4 great ways to use chia seeds

What are chia seeds and how do you use them? Check out our expert tips on the culinary uses of this awesome superfood.

Chia seeds: How do you use them?
©iStockphoto.com/Jessica Rensch
"Chia is one of my favourite superfoods to recommend," says natural food chef Julie Morris, author of Superfood Cuisine: Cooking with Nature's Most Amazing Foods. "It's tiny, smaller than a sesame seed and has virtually no flavour."

If you've ever tried and failed to love the strong flavour of flaxseeds -- and you wouldn't be the only one -- chia seeds, with their similar nutritional profile, might be an option to try instead. But what should you do with chia seeds once you've bought them, other than planting them to sprout on a clay pet? We asked Morris to share some tips.

1. Use chia seeds as a topping

"What's your favorite food?" asks Morris. "Great, put chia on it!" Her point? Chia seeds have a very mild flavour that easily combines with sweet or savoury dishes. You can toss the seeds in smoothies, sprinkle them on yogurt or oatmeal or use them as a salad topper.

"Chia seeds can be used raw, ground into a powder or soaked," Morris says. Though be careful of buying preground chia seeds as they can become rancid due to the presence of healthy fats. “Best of all: Unlike flaxseeds, chia does not need to be ground to access its benefits," she says.

2. Make smoothies and beverages with chia gel
Chia has cool uses in the kitchen beyond just being used as a nutritious topping. Like ground flaxseeds, chia seeds will turn gel-like when soaked in liquid, says Morris. They can retain about eight to nine times their weight and this gel is one of her favourite ways to use chia.

"The gel provides a strangely addicting texture that is delectable in smoothies and juices," she says. "Chia can also be soaked directly in a flavourful milk like almond milk with a bit of spices like cinnamon and a bit of sweeter like coconut sugar or raisins to make a fabulous porridge that is a true oatmeal upgrade."

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