How To Make Chia Seed Gel and How To Use It

Beautiful Chia Seed Gel
Beautiful Chia Seed Gel

Chia seed, salvia hispanica, is one of those "new" ancient seed types (along with hemp seed, quinoa, and amaranth) that is making a big buzz for vegetarians and people with gluten-sensitivity.

The health-promoting qualities of chia seed are very attractive-- rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids, it is also an excellent source of protein, calcium, phosphorus and dietary fibre. Folklore from Mexico has it that the Mayan messengers could pop a handful of chia seed in the morning and run until evening with energy to spare.

Bread made with ground chia seed (or "flour") maintains its nutritional value more than bread made with flax seed. It may be that the antioxidants in chia seed prevent the rancidification that is more common to flax seed.

Along with the stellar nutritional aspects of chia seed is its wonderful gelatinous nature when mixed with water. Easily-made "Chia Gel" has many applications for gluten-intolerant bakers and raw vegans looking to expand their food repertoire.


The ingredients and the tools...
The ingredients and the tools...
Whisk gently to keep seeds from clumping
Whisk gently to keep seeds from clumping

How To Make Chia Gel

As a purist, I make and store my (organic) chia seed gel in a glass wide-mouth mason jar. Besides relieving me of concerns about the possible toxic effects of plastic containers leaking into my healthy chia gel, the glass container also is calibrated to be 4 (U.S) 8-ounce cups, or 1 quart in size, so it makes accurate measurements easy.

  1. Place 1/4 - 1/2 C. of organic chia seed into the bottom of a glass jar.
  2. Fill the jar with filtered water.
  3. Gently whisk the chia seed (for a few minutes) to disrupt clumping of the chia seeds. Let the gel sit for a few minutes (about 15) and stir again.
  4. Use in recipes after 15 minutes of gel time. Store in a covered glass jar in fridge.

Gel can also be made using finely-ground chia seed ("flour") in place of the seeds above. Grind seeds in a coffee bean grinder.

Scroll down to see how to make delicious recipes with chia gel... and at LEAST half the fat you would use in other recipes. No cholesterol. No gluten. No eggs. No dairy.


The seeds are black but the Gel around the seed  is CLEAR and has NO flavour or after-taste.
The seeds are black but the Gel around the seed is CLEAR and has NO flavour or after-taste.

How To Use Chia Gel in Recipes

As mentioned above, chia seed gel is full of nutrients like brain-food Omega 3 essential fatty acids, protein (20% of the seed), calcium, phosphorus and fibre. Your baking and raw vegan recipes will contain much less fat than usual recipes. If you use all plant-based, whole foods your recipes will contain NO cholesterol.

The recipes that follow do NOT use wheat, gluten, dairy, or eggs.

Christmas Chia Cloud Pudding (Raw Vegan)

Combine the following a food processor or blender:

  • 2 C. Almond Pulp (left over after straining Almond Mylk through a Nut Mylk Bag)
  • 1/2 Lemon, seeded and peeled
  • 1 small Apple cored and chopped
  • 6 pitted Medjool Dates
  • 1/4 C. Chia Seed Gel
  • 1/4 C. Almond Mylk
  • Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1 T. Vanilla
  • shot of Maple Syrup (to taste)
  • Pinch of Nutmeg

Should resemble traditional rice pudding, but requires no cooking, eggs, dairy, or refined sugars. Garnish with Dried Cranberries or Thompson Raisins.

Bob's Red Mill Chia Seeds, 16-ounce (Pack of 4) (Package May Vary)
Bob's Red Mill Chia Seeds, 16-ounce (Pack of 4) (Package May Vary)

Get 4 X 1-pound bags of Bob's Red Mill Chia Seed and have the cost of shipping covered by your current order. Chia is a superfood you can use in smoothies, over cereal, in baked items, etc.

 
"C" is for Coconut-Cranberry-Carob-Chip-Chia Cookies
"C" is for Coconut-Cranberry-Carob-Chip-Chia Cookies

Coconut Cranberry Chia Carob Chip Cookies (whew)

Ingredients:

  • 1 C. Coconut Flour
  • 1 C. Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Biscuit & Baking Mix
  • 1 C. dry Coconut shreds
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1 1/4 Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 1/2 C. Carob Chips
  • 1/2 C. Dried Cranberries (or Raisins)
  • Handful of Hemp Hearts (optional)
  • 8 T. Virgin Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1/2 C. Applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 1 T. Vanilla
  • 6 T. Chia Gel (1/2 C. Chia seeds to 4 C. Water)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In one bowl, combine Coconut Flour, Baking Mix, Coconut Shreds, Baking Soda and Sea Salt. Mix well.
  3. In a larger bowl, cream together the Palm Sugar and the Coconut Oil.
  4. Mix Apple Sauce and Vanilla into the Sugar and Coconut Oil and stir until thoroughly combined.
  5. Stir Chia Seeds Gel into wet ingredients slowly, with a wooden spoon, just until combined.
  6. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients (except for Carob Chips and Cranberries.)
  7. Last, mix in Carob Chips and Cranberries.
  8. Drop 1- 1 1/2 T. of batter per cookie onto pan.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  10. Wait until the cookies cool before you remove to rack.

