As I research and educate myself about food and nutrition, I believe more deeply that plant-based foods have such phenomenal health-promoting powers, and want to incorporate more of them into my own life and cooking. I am constantly on the hunt for more ideas, tips, advice, recipes, and knowledge.
I have recently become aware of this fabulous vegan/veg-centered blog from Angela at Oh She Glows. Her story is inspiring, and her recipes even more so! With so much abundance of plant-based, fabulous foods, I will never again be without dinner ideas! Check it out yourself and you’ll see what I mean. My new foodie heroine.
So in browsing her many recipes, I came across this odd bird: The Chia Fresca. A popular drink in South America for centuries, it consists of water (or coconut water), chia seeds, lemon or lime juice, and usually sweetener.
For those who do not know, when chia seeds are soaked in water they produce a gel-like coating, much like tomato seeds. Chia seeds are so intensely hydrophilic (hydro = “water” philic = “loving”) that they can absorb up to NINE times the weight of the seed in liquid. That is just plain crazy awesome!
Chia seeds also have two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, which will help keep your whole digestive tract healthy. Their gel takes a long time for the digestive system to extract the water from, so it hydrates your whole system along the way. For more fun facts check out MySeeds.
Chia seeds are also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, so if you are vegetarian or vegan and cannot eat fish, this is a great option. Chia seeds are easily incorporated into any beverage, and can be used in cooking as well as a substitute for eggs or pectin in jellies and jams. That may be my next project.
Anywho, back on track.
The Oh She Glows chia fresca recipe called for 1 1/2 tbsp chia in 2 cups water, plus 1/2 a lemon or lime and sweetener to taste.
I tried exactly that, without the sweetener.
No sweetener partially because I didn’t want to add sugar, and also because I like lemony water so I figured it is just that with a little chewy bonus.
The chia seeds take 10 minutes or so to become fully gel-like. At first they sit on top of the water like a little film. Just keep stirring and be patient.
I thought this was a little bit too much chia for me, and it clumped together a bit. So I experimented a little (of course). There are tons of other recipes and ideas of what you could add to the water. Cucumber was pretty tasty, and would have been even better if I had fresh mint leaves.
But I think my favorite was when I added lime juice and a little orange juice, and a smaller amount of seeds. The amended recipe is below.
Give chia a try, it is probably a love-or-hate kind of thing.
As the SO said when he saw it: “Are those bees?!”
To his credit, he did try it. And he said he actually likes the bees. Success.
And then he went to “drink some bacon grease”. Life is all about the little victories ya know?
1/4 lime, juiced
1/4 cup orange juice
2 cups water
1 tbsp chia seeds
Optional: 1/2" piece of ginger
Mix the chia seeds into the water. They will take 10+ minutes to completely gel.
Add the lime juice and orange juice. Stir to mix.
If using the ginger, chop it roughly and add to boiling water, mix well and let sit 30+ minutes. Strain and continue with ginger-water as above.
You can sub in any fruit juice here basically. Get creative and see what you like.
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