Have you ever tried cooking with chia seeds?
A food staple of the Mayan civilization, chia seeds are having a resurgence in popularity due to a variety of nutritional benefits.
Whether used in smoothies, cereals, salads, or even muffins, there is plenty of potential for this ancient herbal powerhouse to add flavor and nutrition to your cooking.
But what if you don’t have access to these seeds? Fear not.
There are numerous substitutes available that bring their own unique benefits and textures to your creations.
Learning how best to cook and use chia seeds, as well as the top five substitutes, should be every home cook’s next mission.
What’s Chia Seed?
We often hear about chia seeds and their wonderful health benefits, but what exactly are these mysterious little seeds? Chia seeds are tiny black or white round seed that easily absorbs water, creating a gelatinous texture.
They have a fairly mild nutty flavor with a slightly salty aftertaste and have become an important staple in vegan diets due to their nutritional boost; they are high in antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids in higher concentrations than other plant sources.
There are many ways to enjoy chia seeds: you can put some on top of your cereal or yogurt, blend it into smoothies or overnight oats, bake it into muffins or cookies, or try different vegan recipes featuring this amazing superfood.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Chia Seeds
If you’re looking for an alternative to chia seeds, you might be wondering what else is out there.
After all, chia seeds are a great source of healthy fats and fiber.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options to fit your needs.
Here are the five best substitutes for chia seeds:
1 – Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds, commonly used in bread and other baked goods, have been delighting palates for centuries.
But did you know that the tiny little sesame seeds are quite nutritious and offer many health benefits? They are high in B vitamins thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and folate, as well as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Sesame seeds have a nutty flavor and crunchy texture, making them a tasty substitute for chia seeds in many recipes.
Simply mix the sesame seeds with some water to create an egg-like consistency, which can be used to bind ingredients together for pancakes and vegan burgers.
So next time you reach for the chia seeds, why not give sesame a try instead?
2 – Flax Seeds
Flax seeds have emerged as a new superfood sensation in recent times, leaving many of us perplexed about what exactly they are and why everyone’s suddenly so obsessed with them.
These small, golden-brown seeds come from the flax plant and contain excellent sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber.
They have an earthy, nutty flavor with a crunchy texture which makes them great for adding to smoothies or cereal.
If you want to make some overnight oats or sprinkle some on your avocado toast but don’t have any chia seeds on hand? No problem – just substitute the chia with flax.
Thanks to its similar size and shape, it will do the job nicely.
3 – Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds have recently gained popularity as a nutrient-dense and convenient food, but their many hidden benefits make them an even better choice than we initially thought.
Rich in essential minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids – such as omega six and omega 3 – these small and nutty-tasting seeds are quite versatile.
They are the perfect addition to yogurt, smoothies, and salads due to their crunchy texture and earthy flavor.
However, you can also use hemp seeds as a substitute for chia seeds as it carries similar nutritional benefits.
With its high fiber content, adding hemp seeds to your daily meals will help regulate blood sugar levels while satiating your hunger much more efficiently than processed alternatives.
4 – Psyllium Husks
Psyllium husks have become a popular supplement in recent times, and for a good reason – they are high in dietary fiber and help to promote digestive health.
While these husks may not be the most appetizing of ingredients on their own, they actually have a mildly sweet flavor that can add a pleasant taste to breakfast cereal or smoothies.
Plus, with just four calories per teaspoon, psyllium is a fantastic way to increase your daily nutrition without significantly adding to your calorie intake.
If the thought of using psyllium husks still doesn’t seem appealing, you can substitute them for chia seeds which have a similar texture and mild flavor.
So if you’re looking for an easy way to maintain your digestive system without sacrificing flavor, give psyllium husks a try.
5 – Oat Bran
Oat bran has long been perceived as an excellent source of edible fibers, a staple ingredient in many baked goods and health food recipes, but did you know that it can also be used as a substitute for chia seeds? In terms of its taste and texture, oat bran is notably denser and flavourful than chia seeds, making it a great alternative to use in salads, smoothies, or protein bars.
The chewy consistency offers a unique sensation that can complement many dishes.
To substitute for chia seeds in recipes, simply measure out half the required measurement of chia seed with oat bran instead; the latter absorbs liquid quicker than the former making one-for-one substitution impossible.
When adding to a recipe, ensure that you add it to your mixture early on so that you give it enough time to absorb all the necessary moisture before baking.
In conclusion, using chia seeds is an excellent way to boost your nutrition and add some extra flavor and texture to dishes.
However, there are plenty of other options out there that can be used as effective substitutes.
From flax seeds and hemp seeds to psyllium husks and oat bran, any one of these alternatives will provide the same health benefits and texture as chia seeds.
So if you’re ever in a pinch, just reach for one of these options instead.