I grew up with chia seeds topping the heads of the famous chia pets, but did not know that they were edible! Learn about what chia seeds taste like, and what you can do with them.
Chia seeds are tiny, black, and pretty bland on their own. However, they're not just there to look pretty and act as recipe ingredients. Chia seeds have a mild nutty flavor that makes them easy to work with in any situation.
This guide will help answer all your questions about this superfood and give you some delicious ideas on how to use them!
What do chia seeds taste like?
These little seeds have a mild flavor and crunchy texture when raw, but once cooked, they become sponge-like. It's perfect for soaking up liquids like milk or water. A simple way people use them is by mixing them into oatmeal or yogurt. However, many recipes utilize this unique quality (such as baking cakes with them).
You can add chia seeds to your favorite foods and drinks for an extra boost of nutrition and fiber. You can also take advantage of their neutral flavor by adding them to dishes where you might typically use other grains like quinoa or oats.
How it's grown
Chia is harvested from the salvia hispanica plant, a flowering plant that grows in Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and high in calcium and iron.
Types of chia seeds
There are two main types of chia seeds: black and white. Black chia seeds have a more robust flavor than white seeds but are also more nutritious. White chia seeds are the most common, but they're not necessarily better for you. In fact, black chia seeds contain 20% more fiber and 30% fewer calories than their white counterparts!
Black chia seeds are slightly larger than their white counterparts, making them easier to identify when shopping for them at your local grocery store or natural health food store. They also have a more robust flavor that makes them ideal for baked goods like cookies or muffins; however, if you prefer not to taste the difference between black and white varieties, stick with the latter—it'll save you some time in the kitchen!
Sourcing & Storing
You can find small and large bags at health food stores in addition to most conventional grocery stores. These little edible seeds have a long shelf life, up to one year when stored properly. They may lose their crunchiness within six months if they've been sitting around on the countertop or in a pantry for a long time.
It's a good idea to store them in an airtight container with a desiccant packet inside. —These absorb moisture so that your chia doesn't get dampened before use! You can also store chia in the refrigerator or freezer. Just make sure they're not touching each other too closely while doing so Chia seeds tend to clump together when exposed to heat or light.
There are so many different ways you can use chia and usually only need a small amount. You can add a healthy alternative to eggs with chia seeds in all your favorite recipes. Some people use one egg for every one tablespoon of chia seeds, but different recipes will call for different ratios.
If you're cooking with flax seeds or another type of tiny seed that doesn't bind as well as chia seeds, then you'll want less than a 1:1 ratio between your liquid and the number of seeds.
For example: If you need ½ cup of liquid in your recipe but want to substitute ¼ cup water and ¼ cup plant milk (such as almond milk) instead of two eggs...use 3 tablespoons each water and milk total (or ⅛ teaspoon each). That will equal about ¾ cup of total liquid needed in your recipe—the same amount that 2 whole eggs would provide!
How to make a chia egg
The first step in making a chia egg is mixing 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of warm water. You'll want to keep the mixture at room temperature for a few minutes until it forms a gel-like texture. This chia gel can be used in the replacement of an egg for recipes like muffins or pancake batter! It's also a great option as a thickener in sauces, stews, and desserts.
Some people add chia seeds to water (or another beverage) and let them sit overnight before enjoying the resulting thick pudding-like substance in the morning. But if you want something tastier, try making chia seed pudding with plant-based milk or yogurt!
- Chia seed jam: This is the easiest way to use your chia seeds. Add ½ cup of chia seeds to 3 cups of fruit juice (you can also add sugar), stir, and sit for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Then use as you would jam!
- Chia Egg: Add two tablespoons of chia seeds to one cup of water and sit for 15 minutes. Use this chia gel mixture as an egg substitute in any recipe for eggs. You can also add the mixture to smoothies or oatmeal!
- Chia Fresca: Mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with two tablespoons of water and sit for 15 minutes. This will create a gel-like consistency that makes a refreshing beverage perfect for summertime!
