(Simple Chia Seed Pudding)

Pudding is one of my favorite desserts – I love the creamy texture and the multitude of ways that you change it up once you have a good base. Normally during the week we have homemade yogurt with fruit for dessert and in the summertime we also enjoy coconut milk ice creams and kefir or yogurt “ice cream” . My husband, Roberto is lactose intolerant but does fine with cultured milk products, so I tend to use these bases when making desserts. Personally I love them and don’t miss the traditional ice creams very much at all!

When I make desserts for us at home during the week, I am looking for something healthy and quick that I can make with ingredients I have on hand. I don’t want to have to wash a lot of pans, or spend a lot of time at the stove, tempering eggs and what not. So if I can get out of cooking the dessert, all the better.

I want to share with you two simple versions of chia seed pudding. It took me a while to get on the chia bandwagon. For a long time, all I could think about when I heard the name is those ugly chia pets. I am still not actually sure if they are related. I started finding people posting all these delicious and simple dessert recipes with chia seeds and I decided to try them, for convenience.

Chia seeds really are amazing. If you are egg free (which I am NOT thank the Gods) they can be a real life-saving ingredient, since they are a great “glue” and binder, not only in baked goods, but also in puddings. Chia has been around for a long time, used in pre-Columbian times by the Aztec. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids and ALA. They are also high in protein as well as phosphorus, manganese, calcium, potassium.

Chia seeds are used often in the raw food community, which is where I found the first recipe that I want to share. I found lots of delicious raw desserts on Sweetly Raw, including “Ways with Chia”. I used the recipe for Basic Chia Pudding. Sometimes I use yogurt as the base and other times I use coconut milk. I find it is really good with a fruit compote. The one pictured is a simple strawberry compote I made using fresh strawberries and cooking them down with a little honey over a low heat until it was the right consistency. So simple!

The other night I wanted something warm for dessert. So I decided to cook a quick pudding. This time I used chia seeds, arrowroot powder, coconut milk, and some spices. I served it with sliced bananas and warmed almond butter drizzled over the whole thing. It was delicious and thinking about it right now makes me want to have it for dessert tonight! These also make good breakfasts.

Each of these puddings takes just a few minutes to put together. They both require very few ingredients and they both allow you to get creative with toppings, spices and flavorings. If you haven’t tried chia seeds yet, I definitely suggest it!

Basic Chia Pudding (cold) (from SweetlyRaw)

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup coconut or almond milk or yogurt
1-2 tablespoons chia seed
Vanilla bean and a pinch of salt (optional)

METHOD:
Shake 1 cup coconut milk with chia seed in a jar with a tight lid.
Allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes for the chia to swell completely.
Add toppings of your choice!

Basic Chia Pudding (warm or cold)

INGREDIENTS:
2 cans coconut milk
2 TBS chia seeds, ground
2 TBS arrowroot powder
¼ cup honey, maple, palm sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon

METHOD:
Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the sweetener, chia seeds and the arrowroot powder and whisk almost constantly until it begins to boil. Lower heat to simmer and continue to whisk for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. At this point it will be a bit thinner than traditional pudding, but will firm up nicely in the fridge if you’d rather serve it cold.