21 of the Best Uses for Chia Seeds

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Want to learn how to add more variety to your use of chia seeds? Consider using them in one of these ways!

chia_seeds_on_table_picChia seeds are tiny, nutrient-dense powerhouses that the Aztecs used to feed their people, armies, hunting parties, and runners. Thankfully, we’ve rediscovered this little seed, and you can put its energy-boosting abilities to use in your life today without the need for time machines, those pesky paradoxes, or braving the jungle. The mild seeds make them an easy addition to recipes where they help kick the nutrition into high gear. They are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids. But chia seeds hide an additional secret; they contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Each seed can absorb a great deal of liquid. This lends it special thickening powers in recipes and aids digestion and hydration too.

1. Egg Substitute

The thickening power of chia lets you replace an egg with 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water when baking. It only works with baking though. Sorry, no purely chia omelets any time soon.

2. Porridge

Simply combine ground chia seeds with warm to hot almond milk to create a thick, gooey, warm, delicious, and nutritious porridge. Sprinkle it with cinnamon and some fresh grated nutmeg for a divine breakfast.

3. Thickener

Add ground chia seeds or even the whole seeds to soups and sauces to thicken them without using corn starch or flour. No gluten or GMOs to worry about, plus added nutrition. They won’t alter the flavor either.

juice_mint_yellow_detox_pineapple_fresh_pic4. Juice Addition

Chia seeds provide interesting texture and nutrition to fresh juices, much like bubble teas, but these bubbles are mini.

5. Salad

Sprinkle the seeds directly into a salad or add them to the dressing to make those greens even healthier and make any fat soluble vitamins more absorbable.

6. Pudding

Chia seeds create a smooth, velvety pudding without dairy or gelatin. Simply combine 2 cups almond milk, 1/2 cup chia seeds, 2–3 tablespoons raw cacao powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon honey or other natural sweetener. Blend this until smooth and then let it set up in the fridge for about ten minutes. Don’t feel like chocolate? Leave the cacao out for vanilla or go ahead and throw a banana in or a few berries. Feel free to make any kind of pudding you happen to be craving.

7. Sprouted

Sprouting chia unlocks some of the nutrition inside and makes a great addition to sandwiches and salads. Simply soak them in water for a few minutes, drain them, and then rinse and drain them every 12 hours for about 2 days.

8. Smoothies

Since they are so mild, you can toss chia seeds into just about any smoothie recipe for a smooth, thick, delicious, and nutrient-dense beverage every time.

9. Baking

Add a little ground chia seeds into just about any baked recipe, from breads to cookies, to amp up the nutrition.

10. Crackers

flax_crackers_with_mint_chutney_picGet gluten free crackers by making a thin batter out of chia seeds and almond milk. Bake them slow and low until crisp and only lightly browned. You can add in pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, garlic, and/or herbs to make a super-energizing snack.

11. Energy Gel

You don’t need the high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, and artificial flavors to provide instant and long-term energy. Combine 2 teaspoons chia seeds with 1 cup coconut water and in ten minutes you have your own energy gel that will supply plenty of stamina for any run. If you want it sweeter, just add in a bit of honey or other natural sweetener.

12. Granola

Chia seeds are perfect in any granola recipe and they’ll make any hike easier as they boost your energy levels.

13. Gel Topping

Soak chia seeds in fruit juice instead of coconut milk to make a flavorful gel that readily tops your favorite desserts.

14. Mashed Potatoes

Swirl some ground chia seeds into mashed potatoes to make them thick, creamy, and more nutritious than they could ever be on their own. This also helps bring fluffy peaks back if you added too much water or almond milk.

15. Nut Butters

Make your spreads healthier by adding seeds to your favorite nut butter, from peanut to almond. Just combine 1 tablespoon chia seed or chia meal with 4 tablespoons nut butter.

16. Oatmeal

Melissa Oatmeal Raisin cookiesProvide more texture and nutrients to your oatmeal or thicken it up if it gets too runny.

17. Pasta Sauce

Blend chia seeds, vegetable stock, and cooked cauliflower to make a creamy non-dairy base for many pasta sauces. Add in some garlic and herbs to make a delicious alfredo. Use pine nuts, garlic, and basil to make pesto. Chia seeds also thicken up tomato pastes for a chunky feel many people enjoy.

18. Quinoa

Sprinkle chia seeds into quinoa dishes for a polka dot effect while amplifying the nutrition of each.

19. Lentils

Stir into cooked lentils for a thick, healthy, and hearty meal.

20. Pancakes and Waffles

You can make a gluten free and vegan version of these using chia to replace some of the flour and eggs. Use cornmeal and/or ground oats to supplement the rest of the flour.

21. Straight Up

Chia seeds alone make a healthy, filling, and satisfying snack. They take some getting used to when you first try to eat them since they are so tiny, but you’ll get the hang of it. You will also enjoy an energy boost that will last for hours.

Now get some chia seed recipes!

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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COMMENTS / REPLIES 7

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  • Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  • I've heard you should not eat them dry as they absorb liquid & you don't want them doing that while inside your digestive system. Is this so? Also, if you add them to a liquid shouldn't you wait for them to absorb some of it before eating/drinking them?

    • Moderator

      In reply to Emile's comment

      They do tend to absorb a lot of liquid. This isn't a huge problem in your digestive system. There is plenty of water in your saliva, your stomach, and your intestines for them to absorb. I've eaten them dry without incident. I suppose it could cause some mild discomfort as your stomach thinks it has gauged how much food was there and then it expands. They then release this liquid slowly as they digest, so it would be a little better if that comes from fresh clean water or good organic fruits first. You can let them absorb more if you need the hydration, but it shouldn't hurt to eat them shortly after adding them to a smoothie or beverage really.

  • Great post! I hope buyers of our new Chia seed line will take a look at these uses! Our Chia will allow people to carry a refillable container of Chia seeds while on the GO.

  • Like your recipes