WTF ingredients: Ch-ch-ch-chia

I get questions semi-regularly about certain ingredients, so I decided to start a post series about the common WTF foods.

If you missed the first one, here’s WTF ingredients: nooch

Next up, chia seeds.


Salvia hispanica, aka the chia seed, is yet another example of a food that has been around forever, but has recently risen in popularity due to it’s stellar nutrient profile.  They may be ancient, but superfoods are all the rage for a reason…


[Based on gram per gram comparison]

They’re also:

  • vegan
  • gluten free
  • no sugar
  • soluble and insoluble fiber
  • 9 essential amino acids
  • complete vegan protein source
  • omega 3, omega 6, & omega 9
  • key minerals phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, & potassium


If you’re wondering about the difference between Salba and chia seeds, the company Ancient Naturals sells a trademarked form of white chia seeds under the name Salba (but as far as I can tell it’s the exact same).


They boast more than an excellent nutritional profile, though. 

These little buggers are strangely wonderful.  They are pantry stable practically for-e-ver and require minimal effort in preparing.  Like flax seeds, they are a common vegan egg substitute.  Unlike flax seeds, you don’t have to grind them up first (they can be used whole).


As for their use…where to begin!

Like I said before, one of the main uses for chia seeds is in vegan baking.  Combining chia seeds with water produces a gel-like goop that acts as a binding agent and can be used in baking in place of eggs.


1 tbsp chia seeds + 1/4 cup water = 1 egg equivalent


Stir the seeds with water, let them sit, and after ~5 minutes they will coagulate into a gelatinous texture. 

In addition to baking, chia seeds can be used to make pudding.  They can also pump up the volume of an otherwise average bowl of oats, or give smoothies a thick and creamy consistency.  I use them in granola, too. 

Find them in your local health foods stores or online

What are some ways you’ve used chia seeds?

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Comments (26)

  1. Sarah

    Maybe you can add something about their taste?! I keep wanting to buy them, but I am worried they will just be gross…

  2. JL goes Vegan

    I’m not a huge fan of consistency of Chia seeds but certainly appreciate the health benefits. I have not, however, tried them as an egg replacer! I need to do that!

  3. Anna

    I love putting them in my oatmeal or protein smoothies. I’ve also done a chia fizz…chia with selzter and lemon/lime … so refreshing!

  4. Karlee

    interesting! never tried that one. i mostly just putt them in yogurt bowls for some added crunch. i need to be more adventurous.

  5. Casey @ Insatiably Healthy

    I’m all about the ground chia seeds right now. They go in everything! From yogurt to baked goods, to pizza sauce!

  6. Krystina

    They don’t really taste like anything!

  7. Elise (Post author)

    agreed. thanks for chiming in Krystina, i dont think they taste like anything at all…

  8. Elise (Post author)

    what an interesting use! never would have thought to add them to a fizzy drink. i usually go with the crunch factor too karlee.

  9. Elise (Post author)

    yes! they are my #1 choice for egg replacements in vegan baking. im not a skilled baker, by any means, but i have realized im much more proficient with vegan baking thanks to chia seeds. my non-vegan baking adventures with eggs have been less rewarding. flax seeds are good too but the time and mess of grinding them is annoying. i have yet to use bob’s red mill “egg replacer” powder because the ingredients are things i don’t recognize. id rather just use eggs to be honest.

  10. JL goes Vegan

    So good to know! Since eggs are not an option for me whatsoever, I love knowing that you have a tried and true replacer. I’ve used Ener-G and was underwhelmed (can only assume close to Bob’s re: processed, processed, processed). And I totally agree about flax eggs. Can’t wait to try this!

  11. Emily

    This is such an interesting post! I’ve seen Chia Seeds everywhere lately and, while I’ve eaten bars, granola, etc. that had them mixed in, I’ve never cooked or baked with them.
    I definitely want to buy a bag soon. (:

  12. Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon

    Overnight oats is definitely my most frequent use of chia seeds but I also like to sprinkle them onto yogurt for a fun crunch or to throw them in baked goods without gelling them into an egg.

  13. Teresa

    I always use a flax egg (or sometimes applesauce), but I had NO CLUE you could use chia seeds too! This is so neat–I may need to try this in a future baking adventure! Thanks for the info!

  14. Brenda

    You, my dear, are the sole reason I was introduced, and experimented with Chia seeds.. I am actually in need of replenishing my kitchen with them. I mostly use them in smoothies, but I also use them in yogurt parfaits.. Which is funny because if there is a seed in my mouth that I didn’t swallow, I will noticed soon enough because they start expanding in my mouth as the day progresses hahaha. My students, I’m sure, see me trying to get them out throughout the day.

  15. Elise (Post author)

    i have the same problem, hahaha. i feel the gel grow.

  16. Fran @ vegansmarties

    I often just mix some almond or soy milk with a 2-3 tea spoons of chia seeds and maybe some cocoa and drink that as a snack. I love the gel texture ^^

  17. Molly

    I’ve heard drinking them is actually one of the ways they were traditionally used — I think in Mexico and/or South America, but don’t quote me on that. GT’s Kombucha has started selling a version of kombucha+chia, but for some reason they only seem to sell it in the juice-based onces (grape and cherry) which are not my favorites.

  18. Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie

    Great post, easy to understand and informative!


    I actually just got the ‘chia egg’ idea from you a few days ago and baked your pumpkin banana loaf. We love it, and such a fun egg substitute!

  20. Heidi @ Idlehide

    Oops, there is my name!

  21. Jake

    Wow… thanks for the info! I thought they were only good for making Chia Pets. 🙂

  22. Elise (Post author)

    nope 🙂

  23. Katie

    Just bought some today! I’ve been wanting to try them forever. I’ve never thought about baking with them, but I’ll have to try that out!

  24. Lowe

    whoa, thank you very much for posting this! It is gonna be so helpful when I get Chia Seeds at the market! Super Awesome!

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  26. lena

    I just add some into my water bottle and let it sit for five mins and add kool-aid and drink it throught the day.

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