Category Archives: Chia Seed Recipes

Green Goodness Chia Superfood Smoothie

As part of an overall quest to get healthier, I went to a holistic doctor for the first time last week, and part of my prescription is to eat greens daily. How awesome is that?

A chia seed smoothie full of green goodness
A chia seed smoothie full of green goodness

I’m also supposed to eat vegetables from the cabbage family every day. It was pretty cool to look down at my prescription and see “brussels sprouts.” But I’m a veggie lover, and I’ve been a fan of brussels sprouts since I was a kid, so maybe I’m just weird.

Anyway, I’m trying to incorporate more greens into my smoothies, and this yummy green smoothie with green grapes, baby kale and ginger was the result this morning. It’s very good, and tastes like something you’d pay at least $5 for at a juice bar. It’s easy, and much cheaper, to make at home. So, give it a try.

Green Goodness Chia Superfood Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups green grapes
  • 1 large banana
  • 2 large handfuls of baby kale
  • 1 T extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 cup of chia gel plus 1/4 cup water
  • 1 T dry chia seeds
  • 1, one-inch, pinkie-finger width piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 T. honey, agave or sweetener of your choice

Instructions:

Throw all the ingredients into a Vitamix or other high-powered blender and blend on medium-high for about a minute.

Enjoy!

Mix-and-Match Chia Mash Breakfast

I had some leftover chia coconut pudding (made simply by soaking chia seeds in some leftover coconut milk and adding maple syrup to taste.) Also, I needed breakfast quick.

Make this chia seed breakfast in 5 minutes
Make this chia seed breakfast in 5 minutes

I made up this breakfast mash bowl on the fly, and it is super fast to put together (if you have the chia pudding made already), so good for busy mornings.

The cool thing is you can use any combo of pudding flavor, fruit and topping to make whatever kind of bowl you desire. Hence, the mix-and-match name.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup dry oats (use gluten-free oats to make this a gluten-free recipe)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or soy, rice, dairy, or any milk you choose)
  • Half a banana
  • Chia pudding of your choice (I used coconut)
  • Any fruit (I used frozen mango chunks)
  • Dried unsweetened coconut (or any kind of chopped nuts or seeds)
  • Maple syrup (or honey, or any sweetener you like)

Here’s what to do:

Put the oats in a bowl and mash in the half banana with a fork. Pour the milk on top, stir, and let it sit for five minutes. Top with the chia pudding, fruit, topping and sweetener of your choice.

Here are a few combo ideas:

  • Coconut chia pudding, mango, coconut
  • Chocolate chia pudding, raspberries, coconut
  • Strawberry chia pudding, strawberries, coconut
  • Chocolate chia pudding, cherries, walnuts
  • Coconut chia pudding, kiwi, almonds
  • Raw apples, dried apples, walnuts & cinnamon

You could really mix this up even more, using quinoa or rice as a base instead of oats, and throwing in many different combos of fruit (or dried fruit) and seeds. You could add raisins, dried apricots, dried apples, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, anything you want. It truly is made for mixing and matching with whatever you have in your kitchen.

If you discover a favorite combo, please comment & share. Thanks!

 

Cold Coconut Corn Chia Seed Soup

I’ve been wanting to make cold chia seed soup with chia seeds that have soaked overnight in my homemade veggie broth.

cold chia seed soupTonight, I made a delicious, cooling soup with corn, avocado, red pepper, cucumber and cilantro. Even though September is here, the weather was sultry hot and humid today, so this soup made a perfect end-of-summer evening meal. I served it with cubed tofu, pan fried, finished with soy sauce.

I’ll definitely be making this soup again, and I plan to experiment with many more cold chia seed soups. The chia seeds work very well in chilly soup. They thicken the soup while keeping the texture nice, cool and light.

Here’s the recipe:

Cold Coconut Corn Chia Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups oil-free vegetable broth*
  • 3 T chia seeds

The broth and chia seeds will be mixed to create a chia broth gel that must be made the night before you want to make the soup (see below.)

