While we often refer to quinoa as our favorite gluten-free ancient grain, it’s actually a seed – and as such, it’s in pretty great company. Add seeds to dishes to boost nutrition, increase flavor and provide a delightful crunch – but before you do, you should know your seeds:
Used to make foods and fibers, flax is grown in cooler climates – but the seeds may be savored in all corners of the globe. They’ve got plant-based protein, antioxidants and dietary fiber, and are a tasty and easy addition to smoothies (like this Banana Almond Smoothie by Cookie and Kate) and baked crackers (try these Rosemary & Sea Salt Flax Crackers by I Breathe I’m Hungry.)
A common flowering herb in places like California, chia is today most prized for its seeds – which offer “good” omega-3 fat, fiber, protein, and calcium among other nutrients. You can add chia seeds to water for a fun, all-natural beverage (see this recipe by Oh She Glows) or make a sweet and creamy pudding. Don’t know where to start? Eat Live Life has got 45 Super Delicious Chia Pudding Recipes to try.
Frequently found in Asian-style salad dressings and stir-fry dishes, sesame seeds are actually super versatile. You can use them to make sweet treats (like these Pistachio Sesame Seed Balls from The Healthy Family and Home) or simply sprinkle some over roasted veggies like asparagus, broccoli or green beans. Either way, you’ll reap the benefits of sesame’s calcium and antioxidant content.
If you grew up with a vegetable garden, you may know the joys of eating fresh sunflower seeds directly off the flower – and still, fresh or roasted sunflower seeds make a simply delightful snack. However, if you’re looking to do something more with these seeds – which pack a nutritional punch of magnesium, vitamin E and antioxidants – try making your own seed butter. Tessa The Domestic Diva has an easy and delicious recipe to try.
You might also remember snacking on pumpkin seeds as a child – usually roasted, and around Halloween. But you probably didn’t realize that the crunchy, tasty morsels were adding magnesium, zinc and omega-3 fats to your diet. Like the rest of the seeds on this list, pumpkin seeds are great in baked goods and sprinkled over salads. We also love them in granola like this Vegan Coconut Oil Quinoa Granola, created by Simply Quinoa for Ancient Harvest.
Hemp seeds may not be as popular as the others on this list, but we suspect it won’t be long until they take their turn in the spotlight. They offer a combination of omega-6 and omega-3 fats, vitamin E and minerals including zinc, calcium, phosphorous, and iron. They’re also pretty tasty, as evident by these recipes: Hemp Seed Hummus by Diet Taste, Hemp Seed Tabouli by Oh She Glows, and Grain-Free Hemp Seed Breakfast Cookies by Thrive Style.