News and Notes from The Johnson Center

Family and Food: Ch-ch-ch-ch-Chia! (As in Seeds)

JCCHD | Wed, May 16, 2012 | [Family and Food][Healthcare]

Chia Seeds

Most all of us are familiar with the amazing Chia Pets that you soak, spread, and sprout to make fun, green, bushy animals and cartoon characters (see Youtube), but this seed can provide more than just a novelty plant to decorate your window sill.

Chia seed, or salvia hispanica, is a member of the mint family. It is a great source of ALA omega-3 fatty acids - which are fairly challenging to come by in a typical Western diet. Chia seed is actually richer in omega-3’s than salmon, a commonly touted source of omega-3 support.  Omega-3 essential fatty acids promote heart health and help lower cholesterol. 

Another benefit of chia seed is increased fiber and satiety- a bonus for those who are trying to manage dietary caloric intake. One of the few plant based sources of protein, chia also contains both soluble and insoluble fibers, which help balance blood sugars and keep the colon hydrated. Finally, chia is a good source of antioxidants. In fact, it’s such a good source that you can store it at room temperature for up to two years without it going rancid.

Chia works as an excellent substitute for butter, oil, or eggs in baked goods.  It’s tasteless, so it will take on the flavor of whatever you are creating. Just substitute half the amount of butter or oil the recipe calls for with chia seed. To use chia as an egg replacer, use ¼ cup ground chia + ¾ cup warm water for each egg needed.

Introduce some chia into your day with these easy and quick recipes:

Chia Seed Pudding

Makes one serving

1 to 2 tablespoons of Chia seeds
1 cup of milk- (coconut milk or nut milk)
Sea salt,to taste
1 dessert spoon of honey
1 small banana

Heat the milk,but do not boil
Whisk the chia seeds into the hot milk and let stand for 10-15 minutes to make a gel
Reheat after standing (if you want to serve it warm) or allow to cool completely
Slice banana over the top and drizzle the honey
2 tablespoons makes a very thick mixture; adjust to taste

Add fruit, nuts, seeds, or make chocolate or vanilla versions

Printable PDF


Chia Creamed Brown Rice

This simple recipe is a great way to use up left over brown rice. Serve it
as a breakfast dish or as a dessert.

Makes 4 servings

2 cups of cooked brown rice
1 cup of apple juice (or fruit juice of your choice)
1 to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds (depending on how firm you want this dish to be)
1 cup of natural unsweetened coconut or almond yogurt

Put 2 cups of cooked brown rice into a mixing bowl.
Add the chia seeds and fruit juice. Stir well and allow to stand for a few
minutes to allow the chia seeds to soften and swell.
Finally, stir the yogurt and-mix well.

Add chopped dried fruit to taste

Printable PDF


Cauliflower Chia Mash

This tasty, simple and filling side dish makes a great change from mashed potatoes.

Makes two servings

1 quarter of a whole cauliflower
1 tablespoon of white chia seeds
Half a cup of water
1 rounded teaspoon of ghee or coconut oil
A little sea salt and ground black pepper for seasoning

Soak the chia seeds in the water for 10 to 15 minutes to make a thick gel.
Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and steam or simmer in water until soft.
Drain the cauliflower well and put into a blender with the chia gel, ghee/oil, and seasoning.

Blend until smooth and serve immediately.

Printable PDF


Additional references:

Packet of chia seeds