You also need:

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • Two ears yellow sweet corn, kernels sliced off
  • One red pepper, thinly sliced, with slices cut in half
  • Juice of one lime
  • 5 T chopped cilantro
  • A squirt of sriracha sauce
  • Sea salt to taste

*It’s important to use oil-free broth for a cold soup so the oil doesn’t congeal. I made my own broth by filling a large pot with water and adding 3 carrots, 5 celery stalks, two onions, a few peppercorns, a shake of thyme and some sea salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes. Cool for an hour before adding chia seeds.

To make the chia broth gel:

Put 3 c warm broth in a Ball jar with a lid. Add 3 to 4 T chia seeds. Shake very well. Keep shaking every few minutes until the seeds begin to turn into a gel. Put the jar in the fridge overnight, shaking it again whenever you get a chance.

To make the soup:

The next day, after the broth is cold and the chia seeds have become gelatinous, put the chia  broth gel into a large bowl. Whisk in the coconut milk and lime juice and salt to taste. Add sriracha sauce to taste.

Gently stir in the cucumber, red pepper, corn and avocado. Top with cilantro.

Enjoy.

 

How to Make DIY Chia Seed Juice

Chia seed juices for sale in stores can get pretty pricy. And making chia juice yourself is so easy. It takes just a few minutes of mixing, then you stick it in the fridge and let it sit overnight.

Chia Juice

Voila! Chia juice.

There are two ways to make chia juice. This first is a little more time consuming: it involves making your own fruit or vegetable juice in a juicer, then adding the chia seeds.

However, I don’t have a juicer at the moment (I hope to get one soon) so I use the ridiculously easy method: buy a good, natural 100 percent juice at the store and add chia seeds.

Here’s my recipe:

Homemade chia seed juice

  • 3 cups juice of your choice
  • 3 T chia seeds (black or white — your choice)
  • A Ball jar with a lid or drink shaker

Just pour the juice into the jar, add the chia seeds and shake hard for about a minute. Let the jar sit on the counter, coming back to shake it again every couple of minutes.

After about 15 minutes, put the jar in the refrigerator and let it sit for at least several hours. I like to let it sit overnight to make sure the chia seeds have absorbed as much liquid as they can.

Pour the juice into a glass or sport bottle, or just chug it out of the jar. That’s it.

So, now you’ll never have to pay almost $4 for a chia juice again, unless you want to.

So, what juices should you use for your chia juice? I made a delicious chia juice a few days ago using blueberry blackberry acai juice.

There are lots of other juices and juice combos that make great chia seed juice. Here are a few of my favorites:

R.W. Knudsen juices I like with chia seeds:

  • Cherry Cider
  • Kiwi Strawberry
  • Pineapple Coconut
  • Mango Peach
  • Razzleberry
  • Spiced Pear

Northland juices that work well for making chia juice:

  • Blueberry Blackberry Acai
  • Raspberry Pomegranate Goji
  • Berry Berry Maqui
  • Purple Power

So, try one of the above juices or use any juice you like. If you make your own juices, you have even more possibilities. Try a watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew chia juice. Or make your favorite combo: I think a lemon ginger orange apple juice would be great with chia seeds added. Or, add some chia seeds to a green juice to make a seriously nutritious beverage.

One other tip: if you save your bottles and lids from iced tea or bottled water, you can make chia juice in single serving bottles. Just fill each bottle almost full with juice and add one to two tablespoons of chia seeds. Then they’re ready to grab in single serving form whenever you’re heading out the door.

Do you have a favorite flavor of chia juice to make? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

Cold Oatmeal Parfait with Blueberry Chia Gel

I’m starting a gluten-free diet this week to see if I can get rid of headaches I’ve had my entire adult life, and also possibly address a few other health issues.

Breakfast in a jar
Breakfast in a jar

This is totally new to me, so I spent quite a bit of time doing research and reading labels in the grocery store. I’ve heard gluten is very sneaky and hides in a lot of places you might not expect it. I bought gluten-free soy sauce and also certified gluten-free rolled oats from Bob’s Red Mill. My grocery store has a pretty good gluten-free section, and it was interesting to see all the stuff that’s available.

