Chia Seed Pudding
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 10:00AM
Mari in desserts, grains, pudding, sweets

As a kid, there were commercials on TV advertising Chia Pets. “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” I never gave much thought to what was actually growing on those ceramic figurines, they just magically sprouted hair and fur! It wasn’t until a couple years ago when I started hearing about chia seeds and their health benefits that the light bulb went off - Ohhhh! Chia Pets were covered in… chia seeds! Doh! 

Chia seeds are, I will admit, a little weird in texture. Once expanded, they look and feel a bit like tomato seeds but you'll probably never manhandle chia seeds post expansion. They’re a little slimy (like tapioca) and pop-crunch in your mouth. They aren’t quite as firm a pop as poppy seeds but you kinda see where I’m heading, right? I haven't done a really good job at selling chia seeds but you should try them because they’re really good for you (lots of Omega-3), a super easy way of getting some fiber in your diet and are pretty carb friendly. Did that work? 

My friend shared this chia seed pudding recipe with me. Really simple, she said. And oh, yes it is. She eats her coconut milk version without any sweetener but I like it with just a skosh more sweetness. Feel free to doctor it as you like since it’s like eating tapioca pudding - the possibilities are endless!

I made two versions - one using almond milk, the other with canned light coconut milk. They were pretty similar in mouth-feel but given the calories and carb count on coconut milk, I'll probably stick to the unsweetened almond milk version (top image). I chose to keep both versions quasi-healthy but feel free to shave some dark chocolate on top and sprinkle on chopped bananas or mangoes; stir in a dollop of strawberry jam; or hello, what about mixing some cocoa powder into the milk first and then topping it with some caramel sauce and chopped peanuts? Like I said, endless possibilities.

CHIA SEED PUDDING - serves 4-6
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) unsweetened almond milk
1-tablespoon blue agave nectar + more for topping
1/2-teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4-cup chia seeds
Blueberries, optional
1-tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut, optional
1/2 orange, segmented; optional
2-tablespoons toasted alsmond slivers, optional
Cinnamon, optional 

In a quart size container, add the almond milk, 1-tablepoon agave, vanilla extract and chia seeds. Stir to combine. Cover and place in fridge overnight.

Stir it up and place 1/4-cup to 1/3-cup in a short glass or small ceramic bowl. Top it with your choice of toppings, swirl on a little extra agave nectar and sprinkle on some cinnamon. Easy peasy! Enjoy! 

Have you used chia seeds? What do you think about them? 

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