As superfoods gain momentum in popularity, chia seeds are at the top of the list. These little seeds may not look like much but they pack a nutrition punch to be proud of. Touted as nature’s complete superfood, chia seeds contain the highest plant-based omega 3 content, followed closely by flaxseeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. They are an excellent source of soluble fibre that is gentle and nourishing on the digestive tract, as well as being food for the healthy bacteria in our gut. Chia seeds are also high in “complete protein”, rare in plant-based foods, so are therefore perfect as part of a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, mixed with cereal and used as an egg replacement in baking for those who are allergic to or avoid egg in their diet.
When converting a recipe, replace each egg with one quantity of chia egg replacement. For example, a recipe for corn and zucchini muffins with 2 eggs will use 2 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with ½ cup water (or other liquid) to replace the eggs.
More serving suggestions for chia seeds:
• Make a delicious breakfast bowl by combining 3 tablespoons chia seeds with 1 cup coconut milk. Set aside to thicken for at least 30 minutes (or overnight), then mix through maple syrup to sweeten, and chopped nuts and fresh fruit.
• For a sugar-free fruit conserve (jam), combine ½ cup chia seeds with 2 cups pureed berries. Sweeten with 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or other liquid sweetener. Store in the fridge and use within a week.
Chia Yoyos with Lemon Cashew Icing
Makes 12 cookies
Chia Egg Replacement
(Makes equivalent of one egg)
1 tbsp chia seeds
¼ cup almond milk
1 cup almond meal, lightly packed
1 cup gluten-free flour mix (or
use ¾ cup brown rice flour
and ¼ cup tapioca starch)
½ tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
¼ cup maple syrup or other
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
chia seeds for sprinkling
Lemon Cashew Icing
½ cup cashew nuts
½ lemon, juice only
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil, softened
pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
To make egg replacement, combine chia seeds and almond milk. Mix well. Soak for 10 minutes. Stir to remove lumps.
In a bowl, combine almond meal, flour, baking powder, a pinch of sea salt and lemon zest. Make a well in the centre.
Gently heat coconut oil until just melted. Pour into the well of the dry ingredients along with “chia egg”, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
Mix until a sticky ball forms. If mixture is too sticky, wait 5-10 minutes for chia seeds to absorb more liquid.
Roll into 24 small balls, 2cm round. Place on baking tray, press with a fork to flatten. Sprinkle with extra chia seeds.
Bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven and cool.
To make lemon cashew icing, cover cashews with water and soak for at least 2 hours to soften. Drain and rinse.
Place cashews in a high-speed blender or food processor with remaining ingredients. Process for 30 seconds. Scrape sides and process again for 30 seconds. Add water to thin mixture if neccessary. Process for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
To assemble, sandwich icing between two biscuits. Store in an airtight container in a cool pantry so icing does not melt.