Chia’s name comes from the Mayan word for strength – not from its ability to grow fuzz on terracotta planters. These tiny seeds that come in black or white turn easy recipes into healthy recipes. Mild in flavor, but big on nutrition – including omega-3 fats, fiber and calcium – chia is a food that should be part of your daily diet.
The little seeds absorb water and form a gel-like substance that is super-hydrating and filling. Add them to cereal, salads or smoothies, or use one of these healthy recipes to make chia a regular part of your diet. It’s right on trend as one of the It Foods for 2014.
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1. Chia Super Salad
Healthy recipes for salad don’t always contain sweet potato, kidney beans and quinoa, but this one does! The addition of kale, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, along with the chia, makes this a superfood feast.
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cubed and steamed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups quinoa, cooked
1 small red onion, minced
2 cups finely chopped kale leaves
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
¼ cup hulled pumpkin seeds
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Use a whisk to emulsify the vinegar, olive oil, cayenne, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, mix together the cooked sweet potato, beans, quinoa, onion, kale, chia, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds. Toss with the dressing. Makes 5 to 6 cups.
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Next Chia Recipe: Chia And Cherry Energy Bars…
2. Chia and Cherry Energy Bars
Chia is a natural ingredient in easy recipes for energy food. Because it absorbs liquid, it helps with hydration. They add a nice crunch to this sweet, pre-workout treat.
6 large Medjool dates, pitted
½ cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dried cherries, chopped
2 tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips
pinch of sea salt
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the dates, chia, coconut oil, salt and vanilla extract until it forms a thick, but smooth, mixture. Remove the blade and use a spoon to stir in the cherries and dark chocolate chips. Press into a 9 x 13-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm and cut into bars. Makes about 10.
Next Chia Recipe: Chia Ice Cream…
3. Chia Ice Cream
Easy recipes for chia pudding abound, but how about creamy, dreamy ice cream? Make a delicious dessert that fits into a healthy lifestyle using this recipe.
2 tablespoons chia seeds, soaked in 1 cup water for 10 minutes
1 young Thai coconut, meat and milk
2 cups raw cashews, soaked 2-3 hours in water, and drained
2/3 cup raw honey
¼ cup coconut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
In a high-speed blender, whiz together the chia and water mixture, coconut meat and milk, cashews, coconut butter, honey, vanilla and salt. Put into the metal container of an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Makes 4 servings.
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Next Chia Recipe: Chia Berry Smoothie…
4. Chia Berry Smoothie
Make your smoothie into a superfood power drink with the addition of chia and antioxidant-rich berries. File this under yummy healthy recipes!
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 large banana
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup water
Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serves 2.