Chia seeds have made their rounds in the health industry for their nutritional benefit and vitamin content. They make a great addition to oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies. What you may not know are all of the substitutes that are available for chia seeds.
Some acceptable substitutes for chia seeds include flax seeds, sesame seeds, psyllium husks, oat bran, quinoa, banana, and yogurt.
While you may have known some of these to be acceptable alternatives for chia seeds, others may surprise you. Luckily, all of them can be found at your local grocery store. If you wish to head to your local natural food market, that may be an option, too.
Popular Alternatives for Chia Seeds
The substitutes for chia seeds vary widely from small, shelf-stable ingredients to liquid, refrigerated alternatives. Nonetheless, they all make great substitutions for chia seeds, depending on the recipe.
1. Flax Seeds
Unfortunately, you can’t just substitute flax seeds straight across for chia seeds. Although they make a wonderful alternative, it’s much more about trial and error in these circumstances. When you’re substituting flax seeds for chia seeds you’ll have to use one-half to two-thirds the amount of flax per ground chia serving. As you can imagine, it’s quite the calculation to keep up with.
In place of chia seeds, flax seeds actually work better in baked goods, too. However, chia absorbs more water than flax seeds, so you’ll want to take that into consideration.
2. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are widely available, which makes them a good substitute for chia seeds. In fact, sesame seeds were around long before chia seeds made their appearance on the market, so folks are generally more accustomed to these seeds, anyway.
Commonly found in oriental goods, sesame seeds are cheaper in their cost and can be used in both sweet and salty dishes. Not to mention, sesame seeds have a stronger taste. However, they can easily be exchanged for chia seeds, when needed.
3. Psyllium Husks
If you’re a health nut, you’ve probably heard of psyllium husks and their many versatile uses. Psyllium husks are full of fiber, which helps people to feel full after they eat them. In addition to keeping you satiated between meals, psyllium husks are also a good substitute for chia seeds.
Psyllium husks work well in smoothies, giving them extra flavor and texture that chia seeds can’t provide. They can be found in the form of a supplement or a powder, as well as in whole husk form. In fact, if you’re using them to replace chia seeds, the whole husk variety is a better option.
4. Oat Bran
Looking much like oatmeal, oat bran is another chia seed substitute that can be used in everything from desserts to veggie burgers to add sustenance. They can also be used to make homemade energy bars and in smoothies in place of chia seeds.
Chia seeds don’t contain gluten, but oat bran does. So, it’s a gluten-free alternative to chia seeds you’re looking for, oat bran may not be a main competitor.
Contrary to popular belief, quinoa is actually a type of seed instead of grain, as most would think. Quinoa is full of protein and can be used in hot or cold salads, as well as in pudding. That’s right, chia seed pudding is a popular dessert, but it can also be made with quinoa.
To substitute quinoa for chia seeds in pudding, you can use the exact same amount. Let is set in water for about 15-20 minutes prior to adding the quinoa to the milk, and you’ve got a delicious pudding that can be made with a variety of add-ins.
Subbing banana in place of chia seeds may seem silly, but it’s actually a good alternative. You’ll want to be sure to mash the bananas up before you use them in place of chia seeds to give them the texture you’re looking for.
Less sugar is often required when you’re using bananas in place of chia seeds, because bananas are naturally sweeter than chia seeds. In fact, if you’re using bananas you can plan on using 10 grams of sugar or less in your intended recipe.
Chia seeds are popular in overnight oats, which ironically also call for the use of yogurt. Adding chia seeds to milk to make overnight oats will create a texture that is similar to yogurt, so it’s no wonder these two are considered to be interchangeable in some recipes.
Both dairy-based and plant-based yogurt can be used as an alternative to chia seeds, as they both produce the same results. However, if you’re wanting to use them in oatmeal in place of chia seeds for overnight oats, you’ll want to use the unflavored yogurt.
Chia seeds rose in popularity as an egg substitute for vegans, believe it or not. Adding just one egg can take the place of 1 tablespoon of chia seeds mixed with water. Subbed out for chia seeds in breads and desserts, eggs make an excellent alternative to achieve the texture you desire.
Regardless of the reason you’re looking for a chia seeds substitute, you’ve undoubtedly got many options to choose from. Select the one that is best for you, do a little research, and get on your way to making a great tasting dish.