13 Things You Should Know About
Chia Seeds

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I[/dropcap]’m really not a huge fan of the term ‘superfood’. Basically because there tends to be lots of hype and a big price tag for something that may or may not taste any good.

So I was a bit hesitant to jump on the chia seed band wagon. But my curiosity got the better of me.

And you know what?

They are pretty tasty little suckers. Combined with their nutrition credentials they’re worthwhile having around.

So today I thought I’d share some chia seed facts in case you’ve been thinking about trying them yourself…

13 Things You Should Know About Chia Seeds

1. They pack a mean nutritional punch.
A look on the back of the chia seed pack says it all. They’re made up of protein, fat and dietary fibre. Plus there’s a heap of minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous.

2. They’re high in fibre
So they’re going to keep you regular. And about 20% of the fiber is soluble. The beauty of soluble fiber is that it promotes a healthy digestive system by feeding the good microbes in your gut.

3. They can absorb A LOT of water.
Which means they bulk up and give you a full feeling for longer. Although if you aren’t drinking enough water, this can cause ‘blockages’ if you know what I mean… So make sure you stay well hydrated.

4. They have a crazy texture.
The seeds themselves aren’t too dissimilar to poppy seeds, nothing too crazy there. But add water and you have a completely different beast. Slimy or oozy is probably the best way to describe it. I really like it but I can see why you might be put off (don’t think about snot).

5. They come in different colours.
I’ve had black and white and apart from the visuals couldn’t really detect a difference.

6. They come in different forms.
You can buy whole seeds, chia bran, ground chia and chia seed oil. I’ve used whole seeds in the recipe below. And have been using the bran as my ‘go-to’ fiber source to have on yoghurt or in a smoothie because it’s gluten free and super low carb.

7. You can sprout them.
I haven’t tried it but remember the chia pet? Yes, if you decide you don’t like them you can always turn the rest of the packet into a member of the family.

8. They make a brilliant low carb breakfast.
I love them instead of oats in a bircher-style muesli. Use 1/4 cup chia seeds and 3/4 cup liquid such as milk, coconut milk or almond milk. If you like grated apple you can add that as well. Either soak overnight in the fridge or leave for 20 minutes if you’re short on time.

9. They are pretty expensive.
That ‘superfood’ label comes with a price tag. Definitely not for you if you’re cooking on a budget. But I’m sure as they become more widespread this will moderate itself.

10. They’re grown in Australia.
So if you’re in Oz you can support a local industry.

11. They’re high in Omega-3s
So if you’re not eating enough fish, they are a great alternative. Like the omega-3s in flax seeds, the chia omega-3s are a bit more difficult for our bodies to digest than fish omega-3s. So best to use ground chia seeds to make it easier on your body to get the goodies it needs.

12. They can be used as an egg replacer.
I haven’t tried this because I love eggs. But Sarah Wilson suggests combining 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water for each egg you’re replacing.

13. They’re not too hard to track down.
I live in a small country town and my supermarket stocks chia seeds. If yours doesn’t, try your local health food store or I’m sure you’d be able to get them online.

chia seed 'risotto'-3

Chia Seed & Mushroom ‘Risotto’

I have 2 warnings with this dish. If you’re not a fan of slimy or gooey textures, this won’t be the best recipe for you. If that hasn’t deterred you, make sure you drink lots of water to keep everything regular.

Enough for 2
3-4 tablespoons butter
4 field mushrooms, sliced
100g (3.5oz) chia seeds
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 large handfuls grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
large handful baby spinach, to serve

1. Heat half the butter in a medium saucepan. Cook mushrooms over a medium heat until well browned and soft. Remove and keep warm.

2. Add the rest of the butter, chia seeds and stock to your saucepan.

3. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes or until the texture is oozy like a good risotto.

4. Stir in parmesan and serve the ‘risotto’ with mushrooms on top and baby spinach on the side.

no chia seeds? – Make a red lentil ‘risotto’ instead. Use (200g / 7oz red lentils and 3 cups stock).

dairy-free / vegan – replace butter with extra virgin olive oil and replace parmesan with brazil nut ‘parmesan’.

no stock – like a regular risotto, we’re really relying on our stock to provide flavour. The only thing I’d consider trying is a mixture of tomato passata and water.

carnivore – cook some crumbled pork sausages with the mushrooms.

Video version of the recipe.

With love,
Jules x
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  • I also don’t like the term superfood, especially when there are so many everyday foods which are so healthy. I do eat chia in my smoothies every morning though for the great nutritional value, I find they don’t really have a taste. I buy them online in bulk and they are about half the price compared to the supermarket.

      • Wow that’s a new one for me Carol!

        My marathon running days are well behind me though and my knees are very happy about that!

        Be careful of agave though it’s almost pure fructose which gets converted directly by our bodies into fat…


    • But I heard that chia can be very dangerous blocking the intestine wall. And is necessary soak it before consume. Is that right!?!!

      • It’s very absorbent. If you eat it dry, it will clump together inside your body and create blockage.
        You just have to put it in some kind of liquid before you eat it (water, juice, etc.) and you’re fine.

  • I recently decided to hop on the chia bandwagon and have been mixing them in with my morning oatmeal or smoothie. They are pretty good, but that that texture is a little weird at first! I love the idea of a more savory chia dish, this risotto looks like a winner.

  • I make a chia flat bread so I have had good supply of seeds in my pantry before they became vogue . I was shocked when I had to restock, they doubled in price. Still love them! Great post.