I’m keeping it healthy this week since health is my reason for doing this, so I didn’t pounce on the gluten-free cookies, though they looked good. I’ve always loved cold oatmeal with chia seeds, so I decided my first gluten-free recipe would be a pretty oatmeal breakfast parfait using the blueberry chia seed gel I made the other day.

Cold breakfast oatmeal is super easy to make and very tasty. Here’s a recipe that takes less than 10 minutes to put together. Yum.

This recipe serves two. You can just double or triple it to make additional servings.

*It’s a good idea to make the blueberry gel a day ahead of time so it’s ready for this recipe. To make blueberry chia gel, put three cups of natural blueberry juice (I used Northland Superfruits Blueberry Blackberry Acai juice) in a ball jar. Add 3 T chia seeds and shake well. Continue to shake every few minutes to keep the seeds from clumping. In about 15 minutes, put the gel in the fridge. Give it another good shake whenever you open the fridge. Let it sit overnight until it forms a gel with chia seeds suspended in it. Done.

Cold Oatmeal Parfait with Blueberry Chia Gel

  • 1 cup rolled oats (use gluten-free oats to make this recipe gluten free)
  • 1.5 cups Silk Original Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 cup blueberry chia gel*
  • 2 T pure maple syrup
  • A few drops pure, natural vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries
  • 2 small ball jars with lids

To make:

  1. Mix the oats and the almond milk together in a glass mixing cup with a spout. Add three to four drops of vanilla extract and mix.
  2. Mix the maple syrup with the blueberry chia gel.
  3. Pour a quarter of the oat mixture into each jar.
  4. Pour a quarter of the blueberry chia gel into each jar on top of the oats.
  5. Divide the rest of the oat mixture between the two jars.
  6. Divide the rest of the blueberry chia gel between the two jars.
  7. Put 1/2 cup of blueberries on top of each parfait.
  8. Put the lids on and put the jars in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, take the jars out of the fridge and enjoy!

The #1 Easiest Way to “Eat” Chia Seeds: in Water

Chia seed water is a delicious, easy-to-make and extremely hydrating drink. There are plenty of fun variations on chia water too, such as making flavored chia water or coconut chia water.

Chia seed water Photo: Janine
Chia seed water
Photo: Janine

You should put your chia seeds in the water a day ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge overnight for best results.

How to make chia water

It couldn’t be any easier to make this super healthy beverage. Here’s a a simple chia water recipe:

  • 3 cups filtered water*
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • A Ball jar with a lid or a beverage shaker

*Natural-Healthy-Eating.com recommends using water that has been filtered by reverse osmosis for maximum water absorption by the chia seeds. But I use regular filtered water from my fridge, and it works pretty well.

To make the water:

Put the filtered water in your jar or beverage shaker. Add the chia seeds. Close the jar and shake vigorously for about a minute. Let the jar sit, coming back every few minutes to shake until the water begins to thicken.  (It usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes.)

Put the jar of chia seed water in the fridge and let it sit for several hours or, better yet, overnight. By letting the water sit for a while, you give the chia seeds a chance to soak up the water and expand as much as they’re going to. Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they’re like tiny sponges. They absorb 10 times their weight in water, and then they become gelatinous.

Once the chia water is ready, give it another good shake. Pour it into a glass, or a sports bottle — or drink straight from the jar.

Chia water with a twist: yummy variations 

You can jazz up plain old chia water with flavors, additions and garnishes.

My favorite twist is to use all-natural, unsweetened flavored water in place of regular water. I love Ayala’s Herbal Water. My favorite flavors are lavender mint, ginger lemon peel and lemongrass mint vanilla. Hint also makes a nice healthy flavored water.

