Thousands of years ago, chia seed was a staple in the diets of ancient Mayans and Aztecs. The word chia is derived from the Mayan language, meaning “strength,” and Aztec warriors relied on chia seed to boost energy and increase stamina. Today this tiny seed is a favorite of athletes, especially distance runners, who tout it as an endurance superfood.
Chia seed contains a wealth of fiber – 5 grams in just one tablespoon. It is the the fiber in chia that causes chia seed to swell when combined with water, creating chia gel. Whether you eat chia gel or just the raw seeds, the hydrophilic action of chia seed will keep you full longer than many other seeds. Amazingly, chia gel can also be used as a substitute for eggs in many baked goods. Use a proportion of 1 to 6 ratio of chia seeds to water to make chia gel. Use approximately one tablespoon of chia gel to replace one large egg in your baked goods.
The mild, nutty flavor of chia seed goes well with both sweet and savory dishes. Use chia seed in puddings and smoothies, sprinkle on top of porridge and salads, and add to baked goods in place of flaxseed meal or poppy seeds.
Here is a bubbly adaptation of a traditional Mexican beverage.
Lemon Chia Fresca
1 Tbsp. Chia Seed
1/2 c. Water
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c. Sugar
32 fl. oz. Club Soda
Lemon wedges, to garnish
Combine chia seeds and water in a bowl. Refrigerate overnight. Combine lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and heat until granules dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Fill 4 tall glasses with ice. Divide chia seed and lemon syrup evenly between glasses. top with club soda. Garnish with lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.
Keep your fork