  • I read this post when it arrived in my inbox the other morning and – as always – thoroughly enjoyed your turn of phrase and matter-of-fact information… That day my husband and I visited MONA in Hobart (simply spectacular!) and at one point got to talking with one of the staff members there, Belinda. She told me she had just been reading about chia seeds and I started telling her what I had just learned (as well as from previous experience) and that the texture can be a little bit slimy – then Belinda told me that the post she was reading said to try not to think about snot! We laughed when we found out we’d been reading the same blog and then enjoyed a great chat about your blog and other things art and internet – it was lovely to randomly meet another stone soup reader and we thought you’d like to hear about it :D

  • Unfortunately for me I am cooking on a budget! Would love to add more ‘superfoods’ into my diet but that just adds up the cost. For me, it seems, that when eating healthy on a budget is just eating the same things over and over again!

  • Chloe,
    I pay approx $6:50-$7 for a 150g bag of black Chia seeds. I sprinkle a small amount into my fresh fruit salad for breakfast and the pack lasts me approx 1 month. :-)

  • I just saw this and had to make it straight away! I’m really impressed with this. I added some poached chicken, because I knew I might not cope with the chia seeds. I did and more than that, the flavours were spot on. I will be making this again for sure. Delicious dish. Thank you so much :)

  • I don’t like the taste of chia seeds so I’m not eating them but I have thrown a few seeds in some flower pots around the house and they sprout very easily but they seem to die easily in too much sun and little water.

  • Hi just found this post and yes chi are expensive but if you keep an eye out for when Holland and Barrett have their penny sale you can buy one bag and get the second for a penny!!! I stock up and it’s saved me a fortune!!!!

  • I used chia seeds a week ago in a smoothie, ever since my system is messed up….. if you knw wht I mean…. have been eating lots of fiber, drinking fluids, but… even after gettin some relief, system is still blocked, swollen abdomen, nd pain. I am assuming its from the chia… please.. how long does it take to get them out of system. I thought thy had absorbed water when I made smoothie… I’m drinkin fluids, eatin metamucil wafers.. helps a lil. But apparently I’m still not doing something right.thanks

  • I have noticed, and I wonder if this is a constant, that white chia seed have much less protein than black chia seeds. I am not sure about the differences of fiber, but I think they are the same; white has less fiber.

  • Always soak the chia seeds before eating, I soak mine at least 30 -45 minutes in enough liquid (2 tablespoons chia to 1 cup of liquid; more or less depending on how you like it) or overnight in the fridge. Yes, they can cause blockage if you don’t have enough water in your system because they tend to absorb whatever water there is, leaving you dehydrated, bloated, etc. So drink plenty of water if you’re not soaking them and if you do soak them make sure the seeds are no longer crunchy but more like a soft gel and then they’re ready to eat. I would still drink a glass of water afterwards.

    • Thankyou Debbie, very useful comment for me,I have just discovered chia & started using it today.

  • I’m surprised that no one has mentioned a terrible bitter taste. I recently purchased ground chia seeds from WalMart to mix in with yogurts or shakes, but noticed a terrible bitter taste and had to force myself to finish. Has no one else experienced this?

    • Hi Mandy, I am having some now in my oatmeal for the first time and noticed the same thing. I opened a brand new bag, so I know it wasn’t expired. Glad I’m not alone!

      • I agree. It was bad enough that I don’t want to eat it agin. I wonder if ground chia releases more of the bitter flavor than whole seeds. Does anyone know?

        • I purchased a cheaper bag of whole (not ground) chia seeds recently to mix in some drinks and I noticed that they did add a not so great taste to my juices but I know that this isn’t always the case because I have also purchased Momma Chia drinks in the past where the seeds do not add any flavor to the drink. I’m thinking maybe it’s the brand, maybe they harvest to soon or add stuff to make them grow faster that could be the culprit to the taste and probably why they are cheaper.

  • I try chia seed for the first time a friend recommend it. I bought chia seed a whole food market. I was told they are fiber good. I first added a tablespoon to my oatmeal. Then I also ate a tablespoon of the chia seed along with water the following day. I feel I have a blockage and I look like I am 9 months pregnant.. I stop taking the chia seed make a phone call to my gastrologist just wondering how long it take chia seed to process out of your body. I do drink alot of water at least 5 bottles a day of water that 45 ounces a day.

  • Dont understand why no one comments on how long it takes to digest in out body. It’s a very important fact. Does anyone know.?

    • Good question Darlene… My guess it would depend on what else you’re eating and how much water you’re having as well.

  • to soak or not to soak?? I like to grind my chia and then add it once my oatmeal has been cooked, cooled to about a warm temperature. is this ok? Or do I still need to prehydrate the chia before adding them to oatmeal? I simmer water, turn down to low and add oatmeal. then cook for about 20 min on low. turn off and let stand for 20 min. I then add a tsp of Maca to the oatmeal, and grind my chia and add to the oatmeal & Maca. Is this ok? thank you for your time!

  • I make a oatmeal type cereal with the chia and flax seed and sunflower seeds 1 tablespoon of each and then one cup of almond milk to boil to desired consistency and yeah it’s noddy but it taste good with some sweetener and berries

  • Hi I am wondering if milled or ground chia seeds should be soaked before consumption, I know the real seeds “should”. I ask because I have very sensitive teeth and cannot eat seeds, nuts, etc…

  • Thank you for sharing the Chia Seeds health benefits. I use True Elements Raw Chia Seeds as this is really helpful for weight loss. You should also try it!

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