Or, to save money, you can easily make DIY infused water by filling a pitcher with water and adding a fruit, vegetable or herb for a couple of hours, then removing the fruit or veggie after the water has absorbed the taste. Here are a few ideas for how to flavor your water:

  • Make cucumber mint water: add half a cucumber peeled and sliced plus one sprig of mint.
  • Make orange clove water: add a few orange slices and two or three whole cloves.
  • Make grapefruit lavender water: add half a grapefruit, sliced, plus one sprig of fresh culinary lavender. (I recommend doing this only if you grow your own lavender, so you can make sure it’s not treated with any pesticides.)
  • Make lemon water: add one lemon, sliced.

Another variation is to use coconut water. You can buy plain or flavored coconut water. (The one I like best: guava.) Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes and potassium, so combining it with chia seeds is doubly nourishing for you on a super hot day or before or after a workout.

Flavored chia water recipe

To make flavored chia water, just use the above recipe for basic chia water, substituting the flavored water for the plain filtered water. If you really want to get gourmet, throw in a few fresh blueberries or raspberries, or squeeze in some citrus juice (lemon, lime or orange) or add a garnish that works well with the flavor — for example, a stalk of lemongrass or a few curls of lemon zest.

The benefits of chia water

Chia seed water has several benefits. Here are two:

1. It’s a quick, easy way to get chia seeds in your diet. In water, they go down easily.

2. It can help you stay hydrated. According to the fitness site BreakingMuscle.com, downing chia seeds in water is a good way to keep your body hydrated for a longer period of time, and to get an energy boost. For that reason, chia water is especially good to sip before a run, or to tote with you to the gym or yoga class.

No matter how you slice it, chia seeds and water are a winning combination. Cheers!

 

Chia Gel: How to Make It, Store It and Use It

Chia Gel Photo: Larry Jacobsen
Chia Gel
Photo: Larry Jacobsen

You’ve probably heard of chia gel, but what exactly is it? Chia gel is simply a mix of chia seeds and water (or other liquid). The chia seeds absorb the liquid and become gelatinous, making the liquid very thick, almost like a natural Jell-O.

Store your chia seed gel in a jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for at least a week.

Basic Chia Seed Gel Recipe

It’s very easy to make chia gel, and it takes only a few minutes. You need:

  • Chia seeds
  • Water or other liquid
  • A bowl and a whisk OR
  • A Ball jar with a lid or a beverage shaker

To make the gel:

Mix 3 tablespoons* of chia seeds with three cups* of water in a bowl. Whisk the mixture, let it sit for a few minutes, then whisk again. Keep whisking every few minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.

Or, if you prefer, put the seeds and the water in  a Ball jar or other beverage shaker and shake vigorously, then come back and shake again every few minutes to keep the seeds from clumping together.

Once you’ve made your gel, it’s a good idea to put it in the fridge and let it sit a few hours, or preferably overnight, so the chia seeds can absorb the full amount of water. (They soak up 10 times their weight in water.) Before using the gel, give it another good shake.

*You can change the amounts of chia seed and water to make a thicker or thinner gel, if you like.

Chia gel variations

You don’t need to stick with the basic gel. You can mix it up and make flavored gel just by using a liquid other than water. Easy peasy. For example, you can use store bought or homemade fruit or vegetable juice. Or you can use coconut water. Or, you can use broth to make a savory gel that you can add to soups.

Flavored chia gel

Here are some ideas for liquids you can use to add pizzazz to your gel:

  • Apple juice
  • Blueberry juice
  • Coconut pineapple juice
  • Mango juice
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Concord or white grape juice
  • Homemade cantaloupe juice
  • Homemade watermelon juice
  • Guava flavored coconut water
  • Homemade carrot juice
  • Vegetable broth

Chia Gel Uses

Once you have your gel in the fridge, it’s ready to use any time you need it. Here are 5 ideas for how to use it:

1. Stir it into yogurt and top with chopped walnuts and fresh fruit for a breakfast or snack packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids (try blueberry flavored chia gel and fresh blueberries.)

2. Mix it into a beverage for a boost of energy and hydration. You can mix chia gel into water, coconut water, almond milk or juice. It makes a great pre-workout drink. (Try mango flavored chia gel mixed into guava coconut water.)

