I enjoy sharing delicious traditional recipes that have been modified to meet the needs of those who are vegan or gluten-sensitive.
Chia Seeds Are Super Foods
Chia seeds are pretty well known as an ingredient in many healthy recipes these days—from simple, gorgeous puddings to muffins, energy bars, and smoothies. These teeny little seeds are from the Salvia Hispanica plant, a mint native to Mexico and Guatemala. Legend has it that these seeds were so nutritious that the energy from a handful could fuel an Aztec running through the jungle for an entire day.
We know the following about the nutritional profile of chia seed:
- Soaked chia seeds form a high soluble fibre that works as a prebiotic to co-operate with your gut's probiotic function. Fibre is helpful in digestion and elimination of toxins from the body. Increases in fibre also lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Remember that animal foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy) do NOT contain any fibre. Recipes using cow's milk and eggs also contain cholesterol, which the following vegan recipes do not.
- Chia seed can reduce the risk of diabetes by slowing down the conversion of starches to sugars, and sugars to fats. Chia gel helps to prevent spikes in blood sugar.
- Chia seed is rich in antioxidants. The antioxidants keep the Omega-3 essential fatty acids in the chia seeds from becoming rancid. To balance the Omega-3 excess, just include some foods high in Omega-6 to your diet.
- Chia seed is high in proteins and a single one-ounce serving of the seeds can provide you with 10% of your daily requirements. Chia seed is also rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals beneficial to the body and the brain.
Chia seed can be used to make quick and easy recipes that children and adults will love. Many of the recipes will seem like eating dessert for breakfast, but without the unnecessary excess of fat, cholesterol and refined sugars!
Start the Day With a Good Breakfast
When I was growing up, a good breakfast in our household was a big bowl of oatmeal porridge. I didn't much appreciate it at the time, but over the years—and with some changes to the content of the oatmeal bowl—I have come to look forward to that creamy, filling start to the day. My grandpa used to joke: "It'll put some hair on your chest." He also used to do magic tricks and a modified jig for us kids, so we knew that he wasn't serious about the chest hair for us girls. He definitely was serious about us needing some food in our bellies to start our day.
The Breakfast Express
The children around our breakfast table were pretty much willing to eat whatever was set before them, as I recall. Sometimes they had cold cereal, sometimes porridge, and in the later years of high school they might have microwaved a pop tart on occasion. I also remember their emptying a lot of jars of peanut butter for toast, and eating fresh fruit and berries. In any case, I have no residual guilt about their not eating breakfasts.
My granddaughters are somewhat different from what our sons were at their ages. They choose to rearrange their limited morning time so that they have more time to do their hair than they do to eat breakfast. When they stay with us for a while in the summer, we eat a leisurely breakfast and I have introduced them to chia. I am eager to give them a taste of the make-ahead chia recipes in this article!
Following are some delightful vegan and gluten-free recipes for you to make ahead the night before and feed yourself and your family for a power breakfast. Bon appetit!
1. Chia Breakfast Cookies
Who could resist a cookie for breakfast? Of course, this is not one of those sugar-stuffed, commercial cookies coated in icing, nor is it one of the bland-tasting variety of packaged breakfast cookies. Flavorful and chock-full of nutritious ingredients like chia seeds, almond meal, oats, walnuts, coconut, raisins (or cranberries or chopped dried apricots), flax and pumpkin seeds, this cookie teams up the right combination of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids to activate brains for the important stuff of the day beyond the kitchen table.
Make up a batch (the recipe makes about 10-12 servings) and store in an airtight container in your fridge. Zap for a few seconds or crumble up in a bowl with your fave non-dairy milk on top. Quick, light, filling, and nutritious!
Find the recipe at My Darling Vegan.
2. Hippie Breakfast Bowl Chia Pudding
The above "breakfast bowl" is ever so much more appealing than the usual bowl of hot cereal for most kids. It is faster, too, because you just add the ingredients to a mason jar the night before and then go ahead and arrange your other favorite bowl items, like fresh fruit and seeds or nuts, maybe some granola or chocolate chips for the transitioning child (or parent).
Go to Fried Dandilions to get the recipe in full.
