Chia seed substitutes can be used in a variety of ways when baking and cooking. Learn more about chia seed alternatives and how to use them in this article.
Chia seed substitutes can have the health benefits of chia, and many of them are might even be healthier and more sustainable as a crop. For example, chia seeds are becoming increasingly popular in baking and cooking recipes, especially if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. One of the most common uses of chia seeds is as an egg substitute — but many chia alternatives also serve that purpose.
Chia seeds are considered a “superfood”. They are high in fiber and a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is great for someone following a plant-based diet or for anyone trying to implement healthier plant-based foods into their daily cooking and baking. All of the chia seed substitutes listed here are vegan and contain the same or other healthful fats and proteins.
If your local supermarket doesn’t stock chia seeds, or if you simply don’t like the taste, follow this guide on chia seed substitutes to learn how you can continue cooking and baking delicious plant-based foods without chia seeds.
Despite what many might think, quinoa is a type of seed. It, too, is a superfood as it is high in protein, and so works really well as a substitute from a nutritional point of view. You can even use quinoa in sweet dishes like chia pudding. All you need to do is replace the amount of chia seed with quinoa using a one-to-one ratio.
Note: you will need to cook the quinoa in water for 15 to 20 minutes before adding it to your milk.
Chia seeds are used as a binding agent, or a “egg” in many vegan and vegetarian recipes. You simply add chia seed to water and let it sit a while, until it forms a sticky gel that acts just as an egg does. Flaxseed can be used in exactly the same way.
However, when substituting chia seeds with flaxseed to make a plant-based egg, you will need to use less water. The general rule of thumb to making a chia egg is to combine three tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of chia seed. When using flaxseed, reduce the amount of water to two and a half tablespoons.
You will also need to grind the flaxseed down before using it as a chia seed egg-replacer. Otherwise, the flaxseed will not turn into the gel-like substance needed to recreate an egg.
3. Hemp Hearts
If the cost of chia seeds is an issue for you, or you simply don’t like the taste, hemp hearts are a great chia seed substitute. They can be used in exactly the same way as chia seeds in any recipe using a one-to-one ratio.
Hemp hearts are full of health benefits, like being a high source of protein, fiber, and contain all nine essential amino acids. So even if you do have chia seeds in the pantry, we recommend adding hemp hearts to your diet anyways!
4. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are a great chia seed substitute, as you are much more likely to get sesame seeds in your local supermarket than you are chia seeds. They are also a much more cost-effective ingredient. They do have a slightly stronger taste, but work really well as a chia seed alternative in dishes like salads, granola, and added into smoothies.
5. Oat Bran
Oat bran is best used as a chia seed substitute in recipes like patties, crackers, energy bars and smoothies. It is binding and full of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Not only is it much cheaper than chia seeds, but it also provides a more robust and nutty flavor to any dish you use it in. It works best when using it in puddings and baked goods.
6. Mashed Banana
If a sweet recipe you are following asks for a chia egg, then you can replace the chia egg with mashed banana. Not only is a banana an easy and cheap chia seed substitute, it will also add natural sweetness to your dessert. All you need to do is substitute your “chia egg” with a ¼ cup of mashed banana.
Overnight oats have become something of a craze lately, and almost all recipes use chia seeds. Luckily, yogurt works wonders here as a chia seed substitute. Chia seeds are added to milk and oats overnight to create a creamy, smooth consistency, very similar to yogurt. You can simply cut out the chia seeds from the recipe, reduce the amount of milk and add your favorite vegan yogurt instead!
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