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On the Menu: Chia Seeds the Superfood

Chia seeds have been named one of the top 10 superfoods for the year 2019.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — They are a relative of the mint leaf, originating from Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds have been named one of the top 10 superfoods of 2019.

Did you know that these tiny seeds have the amazing ability to hold 10-12 times their weight in water? This is why they work well to thicken smoothies and pudding. But the Chia seed's claim to fame is being the richest plant source of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are the fats that our bodies need to fight inflammation, insulin resistance and obesity. 

Chia seeds are also an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants and protein.

Katie Francisco, registered dietitian from Mercy Health Saint Mary's, shares some ideas for how to incorporate Chia seeds into your daily diet.

Cauliflower Medallions 

Ingredients:

  • ½ head of cauliflower, florets only
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • ½ cup mozzarella
  • ½ cup onions, diced
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • 3 Tbs almond meal
  • 2 Tbs organic corn meal
  • 2 Tbs chia seeds
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • dried herbs (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease two cookie sheets or line with parchment paper
  2. Steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes. Run the cauliflower under cold water.
  3. Put the cauliflower, cheese, onions and parsley in a food processor and mix until everything is finely chopped.
  4. Empty the cauliflower mixture into a bowl and stir in the egg and egg white.
  5. Add the almond meal, corn meal, chia seeds, salt, pepper and any dried herbs, and fold everything into the cauliflower mixture.
  6. Scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture and place it on the cookie sheet. Flatten the mixture into small medallions.
  7. Once all the mixture is placed on the cookie sheets, place the sheets into the oven.
  8. Bake for about 16 to 20 minutes and flip the medallions halfway through the baking.
  9. Remove the medallions from the oven when they are golden brown.

Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies with Chia Berry Jam

Chia Berry Jam Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups berries, fresh or frozen (defrost if frozen)
  • 2 Tbs raw honey or real maple syrup
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Cookie Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • ⅛ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup raw honey or real maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp sea salt 
  • 2 cups almond meal

Chia Berry Jam Instructions:

Bring berries and sweetener of choice to a low simmer in a small pan. Once the berries release their liquid, add chia seeds. Continue to simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add vanilla and let cool.

Cookie Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine egg, oil, sweetener of choice, vanilla and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add almond flour in slowly and mix to thoroughly combine.
  4. Roll dough into small balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  5. Using your thumb, create a little indentation in each cookie ball. Spoon and small amount of chia berry jam onto each cookie.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

**TIP: The chia berry jam consistency is best when it has had time to cool and set; making it in advance works best. This jam is delicious on toast as well.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ⅔ cup steel cut oats
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sized pot, pour in milk and bring to a low boil.
  2. Add in oats and turn down to simmer.
  3. Add in pumpkin puree and chia seeds. Continue simmering 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add in vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
  5. Simmer for additional 5-7 minutes or until oats are cooked through.

Information and recipes courtesy of Katie Francisco, RD, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s

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