You may have heard of chia plants (or at least Chia Pets), but do you know just how good the plant's tiny seeds are for you, and how versatile they are? The chia plant is a relative of the mint plant. It makes tiny, flavorless, gluten-free seeds that are chock full of antioxidants and fiber, and when combined with water, they can be used as a replacement for butter or oil in your favorite baked goods.
In addition, the seeds contain an oil that naturally repels pests, making it easy for farmers to grow the seeds organically, without the use of pesticides. If that's not enough to convince you to try them, consider that chia seeds help balance blood sugar, prevent diseases such as diverticulitis and diverticulosis, and contain the essential fatty acid omega-3, which lowers hypertension and benefits your heart.
It's surprisingly easy to cook and bake with chia seeds, and because they take on the flavor of whatever ingredients they're mixed with, they'll only enhance your favorite dishes. Here's a sampling of the nearly 100 recipes included: Sunny Sweet Potato and Chocolate Chip Chia Muffins Easy Chia Oat Squares Peanut Butter Chia Waffles Lemon Chia Cheesecake Pancakes Cranberry Chia Couscous Southwest Chia Bean Burgers Citrus Scallops and Veggie Stir Fry Fresh Chia Lime Soup Chia Triple Fruit Crisp Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies Sophisticated Chocolate Orange Cake Oh-So-Lemon Cupcakes Chia Lemon Hummus