Remember Chia Pets? Their “hair” was made from sprouted chia seeds, which are novelty no more. Chia is taking over supermarket shelves, coming into its own as a healthy ingredient with diverse applications. Dry, it feels like poppy seeds, but when wet it produces a gel coating, making the seeds slip and slide inside your mouth. Chia doesn’t pack much of a flavor punch—it’s subtly nutty, less so than flaxseed—but when it comes to nutritional value, watch out: according to the USDA website, chia has 9.8g of fiber and 4.7g of protein per ounce. It’s also a good source of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, with no cholesterol or trans fat. Make cooking with chia your pet project this week:
- J. Dixon at Veggie Terrain snapped this high-contrast shot of an agave-sweetened Chia Seed Pudding (above).
- Add some crunch to snack time with Sourdough Crackers with Chia Seeds and Coconut Oil from Loaf Street.
- Chia lends its gel to Blackberry and Basil Chia Seed Jam by Pastry Addiction.
- Citron Limette’s Pumpkin Chia Seed Muffins are a hearty incarnation of this breakfast baked good.
- Save your dates for Novice Housewife’s chia-packed Chocolate and Date Raw Energy Bars.
- For an allergy-friendly finger food, try gluten-, egg- and dairy-free Bacon-Zucchini Fritters from Cook Lisa Cook.