Let’s chat about chia seeds for a sec. The ancient Mexican seed has climbed up the popularity ladder in recent years as we’ve come to realize its potency in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants. And it seems like in every brunch menu, healthy food blog, or organic store you come across these days, you’re faced with some rendition of a chia seed pudding.
But for those of us who know that chia is filled with nutrition, yet can’t deal with its famously gelatinous texture (its gooeyness is, admittedly, kind of funky), puddings may not be the answer. These chia seed recipes just might be. From muffins to burgers to pizza, we’re looking at the many alternative ways to use these mini but mighty ingredients.
If you want an easy way to give your homemade popsicles a bit more staying power, add a few tablespoons of chia seeds into the molds. It’s kind of like having healthier sprinkles embedded into every creamy bite.
It’s party on the top, business on the bottom with this New-Age take on Rice Krispies treats. Under that fun chocolate topping, a protein-rich base of quinoa, peanut butter, chia seeds, and hemp make sure your dessert is as nutritious as it is tasty.
They look little and innocent, but be warned that these bundles are insanely addictive. Thankfully, the four-ingredient (yup, just four!) recipe includes better-for-you items such as chia, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, and unrefined sugar, so even if you eat half the batch, you don’t have to feel too terrible later.
The chia seeds speckled throughout these bright, bite-size cookies play a more important role than just looking pretty—along with coconut oil, they replace butter as the source of fat and help to make the cookies soft and chewy. Without them, you’d basically have lemon-flavored cardboard.
We can probably all agree that muffins are delicious, but a lot of the time, they’re filled with empty carbs from refined flour and white sugar. That doesn’t mean ditching these snack-time favorites entirely, though—just build better muffins like these, which use unrefined sweeteners, are grain-free thanks to coconut flour, and have decent protein and fiber counts from the chia seeds.
Not everyone is crazy for the texture of chia, but who doesn’t love pancakes? Throw the seeds into the batter, and you’ll reap all of their nutritional benefits without being able to tell they’re there.
Granola can be tricky terrain for anyone trying to eat a bit healthier (hello, sugar overload), which makes recipes like this a joy to have around. Despite all the chocolaty flavor, it’s actually much lower in sugar than your average granola, and once baked, the combo of chia seeds, oats, and coconut makes for the most satisfying crunch.
You can just see the healthy goodness packed in these bars, with chia and dried fruit nestled into the almond base. Whether you’re eating them for breakfast, as a snack, or after a workout, they’re an efficient way to get in lots of nutrients at once.
Chia is often used as an egg replacer, but this recipe uses the seeds in addition to the egg. It’s a genius move that adds moisture and fluffiness to the end product without requiring a ton of butter, making this banana bread richer in healthy fats for a more nutritious breakfast.
When the recipe involves less sugar, more healthy fats, and whole grains, you can totally have cake for breakfast. These lightly sweetened, chia-based treats are super versatile too—crumble them onto yogurt, drizzle nut butter on them, or enjoy them plain with a cup of tea or coffee.
When you mix chia seeds with liquid, they expand and take on a tapioca-like, gelatinous texture. If you’re a volume eater, you’ll love them in this recipe, as they give you an exceptionally big bowl of oatmeal that’s extra chewy and hearty.
These patties get baked in the oven, so you don’t need to be a master at the grill to make them. With chia seeds replacing eggs to keep them vegan, lentils and oats to give them bulk, and several veggies for added fiber, they’re real-food burgers that put all those fake meat-based ones to shame.
Crepes don’t just have to be dessert pancakes filled with Nutella and strawberries. This recipe recreates them with rye flour, chia seeds, and oregano for a savory spin. Stuff them with meat or veggie mixes for a hearty lunch or dinner.
Chia seeds in the lean beef mixture are lower-cholesterol substitutes for eggs that will still let the balls hold their shape once cooked. The blogger provides an awesome marinara recipe to pair them with, but feel free to use them however you want, from tossing them in pesto, to stuffing them in a sandwich.
On a restaurant menu, the word “crusted” is likely referring to a breaded and pan-fried dish, but it doesn’t have to be that way at home. This recipe not only ditches the bread crumbs by using chia seeds instead, but also cuts down on the oil by using a baking method for the salmon. Ready in just 30 minutes, it’s an easy (and elegant) weeknight dinner.
Cream sauces aren’t exactly known for being easy on your digestive system, but this recipe defies the norm. With fiber-rich chia seeds, gut-friendly miso paste, gluten-free pasta, and no dairy whatsoever, your taste buds and your stomach will be happy after this spaghetti dinner.
Baking your own crackers may seem unnecessary given that there are many healthy packaged versions available these days, but buying them doesn’t give you nearly the same satisfaction as crunching into a homemade batch fresh from the oven. These chia and sesame-based crackers are easier to make than you might think, and are perfect vehicles for everything from cheese to hummus to guac.
Toasting the chia seeds before tossing them into this salad brings out their nutty flavor, which goes perfectly with the quinoa and adds a wonderful crunch factor along with the creamy, crumbly feta. The recipe is simple to prepare but full of complex carbs, protein, and fiber—our favorite kind of meal.
Coated in gluten-free bread crumbs, ground almonds, and a generous half-cup of chia seeds, these chicken fingers are like nothing you’ll find at the ball game. Whip up the quick, yogurt-based ranch dipping sauce, and you’re all set for a healthy happy hour or game night at home.
With alternative pizza bases popping up everywhere lately (we’re looking at you, cauliflower crust), this is another version to add to your repertoire. Chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, and chia seeds keep it totally vegan, and it takes all of five minutes to cook up on the stove before it’s ready for your favorite toppings.
If you haven’t tried savory oats yet, you might wonder why you waited so long after digging into this recipe. Chia seeds add volume to a bowl already overflowing with flavor and nutrition from salsa, avocado, and a runny egg. It’ll easily become your new favorite breakfast (or lunch or dinner or second dinner).