they are tough)
- ½ of a frozen banana
- ½ cup chia seeds
- Combine the blueberries, milk, dates and banana in a blender; process until smooth.
- Transfer blueberry mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the chia seeds. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight (stir every 5 minutes during first 30 minutes) until thickened.