Allergy-friendly recipes with bite
Allison Day, RHN
Nutrient-packed superseeds are an ideal substitute for nuts. These recipes provide tasty allergy-friendly fare for the whole family.
Seeds are the original superfoods, being some of the earliest plant crops harvested in the world. And it’s no wonder––packing a wallop of nutrition in each teeny seed, this convenient, tasty, textural, and diverse food family is hard to tire of. If you’re looking to incorporate the healthy fats, protein, fibre, and minerals of nuts in your cooking and baking, cooking with superseeds will provide equally nutritious and delicious allergy-friendly recipes. The following recipes are not only safe for nut-free dinners and school snacks, but they also utilize these tiny nutritional powerhouses in a few new ways. If that isn’t enough, seeds tend to be less expensive than nuts, making them an economical option, too. From savoury to sweet, baked goods for breakfast to restaurant-worthy mains, the application of seeds in the kitchen is far reaching and crowd pleasing. Satisfy your inner epicurean and crunchy-food fan with this healthy, beautiful, and snappy spread of seeded dishes.
A rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, iron, antioxidants, and protein, chia seeds are a taste-free way to get more nutrition in your recipes. They gel, making them a natural egg substitute for vegan baking. Use them to bulk up oatmeal, blend in a smoothie, or stir a few teaspoons into spaghetti sauce.
Grown in Canada, hemp is a super seed delivering plant-based complete protein, a slew of minerals, and delectable cheeselike taste. Add to smoothies for a protein boost, sprinkle on salads, garnish pasta for a dairy-free Parmesan substitute, or blend into hemp milk (much like you would with almonds).
Flax needs to be ground to tap into its rich omega-3 profile. Nutty and rich, it works well as a yogurt topping, homemade bread booster, and vegan egg replacement in baking. Grinding whole seeds when you need them will help prevent its precious oils from going rancid.
The standout features of these verdant gems are protein and zinc, helping to strengthen the immune system. Everyone will love their cheesy taste, toothsome crunch, and ability to transform a dish into a feast for the eyes. Top muffins before baking, stir into homemade granola, blend into a creamy salad dressing, add crunch to cooked quinoa, or eat by the handful.
Rich in vitamin E, a mighty antioxidant, along with phytosterols for reduced cholesterol levels, these diminutive seeds are as healthy as they are delicious. Add to trail mix with dried fruit and chocolate chips, include in oatmeal cookies for crunch, sprinkle on salad for substance, or roast and blend into seed butter for a peanut butter replacement.
These black baubles contain a range of minerals and oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fatty acid that may help to increase HDL “good” cholesterol and lower LDL “bad” cholesterol. Best known for their role in dressing, poppy seeds are also traditionally added to Eastern European dishes such as streusels, breads, warm grains, and buttered noodles.
While it’s commonly sold as a grain, amaranth is technically a seed. Don’t be fooled by its small size: it packs a nutritional punch containing iron, lysine, calcium, and protein. It’s best used where creaminess is required—think porridge, risotto, and oatmeal. Cook by itself or combine with other grains for a unique textural contrast.
A seed masquerading as a grain, quinoa is a source of complete plant-based protein, fibre, and minerals. It should be rinsed well before use. The original fast food, quinoa cooks up in about 15 minutes and can be used to make pilafs or cold salads, as well as in lieu of oatmeal for porridge.
Seeds, like nuts, are used to make healthy oils. Flax, hemp, sesame, and pumpkin seed oils are the most common, adding complexity and great taste to salad dressings, warm grains, and dips.
Try a dressing made with flaxseed oil and lemon, pesto made with hempseed oil (and hemp hearts in place of pine nuts), Asian stir-fries enhanced with toasted sesame oil, or hummus with pumpkin seed oil drizzled overtop for a pop of dark green.
As the fats are delicate, always store seed oils in the refrigerator and use by the expiry date. With the exception of sesame oil, seed oils are for raw use only.