A quick, simple DIY (with four methods) for how to grind flaxseed for flaxseed meal, which can be used to boost the nutritional value of meals and for gluten-free & vegan baking!
Flaxseed (also called linseed) is a superfood worthy of being added to your diet daily. However, research shows that consuming the whole seeds doesn’t allow us to unlock the nutrients of the seeds as we cannot digest them properly. Therefore, this post is going to take you through the health benefits, how to grind flaxseed, how to store the flaxseed meal as well as a variety of recipe and usage suggestions.
Flaxseed is available in multiple forms – as whole seeds, flaxseed meal, oil, capsules, etc. There are also two types of flaxseed; golden and brown. Their nutritional profiles are relatively similar, although the brown seeds contain higher levels of ALA and have a slightly more neutral taste. They will affect the color of the dish you’re adding them to in different ways, too.
Regardless, flaxseeds have a fairly mild flavor anyway – with a slightly nutty flavor that can be incorporated into sweet and savory dishes. It’s also an excellent nutrient ‘booster’ to hide in meals for picky eaters.
The reason why this seed is such a good addition to your diet is because of its vast health benefits and versatility. Not only can the ground flax seeds be used as a powder, but they can also be made into a vegan ‘egg’ alternative. In fact, flaxseed is Paleo, Whole30, low carb, and Keto friendly.
But first, you need to ground them into a flaxseed meal.
What Is Flaxseed Meal?
There is a little bit of debate about this. Just the same as how there is technically a difference between almond meal and almond flour, some argue that there is a difference between flaxseed meal and ground flaxseed/flaxseed powder.
From what I can tell, and my various supermarket trips, the two are pretty much interchangeable and often identical. However, there are a few cases when ‘flaxseed meal’ refers to the crushed seeds left over after the oil has been extracted from the seeds, which means that they don’t contain their healthy oils and fats.
As this post is dedicated to making our own, rather than buying it from stores, I’ll be referring to flaxseed meal/ground flaxseed as the same. The flaxseed meal we will be making is a ground version of the seeds into a fine powder, which makes them easier to digest and add to a variety of recipes.
Flaxseed is an absolute powerhouse ingredient for nutritional value and health benefits. With high levels of dietary fiber and healthy omega-3 fatty acids (ALA), these seeds provide several health benefits.
Research shows that they can help reduce harmful cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, reduce inflammations, and even reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Plus, flax may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular and lung disease.
Much of the benefits are down to the combination of the omega-3 ALA, fiber, and lignans found within the seeds.
Omega-3’s are known for being very beneficial to our bodies, in general. Research shows that they can help prevent the hardening of arteries and stop plaque from being deposited in the arteries. It can also help maintain heart health. The fatty acids also help to maintain skin, hair, and nail health.
PLUS ALA omega 3 found in flaxseed is actually an ‘essential omega 3’ and can’t be synthesized by our bodies, which means that we have to consume it through our diet.
Meanwhile, just 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed per day provides 20-25% of your daily fiber needs.
The lignans within flaxseed also do their bit for our bodies. Lignans may help in improving blood sugar levels – thus useful to those with type 2 diabetes. Lignans also contain antioxidants as well as plant-based estrogen, which help to promote hormonal balance in our bodies.
I could talk (or type) far more here; however, if you do want to read more about flaxseed benefits, then you can in my flaxseed egg DIY post.
How To Grind Flaxseed
There are several methods that you can use to grind the seeds into flaxseed meal. These include a blender or food processor, using a coffee grinder or spice grinder, and even by mortar and pestle.
All methods aim to grind the seeds into a powdery form that we can digest easily. However, there is a little bit more to it than that.
Each method has its positives and negatives, so you can decide which you’d prefer to use. For example, using a coffee grinder is probably the easiest method – however, you need to use one that isn’t also used as a coffee grinder. The coffee can, otherwise, affect the flavor of the seeds and cause them to spoil sooner.
Meanwhile, a blender may be the most convenient method for most – however, you need to grind larger batches, and thus, it can take longer.
Read the full details (and notes) for each method in the recipe card below.
Flaxseed Meal Recipes & Uses
There are a variety of ways that you can incorporate these seeds into your diet, so I’ll touch on a few of my favorite options here.
- Add into smoothies, shakes, and juices. This includes smoothie bowls, like this Vegan Chocolate Smoothie Bowl Recipe or these breakfast smoothies like Delicious Tropical Healthy Green Smoothie.
- Spoon into/over your morning cereal, oatmeal, overnight oats- like this Healthy Salted Caramel Overnight Oats, or Healthy Carrot Cake Overnight Oats, yogurt bowls, etc.
- Add to your granola and granola/breakfast bars. Including this Healthy Homemade Granola or Homemade Chewy Almond Butter Granola Bars.
