Chocolate Coconut Chia Mousse and Herbed Chia Dressing

Chia seeds are so versatile — you can use them in smoothies, puddings, salad dressings and in crusts for fish or meat. They absorb water, giving you the option of a soft, tapioca-like texture or, without water, a nice crunch. Either way, you reap the nutritious benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants. 

There are many options for those who don't care for the texture of chia seed pudding or smoothies. Try these non-dairy, gluten-free recipes for ideas on incorporating chia.

To learn more about the health benefits of chia seeds and how to include them into your diet, check out "Chia Seeds: Tiny Seeds with a Rich History," from the January/February 2014 issue of Food & Nutrition Magazine.


Chocolate Coconut Chia Mousse

This decadent dessert is low in calories while high in fiber, protein and nutrients. By blending the pudding into a mousse before serving, it incorporates air for a fluffy finish sure to impress.

Recipe developed by Ginger Hultin, MS, RD, LDN

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest (about half a lemon)
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
¼ cup chia seeds
1 ½ cups unsweetened vanilla almond or soy milk (divided)
¼ cup shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients together, setting aside 1/2 cup almond/soy milk. Stir thoroughly with a small whisk.
  2. Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. As the chia seeds absorb moisture, they will expand and create a pudding-like texture. When the mixture is thick and set, place it in a blender and pulse on high for 30 seconds until a smooth texture is achieved, adding additional ½ cup almond/soy milk as needed to blend thoroughly.
  4. Divide mousse evenly into small bowls and let set in refrigerator for an additional 30 minutes. Garnish with additional coconut flakes if desired. Serve cold.

Herbed Chia Dressing

Try this thick chia seed salad dressing (an alternative to poppy seed) on a salad or as a dip. It pairs well with hearty ingredients such as citrus, endive, cabbage and avocado.

Recipe developed by Ginger Hultin, MS, RD, LDN

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
1 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons agave syrup
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, combine non-dairy milk, lemon juice and chia seeds with a small whisk. Let sit for 20 minutes until mixture has thickened.
  2. Add agave syrup and olive oil, whisking until combined.
  3. Fold in all herbs, salt and pepper. Serve as dressing on a fresh salad or as a dip for your favorite vegetables.
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Ginger Hultin
Ginger Hultin, MS, RD, CSO, is a Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Seattle-based health writer specializing in integrative health and nutrigenomics. Read Ginger’s blog, Champagne Nutrition, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.


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