I admit that I was hesitant about chia seeds. But my health food store sells them in the bulk bins, so I was able to buy a few teaspoons to try. They don't really taste like anything but they have a little crunch. They're about the size of poppy seeds. So why are they the latest rage?
For starters, they're very high in omega three. Fabulous for vegetarians and people who don't care for fish. They're low in calories and have no fat. And they're loaded with antioxidants. Sound to good to be true? It gets better!
Imagine this -- when they get wet, they develop a little gelatinous substance around them. Isn't that odd? It's not as icky as it sounds because they're so tiny. It's thought that this substance slows down the conversion of these carbohydrates to sugar.
What? That's not enough reason to eat them? How about the fact that they're filling, so they may help with dieting? They're fiber, too! But don't eat too many at once because they do swell with that gelatinous thing they develop and they are fiber. You'll be seeing them in a lot of products, but just a teaspoon or so at a time. There won't be any chia seed pies, for instance, though they can can be added to puddings and pie fillings. I'm big on the creaminess of puddings, so I'm not so sure about that. But mix them with granola, or toss them on a salad. Except for the little crunch, the kids won't know the difference.
When a friend stopped by for a visit, I put it to the test. I made one of my favorite breakfasts, a frittata. But this time, no cheese or ham or anything calorie-laden. This is one healthy frittata and here's the great news -- it's delicious. It didn't get as thick as frittata usually does, but the flavor was terrific. This will be a regular around here.
Healthy Chia Frittata
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup diced red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 handfuls roughly chopped Swiss chard
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon ground flax
Preheat oven to 350.
Heat the olive oil in a 9-inch oven-safe saute pan and swirl to coat the sides. Add the red pepper and saute. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with salt and pepper. When the red peppers are getting soft, add the garlic and lower the heat a bit. Add the chard one handful at a time and let it wilt.
Whisk the chia seeds and flax into the eggs and pour over the veggies in the pan.
When the bottom has set, place the pan in the oven for about 7 minutes. Hang a pot holder over the over door handle so you won't forget that the pan will be too hot to handle! Slice into four pieces and serve.