In addition to proving food with a nutty flavor, flax seeds also improve texture by adding crunch. Even better, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. It is nutritious enough to be considered a “superfood.” Flax seeds can be used to make baked goods vegan-friendly as they are an effective egg substitute. In addition, you can use the seeds whole or in ground form as flax meal. If you are out of flax seeds, consider the replacement options below.
Your best bet: Chia seeds
Chia seeds have many properties in common with flax seeds including the fact that they are both high in soluble fiber. The soluble fiber is called mucilage and it is what makes them effective egg substitutes and thickening agents. Flax and chia seeds are also similar in that they are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Note that chia seeds do become gelatinous very quickly when exposed to moisture, so it is not suggested that you use them in all dishes where flax would be used; you may not want to use them on salads, for example. To replace flax seeds as an egg substitute, combine a tablespoon of ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. This mixture will replace one egg.
A decent second choice: Hemp seeds
Hemp seeds come from the same family as cannabis and are highly nutritious. Not only are hemp seeds high in omega-3 fatty acids like flax and chia, they contain more of certain essential nutrients. In addition to their nutritional value, they bring a nutty flavor to foods similar to that provided by flax seeds. Yet another benefit is the fact that they do not have the same hard outer coating as flax seeds, which makes them easier to digest.
You should note that hemp seeds do not contain the mucilage found in flax and chia seeds and therefore will not be effective if you are using them to thicken your dishes. In addition, the lack of mucilage means that they are not a good egg substitute.
In a pinch: Wheat germ
Wheat germ can be a good stand in for flax seed in bread and other baked goods. Wheat germ is a part of the wheat kernel and provides many of the nutrients that you get from wheat. It is a rich source of fiber and vitamins including vitamins B and E. It also contains a range of minerals including significant amounts of potassium and iron.
Among other benefits, wheat germ can boost your immune system and provide protection from heart disease. Like flax seeds and chia, it is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. You can add wheat germ to oatmeal and other cereals, or you can use it as a topping for your yogurt.
If you are looking for an egg substitute to replace flax seeds, you have several options available aside from chia seeds. Tofu and yogurt are two popular egg replacements that can provide binding and moisture. If you are not looking for an egg substitute but are looking for a thickener, consider almond meal. Like flax seed, almond meal is considered a superfood and can provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals. It will also give a nutty flavor to your dish.