Seeding Good Health

drink with basil seedsWho would have thought that we’d find a Thai curiosity during our most recent trip to London? We spotted this golden brew, floating with odd looking seeds that each had their own opaque halos.

The label said “basil seeds” but I thought they looked more like chia seeds, part of the basil family and extremely high in omega-3’s. Remember that commercial from the 70’s, for the chia pet? “Chaaa-chaaa-chia” is the unforgettable jingle behind the grown-your-own garden on top of a piece of terra cotta pottery.

After we had a luscious lunch including lamb tangine and fluffy couscous at Souk, we took our packages back to our friends’ house to crack open the drink for dessert.

drink with basil seeds close-upAnd guess what? No one was begging to try the first sip, so it came to me. Down the hatch! Thick, sweet ice tea followed, but crisp seeds covered with a starch that reminded me of tapioca – not an incredible treat, but also none of the “yuck” factor that your minds conjures up.

Seeds can be incredibly healthy since they need to carry their nutrients around with them in order to sprout. Cooking with seeds certainly isn’t for the birds, it can improve the texture, taste, and aroma of many dishes.


Ever wonder what gives hummus and baba ganoosh their tangy zip? Tahini is a creamy spread made from ground sesame seeds, and tahini is easy to find in specialty shops or your local health food store. Try making your own hummus or spread it directly on fish and top with cilantro and fresh lime for an incredibly fast fish bake. Sesame seeds happen to be very high in copper, a mineral that works along with enzymes to stop inflammation which can cause health disorders including rheumatoid arthritis.


When I was a kid, my Granny used to pack dry-roasted sunflower seeds coated in Parmesan in my lunch box. I’ve loved them ever since. Sure they’re great in salads but try making a pesto by grinding up one clove of garlic, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a handful of parsley leaves. Sunflower seeds are extremely high in vitamin E, important in combating cardiovascular disease.


Amaranth is the tiny brown seed of a flowering plant that dates back to ancient times. You can find it by mail order or in your local health store. My favorite way to enjoy amaranth is to use the flour for the crispiest cookies, just use it in place of white or whole wheat flour. Or you can make a thick breakfast pudding that resembles CoCo Wheats. It happens to be gluten-free, high in vitamins, minerals and even amino acids.

Related Recipes

Black Bean Quesadilla
Black Bean Soup
Refried Black Beans
Baked Black Beans

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