Flaxseed is one of nature’s best dietary supplements that includes a combination of polyunsaturated fatty acids, fibers, proteins, and antioxidants. These nutrients are essential to maintain a healthy heart and help stay healthy from illnesses like cancer, diabetes, cholesterol, and heart disease.
The crunchy texture and nutty flavor add depth and flavor to any recipe that it is added to. But the texture and taste of the flax seed is not everyone’s cup of tea, so what can you use as a flaxseed substitute?
The best flaxseed substitutes include chia seeds, almond meal, psyllium husk, tofu, and hemp seeds.
Read on to learn more about flaxseed substitutes and how healthy they are!
Best Flaxseed Substitutes
Even though flaxseed offers a number of benefits, if one doesn’t like its taste, it can certainly be replaced with other nutrient-rich grains.
Many times, people would also want to find a replacement for flaxseed if they have run out and don’t want to make a trip to the grocery store.
They might also want to look for a replacement if flaxseed is not available at the grocery store.
Here is a list of flaxseeds substitutes that you can use in any recipe along with a description of the properties and nutritional value they replace:
Chia Seeds – Lower Calories, Neutral Flavor, Similar Texture
Chia seeds have a similar texture to flaxseed. So, if you would want to find a replacement with a less gritty texture, chia seeds are not the replacement you are looking for.
However, if you are fine with the texture but don’t like the flavor of the flaxseed, you can go for chia seeds, as they have a neutral flavor.
For those who have incorporated whole or ground flaxseed in their diet, chia seeds have a similar Omega-3 fatty acid and fiber levels.
In making a recipe vegan, chia seeds can also be used as a replacement. However, it can just offer the binding properties that egg offers and not the taste and texture.
To use it in place of an egg, just like flaxseed is combined with water in a ratio of 1:3, chia seeds also use the same ratio.
It also delivers thickening properties. So, if the recipe calls for flaxseed to thicken soups, gravies, or stews, chia seeds are a good replacement and can be used in the same quantity as flaxseeds.
For those on Keto or other diets, chia seeds have greater carbs than flaxseed. However, it has a lesser number of calories compared to flax seeds.
Almond Meal – Greater Healthy Fat, Similar Fiber Content, Cheaper
If the recipe calls for flaxseed meal or finely ground flaxseed, a good alternative to use is almond meal.
This powder is made by grinding dried almonds into fine powder and can be used in a variety of baking recipes.
If you are making flaxseed cookies, cakes, and biscuits, almond meal is a good replacement.
If you were already replacing flour with flaxseed in the recipe, you must also be reducing the fat content you use in the recipe like butter or vegetable oil.
However, if you are replacing the flour or flaxseed meal in a baking recipe with almond flour, you need to make sure to reduce the fat ingredient even more since almond meal has more fat than flaxseed meal.
In terms of fiber and protein content, both almond meal and flaxseed meal are almost equal.
But since almond meal is readily available and is cheaper than flaxseed meal, it is a good alternative for those on a diet and using it to make nutritious and tasty goodies.
Psyllium Husk – Similar Texture And Feel, Lesser Healthy Fats
If you use flaxseeds in your smoothies or in your breakfast oats, you can replace it with psyllium husk which has a similar texture and feel.
It is also easier to find, so if you cannot find flaxseed on the supermarket shelf, you can definitely add psyllium husk to your basket.
When replacing flaxseeds, psyllium can be used in equal amounts, even in recipes in which you replace eggs with flaxseed.
Since psyllium husk is a good binder, it can be used as an egg replacement and as a thickening agent in smoothies.
Many pizza restaurants add psyllium husk as a secret ingredient as it adds chewiness to the crust. So, if you want to make a flaxseed bread or crust, you can add on some psyllium husk to improve the texture.
A healthy dose of potassium, iron, and fiber, psyllium husk is a good replacement for flaxseed.
However, it does not have the fat content that flaxseed has. So, if you are replacing flaxseed with psyllium husk in a recipe, you should add some butter or vegetable oil to up the fat content and make sure the recipe doesn’t go too dry.
Tofu – Higher Moisture Content, Similar Nutritional Value, Low-Cost
While tofu doesn’t have the texture that flaxseed has, it is a great replacement in recipes for someone who doesn’t like the texture of flaxseeds but wants to obtain the nutritional benefit.
It might not go well as additions to oatmeal, but it can go well in certain recipes.
Tofu has zinc, iron, manganese, and magnesium levels similar to that in flaxseeds. It is also a low-cost replacement for flaxseed and also has low calories.
Unlike other replacement options, when using tofu as a replacement to flaxseed, its ratio isn’t 1:1. 1/4th cup of blended tofu is a replacement for a tablespoon of grounded flaxseeds.
When using tofu as an egg replacement, it should not be combined with 3 tablespoons of water like flaxseed is since it already has the moisture content needed to be a replacement for eggs.
Surprisingly, tofu is also an alternative in recipes that call for ground or powdered flaxseed like in baked goods.
It can also add a creamy texture to smoothies which is great for someone who doesn’t like the gritty, flaxseed texture.
Hemp Seeds – Closest Fat Content, Double Protein, No Binding Property
Hemp seeds offer the similar nutty flavor and crunchy texture as flaxseeds and chia seeds. Hemp seed also has the closest fat content to flaxseeds from the list.
And on top of that, it has a greater protein content – almost double the amount that flaxseed has.
Even with this difference, it can be used as a 1:1 replacement ratio because of the texture. However, for those who have included flaxseed in the diet, hemp seeds have a greater calorie count.
A great replacement for smoothies, yogurts, oatmeal, and salads, hemp seeds can also replace flax seeds in baked goods. In fact, the added minerals and protein is better if the diet calls for high protein levels.
One drawback of this replacement is that it does not have the binding properties that flaxseed offers. Therefore, it cannot be used as a replacement in recipes where flaxseed acts as a binder or as a replacement to egg.
Summing Up Flaxseed Substitutes
Flaxseeds are a great addition to one’s diet.
Incorporating it in breakfast, as a salad topping, or in smoothies offers a great nutritional value. The nutrient in this grain is great for a healthy heart, helping prevent diseases like cancer and cholesterol.
However, at times if flaxseed is not readily available, or one does not like the nutty flavor and texture that it offers, it can be replaced with other ingredients. If the recipe calls for a flaxseed meal, almond meal is a good replacement. If it is a baking recipe, however, adjustment in the fat content is needed.
Even if you are not looking for a replacement, these ingredients can be added to the diet because of the nutritional value they offer.