Chia. Yes, as in the “ch-ch-ch- chia” pet jingle that we all, undoubtedly, have permanently burned into our brains from commercial breaks during our morning cartoons during the 80’s (assuming you are old enough to have some sort of recollection of the 80’s. If not, YouTube is there for reasons such as this). But before you cringe and write off this recipe as me suggesting that you lick a houseplant, trust me when I tell you that chia pudding is likely one of my favorite “bag of tricks” recipes for healthy breakfasts on the go. It can be made the night before and can be quickly topped with some fresh or frozen fruit to go with you as you fly out the door on a crazy Monday morning. No heating required.
So, what the hell are chia seeds and why should I want to eat them? Chia seeds are these teeny tiny black seeds that, should you spill them, will get into every nook and cranny of your kitchen (and some nooks and crannies you didn’t know exsisted). Yet, despite their downfalls, chia seeds are so good for you that they are worth the (minor) headache they can sometimes cause. They have very few calories, but pack a big punch of nutrients, like fiber, protien, and Omega-3s. You can sprinkle them on a salad, over oatmeal, or add them to your morning smoothie. But my favorite way to enjoy them is in pudding form, or as a popsicle (but more on that later).
Chia seeds are little superheroes in many ways. Not only are they an easy whole food to work into your diet, but they also have the amazing power of shape shifting! When you add them to a liquid, they morph from a teeny dry seed that rolls everywhere to a clingy, gelatin ball that can take on many flavors. My personal favorite flavor is coconut.
If you enter “chia pudding” into your Google search bar, I have no doubt that hundreds of delectable recipes will pop up instantly. However, you have fancied yourself interested in what I eat, so throwing my favorite chia pudding seemed only logical. Plus, it might just be one of the shortest, most uncomplicated recipes known to humankind.
I use this recipe mainly for breakfast, but it honestly is so tasty that it would make for an excellent guilt-free dessert. It has a lovely rich, creamy flavor that satisfies the sweet tooth without being heavy.
Makes 1 serving
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 tablespoon maple syrup (substitute 1 ripe mashed banana for a sugar free option)
Suggested toppings: sliced strawberries, sliced bananas, sliced kiwi, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cinnamon, honey, more maple syrup, coconut flakes, granola, or whatever you can dream up.
Pour all ingredients into a mason jar or any container that has a tight fitting lid. Secure lid and shake the container for a couple of minutes. This doesn’t have to be vigorous shaking, just enough to keep the chia seeds moving around so they will not clump together. After a few minutes, the seeds will start to gel and you can stop shaking. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours. Store in fridge for up to 4 days. Add toppings once pudding has set (4 hours or so).
You don’t like the texture of chia pudding? I get that. I know lots of people who don’t. If you aren’t down with tapioca than you likely won’t be down with chia pudding. But, before you write off this utterly amazing healthy treat, let me see if I can convince you otherwise….
Popsicles. Oh yes, let’s make chia pudding popsicles. I figured out this trick when I discovered my daughter hated the texture of chia pudding. Freezing the pudding removes the tapioca texture, but leaves all the great coconut flavor and health benefits of chia pudding….just in dessert form.
1 serving coconut chia pudding
Toppings of choice
In 4 popsicle molds, drop a small spoonful of your topping. Spoon chia pudding into popsicle molds, adding 1 more small spoonful of toppings. Insert popsicle stick and freeze overnight.