I know some of you who know me personally are thinking I’m posting this tongue in cheek. I admit, I balked at the very idea of chia seed pudding for years. It sounded far too “crunchy” to me, as in too healthy, like some low-sugar, vegan dessert that either tastes like nothing and/or gets caught in your throat in much the same way a handful of straw would.
But chia seeds offer a lot… They’re rich in Omega-3 fatty acids–are even a better source than flax seeds, and unlike flaxseeds, chia seeds can be digested by your stomach while they’re still in the seed form. They’re also a good source of calcium, phosphorus and manganese as well as dietary fiber. And because the seeds form a gel-like substance when soaked in liquid, they’re thought to slow down the process by which the digestive enzymes in your stomach break down and convert the carbohydrates into sugar, which is why some people consider chia seeds beneficial for weight loss.
Given how nutritious chia seeds are, and because Costco now sells a big bag at a great price, I started throwing a heaping spoonful in my morning smoothies. I noticed right away how they made my smoothies richer and creamier, so I finally thought, why not give the pudding a try?
To make a long story short, I’m officially addicted to chia pudding now! I actually have to pace myself to prevent eating a big bowl of it every time I open the refrigerator. It’s lightly sweet, incredibly creamy and offers a wonderful mouthful of tiny but powerful little crunches with every bite–not unlike tobiko, the tiny fish eggs that often adorn rolls of sushi. I’ve always appreciated the tiny but satisfying crunch of each little fish egg. In fact, I joke that tobiko is the gift that keeps on giving, because even hours after eating sushi, you can be suddenly, but pleasantly surprised by a tiny and unexpected little crunch in your mouth. But I digress…
Chia pudding is a cinch to make and provides a perfect, light, but rich-tasting treat to enjoy any time. I’ve been eating it for breakfast with fresh raspberries and a spoonful or two of pomegranate seeds (for extra crunch, of course!).
1/2 cup black chia seeds
1/2 cup coconut water
1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Stir all the ingredients together in a glass bowl until thoroughly blended. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours but preferably 4-8 hours.
Serve in small bowls layered with fresh fruit. Serves 4-6 depending on how much fruit you’re using. Keeps for several days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.