Smoky-Pinto Chia Burgers... crispy on the outside and moist on the inside!
Smoky-Pinto Chia Burgers... crispy on the outside and moist on the inside!

Smoky Pinto-Chia Burgers

I use onions in these veggie burgers, but you could use whatever you fancy from the vegetable drawer in your fridge (eg., peppers, broccoli, zucchini). I use gluten-free bread for crumbs and cornmeal as a filler. You could substitute your preferred bread crumbs and cereal filler. These burgers freeze well.

Put together in a food processor:

  • 2 14-oz. cans or Pinto Beans
  • 2 small white Onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2-4 T. Chia Gel
  • 3 small slices of bread, crumbled (eg., Silver Hills Chia Bread)
  • 4 T. Corn Meal
  • 2 T. McKay's Vegetarian Chicken-Style Seasoning
  • Splash of Liquid Smoke
  • Other seasonings as desired

Shape the burgers into 3" circles and place on greased aluminum foil on a pan. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Cover with foil and cook for 10-15 minutes. Spray or paint with Olive or Coconut Oil. Turn, and cook without foil. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan. Is usually quite crispy on the outside and tender on the inside... great on a bun or eaten as a side. Enjoy!

Artisan Silicone Baking Set with Mat Liners for Half-Size Cookie Sheets with Red Border,  16.5 x 11 inches, 2-Pack
Artisan Silicone Baking Set with Mat Liners for Half-Size Cookie Sheets with Red Border, 16.5 x 11 inches, 2-Pack

Using silicone baking mats really simplifies baking-- clean-up is a cinch since nothing ever sticks to the pan, you save a lot on parchment paper or foil, and keep all that stuff out of the landfill! The 2-Mat set is a Best Seller with over 1000+ reviews and 91 answered questions.

 

What about the Pet?

And, of course, no discussion of this wholesome little seed would be complete without mention of "sprouts"-- you can skip the gel and just do the repeated rinse process in a sprout jar or nut mylk bag just as you would do with other seeds, such as alfalfa or mung beans... although the chia sprout you are likely most familiar with is the famous Chia Pet, which is often actually edible today!

How To Make a CHIA EGG

Chia has great binding properties (holds everything together) in Vegan baking. You can substitute the following for a regular hen's egg in any recipe that you are making vegan:

  • 1 Tablespoon of ground Chia seed (grind it in a coffee bean grinder)
  • 4 Tablespoons of Water

Combine the above and whisk thoroughly. If it isn't whisking because it's too clumpy, add a little more water. Eventually you should have a raw egg-y quality. Use this CHIA EGG in your baking just as you would use a hen's egg. Increase the ground Chia seed and water for more 'eggs' in your recipe.

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Comments 30 comments

alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 4 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Never heard of Chia seed...only heard of Chia pets, those awful looking blooming things.


Clara Mae 4 years ago

Do you have to strain the seeds from the gel? It reminds me of flax seed gel. How about making some of those good looking cookies for me! (smile) I didn't know Silver Hills made chia bread!


mary dicerni good job 4 years ago

Thank you for the wonderful recipes for Chia seeds... I have been wondering how to use them. My friends will want to see these as well.. So happy to be able to make recipes with them to make healthier foods . They all use the gel only as a supplement... thank you for sharing these with us.. It is a new product to most people, and really no recipes around. Have a very merry Christmas Granny !!!!!


techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Hi Alehouse, the Chia pets are actually edible sprouts of the very nutritious chia seed, but I wouldn't eat them... probably not organically grown and their terracotta containers might be full of heavy metals... but seriously, the chia seed is now classified as a "superfood" and well worth looking into if you are looking for highly digestible plant-based protein, Omega-3, et al... quite a lovely little experience! Thanks for your comments!


techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Clara Mae, you don't have to strain the chia seeds from the gel (much too arduous)-- the seeds go sort of gelatinous as well. Drop over anytime you are in this neck of the woods and I will make you those cookies (haha)! And yes, Silver Hills does make chia bread, although it is hard to find. Check the health food store. Thanks for being so thorough in your reading and comments!


techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Dear Mary, I really appreciate your encouraging comments... hope you like the recipes! By all means, please pass this info onto your friends... chia is a very deserving little seed, a "superfood", and an inexpensive, highly digestible form of plant-based protein and Omega-3s-- gives our dear deep-water fish a break. Merry Christmas to you also!


ed 4 years ago

Chia seeds are an amazing source of nutrition and energy.

