Planting the Seed: 4 Ideas for Cooking with Seeds

Cooking with seeds

Warning, bold statement ahead: Seeds are the most overlooked superfood of our time.

Being one of the most primal of foods available to us, varieties like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and sunflower seeds are brimming with nutritional benefits. Seeds are loaded with satiating protein, fiber and good fats and they’re chock-full of a wide array of essential minerals and antioxidants. Studies have also shown that regular consumption of certain seeds may help to reduce blood pressure, while others offer nutrients essential to the healthy function of our bodies.

The Many Benefits of Seeds

Flax, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed and sesame in wooden spoons

There are numerous seeds available in your grocery store, and they all offer different health perks. Here are just a few of the many seeds you may have noticed in the health food aisle:

  • Pumpkin seeds: These green seeds are rich in B-vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc, which helps to heal wounds and support immune function.
  • Chia seeds: These tiny morsels are a good source of fiber, magnesium and omega-3 fats,with studies showing they can even help to reduce blood sugar and reduce appetite.
  • Sunflower seeds: Eating sunflower seeds will provide your body with a good amount of protein, monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. Some studies have also suggested they may play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Hemp seeds: These seeds are unique in that they are one of the few plants that are complete proteins. This means they contain all of the essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own.
  • Sesame seeds: Tiny but effective, these seeds contain a high portion of calcium and may help to reduce inflammation.
  • Fennel seeds: Used as a dominant flavor in Indian cooking, this seed spice is a concentrated source of minerals like potassium, zinc, manganese, vitamin C, selenium and magnesium, and has been shown to help regulate blood pressure.

While each of these seeds should be incorporated into your diet on a regular basis, there are more appetizing ways to consume seeds than simply snacking on a bag of trail mix or stirring a handful through your morning muesli or lunchtime salad. Seeds are a great addition to your dinnertime recipes too, and pairing these nutrient powerhouses with a fish like Tilapia couldn’t be tastier.

Cooking with Seeds and Tilapia

Add Seeds to a Pie

Tilapia pot pie dish by The Healthy Fish

Pies are a great option for dinnertime. Not only are they guaranteed crowd pleasers (what kid doesn’t love pastry?), but they are just so easy to whip up with whatever you have lying around the fridge and pantry. Leftover veggies and Tilapia fillets stored in the freezer provide the perfect filler for your pie, and any seeds and spices you have lying around can add a little more flavor and crunch without dominating the meal. Try throwing some fennel seeds into a Tilapia pot pie, or add some chia seeds to a rich curry pie.

Use Seeds in Your Breading Mix

Breading and baking fish is a great way to give fish the texture that kids love. Next time you whip up some fish fingers, try mixing some hemp seeds or ground pumpkin or sunflower seeds into the bread crumbs. You’ll greatly increase the nutritional benefits of this breading mix without affecting the flavor or crispy texture.

Encrust Your Fillets for a Little More Crunch

Sesame Crusted Tilapia dish by Regal Springs

Coating your Tilapia fillets in seeds is an easy way to bring a little gourmet flair to the dinner table. Try encrusting your fillet with a mix of black and white sesame seeds for a tasty fried fish dish, or add a selection of seeds to your chosen marinade to add a little more texture to your meal.

Add Seeds to Your Next Stir Fry

Dinner doesn’t get much quicker and easier than a stir fry. Simply throw some vegetables and protein into a wok, mix in your sauce, serve over a bed of rice or noodles, and voila! Dinner is served. It’s already incredibly common to add nuts to a stir fry, such as cashews and almonds, yet seeds also work very well. Sesame seeds complement Asian-flavored dishes, while larger seeds—like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds—add a pleasant crunch when sprinkled through a stir fry.

On the whole, seeds are a complete nutritional powerhouse. Stock your pantry with at least two or three bulk seed varieties and mix and match them into meals throughout the week. Experiment with the way you integrate seeds into your dishes to keep your intake steady. We guaranteed you’ll be surprised at how easily seeds can add the finishing touch to just about any meal.

Learn more about the particular nutritional perks present in your favorite seeds and nuts in The A to Z of Vitamins: Are You Getting Enough?

Photo Credits: from my point of view / Shutterstock Inc., BigBlueStudio / Shutterstock Inc., The Healthy Fish, Regal Springs