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Quick guide to cooking with seeds

Not sure what to do with that package of seeds at the back of the cupboard? These storecupboard staples are easy to scatter over bakes and salads for a finishing touch, and can be a versatile addition to sweet and savoury recipes. Read on to find the best ways to use each variety, from vegan flaxseed bakes to healthy sunflower seed snacks.

  1. Flaxseeds

    Flaxseeds are a handy replacement for eggs in vegan baking – mix together 1 tbsp milled flaxseed with 3 tbsp of water per egg. This will give you the same consistency as an egg and can be used for vegan cakes and pastries. Try fluffy vegan banana and oat muffins – perfect for lunchboxes or breakfast on the go. The same method can be used to make vegan pastry, such as in a pretty nectarine and basil galette for a simple summer dessert.

  2. Poppy seeds

    A spoonful of tiny poppy seeds can go a long way in adding nutty crunch and flavour to a variety of recipes. Often paired with lemon in sweet cakes and muffins, try this avocado, lemon and poppy seed cake for a vibrant twist on a classic. Alternatively, make the most of their texture and use as a crisp coating for crunchy poppy seed crusted haddock or chilli and poppy seeded potato chips with smoky red pepper dip.

    Poppy seeds
  3. Pumpkin seeds

    Next time you’re cooking with pumpkin, don’t throw away the seeds! Rinse and roast with a dusting of cumin and paprika to make spiced pumpkin seeds for an easy on-the-go snack. A handful of pumpkin seeds adds crunch to a seed and grain kedgeree, or scatter over roast  butternut squash with rocket on toast for a veggie breakfast or light lunch.

    Pumpkin seeds
  4. Caraway seeds

    Caraway seeds are highly aromatic with a distinctive anise flavour, similar to fennel seeds. A small amount can pack a punch – add a teaspoon to roasted tomato and caraway soup for nutty depth of flavour, or infuse with olive oil and garlic and brush over easy BBQ cauliflower steaks.

    Caraway seeds
  5. Sunflower seeds

    Large sunflower seeds are the fruit of sunflowers and can be used to add crunch to both sweet and savoury recipes. Add a spoonful to flapjacks to balance the sweetness, or stir into  mocha granola for a breakfast treat. You can also try replacing nuts with seeds in a healthy broccoli, lemon and sunflower seed pesto for a healthy dip or easy pasta sauce.

    Sunflower seeds
  6. Chia seeds

    Chia seeds have a mild taste and are similar in size to poppy seeds, swelling in size and taking on a gel texture when added to liquid. This helps them act as a natural thickener – try them in a creamy vanilla and raspberry chia pudding for a healthy breakfast. Chia seeds are also the magic ingredient in this easy no-cook raw blueberry jam – follow our step-by-step recipe to learn how.

    Chia seeds
  7. Sesame seeds

    Sesame seeds are a common feature in Thai and Asian cooking – sprinkle over stir-fries, add to sticky marinades, or toast and stir into rice. Roll into protein bites for an afternoon energy boost, or bake these carrot and mixed seed crispbreads, loaded with four different types of seeds, for a savoury snack.

    Sesame seeds
  8. Nigella seeds

    Black nigella seeds have a strong, onion-like aroma and are common in Indian and South Asian cooking. Boost your next curry night with homemade nigella seed naan – golden, fluffy flatbreads are brushed with butter and sprinkled with seeds to add to an Indian feast. Next time you’re packing a picnic, sprinkle nigella seeds over a tandoori paneer, pepper and cauliflower bake for a colourful Indian twist on a frittata.

    Nigella seeds