3. Mix it into oatmeal or another hot cereal during the last minute of cooking and top with fresh fruit and pumpkin seeds. (Try apple gel with apple chunks, cinnamon and raisins.)

4. Use it to thicken gravy or other sauce. Just stir a quarter to a half cup of chia gel into your sauce.

5.  Add to stews to thicken the broth a little bit. Try chia seed gel made with broth for added flavor.

Chia Gel Benefits

Chia gel has a variety of benefits. Here are a few:

Convenience. Having the gel onhand makes it super easy to add more chia seeds to your diet. The gel is always ready to be stirred into your food or drink.

Digestibility. By using chia that has been soaked already and has formed a gel, you make eating chia seeds easier on your tummy because the seeds won’t be absorbing water from your body and possibly causing stomach pain.

Hydration. Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they absorb lots of water. When you eat (or drink) chia gel, the seeds have already absorbed the water or other liquid. According to nutritionist and author Sara Vance, chia gel can help prevent dehydration. The gel makes hydration last longer and helps the body retain electrolytes, according to Vance. So, have some as a pre-workout boost.

Chia seed gel is so easy to make and so beneficial that it’s good to always have a jar in your fridge.

Shiitake Chia Seed Gravy Recipe

Chia seeds thicken gravy Photo -- Roban Kramer
Chia seeds thicken gravy
Photo — Roban Kramer

I love to make healthy shiitake mushroom gravy because it’s so versatile. You can serve it over mashed potatoes, of course. But I also like to make a big plate of steamed veggies (brussels sprouts are the best, but you can use broccoli or any veggie you want.) I put the veggie on top of a grain (like red quinoa or brown rice) and ladle a generous serving of gravy on top. It’s not at all fattening, so you can use a lot of this gravy.

I could cook anything, pour this healthy gravy on top, and my husband would say, “Mmmmm. This is delicious.”

Usually I thicken my gravy with cornstarch. But given that cornstarch isn’t the healthiest thing out there, and that chia seeds (kind of like flax seeds) make a good thickener, I decided to try using chia seeds as a thickener in my gravy. It turned out delicious, and very healthy! Here’s the recipe:

Healthy Shiitake Chia Seed Gravy

  • I.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 package shiitake mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • A few dashes soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 to 2 T ground chia seeds, depending on how thick you like your gravy*

Instructions: Heat the olive oil in a  small saucepan on the stovetop and add the minced garlic. Stir for 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the vegetable broth and turn the heat up to medium high. Add the soy sauce or Bragg’s. As the broth begins to simmer, use a metal or heat-proof silicone whisk to whisk in the ground chia seed, a little at a time, until your gravy is as thick as you’d like. Serve on anything!

*You can grind your own chia seeds in a spice grinder. Any spice grinder works fine, and you can pick one up for about $10 at a discount store. Or, you can buy chia seeds already ground for convenience. I prefer grinding my own seeds.

Variations: You also can play around with this recipe. It’s fun to try different types of mushrooms. Plain white mushrooms work fine, and portobello mushrooms add a more substantial texture to the gravy. I also like to use an exotic mix that includes oyster mushrooms.

Serving suggestions: You can serve this gravy on shepherd’s pie, over biscuits for biscuits & gravy, on any whole grain, on any vegetable, and over tofu cutlets.  It’s yummy.

Chia Tea Two Ways: Iced or Hot

Iced Chia Tea with LemonI love bubble tea — it’s so much fun to suck the bubbles up through a fat straw, and it comes in so many yummy flavors (jasmine and watermelon are my favorites). But it’s an occasional treat for me because of all the sugar, artificial color and flavors — not to mention the calories.

One reason I enjoy bubble tea is the texture of the tapioca pearls (aka bubbles or boba). Chia seeds are kind of similar, except they’re smaller, they’re a whole food and they’re 100 percent good for you. So, using chia seeds in tea seems pretty genius to me. Bonus: chia tea is easy to make, and you can drink it every day.

