LD and I have been discovering some new foods recently. Our newest exciting food is Chia Seeds. Yes, I know there was a craze about them a while ago, but our obsession with them is not for the quite the same reasons. Although the health benefits are great, we like them as replacements for some perishable items in recipes.
If you somehow missed hearing about the chia seed craze, chia seeds are the same seeds you used to spread on chia pets and they would grow into alfalfa looking “hair” or whatnot on the ceramic. Wow, the 90s were a weird time!
Photo credit: misterbisson / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Anyway, they are thought to have some great health benefits to them including being highly nutrious with a low amount of calories. They are high in both fiber and protein. To be honest with you, that is all great and I will gladly add them to my diet for those reasons as they are also thought to help lower cholesterol, but what I really like is that they are a shelf stable item that can be used as an egg replacer.
When chia seeds are soaked in water, they create this weird gel that can be used to replace egg in recipes. I don’t avoid eggs, but when it is cold outside and picking some up will require an extra trip, I love having an alternative on hand. Actually, Tuesday night we even used them to replace mayo in a tuna salad sandwich…which turned into a tuna melt because it sounded good (which it was). We don’t use mayo that often but it is not logical to buy a whole jar for one or two recipes before it should really take its place in the trash can, but the chia seed gel seemed to hold the recipe together the same way mayo would. LD and I are now just trying to figure out how to add some creamy flavor in an inexpensive and healthy way. Anyone have any ideas?
In addition, people claim that they can be used to thicken soups. I am wondering whether using them in combination with almond milk might be a healthy way to make creamy sauces and soups. I will have to experiment and let you know. Anyway, with my goal this year to lower my cholesterol, I am trying to steer away from creams and cheeses, but I still love the dishes. Maybe experimenting with chia seeds will help me out.
Do you use chia seeds? What do you use them in?