I notice that when I work out in the weight room or go for long jogs.


techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

thanks for your comments Ed! Chia is truly a dynamite little superfood!


Dani Katarina profile image

Dani Katarina 4 years ago from California

I am a huge fan of Chia Seeds! I make Chia gel all the time! I love that you can add it to anything! Thanks for sharing :)


techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Thanks Dani, for commenting on our mutually fave little seed... and welcome to Hubpages! I'll look forward to reading your first hub!


Dani Katarina profile image

Dani Katarina 4 years ago from California

No problem!! And yes! I've been brainstorming my first hub. I think I'll be posting my famous cookies which also includes chia gel! Can't wait to share!


mary dicerni 4 years ago

I just bought 2 containers of Chia seeds, and am trying the recipes... So happy to have them here. I appreciate your efforts to help us with the uses of such a perfect product. Will share later. Bless you.


techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Mary, what fun! You'll have to let me know how your "experiments" with this new ingredient go! Thanks so much for your comments!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Wow, this is a completely new concept for me. I just recently began to see chia seeds here in my neck of the woods. They're expensive, but after reading your hubs about them I'm going to invest in a jar and try some of your recipes. Thank you! Voted up and useful.


techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Vespawolf, I think you will really enjoy chia, and if you are still in Peru, chia is grown commercially there, so maybe ask around to find a less expensive supply! The jar you see in my photos is just one of my Sally Anne wide-mouth mason jars-- the chia seeds here come in small bags, usually in the Health Food stores. I just put 1/4 C. of them into a quart jar and add water to make the gel that you see in the jar. Thank you for your comments, and have healthy fun with the chia!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Thank you for the tips! I haven't gotten around to making the gel yet, but I did make a batch of muesli and have been eating it with a sprinkling of chia seeds. It's better than ever!


techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

mmm... Vespawoolf, I think chia is healthy however you eat it! I love muesli!


LivingFood profile image

LivingFood 4 years ago

Your recipes look delicious! I just bought some seeds the other day...I think I'll try some of these. Thanks for sharing.


techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

thank you LivingFood! Hope you enjoy your chiadventures!


cattleboyz 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing this information, I had heard of this but never knew how to do it, until now! Thanks, http://www.cattleboyz.com/


Geni1 3 years ago

So if you are using a conventional recipe that calls for eggs and/or fat, how much of this gel do you substitute for an egg or the fat? Is there a conversion formula for that?


techygran profile image

techygran 3 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Great question Gina! About 1 T. of chia gel equals one egg. Sometimes people choose to grind the chia seeds and then make the gel, in which case you end up with a denser gel. I would still opt for the 1 T=1 egg. All the best!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I've used chia seed gel before, but not for years. I'll buy some seeds again. I want to try your recipes - they sound delicious! Thanks for sharing them.


techygran profile image

techygran 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

you are very welcome AliciaC! I hope you enjoy and benefit from your new trip back into Chia-land!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Thanks for this look at the various uses of chia seed and the recipes. Am definitely looking forward to experimenting more with chia now and hoping to try the burger soon! Pinning to my Ways w/ Food: Breads/Nuts/Grains/Seeds board.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 2 years ago from Orange County, California

I have started adding chia seeds to my diet. This sounds like a good way to use them!


techygran profile image

techygran 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Hi Roberta-- thanks for dropping by to one of my older hubs, but one that continues to draw a lot of traffic. I have great respect for the chia seed and use it exclusively as an egg-replacer and in everyday smoothies. Hope the burger works out for you! I haven't made it for so long that I will have to revisit it as well.. All the best, Cynthia


techygran profile image

techygran 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Thank you for coming by and commenting Deborah-Diane. Welcome to Hubpages! You have come in with an impressive number of writings and I shall certainly come over and do some reading in the next couple of days. I hope you enjoy this writers' community-- you're getting off to a good start right off the bat! All the best, Cynthia


Cynthia Hoover profile image

Cynthia Hoover 21 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

Love thid hub! I use chia on a daily basis, often on greek yogurt to add a little crunch and reap the health benefits! Most recently I used them to create gluten free meatballs. I was able to use them in place of the egg as well as any bread or crackers! My fiancé has not been on board with my healthy food kick, so I did not tell him till after the fact! He loved them, singing praises even after I told him! I made a vegan mushroom gravy to top them (I know the dish was not vegan but I toss healthier items in when I can). He has already asked for them again! Thank you for the great recipes, I will be making one tonight!


techygran profile image

techygran 21 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Thank you for dropping by and commenting, Cynthia Hoover. There is much to like about chia seed and I'm happy to hear that your fiancé has jumped on board with this healthy addition to your eating! All the best, Cynthia

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