So, here are two ways to drink chia seeds in your tea:

Iced Tea With Chia Seeds

It’s super easy to make iced chia tea. Here are the steps:

  • Brew up a pitcher of your favorite iced tea, sweetened or unsweetened (whichever you prefer). You can use iced black tea, green tea, white tea or herbal tea (tisane).
  • Pour 16 ounces of the cold (or room temperature) tea into a Ball jar or beverage shaker. Add one cup of flavored chia gel. Shake well for 30 seconds.
  • Pour it into a glass and add a garnish that complements the flavors in the tea. Garnish ideas: a sprig of mint, a lemon or orange slice, a cinnamon stick, fresh raspberries, fresh blueberries.

Here are some possible combinations:

  • Iced spearmint lemongrass green tea , garnished with mint leaves and a lemon slice
  • Orange herbal tisane, sweetened with agave nectar and garnished with a cinnamon stick and an orange slice
  • Jasmine tea with a drop of vanilla and fresh blueberries

Enjoy!

Hot Tea With Chia Seeds

It’s even easier to make hot chia seed tea. Here’s how you do it:

  • Brew up a cup of your favorite hot tea. You can use black tea, green tea, white tea or herbal. Sweeten it (or don’t) to taste.
  • Pour eight ounces of tea into a four-cup glass measuring cup with a spout. Add a quarter cup of chia gel, and whisk with a metal or silicone whisk so the seeds don’t clump together.
  • If you like, add milk (or almond milk or soy creamer) and a garnish (optional). Garnish ideas: a cinnamon stick, an orange slice, a lemon slice, orange or lemon zest or a sprig of rosemary.
  • Pour it into your favorite mug. (I always use a ceramic mug my mom made. I swear that using a favorite mug makes tea taste better. Really.)

Combination ideas:

  • Orange flavored black tea garnished with a cinnamon stick and orange zest
  • Chamomile tea garnished with a vanilla bean
  • Soothing or night time herbal blend garnished with a lavender sprig

Enjoy! (I like to sit back with a good book and take a break while sipping my hot tea.)

Watermelon Chia Lime Cooler

A refreshing watermelon chia beverage
A refreshing watermelon chia beverage

I’ve been dreaming up the perfect refreshing summer beverage. It contains cold watermelon, because you can’t get any more thirst-quenching than that. And it’s also got chia seeds, which absorb moisture, so they’re very hydrating.

I had half of a “personal watermelon” — a small watermelon big enough to feed about four people — left over after making a watermelon smoothie this morning. I decided to pop it in the freezer for a little while to get it extra cold before making this drink.

It turned out every bit as good as I’d imagined. The lime juice adds a nice tartness that makes the drink taste really crisp. I added a little maple syrup to offset the lime juice. And the chia seeds taste kind of like bubble tea boba — fun and delightful.

Since temps today were in the high 90s here in Georgia, it was the perfect day to make this cooler. I plan to make it a regular summer fixture at my house. It keeps very well in the fridge, so you can sip it throughout the day. The chia seeds make it filling, so it’s kind of like a snack.

Watermelon Chia Lime Cooler Recipe

(Serves 2-4)

Ingredients:

  • Half of a personal watermelon (scooped)
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 T pure maple syrup
  • 3 T chia seeds

Scoop the watermelon out of the rind and place it in a plastic container. Chill it in the freezer for two hours.

Then, put the watermelon, lime juice and maple syrup (but not the chia seeds) into a high-powered blender. (I use a Vitamix.) Blend on medium-high (I use speed 8 on the Vitamix) until the watermelon is liquified.

Then pour the watermelon juice into a Ball jar with a lid or another container that can be tightly closed. Add the chia seeds to the jar, close the lid and shake. Put the jar in the fridge and give it a good shake every five minutes until the chia seeds have turned gelatinous. (They should look like little blobs in the drink.)

Pour into glasses or store in the fridge until you’re ready to drink. Before drinking, give it another good shake.

This is the perfect summer beverage to rehydrate you after a workout, mowing the lawn or a day at the beach!