Chia seed used to not be too common, only used by a selective few health nuts. However, now that more and more people are aware of the benefits, it is starting to become quite common to find these in your local grocery store, often as an added ingredient to cereal, granola, yogurt, or energy drinks. Chia seeds are fantastic for vegans because they are high in omega-3 fatty acids, making them a healthy alternative to fish. Chia seeds also offer the added benefit of being a great source of calcium and antioxidants. On top of that, it’s unique hydrophilic properties allow it to absorb liquid and become gelatinous, which makes it perfect for getting creative with your vegan menu.
Chia Seed History
It might seem like chia seeds are a recent invention given that you probably haven’t been familiar with them for that long, but chia seeds have actually be around for centuries. Harvested from a plant called Salvia hispanica, native to Mexico and Guatemala, this nutritious seed were standard to the Mayan and Aztec diets. So while it may seem like a trend now, the chia seed actually has been a tasty and nutritious treat for quite a long time!
How to Eat Them
As stated above, chia seeds have hydrophilic properties, which means that they can absorb roughly ten times their weight in liquid, creating a similar effect to tapioca balls. This makes them ideal for a variety of tasty vegan dishes. Here are just some of the ways you can use chia seeds to benefit from their incredible nutritional value:
Chia pudding is probably the most popular way to consume these powerful seeds. Chia pudding makes for both a tasty breakfast and tasty dessert, and can be customized in a variety of ways by adding your preferred fruit, spices, nuts, or other toppings, as chia in itself doesn’t have much of a flavor. You can make it by combining one-fourth a cup of chia seeds and one cup of your liquid of choice (coconut milk, almond milk, and juice are popular options). Stick it in the refrigerator and wait for it to gel up for at least 15 minutes, though it will keep for a few days when refrigerated.
If you are breakfast-cereal lover, you can give your cereal a bit of added nutrition with the wonder of chia seeds. Sprinkle them on top of your favorite cereal brand, or you can make your own gluten-free cereal by eating straight chia seeds with your favorite nut milk and toppings like fruit and raisins; just let it set for a minimum of fifteen minutes before eating.
One problem with vegan baking is finding the right egg substitute. Ground chia seeds make an excellent option that adds nutrition to anything that you make. Simply soak one tablespoon of ground chia seed in three tablespoons of water for each egg needed.
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