Flaxseeds are a superfood with a high nutritional profile and several health benefits from lowering cholesterol to preventing cancer. You shouldn’t miss out on flaxseeds in your diet for their incredible health benefits and diverse uses in cooking.
Have you run out of flaxseeds or unavailable in your place? What can you use in place of flaxseed? Don’t be confused! This article brings home to you the best flaxseed substitute you can use in a pinch.
Flaxseeds – An Overview
Flax, also known as linseed, is a flowering plant, Linum usitatissimum, in the family Linaceae.
For centuries, it’s been cultivated as a food and fiber crop in several regions across the world. Today, flaxseed is crowned as a superfood for its health-protective properties.
There are two basic types of flaxseeds, brown and golden, both are equally nutritious and beneficial.
What does flaxseed taste like? Like most other seeds, flaxseeds have a nutty flavor. The golden variety has a milder flavor while brown seeds have a slightly earthier with a more pronounced nutty flavor. When used in your dishes, they won’t alter the taste profile of your recipe.
The mild nutty flavor of flaxseeds makes them a nice addition to both sweet and savory dishes. They not only provide a nutty flavor but also add a crunchy texture to your dish.
Flaxseeds can be eaten on their own or crushed or cold-pressed to release flaxseed oil. You can use the seeds whole or in ground form as a flax meal.
Health experts recommend the use of ground flaxseed for maximum health benefits as the whole seeds are not fully digestible. Besides, ground seeds can easily be added to many dishes like salads, cereals, sandwiches, yogurt, smoothies, bread, cookies, muffins, and more.
Above all, you should compulsorily include them in your diet for they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins.
These seeds serve as a healthy baking substitute for binding dough and cake mixes. For those looking for an egg substitute, flaxseed is their best bet.
What Is A Good Flaxseed Substitute?
Flaxseeds can be both expensive and unavailable in some regions. If you are out of flaxseeds or can’t get them, consider the replacement options below.
1. Chia seeds
Both chia and flax seeds are rich in a variety of nutrients, especially omega-3 amino acids and soluble fiber.
You can easily substitute flaxseeds with chia seeds in most dishes but not in dishes with a lot of moisture like salad. Because chia seeds become gelatinous very fast when exposed to moisture.
Chia doesn’t have a strong flavor, so it very well complements other ingredients in most dishes.
Like the flaxseeds, you can also use chia seeds to replace eggs as a binding agent in baked goods. For this, combine one tablespoon of ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water to form a thickening gel-like egg, usable in custard, sauces, bread, cakes, and other baked goods.
2. Hemp seeds
Like flaxseeds, hemp seeds are highly nutritious; in fact, they contain more protein and omega-3 fatty acids than flax. Hemp seeds taste nutty like flax seeds. They are easier to digest for they don’t have the hard seed hulls like flaxseed.
One notable difference in hemp seeds is the lack of mucilage, thus it cannot be used as a substitute for egg as flaxseeds do.
Hemp seeds are a suitable substitute for flaxseeds in cookies and bread for their strong nutty flavor.
3. Wheat germ
Wheat germ is part of a wheat kernel that is instrumental in helping the plant reproduce and spawn new wheat.
Wheat germ is not a seed like flax or chia, yet it is an excellent swap for flaxseeds in bread and other baked goods. Like flax, it’s a rich source of nutrients and soluble fiber. What brings wheat germ very close to flax or chia seeds is the rich amount of omega-3 fatty acids in it.
Highly versatile in nature, wheat germs can very well be used in most recipes that call flaxseeds, particularly, works well in oatmeal, yogurt, and dishes with cereals.
4. Almond Meal
Almond meal is a protein-rich and nutty flavored alternative to flaxseed. Just as you use ground flaxseed to substitute eggs as a binding agent in the dough, the almond meal can also do the same. Almond flour is a superior option for thickening dishes like soups and stews.
If you are using ground flaxseeds for binding baked goods, then yogurt can also do the same in its place. In fact, yogurt is the only dairy product that works as a food-binding agent.
Always choose plain yogurt in making baked goods. Don’t hesitate, the mild flavor of yogurt will never overpower your recipe.
Similar to flaxseeds, yogurt improves digestion and helps to prevent constipation.
Tofu is another great alternative to ground flaxseeds in savory dishes and dessert recipes. Another reason to choose tofu in place of ground flax is its outstanding food binding capacity, especially in baked goods and desserts. As a substitute, always use plain tofu without any added flavor.