Nowadays, chia seeds are becoming more and more popular to use in the kitchen. They are considered to be very healthy as they have a lot of fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids. So they are a must-have ingredient in your kitchen if you are trying to eat healthily.
Chia seeds don’t have a strong taste. Many people put them on their food or even add them to water just to get some more nutrients. It is also common to use chia seeds as an egg replacement, so they are quite popular among vegetarians and vegans.
But what if you go to make something that requires chia seeds, and then realize that you don’t have any? No worries, chia seeds are very easy to replace, in all kinds of recipe. Whether you want to make a warm dish, a dessert, or overnight oats you can easily find an alternative to chia seeds.
To replace chia seeds you can use sesame seeds, psyllium husks, oat bran, quinoa, flaxseed, banana, egg, or yogurt. In this article, you can find all the information you need to replace chia seeds in your favorite recipes.
Chia Seed Substitutes
Even though chia seeds have tons of health benefits, sometimes it can be difficult to find them, especially in smaller shops. Hopefully, there are some alternatives listed below that you can use without changing too much in your recipes.
1. Sesame seed
Even if you can’t find chia seeds in your area, I am pretty sure you can buy sesame seeds. They were used for cooking and baking way before chia seeds and, in most places, they are cheaper.
We can use them as a seasoning for both salty and sweet dishes. It is also common to make a paste from sesame seeds, which is called tahini.
Sesame seeds have a slightly stronger taste than chia seeds but you can easily exchange them in many recipes. You can use sesame seeds for example in salads, smoothies, and granolas in place of chia seeds.
2. Psyllium husks
Just like chia seeds, psyllium husks are also a great way to increase your fiber intake. Many people like to add psyllium husks to their food because they help them feel less hungry between meals.
It is more common to buy them as a powder or a supplement but in many places you can find whole psyllium husks too. If you are using them to replace chia seeds you would be better to go with the whole husks.
As a chia seed substitute psyllium husks work best in smoothies. You won’t notice a difference in the taste, but you will get some more fiber and nutrients.
3. Oat bran
If you are looking for the cheapest chia seed substitute, then go with oat bran!
It is popular to use oat bran in meat and vegetable patties and sweet desserts. As a chia seed substitute, you can use them in crackers, energy bars, and smoothies. But don’t forget that oat bran contains gluten so if you are looking for a gluten-free option you might choose from the options above.
Although many people refer to it as a grain, quinoa is a type of seed so it can be a great chia seed substitute. It contains a lot of protein and is most commonly used in salads and vegetable patties.
As a chia seed substitute, I recommend using it in puddings. Yes, you can make your favorite chia pudding with quinoa too. You can use the same amount of quinoa, but cook it in water first for 15 to 20 minutes before you add it to the milk.
In many recipes, chia seeds are used to help the ingredients stick together. Normally you have to mix them with water and leave them for a while to create a sticky gel. In this situation, flaxseeds work just as well as chia seeds.
However, if you use flaxseeds you will need a bit less water. Most recipes recommend 3 tablespoons of water for 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. In the case of flaxseed use only 2.5 tablespoons of water, otherwise your gel won’t be sticky enough.
And one more thing: as a chia seed replacement you always have to use ground flax seeds! You won’t be able to make the gel with the whole ones.
To create the chia gel I mentioned above you can also use mashed bananas. It can be a great alternative if you want to add some more natural sugar to your desserts.
Instead of mixing 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with water, you can add ¼ cup of mashed bananas. Use ripe bananas for the best results.
If you use bananas instead of chia seeds, you can add less sugar as the banana is naturally sweet. I recommend using 10 grams less sugar for each banana.
If you don’t want to waste time making this gel with chia seeds or flaxseeds, you can just use eggs instead.
Originally the chia egg was invented as a substitute for eggs for vegans but of course, it works vice versa. So if your recipe asks you to mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with water you can easily skip this step by adding one egg.
You can substitute chia seeds with eggs in any kind of cake and desserts.
The internet is full of many different overnight oat recipes but almost all of them require chia seeds. Does it mean that you can’t make overnight oats if you don’t have chia seeds? Of course not!
In overnight oats, you add chia seeds to the milk because it creates a nice, creamy texture similar to yogurt. So if you don’t have chia seeds you can add yogurt to have the same texture. All you need to do is reduce the amount of milk to half and replace the other half with yogurt.
This method works well with both original and plant-based yogurt. If you want to flavor your oatmeal yourself, I recommend choosing unflavored yogurt.
Can I use sunflower seeds instead of chia seeds?
Yes, you can replace chia seeds with sunflower seeds in bread and crackers. You will have to use half the amount of sunflower seeds.
Do I have to grind the chia seeds?
Unlike flaxseeds, you don’t have to grind chia seeds to get the nutrients from them.
How much chia seed should I eat?
Chia seeds have a lot of health benefits, although eating too much can cause side effects. It is recommended to eat about 1-2 spoons a day.