Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Seeds

I am sure many people have heard this “jingle” before in a commerical showing terra-cotta  animal and human heads, or Chia Pets,  with sprouts growing to  resemble fur or hair.  I  can kind of understand Scooby-Doo but Barack Obama,  President of the United States?  There is also one of the Duck Dynasty characters for sale but instead of hair you grow his beard!  As a gardener these are one of the silliest gimmicks I have ever seen.

Well, I just did buy one after a little searching (the day after this was posted).  Apparently, these are seasonal (summer and Christmas).  The puppy is kind of cute… this is what they look like.  You soak the clay animal overnight, spread the water-soaked seeds in the animal and fill water hole.  Then in a couple of days the seeds will sprout.

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Yes, these are the same seeds that have usurped flaxseed and are showing up in all kinds of healthy food.  It is a little strange to group the Chia Pets with this amazing seed that not only sprouts very easily but once it touches even water gel forms around it.  It reminds me of  my high school science class… and why does it do this?  Back in March I did post Chia Seed Pudding which is a popular way to use these seeds but then I kind of forgot about using them in recipes.

Last week I was shopping in one of our two Whole Food Stores for groceries and I noticed this book;  “The Chia Seed Cookbook” by MySeeds Chia Test Kitchen located in Dania Beach, Florida.  They also have a website mychiaseeds.com.  There are 100 simple recipes full of color photographs and lots of information which explains how to use these healthy seeds. Because the chia seeds do not dilute or replace flavors when you add it to foods you can use them in many recipes.  The tiny seeds take on the flavor of whatever ingredients they are mixed with.  Besides breakfast dishes there are recipes for salads and  dressings, stir-fries, smoothies, desserts and even in sandwiches.

Fiesta Friday has started and I knew these would be good recipes to share with all of the health-conscious participants at The Novice Gardener.  Thanks also go to the two co-hosts this week, Selma @ Selma’s Table and Elaine @ Foodbod

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So, I decided to make an entire breakfast using chia seeds to give an example of the versatility of this small seed.   The first recipe is a fruit parfait, then some scrambled eggs and some homemade sausage patties to go with those eggs.  The patties I need to work on to get a more satisfying flavor, for me at least!  The last recipe I used from this book are muffins with bran flakes, apple sauce and bananas.

Some characteristics of chia plants:

1)  relative of the mint plant

2)  the seeds are flavorless and come in white or dark brown (or varying shades)

3)  black seed has slightly more fiber while the white seed has slightly more protein

4) black seed has a higher concentration of the anti-oxidant Anthocyanin, which helps prevent free radical damage and signs of premature aging

5) pests do not like the seeds because of the oil emitted from the stems and leaves

6) grows in hot, sandy, dry and poor soil

Chia gel is an important ingredient in this book and something I will always keep on hand in my refrigerator.  So, what is chia gel?  “Chia gel forms when the chia seed is exposed to water or non-acidic liquids.  The soluble fiber on the outside of the seed shell hydrates and forms a bead of gelatin around the seed.  It can be used to substitute butter or oil, it can help combine flavors, and it can function as a flavor-extender for things like salad dressing”.

Chia Gel

  • 1 tbsp. dry chia seeds
  • 9 tbsp. filtered water

Combine the seeds and water in a container, cover and shake to prevent clumping.  Let sit for about 15 minutes and you will have chia gel.  The gel will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. I keep it in one of my canning jars.

Recipe by cooking with aunt juju   https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2014/09/19/ch-ch-ch-chia-seeds/  

Yogurt Fruit Parfait

  • Greek plain nonfat yogurt
  • chia gel
  • fresh fruit of your choice – I used 1 peach and a handful of raspberries
  • honey to drizzle
  • sliced almonds (toasted if you would like)

Add any amount of chia gel to the yogurt.  I added 2 tbsp. in 1-1/2 cup yogurt.  Put a layer of yogurt/gel in the bottom of a glass, top with fruit, more  yogurt and repeat as many layers as you want.  I chilled these overnight so they would be ready in the morning.  Prior to serving add some nuts of your choice or maybe some granola.  Top with honey.

Recipe by cooking with aunt juju   https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2014/09/19/ch-ch-ch-chia-seeds/  

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Eggs and chia pair very well together.  Eggs provide the protein while the chia provides the fiber; 7g per 2 tbsp. You can add this to any egg recipe; my favorites are scrambled eggs or omelets.  I am not into over easy or that kind of egg!

Scrambled Eggs with Chia Seeds

  • 1 tsp. butter plus spraying the nonstick pan with non-stick spray
  • red pepper and onion, chopped small
  • 1/2 cup Egg Beaters Southern Style
  • 1 tsp. chia gel or more
  • grated cheese if desired
  • cayenne pepper – shake or two

This is how I make my eggs; spray your nonstick pan and melt the 1 tsp. of butter.  Saute the peppers and onions for about 5 minutes.  Add the Egg Beaters, dash or two of cayenne pepper, then 1 tsp. chia gel.   Stir to distribute the gel  and add some grated cheddar cheese if desired.  Cook until done to your taste.