- Stir into homemade salad dressings and sauces.
- You can also add some into your favorite nut butter recipe for additional nutrients. Here is a guide to nut & seed butter recipes.
- As an omega sprinkle – I love to sprinkle my protein blend on a whole variety of dishes, to up the nutritional value, and the same goes for flaxseed meal – sprinkle over bagels, salads, soups, vegetables, or even over dips like this hummus or Muhammara dip. You can also sprinkle them over ice-cream if you dare.
- Spooned into large dishes, for additional nutrients. For example, within pasta bakes – like this vegan béchamel pasta bake or one-pot vegetarian pasta bake, casseroles, stews, etc.
- As a breadcrumb alternative, both as a coating as well as a binding agent. For example, with veggie burgers or dishes like these Healthy Mushroom & Lentil Vegan Meatballs.
It is also an ideal ingredient for baking
And can be used for a number of baked goods in different ways. For example, to substitute oil, as a flour, as a vegan egg replacement, and more.
- Adding some to cookies, brownies, pancakes, muffins, etc., will boost nutritional value and texture. You can add 1 tbsp to any of my banana bread recipes, including this Healthy Banana Bread (Naturally Sweetened), Simple Gluten-Free Banana Bread Recipe, or this Banana Bread with Homemade Nutella.
- They are also an excellent option for including in bread recipes.
- Create a flax egg, following my quick DIY here, and use within a whole variety of baked goods recipes. You can also use these grounding methods for chia seeds, for a chia egg too.
- Use in place of oil within recipes. Use at a 3:1 ratio ( 3 tbsp ground seeds vs. 1 tbsp oil), and you may need additional water. However, it’s an excellent alternative option.
- They can also be used as a fat replacer once again at a 3:1 ratio i.e., butter/ margarine. However, they do cause more browning to baked goods, so cooking time may have to be adjusted.
And there are possibly tons more ways that I can’t even think of – so let me know in the comments your favorite ways to use ground flaxseed.
How To Make Flaxseed Meal:
How To Grind Flaxseed (Flaxseed Meal)
- Mortar & Pestle
- flaxseed golden or brown
The Coffee Grinder/ Spice Grinder method:
- The coffee grinder* is perfect for grinding small quantities of flaxseed, for immediate use. Begin by adding the seeds to the coffee or spice grinder **
- Turn it on (or, if using manually, then begin to grind) and the seeds will be fully ground within a few seconds and slightly longer when using a manual grinder. Don't "blend" for too long or it will become hot and turn into a 'butter'.
The Blender/Food Processor Method:
- When using a blender or food processor, you'll need to grind at least 1 cup of flaxseed - otherwise it just doesn't work very well.
- Place the flaxseed into the blender or food processor and blend until the flax is ground to your desired consistency. This can take several minutes as I like to blend in 20-30 second increments then stop and shake the machine and blend again.
Mortar & Pestle Method:
- If you have none of the above tools then you could also grind the flaxseed using a mortar and pestle. This is best for smaller amounts - 1 tbsp at a time.
- Place your seeds in the mortar and use the pestle to grind the seeds into the side of the mortar, crushing them. This will take a while and you won't get a super fine consistency - however, it does work.
To Store The Ground Seeds: (see more in notes)
- Once ground, flaxseed are susceptible to going rancid fairly quickly due to the oils being sensitive to the heat and sunlight. I would usually suggest that you only make small batches anyway. However, if you do have any extra left over then store these in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks (unfortunately, it can vary) or in the freezer for a few months.
How To StoreFlax meal/ powder can go rancid fairly quickly - whether store-bought or ground at home. They can also be sensitive to heat and sunlight. Because of this, it's often best to grind your seeds in small batches. Flaxseed, even whole flaxseed, are actually best stored in the freezer (up to 1 year). The freezer will help reduce oxidization to the seeds and help maintain their nutrients and the potency of the nutritional values. However, you can also store the seeds in the refrigerator too, to extend the shelf life. Whole flaxseeds will last a lot longer, as the seed shells protect the insides of the seeds. In fact, whole seeds can be stored within a cool, dark location for up to a year. However, I prefer to keep some in the freezer at all times. In fact, ground flax seeds can go rancid fairly quickly - if not stored properly. I tend to keep ground flaxseed in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-4 weeks ( it can vary) or within the freezer for a few months. Others have found that their seeds go rancid within a couple of weeks - however, studies have been done to show that ground flax seeds can actually be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for ten months without spelling of losing their Omega-3 levels. The key is to just keep an eye on them each time you use some. Flaxseed that has gone rancid will have a bitter smell and taste, rather than their usual nutty, earthy flavor.
If you have any questions, leave a comment below Also, I love seeing your recreations so feel free to tag me on Instagram @AlphaFoodie.