You’ve probably seen these tiny seeds in countless health recipes. In the last several years chia seed’s popularity has been steadily growing. But what are these seeds? And what do chia seeds taste like?
If you’re just as curious as we are, this feature is for you. Dig deeper into the chia seed’s flavor and how you can use the seeds in not one, not two, but 15 different ways!
Chia seeds are the edible seeds of the chia plant, a flowering plant native to Mexico. The seeds are tiny, with black coats and white spots.
Chia seeds are hygroscopic and can absorb liquid 12 times their weight. This reaction causes the seeds to expand and have a gel-like consistency.
Chia seeds have rich ties with South America. The cultivation of chia dates back to Aztec civilization.
Aside from Mexico, chia seeds also grow in Guatemala and Australia.
The seeds are readily available across the United States. You can find them at most grocery stores in the “superfoods” aisle or buy them in bulk online.
Chia seeds are superfoods for a reason. Despite their tiny size, these seeds pack tons of nutrition.
They contain dietary fiber and high protein content. Chia seeds are also a good source of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
When buying chia seeds, look for shiny black coats. Brown chia seeds are still immature and will have lower health benefits.
Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor that is not overpowering. Some people find that they develop an even more intense flavor when soaked in liquid or added to other ingredients.
Before eating chia seeds, soak them overnight in liquid like water, milk, or yogurt. After 24 hours, they should double in size and become chia gel.
Chia gel has a translucent and pulp-like texture. When you eat it, you’ll feel a chewy consistency like eating tapioca pearls. Soaked chia seeds have a mild nutty flavor, an ideal pair for sweet and savory dishes.
Chia seeds are highly nutritious. They can be used as a topping for salads, in yogurt or smoothies, as an addition to baked goods, or even made into the chia pudding.
Chia seeds are edible even when raw. On their own, the seeds have firm and crunchy textures. They also have the same nutty flavor as chia gel. Raw chia seeds taste best as toppings on sweet desserts such as pitaya or acai bowls.
Chia seeds have a long shelf life and can last up to five years in the pantry. But when exposed to elements, the seeds can quickly turn rancid. There are three ways to detect spoiled chia seeds.
If raw seeds are clumping together, it’s a sign that they’re old, and you should throw them away. Soaked seeds that are slimy and not gel-like are near spoiling too. Any strange smell and taste from chia seeds is a definite sign to buy a fresh batch.
Did we mention that chia seeds are incredibly versatile? You can use the seeds as garnish or thickener. And if that’s not enough, we’ve got you covered for the following 15 chia seed dishes.
The easiest way to enjoy chia is to make chia seed pudding. Add the seeds into a glass of water or oat milk and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Once the seeds bulk up, mix in the fruits and dried nuts. Chia adds a delicious texture to bananas, strawberries, and blueberries.
Adding chia seeds to overnight oats gives the meal an instant upgrade. Like chia pudding, combine oats and chia seeds with milk. In this case, almond milk provides a boost of nutty flavor. Let the mixture sit for at least two hours before drizzling it with honey or maple syrup.
Energy balls are bite-sized foods filled with nutrients. These balls use healthy ingredients, including cooked oats, coconut, nuts, and chia seeds. Chia alone is full of carbs and protein, which can help you get through the day. When making energy balls, mix the dry ingredients and add honey. Form into balls and let them refrigerate for 24 hours.
Chia seeds are the right pick if you’re craving a layered salad. Since they have a mellow flavor, it won’t affect the dish’s overall taste. Chia pairs well with salad greens like Romaine, Iceberg lettuce, or spinach. It also adds a textured bite to fruit salads. Its nutty taste blends sweet flavors from bananas, mangoes, and melons.
Chia’s gelatinous consistency also works as a thickening agent. This trick comes in handy as a flour substitute. Soak the seeds in water and add to pumpkin soup. The chia seeds will absorb the liquids, leaving the flavors to take center stage.
