Sow, Sow Good: Four Great Edible Seeds and How to Use Them
A crash course on popular, easy-to-source varieties.
Edible seeds, the latest craze in power foods, are packed with nutrients and add appealing texture to salads, soups, smoothies, and…well, pretty much anything. We asked Kate Scarlata, a Boston-based dietitian and the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well with IBS, for a crash course on four popular, easy-to-source varieties. Happy sprinkling.
Why It’s Great: Forget the sprouting pet in kitschy planters. Chock-full of omega-3s, chia seeds are also stocked with soluble fiber, a key component to heart and digestive-tract health and—with 10 grams of the stuff in just two tablespoons—to feeling full.
How to Use: Chia’s water-loving fibers expand when mixed with liquids, creating a gelatinous substance that blends in well with pudding or jam.
Why It’s Great: These magnesium-rich seeds pack a nutritional punch, with five grams of protein and two grams of fiber per two tablespoons. And don’t worry about that impending drug test: Even downing half a pound of seeds would barely show a trace of THC in your system.
How to Use: Hemp seeds have a nutty flavor and a texture reminiscent of finely chopped walnuts, making them a terrific addition to smoothies, breads, or baked sweet potatoes.
Why It’s Great: Flaxseed is loaded with omega-3s and fiber (there are four grams of fiber per two tablespoons) but also boasts lignans, phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Use: The body can absorb flax better when it’s ground. Run the seeds through a coffee mill (or simply purchase in meal form), then sprinkle on your favorite yogurt or morning oats.
Why It’s Great: Don’t chuck the seeds when hollowing out the jack-o’-lantern—they’re an excellent source of magnesium and manganese, essential antioxidants that help regulate blood sugar.
How to Use: Crispy pumpkinseeds are a classic topping for leafy salads, but they also make great garnishes for soups or cottage cheese. Drizzle shelled seeds with olive oil, add a dash of salt, and roast them in the oven. Let cool, then store in an airtight container for snacking.