- Chia Pudding: Mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with two tablespoons of coconut milk and let sit for 15 minutes. Add milk or yogurt until you reach your desired consistency, then add your favorite toppings (fruit, maple syrup, honey).
Chia seeds, a superfood that has been around since the times of the Aztecs and Mayans1, are packed with health benefits and have an interesting taste profile that caters to various dishes.
Chia seeds are known for their abundance of antioxidants2, which support optimal health and can protect your body from free radicals. An excellent source of fiber, with around 11 grams per ounce, they can regulate cholesterol levels3 and may even help prevent heart diseases4. This nutrient-dense tiny seed is also rich in minerals like magnesium5, essential for body functions. Moreover, they are gluten-free6, making them suitable for people following a gluten-free diet.
Taste of Chia Seeds
The taste of chia seeds is often compared to that of sesame seeds. They are relatively neutral in flavor, allowing them to blend well into savory dishes and sweet treats.
Incorporating Chia Seeds into Your Diet
For vegans, chia seeds can be a great addition to the diet. Soak them in water to create a gel-like consistency, which, when mixed with vanilla extract and a hint of sweetener, can be used as an alternative to eggs in baking.
Another way to incorporate chia seeds is by adding them to your overnight oats. Mix them with your favorite plant-based milk, a dash of vanilla extract, and the sweetener of your choice. Let them soak overnight and top with fruits or nuts for a hearty, nutritious breakfast.
Storing Chia Seeds
Store your chia seeds in a cool, dark place like your pantry or refrigerator to keep them fresh and maintain their antioxidant properties. They can stay fresh for up to 2 years if stored properly7.
Chia seeds came from the Mayan language, which means 'strength .'Unarguably, they have lived up to their name, bestowing strength, and health benefits to those who include them in their diet.
Remember that while chia seeds have various health benefits, moderation is key. They shouldn't be considered a magic remedy but part of a balanced, nutritious diet. If you have health concerns, please consult your healthcare provider before adding them to your diet.
- University of Purdue. (n.d). Agriculture's Common Thread: The Globalization of Crops. Link ↩
- National Institutes of Health (2020), Antioxidants: In Depth. Link ↩
- Harvard School of Public Health. (2021). Chia Seeds. Link ↩
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). Heart Diseases: Link ↩
- Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute. (2018). Magnesium. Link ↩
- Celiac Disease Foundation. (n.d). Sources of Gluten. Link ↩
- Bob's Red Mill. (n.d). How to Store Chia Seeds. Link ↩
There's no need to grind chia seeds. They can be eaten whole. YOu can crush them with a traditional mortar and pestle, but this isn't necessary. If you prefer the taste of whole seeds.
To eat these tiny seeds, place a tablespoon into your mouth and let it dissolve on its own (it will take about 20 minutes). You can also mix these with greek yogurt or fruit juice for an easier introduction.
Chia seeds are the seeds of the chia plant. They have a mild flavor that's kind of nutty, with a bit of a grassy undertone. Your first few bites might be a little off-putting if you're not used to them (when was the last time you ate unsalted sunflower seeds?), but once you get into it, it's hard to stop eating!
These are a great addition to your pantry. Your pantry for up to three months without losing flavor or nutritional value. However, if your pantry is anything like mine (a barren wasteland), keep them out in the refrigerator, where they'll stay fresh for around six months—just don't forget about them!
Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor. They're often used in sweet dishes such as ice cream and baked goods but can also be added to savory dishes like hummus or curry. However you choose to eat them, they're a great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that help control cholesterol levels.
If you're new to chia seeds, start adding them to your favorite foods rather than eating them straight from the package (unless you really want to).
- 1 tablespoon whole chia seeds
- 3 tablespoon warm water
- The first step in making a chia egg is mixing 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of warm water.
- You'll want to keep the mixture at room temperature for a few minutes until it forms a gel-like texture.
- Once, fully hydrated, this chia gel can be used in the replacement of an egg for recipes like muffins or pancake batter! It's also a great option as a thickener in sauces, stews, and desserts.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 58Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 4gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g