You might be familiar with the chia seed because you have pasted the tiny seeds onto a porous clay figurine and heard the catchy/slightly annoying ch-ch-ch-chia jingle on the infomercials, but did you know that Chia seeds make a great addition to your diet and are said to be a “superfood”? Chia comes from the Mayan word for strength, and the seeds were a staple in Aztec and Mayan diets. Chia seeds are a good source of fatty acids, fiber, calcium, and antioxidants. They are thought to help stabilize blood sugars, reduce joint inflammation, sustain a high level of energy, and lower your blood pressure. They are also thought to have more antioxidants than fresh blueberries.
Chia seeds can be either black or white and used raw or cooked. They have a mild, nut-like flavor and can be sprinkled on your cereal, salads, or yogurt. The seeds, unlike flax, do not have to be ground, so they can are very easy to use! The seeds also swell when mixed with liquids, so they can be soaked in a liquid of your choice to form a gel or pudding. That same swelling nature makes them a great substitute for egg in baked goods. In Mexico, they are mixed with water and lemon or lime juice to make a drink called “Chia Fresca”.
When chia seeds are not soaked in a liquid, they have a nice, light, crunchy texture. That light crunch is what makes them a perfect breading option for delicate fish. Cornmeal and Chia Crusted Tilapia is a great swimsuit friendly way to work fish into your weeknight meal plans. It only takes 20 minutes to prepare, and the Chipotle Yogurt Sauce adds a nice kick to keep your taste buds happy!
Cornmeal and Chia Crusted Tilapia with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce
- 4 tilapia fillets
- ½ cup yellow cornmeal ground
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 8 ounces Greek yogurt, plain
- ¼ cup chipotle flavored hot sauce (Tabasco or Cholula brands work well)
- Pan Spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow bowl, mix together cornmeal, chia seed, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. In another small bowl, mix Greek yogurt and chipotle hot sauce. Set aside.
Lay tilapia fillets on a cutting board and spread one generous tablespoon of chipotle yogurt sauce over the fillets. (do not double dip into the mixture because the remaining amount can be used as a serving sauce.)
Lay the fillet, yogurt side down in the cornmeal mixture and press lightly. Remove from the cornmeal mixture and place on a greased baking sheet cornmeal side up. Spray each fillet with pan spray to help the cornmeal mixture brown evenly.
Bake for 15 minutes or until fillets are cooked through and the cornmeal mixture is golden brown. Serve with reserved yogurt mixture.