Bandwagon Chia Seed Pudding

Several months ago, I first experienced chia seed pudding at True Food Kitchen. To say I was skeptical is a vast understatement. The server assured me I would not be disappointed, but when the slightly grey conglomeration was delivered, I was quite hesitant to try it. I bravely (very bravely) took a spoonful and – Wabam! I was hooked. How could something so healthy (and unappetizing) be so incredibly delicious?

Chia seeds which were a staple of Mayan and Aztec diets, are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica (a cousin of mint,) are among the easiest ways to add fiber to your diet. By weight, they are about 14% protein, and are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin B, niacin, potassium, and zinc.

The tiny seeds can expand to hold about 10 times their dry weight in liquid. When they absorb liquid, the seeds develop a gelatinous coating and swell into globules reminiscent of miniature tapioca balls and make a delicious and healthy pudding.

1/4 cup of chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

In a 2-cup storage container (l like the airtight glass type), add the almond milk, chia seeds and honey. You can actually use any type of non-dairy “milk” product. We've tried cashew milk and it is equally tasty! The container will seem oversized for the amount of ingredients, but remember your seeds need room to expand.

Stir (or shake) the mixture to ensure that all seeds are “wet.” Set the container in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. It’s that easy!! Your chia seed pudding will keep for several days in an airtight refrigerated container.

There are a few tricks I've learned having made this a few times. (I may be late to jump on the chia pudding bandwagon, but I'm making up for  lost time!) The seeds tend to clump at the bottom of the container as they expand. I find that if you stir the mixture after about the first 2 hours, it gives the seeds more room to swell and the pudding will be creamier and less dense. Also, be sure to give the pudding a good stir before topping it with fruit, granola or eating it plain.

If you like chocolate pudding, adding 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, a pinch of cinnamon, and dash more honey if needed makes a healthy dessert alternative (and disguises the sort of grey hue to regular chia pudding).

What are your favorite ways to serve chia seed pudding?