We’ve seen sesame seeds on hamburger buns, but what about chia seeds? Yes, you can also use the seeds in baked goods. Chia acts more as a garnish on top of bread and cakes, but they also add flavor. The nutty taste truly shines in muffins, fruit cakes, or fiber-rich loaves. There’s also an added crunch from the seed’s firm texture.
Chia seeds are essential in smoothies and shakes. For instance, the chia’s flavor pairs well with avocado’s buttery and earthy tastes. Plus, the seeds make the smoothie look fancy. You can add chia seeds to shakes combined with almond milk and chocolate. Aside from the improved flavor, the seeds also add a healthy protein boost.
For fancy desserts, chia popsicles are easy and quick to make. Extract fruit juice and combine it with chia seeds. Pour the liquid into popsicle molds, stick them in the freezer, and voila! You’ll have refreshing ice treats for hot summer days. You can use any juice, but if you’d like to try our suggestion, use watermelon for its bold red color and sweet taste.
Chia is a popular topping when making yogurt bowls. Prepare the bowl as you would with chia pudding. But instead of water or milk, use plain or Greek yogurt. Add chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, and fruit slices on top. If you want to switch things up, try mixing the chia seeds into the yogurt. Not only will it look appetizing, but it will taste delicious too.
Chia seeds give a nice contrasting texture to stir-fries. You can add them to elevate simple dishes like fried garlic rice. Another option is to sprinkle them over noodles like Pad Thai. The recipe uses toppings like peanuts, but adding chia can give the dish extra protein. Chia seeds also absorb the sauce and enhance the umami flavor.
Chia seed jam can level up your breakfast. Heat blueberries or your preferred fruit in a saucepan with lemon juice and maple syrup. Once the berries burst, mash them up and add chia seeds. The jam will be runny at first, but the seeds will absorb the excess liquid. Chia seeds naturally plump up the jam. The spread adds a treacly flavor to buttered toast.
Chia seeds are trendy in vegan recipes. It comes as no surprise since these seeds are rich in protein. So when it comes to meat-free meatballs, chia seeds are a must. When cooking vegan meatballs, the chia seeds bind the ingredients together. It also hints at nuttiness that seamlessly blends into the savory flavors.
Did you know that you can use chia seeds to substitute eggs? Chia’s natural gel-like texture works as a natural binder in recipes. It’s a great egg alternative for vegan dishes. Soak one tablespoon of seeds in three tablespoons of water for ten minutes to replace eggs. You can also use chia seeds in no-bake recipes.
One way of using chia seeds is by adding them to flour. Grind the seeds into a fine powder using a food processor. You can use the chia seed powder when coating fried pork chops or cod for fish and chips. Most flour varieties already contain nutrients. But chia seeds provide tons of extra protein content.
The simplest way to enjoy chia seeds is to add them to water. Soak the seeds in water for 30 minutes and enjoy. Using fruit juice instead of water also gives the drink more flavor. For a tangier taste, use orange or lemonade juice. The seeds absorb the liquid, providing a juicy and pulpy consistency.
If you like nutty flavors, then chia seeds should taste good. They have a subtle taste, so you’ll need to add them to more flavorful ingredients to maximize their flavor.
Store the seeds in an airtight container. Chia seeds should last up to a year in the pantry. But once you soak chia seeds, they’re only fresh for three to five days. Refrigerating soaked seeds can extend their freshness until the seventh day.
In the United States, chia seeds are available in supermarkets. You can find them in the “organic foods” or “superfoods” section.
There’s no doubt about the chia seed’s superior qualities. These edible seeds are tiny, yet they’re rich in nutritional value. The chia seed’s unique ability to absorb liquids is a quick solution to thickening in soups and stews. But what do chia seeds taste like?
On their own, chia seeds are mellow with nutty undertones. Their texture allows for flexibility and varies between crunchy and gelatinous. But when it comes to culinary use, chia seeds are limitless. This superfood immediately adds nutrition, flavor, and visual flair in one punch.