3. Bean and Seed Breakfast Sausage
Okay, I will admit that these "sausages" look quite a lot like the "breakfast cookies" above. But that is where the similarity ends. (You can always roll them into little cigar shapes if you wish.) These little sausages have the kind of smoky, sparky flavor your taste buds want to encounter, and if you lightly fry them in olive oil before serving, it takes on more of a sausage "mouth feel." (The quicker method is to nuke it.)
The big bonus with this sausage is, that apart from it being a kinder way to eat, you and your family are missing out on the cholesterol—that artery-clogging grease. You will also not miss the nitrates that go into "real sausages" to keep them from spoiling.
Find this recipe adaptation at Making Thyme for Health.
4. Chia Seed, Banana, Saskatoon Berry Muffins
This last recipe for the wonderful breakfast muffin uses ground chia seed as the "vegan egg" (sometimes recipes call for flax—chia seed is a similar binder without the small flax after-taste). Chia Seed also gives a nice satisfying spongy texture to the muffin! I use Saskatoon berries (also known as service berries, june berries, and other names) because they grow prolifically in my backyard and we love them, but you could substitute blueberries or dried cranberries or apricots or whatever you please!
I also now use aquafaba in many of my vegan recipes, often in lieu of non-dairy milks. It is a good plant-based sub for egg white. Aquafaba (or "bean juice') is the liquid that we generally dump down the sink after we have separated it from the chickpeas.
- 2 cups all-purpose organic flour
- 2 Tbsp. ground chia seed (I use a coffee grinder)
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (or aquafaba, see note above)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (or other sweetener)
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (or 1/3 cup olive oil)
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup Saskatoon (or other) berries
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
- To a bowl, add all dry ingredients: flour, chia seed, baking soda, and salt.
- Mix until combined.
- Add almond milk, maple syrup, oil, apple cider vinegar, mashed banana, vanilla, and stir well.
- Add berries, and gently stir in.
- Scoop batter into a greased metal or ungreased silicone muffin pan. Bake about 22 minutes, or until golden. Makes 10-12 muffins.
- Following is a similar berry muffin, only gluten-free and with blueberries.
5. Oat-Chia Seed Waffle
This wonderful waffle is made with only five ingredients. You are welcome to jazz it up with sweetener, spices, or plant milk, but in our house we like a stripped-down natural version and find it sweet and crispy-creamy enough as is. You can certainly change up the vanilla for some Italian spices if you are making a more savory waffle.
For this plant-based waffle, I have opted to use aquafaba or the juice/liquid in a can of beans (for this recipe I use the liquid from butter beans, but feel free to use the "juice" from any can of beans, or from cooking the beans yourself. Aquafaba is a great substitute for egg whites and adds fluffiness to the waffles, as well as aiding in the structure of the waffle—oat batter by itself can be somewhat runny and unreliable.
- 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 3 3/4 cups water
- 1/4 cup aquafaba (about the amount in most bean cans)
- 6 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Read the instructions for using your waffle iron. I do not need to use oil in mine and it works like a charm if I wait for it to signal me that it is hot enough to start. I use the highest heat setting on my waffle iron (5) and achieve a nice dry outer waffle with a softer, spongy inner portion. I get about 6 waffles from this recipe. Again, depending on your waffle iron, you may get from 6-10+ waffles. I freeze the extras and put them in the toaster when needed, as in a quick breakfast waffle!
- Put the water, aquafaba and vanilla into a blender, and then add in the rolled oats and chia seed. If you have a vita mix or other heavy-duty blender, you can blend the ingredients up in a few minutes. If you have a blender with less power, you will likely want to do this in batches.
- Blend until thoroughly combined. It will be pretty close to cake batter in substance.
- Make sure your waffle iron is heated and ready to go. You may need to add a light application of oil. Pour or spoon batter on your irons according to your waffle maker directions.
- Enjoy with the usual toppings: syrup, fruit, yogurt, or savory ( sliced vegetables, salsa, chili)
- The extra waffles freeze well and can be popped into the toaster when needed. Some people use them as alternatives to gluten-free bread for sandwiches. You save a lot of money by making them yourself vs. buying them ready-made. You also know exactly what you have put in them.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.