I have a new favorite food: chia seed pudding
I’ve been eating chia seeds for a while now, tossing a couple of tablespoons into my bottled water for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up whenever I feel my energy levels beginning to slump.
If you’re unfamiliar with chia seeds, just think back to when chia pets were all the rage (“Ch-ch-ch-CHIA!”). Only his time, we’re not using chia seeds to sprout “hair” on wacky looking pets, we’re eating them!! Totally weirded out? Yep, I was too at first.
You see, chia seeds do an amazing thing when mixed with liquids–they swell up to 15 times their size and take on a gel-like consistency that’s similar to tapioca pudding. Yes, the texture is a bit odd at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it. Chia seeds are typically either white or black, although the color makes no difference as far as their taste and nutritional profile is concerned. In terms of appearance, I prefer to use the white chia seeds because I think it makes for a prettier dish
Because of the recent increase in popularity, you can find chia seeds at many local grocery and specialty stores. Although chia seeds may seem like yet another fad food, the health benefits of eating chia seeds are extremely impressive and well-documented. Chia seeds are an amazing superfood:
- They’re an excellent source of omega-3, protein, fiber, calcium, and antioxidants. They also help to stabilize blood sugar and improve sensitivity to insulin.
- Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food, making them a much healthier alternative to processed grains (I’m looking at you white bread).
- “Chia” means strength, and according to folklore, ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures consumed them as an energy booster.
- The antioxidant activity of chia seeds is higher than any whole food, even blueberries. Antioxidants help to keep our immune system strong by protecting and repairing our cells from damage caused by free radicals. Source
In addition to the health benefits of chia seeds, they are also a versatile food that can easily be added to almost any dish: sprinkle them into cereals, salads, vegetables and rice/pasta dishes; use them to thicken sauces and soups; add them to baked goods…
…..OR, use them as the base ingredient for delicious puddings like this Tropical Chia Pudding!!
I’ve come across recipes for chia pudding multiple times in the past few months and always told myself I would try it “soon.” Somehow, I never remembered to try my hand at this intriguing concept–not until a couple of days ago. I could kick myself for waiting so long! You see, what I didn’t realize is that the longer you let chia soak, the more pudding-like it becomes. I can be
pretty extremely impatient, so I’ve never been able to let the chia seeds soak for more than 10 minutes before gulping them down. Trust me though, patience will really pay off in this case.
As most things go with me, I’ve now become obsessed with chia pudding, eating it multiple times every day! The variations for this scrumptious treat are endless: I’ve tried numerous flavor combinations–all of which were awesome–and have enjoyed it for breakfast, dessert, and mid-day snacks *(on a side note: I just love the word “scrumptious”).
- 1 cup coconut milk*
- 1 banana
- 4 drops liquid stevia (adjust according to your preference)
- 3-4 Tbs. chia seeds
- 2-4 tsp. shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 small kiwi, diced
- ¼ cup diced mango
- Blend the coconut milk, banana, and stevia in your food processor until smooth.
- Pour chia seeds into a medium-sized bowl. Add the coconut milk mixture and stir well. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.**
- When ready to serve, stir the chia seed pudding, spoon it into bowls, top with kiwi and mango, and sprinkle a couple teaspoons of shredded coconut on top.
Update: I’ve submitted this recipe to Healthy Vegan Friday. Hop on over to check it out!
What other flavors of chia pudding would you like to try?