Whether you use brown or golden flaxseeds, these little nutty tasting seeds are bursting with nutrients and can be used in salads, cereals, baked goods, smoothies and more. But what if you need some flaxseed substitutes to help make your healthy meals?
Here we talk about some easy flaxseed replacements, both to make an egg replacer and to make tasty recipes. All are easy to find in stores!
If you're looking for more nut and seed replacements, my hemp seed substitutes, quinoa substitutes, pine nut substitutes and macadamia nut substitutes should help you out!
This post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or dietetic advice in any way. It is a broad informational post and may refer to higher histamine foods.
How Can You Purchase Flaxseed?
Flaxseed, also known as linseed, comes from the common flax plant Linum usitatissimum. The seeds have a nutty flavor, with a slight sweetness, making them suitable for both sweet and savory cooking.
There is both brown flaxseed and golden flaxseed, and both types of seed are relatively inexpensive and easily found in supermarkets and health food stores.
As well as the actual seeds, you can also purchase milled / ground flaxseed, sometimes known as flaxseed meal. It has a fairly fine texture and can easily be sprinkled on your foods. If you prefer, you can also grind your own flaxseed at home using a coffee grinder.
How Do You Use Flaxseed?
Flaxseed can be used in a variety of ways. Whole flaxseeds can be used in the following ways:
- Sprinkled on to salads
- Used in baking, such as to top breads, cookies or muffins
- Stirred into cereals and oatmeal
- To make gluten free seed crackers
Ground flaxseed is often used in baking as an egg replacer. Often known as a flax egg, you mix ground flaxseed with water and set aside for 5-10 minutes for it to become thick and slightly gelatinous in texture.
You can use ground flaxseed in many ways, including:
- Baking, as an egg replacer in recipes such as my spiced oatmeal cookies!
- Making your own flaxseed pudding for breakfast
What Are The Health Benefits of Flaxseed?
As noted by Healthline in their overview of the health benefits of flaxseed, these little seeds are high in fiber and provide good amounts of protein. They are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
It is recommended to use ground flaxseed to optimise their health benefits, as the nutrients in whole flaxseeds may not be absorbed (Medical News Today).
6 Flaxseed Replacements
Enjoy using these easy flaxseed substitutes in your recipes and sweet treats! All are easy to find pantry staples.
Chia seeds are most commonly found as black seeds, but do come as white seeds also. They are much smaller in size to flaxseeds. It's also possible to buy milled / ground chia seeds.
Similarly to flaxseeds, chia seeds are a good source of plant-protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids (Healthline).
Chia seeds are very versatile, and can be used stirred into oatmeal, to top salads, blended into smoothies or to make a chia fresca drink. Making berry chia jam is also very easy, and perfect on toast or crackers!
And of course, there are lots of tasty ways to make chia pudding, including my oat milk chia pudding and blueberry coconut chia pudding.
Chia seeds are one of the best flaxseed substitutes as we can use them to make a 'chia egg' by combining chia and water. This type of egg replacer can be used in baking as a vegan option. A chia egg is more gelatinous in texture than a flax egg, and uses whole seeds rather than ground.
To make at home, see this chia egg recipe by Minimalist Baker.
Hemp seeds are a similar size to flaxseeds, and most often used in their hulled or shelled form in cooking and baking. They have a creamy, nutty flavor and are easy to find in the store.
In terms of nutrition, hemp seeds are a good alternative to flaxseeds as they are also a good source of plant-protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids (Medical News Today). In fact, hemp seeds have a higher amount of protein than flaxseeds, and are a complete protein.
We can use hemp seeds in smoothies, salads, breakfast cereals and oatmeal, or just as a healthy snack.
Hemp seeds cannot be used to make an egg replacer, as with flaxseed or chia seeds.
Psyllium husk is 'a form of fiber made from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant's seeds' (Healthline). It is also know as ispaghula.
In their discussion of the health benefits of psyllium husk, Healthline notes that it is primarily used as a laxative, as well as being a prebiotic and can help lower blood pressure, amongst other health benefits.
As a replacement for flaxseeds, psyllium husk can be used in cooking and baking. My PCOS Kitchen describes that it is 'a binding agent that helps with texture and works to thicken food that's baked'.
You can use psyllium husk as an egg replacer. Will Frolic for Food suggests combining 1 teaspoon of psyllium husk with 3 tablespoons of water, stirring and setting aside for 10-15 minutes to thicken.
Pumpkin seeds are small green seeds, and a very common ingredient in breakfast recipes. Of all the flaxseed substitutes, pumpkin seeds are probably the most easy to find and most of us have some in the pantry!
While pumpkin seeds don't look like flaxseeds, they do have a small amount of protein and fiber. They are also a good source of antioxidants, including iron, zinc and magnesium (Healthline).
Pumpkin seeds are actually a little more versatile than flaxseeds for savory cooking, and can be used to make pumpkin seed pesto, a crust for fish or chicken or to top salads. For sweet dishes, they are a tasty crunchy topping for oatmeal, smoothie bowls or chia pudding. You can also make your own homemade pumpkin seed butter!
Pumpkin seeds cannot be used as an egg replacer.
Almond meal, also known as ground almonds, is simply whole almonds that have been ground down into a thick flour-like consistency. You can purchase almond meal in stores or grind your own whole almonds.
In terms of nutrition, almonds are a good source of healthy fats, vitamin E, manganese, copper and magnesium (BBC Good Food).
Almond meal can be used as an alternative to flaxseeds in certain baking recipes. It cannot be used as an egg replacement.
Wheat germ is the heart of the wheat kernel. It's quite easy to find in stores and health food stores.
In their overview of the benefits of wheat germ, WebMD describes that is a good source of zinc, manganese, phosphorous and magnesium. It should be noted that it is high in oxalates (WebMD).
Wheat germ can be used in baking for breads, muffins, cookies and more. You can also use wheat germ as a substitute for flaxseed meal by adding it to smoothies, cereals or smoothies for added texture and vitamins.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ground flaxseed can be used to make a flax egg, which works as a vegan egg replacer in many baking recipes.
Yes, you can easily make a chia egg with milled chia seeds. It is a little more gelatinous in texture than a flax egg.
Chia seeds are a good replacement for flaxseed in smoothies.
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