What to do when you don’t like chia pudding
What should you do when you don’t like chia pudding?
As versatile as it is, not everyone is going to like the texture of chia pudding. This popular snack / dessert / breakfast is made when chia seeds are hydrated with various flavored liquids and stored in the refrigerator. Due to the high soluble fiber content of the seed, they can absorb 9 times its weight in liquid and keep it on the outside of the seed shell in a drop of gel. Gather enough of this gel and you have a thick pudding. It can be flavored with just about anything from your favorite fruits to chocolate, peanut butter, coconut, cashew, and much more. Of course, many of the types of puddings are attractive to look at in food photography, which is why you will see them all over the web as well as on blogs and pin sites.
But what if texture is not for you?
Of course, since chia is a seed, the pudding, when made normally, will have a “pebble” texture. Not everyone is going to like that. So soluble fiber can have a “jelly” feel, as it is always wet and a bit slippery. So if you try the pudding and you just can’t get over the texture because it’s too reminiscent of tapioca dots, can you still enjoy the health benefits of chia seeds?
Many photo blogs would have you think that pudding is the only way to go with chia, but once you see what else it can do, you don’t need to see that texture ever again. There are several basic non-pudding apps for chia, each of which you can get a brief overview from with this article.
First: Replacement for butter or oil in baked recipes.
In many baked recipes such as cookies, cakes, flatbreads (e.g. banana bread), bars, brownies, and more, you can replace about half of the butter or oil with chia gel and the recipe will bake the same way. They will look the same and taste the same, but they are half as fat. Because the seeds are evenly distributed in baked goods, you won’t notice they are there.
Second: Replacement of an egg in some baked recipes.
Does your recipe call for 1 egg? In general, you can replace an egg in baked recipes (not based on beaten egg whites or the like) with an equal amount of chia seed gel. Because an egg is generally a binder ingredient and chia gel is a fiber product, it can also bind. It’s a good way to make some vegan / vegetarian recipes and tends to work better than a “flax egg” as chia produces more gel than flax. (Again, you won’t notice the seeds)
Third: Flavor Blender / Seasoning Helper
When chia produces gel, it can mix flavors, sometimes concentrating them. This is a great solution for healthier home dressings. Make salads appealing, fun, and preservative-free when you mix in a host of your own chia dressing flavors. Citrus and spices with some fruits among the veggies or honey and lime for a picnic fruit salad. Most dressings mix in minutes in a simple measuring cup, so you won’t miss a thing when you skip the store-bought bottle.
Fourth: smoothie helper
Smoothies are great because, unlike juices, they keep all the fiber in the fruit where it belongs: in the drink. However, they can be a calorie catastrophe if you don’t replace a meal, but add it, or mix nothing but fruit.
When you put chia seeds in a smoothie, you will feel fuller longer because fiber helps slow down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugars. Insoluble fiber also takes up space in the digestive system (while helping food move smoothly through it), which also contributes to feeling full. The other benefit here is that the healthy omega-3 oils in chia unlock various vitamins in fruits and vegetables (fat-soluble vitamins) commonly found in smoothie ingredients. Again, because you are drinking a thick, smooth drink, there is no seed texture here either.
Fifth: Burger folder
Bored of old burgers? You can add a variety of great mixes and seasonings to meat when you pair it with a little dried chia. Chia wicks moisture and helps burgers stick while customizing the flavor. It also adds fiber where there would normally be none. Because there aren’t a lot of mixed seeds, you won’t know they’re there.
Are these all the things you can make with chia that don’t involve pudding at all?
Certainly not! There are many more ways to use it and many more benefits for you. There are many more ideas and recipes than can fit in one article. Eggs are good protein in the morning; but they are foods without fiber. How to get protein and fiber at the same time? A pinch of chia in the scrambled eggs or on the tortilla will do quite well. Let your taste be your guide as you search for recipes that include chia. The internet is an inexhaustible resource for creative examples that are not puddings to try for free and are usually just a search away. There’s no reason to let the pudding proliferation put you off these super seeds when you know all the fun, healthy, and easy alternative uses.