Vanilla Chia Pudding (with some audacious variations)
I've been on a bit of a chia pudding kick again lately - probably due to the abundance of fresh berries in the summertime. I'm all about anything that can be a vehicle for those berries! We can easily go through a couple of half-flats per week at our house. This morning I had vanilla chia pudding with a heap of gorgeous blueberries and some cacao nibs and as I was taking a picture for Instagram (as one does) I realized that while I have shared some recipes for chia pudding in my newsletter, I have never shared one on my blog.
Like most of you my first exposure to chia seeds was via Chia Pets in the 70's and 80's ("Ch-ch-ch-chia"). I never even knew you could eat them until a few years ago but in fact chia seeds have been around for centuries - especially in some ancient civilizations. They were an important and even mystical food for the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day - in fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.” Yay for superfoods!
Chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses packed with calcium, antioxidants and Omega-3 fats. One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of healthy fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals.
Chia pudding has been a popular item in healthy food circles for several years now but lately I've found it more widely available in restaurants and grocery stores all over - including this little café I went to in Montreal last May. Their raspberry chia pudding was the bomb.
At first I the texture of whole chia seeds kind of bugged me and I only made the blended version of this recipe. But I've come to like the fully seeded version better now and that's the one I currently use.
This is the kind I use most often but there are several choices out there. The collagen is completely optional here. The recipe tastes the same with or without it.
Vanilla Chia Pudding
Yields four 1/2 cup servings
· 1 can full fat coconut milk (or 2 cups unsweetened almond or cashew milk)
· 2 tablespoons maple syrup
· 1 tsp vanilla
· pinch of salt
· 1/2 cup chia seeds
· 2 - 4 tablespoons collagen powder. This adds some protein and skin/hair boosting-collagen without changing the taste at all.
Blend all ingredients on high 1-2 minutes until smooth. Divide into 4 servings. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
Whole chia seed version:
Blend first 5 ingredients 1-2 minutes until smooth. Add chia seeds and stir to combine. Put it into small cups or a jar and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
You might need to stir or shake it up a couple of times in the first 30 minutes or so to make sure the seeds get evenly distributed.
Serve as is or add some cacao nibs, whole berries or toasted nuts for even more flavor.
Optional Audacious add-ins:
Chocolate: - 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pumpkin pie - 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin and 1-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
Chai spice - 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. each of ginger & cardamom and 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Berry - 1/2 cup - 1 cup mixed berries