You’ve probably heard a lot about chia in the past few years. The black, white, and gray edible seed of the Salvia hispanica plant, it seems like the superfood has quickly popped up everywhere, from smoothies and muffins to puddings and cookies. And according to Marcel Vigneron, celebrity chef and owner of WOLF and Tacos Lobos, it all makes sense when you consider chia was the Mayan word for “strength.”
“Chia seeds can help to control hunger by expanding in your belly and keeping you full,” says Nicolette Pace, a dietician, chef, and nutritionist. “They are also packed with fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 [fatty acids].” Per Diana Stobo, creator of Truth Bar, chia “is also considered a perfect protein with all 9 amino acids in its profile. That makes chia a great vegan option for those looking to get enough protein in their diet.”
Anthony's Organic Chia Seeds, $12.74 on Amazon
These well-reviewed chia seeds come in a two and a half pound bag, so they'll last you a while.
An easy way to sneak much-needed fiber and vitamins into your diet, there are also plenty of ways to incorporate chia seeds into your life: “They’re so small that you can put them on just about anything. You can sprinkle them in water, juice, or smoothies, or on top of salads. Bake them into bread or use them as an egg substitute if you’re vegan. I’ve even used them in risotto,” Pace says.
Need further proof as to why you should be sneaking this superfood into your “New Year, New You” healthy eating habits? If it’s good enough for Meghan Markle, it’s good enough for us—right? Check out 7 recipes packed with chia to get you started.
Chia Hummus with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Za’atar
- 1/4 cup white chia seeds
- 3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup purified water
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried za’atar or chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the chia seeds, 3/4 cup water, and the lemon juice and let stand for about 20 minutes. (Makes 1 1/8 cups lemon-chia gel.)
- Bring 1/4 cup water to a simmer.
- Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a coffee mug or small heatproof bowl and add the water. Let stand for about 20 minutes. Place the lemon-chia gel, sun-dried tomatoes with water, chickpeas, tahini, za’atar, garlic, and salt in a food processor or blender. Cover and puree.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill until ready to serve.
- To serve, spoon into a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 2 3/4 cups.
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This model beautifully handles even big batches of homemade hummus, nut butter, and more.
Double Chocolate Chip Cookies with Chia Seeds
- 2 cups almond meal
- 1/2 cup chia seeds, ground (measure before grinding)
- 16 ounces sweetened raw cacao nibs and/or dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup almonds, chopped
- 2 cups raw oat groats (soaked in water for 12 hours, then drained and rinsed)
- 2 cups coconut palm sugar
- 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Mix almond meal, chia seeds, cacao nibs (and/or chocolate chips), and almonds together in a large bowl and set aside. In food processor fitted with s-blade, mix raw oat groats, coconut sugar, cinnamon, vanilla powder, and salt while slowly adding melted coconut oil. Process until creamy and smooth (there will still be texture from the oats).
- Pour mixture over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly with thick spoon or spatula. Let set 5 minutes for batter to thicken.
- Using a 1 1/8-inch cookie scoop, form heaping half domes of batter onto dehydrator trays lined with grid sheet and non-stick silicone sheets (like Paraflexx; if you have a round dehydrator, you can find 12-inch round silicone sheets that should fit). Dehydrate at 145 degrees for 2 hours. Reduce heat to 115 degrees and dehydrate for 4 hours.
- Gently remove cookies from silicone sheets and place directly onto grid sheet. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for an additional 12 hours.
- Place in airtight container (may refrigerate). Keep up to 1 month. Makes about 50 cookies.
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Solula Professional Stainless Steel Small Cookie Scoop, $12.95 on Amazon
This mini cookie scoop makes perfectly portioned bites, and works for making truffles and melon balls too.
Dairy-Free Coconut Chia Pudding
- Roughly 2 cups chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- shaved coconut, to taste
- toppings of your choice (dates, berries, dried fruit, nut butter, etc.)
- Mix chia seeds, honey, cinnamon, and shaved coconut together.
- Top with dates, peanut butter, berries, or dried banana. Makes four servings.
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While these beautiful bowls are intended for chawanmushi (egg custard), they're also perfect for making—and serving—individual portions of chia pudding and overnight oats in high style.
La Cafette’s Chia Bowl
The La Cafette menu is built around real food—humanely-raised proteins, sustainably-sourced produce, and simple yet elegant takes on classic French dishes, like this easy-to-make chia bowl from Chef Aubry.
- 1/3 cup almond, coconut, or cow’s milk
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Lime and lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon agave
- Fresh fruit (we use bananas, strawberries, and blueberries)
- Combine the milk, chia seeds, honey, and vanilla extract in a small bowl; stir contents together.
- Let mixture sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Add agave, lemon and lime zest, and fresh fruit.
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Tropical Chia Porridge
Mango, pineapple, and papaya mixed into this porridge from Chef Vigneron—which is jam-packed with chia—will make you dream of being at the beach, or at the very least, inspire you to book your next vacation.
- 2 tablespoons coconut nectar
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1/2 cup dry chia seeds (white)
- 1 tablespoon maca powder
- pinch of sea salt
- sliced banana
- dried mango (small dice)
- dried pineapple (small dice)
- dried papaya (small dice)
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoon passion fruit
- 3 tablespoons mixed berries
- Warm the coconut milk with the maple syrup over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil.
- Whisk in the maca, chia, dried fruit, and banana to the coconut milk. Stir at the beginning and midway through soaking to break up any clumps. Reduce the heat to simmer and stir over low heat until porridge thickens.
- Rectify dish with salt accordingly.
- Pour into a bowl and top with hemp seeds, passion fruit, and mixed berries.
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts, $9.81 on Amazon
These hulled hemp seeds are also packed with health benefits; like chia, they can be added to all sorts of dishes for a nutrient boost.
Chia Seed Overnight Oats
“I love this recipe because it is super easy to make and healthy. You can make it the night the before because we all know how rush rush everyone can be in the morning,” says Joseph Man, banquet chef at The Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto.
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup raw oats (do not use steel-cut)
- 2 cups almond milk
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (more if you prefer it sweeter)
- Combine all ingredients, give it a stir, and let set in fridge overnight.
- Garnish with fruits of your choice (from dragon fruit to berries).
- If it is too thick in the morning, just add a bit more almond milk.
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If you tend to take your breakfasts with you in the morning, this durable container has a secure snap-on lid and a removable insert that can keep fruit and other toppings separate until you want to mix them in.
Related Reading: 3 More Ways to Do Overnight Oats
Mole-Roasted Chicken with Chia
Chicken with veggies is a staple on most healthy eating plans, but the chia and mole in this Green Chef recipe give the otherwise standard dish a hearty, comfort food style that will keep your belly feeling full.
- 2 (6-ounce) chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons hawaij spice blend (hawaij is a golden-hued spice blend featuring turmeric, cumin, and cardamom)
- 7 ounces sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup coconut flour blend
- 3/4 cup Mole coloradito sauce
- 1 3/4 ounces yellow bell pepper
- 3 1/2 ounces chard
- 1/4 cup pickled red onions
- 3 1/2 ounces cremini mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon chili seasoning
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 whole scallion
- 1/8 ounce garlic
Related Reading: The Best Healthy Meal Delivery Services to Try in 2020
Header image courtesy of Mama Chia.