Recipe by cooking with aunt juju   https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2014/09/19/ch-ch-ch-chia-seeds/  

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Turkey Sausage Patties

  • 1 lb. ground turkey (I use lean and extra lean combined)
  • 1/2 cup drained and smashed black beans
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (instead of 1 small apple diced)
  • handful of fresh curly parsley, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated – it is important to use fresh ginger as powdered ginger does not taste the same – if that is all you have start with 1/8 tsp.
  • 1/2 tsp. ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp. ground thyme
  • 3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. dry chia seeds

Smash the beans with a fork and add the turkey.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Form into 12 small patties (instead of 6).  Heat your skillet, spray with a non-stick spray and add 1 tbsp. oil.  Add the patties and cook 5-10 minutes per side.  Once they reach 160°F they are done.

Recipe by cooking with aunt juju   https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2014/09/19/ch-ch-ch-chia-seeds/  

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Banana Bran Chia Muffins

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup crushed plain bran flakes
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 4 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. chia gel
  • 1/4 cup milk (I use low-fat)
  • 3 small bananas, smashed

Preheat your oven to 375° F and prepare your muffin tins with spray or rub a small amount of butter in each well.

Stir together the dry ingredients.  In another bowl cream the butter and brown sugar together; add the eggs and beat.  Finally add the milk, chic gel and apple sauce.  Blend in the smashed bananas and stir in the dry ingredients.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes before removing from the tin.

Recipe by cooking with aunt juju   https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2014/09/19/ch-ch-ch-chia-seeds/  

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43 thoughts on “Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Seeds

  1. This post was like going to Chia Seed School, Judi. 🙂 Thanks for the education and ideas to use the seed that still hasn’t made it’s way in my kitchen. Reading through the recipes and gazing upon your delicious photos, I just may be a convert…finally!

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  2. I include Chia seeds in smoothies, granola and some bars. I love the idea of incorporating the gel in other recipes. Thank you Judi for a bit of a tutorial on these seeds. I love learning about food and ingredients.

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  3. WOW I just learned so much, (as I always do when I pay you a visit!)- Thank you for all of the information, it’s very interesting. (I’ve never bought a Chia Pet either, byyyy the way- but the song is definitely stuck in my head now! haha!) I particularly love the scrambled eggs you’ve got here, YUM! Thanks for another great post!

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    • Thank you Stephanie – that jingle is something else! I am happy to share things I have learned and these little seeds just fascinate me. That is my own egg recipe – I just added chia gel the last time I made them 🙂

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  4. Great and very informative post! I grow my own chia seeds It’s pretty cool. I basically add them to yogurt, overnight oats and my smoothies. These are some really tasty ideas! Thanks so much! Happy FF!

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    • Thank you Lisa – I have no problem growing the seeds – that is great – I am just not crazy about the medium they are grown in! The cookbook has given me all kinds of ideas and now that I keep some chia gel in the refrigerator I am always ready to add some to a recipe 🙂

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  5. Pingback: Meals with Mom | Fiesta Friday #34 | The Novice Gardener

  6. I love including chia seeds in smoothies and breakfast recipe as they sooth in and your recipes using chia seems to be delectable with different fusions… great very informative post…

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  7. I have just started to use Chia seeds and I agree with you, they are delicious. I want to try them in scramble eggs I have never even thought of that before! 🙂 I am coming over to you at the party for chia seed inspiration! 🙂

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  8. What an awesome post, Judi! I have been using chia seeds for awhile now, but mostly in breakfast cereals. I haven’t tried many savoury dishes with them, so am intrigued to see your recipes with eggs and sausages. I’ll give this a whirl very soon! Thanks so much for opening my mind with your post! 😀

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    • Well, thank you. I just started to use the seeds but there are so many sweet and savory dishes where the seeds can be used. It opened my eyes to all kinds of possibilities. I like all of the health benefits too 🙂

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  9. Judi, what a wonderful post – I have learnt so much and love the idea of keeping the gel around to quickly add to things. I have yet to try chia seeds and this post has prompted me to add a packet the next time I see some. Do they have a taste at all or is it a textural thing? Thanks for sharing all the wonderful brekkie recipes too – have a wonderful week!

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    • Thanks Selma – That is the beauty of these seeds – they are flavorless and gluten free and are so versatile. You can add as much as you want in a recipe. The sausage patties had just the seeds and the rest of the recipes I posted had gel in them. I could not tell at all, except the seeds in the eggs looked like pepper. You could see the seeds in the yogurt as well. My Chia Seed Pudding (a separate post) had too many seeds in it but it was not thick enough if you did not add the suggested amount. Enjoy your week too – it is beautiful here in Michigan with nothing but sunshine and no rain predicted all week 🙂

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  10. Thanks for teaching me something new. I’ve learnt about chia seeds/gel. The parfait looks delicious and the photos are great!

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    • Thanks a lot Liz – Chia seeds are rather new to me too. They are full of antioxidans and fiber, help balance blood sugar, help prevent diseases such as diverticulitis, contain omega-3 and are very easy to add the amount you are comfortable with to many different recipes 🙂

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