What the heck are chia seeds and why do I care?
Well, they are the seeds of Salvia Hispanica, a member of the mint family and are native to Mexico and Central America. They are used in breads, sauces, drinks and most famously, in the sprouting Chia Pet. (Ch-ch-ch-chia! Man, I still remember that TV commercials thirty nine million years later. Brilliant marketing! I confess that I have had many a Chia Pet in my day. I love ’em.)
Anyway, nutritionally these babies are little powerhouses about which you can read more here >>. Culinary-wise they have a tapioca-like thickening property. Ah, food. This is where my interest really picks up.
If you, like me, love tapioca pudding then you will love chia seeds. Chia seeds will allow you to make a super healthy dessert-like dish that is low-calorie and so easy to make it’s ridiculous. Who doesn’t like that?
So, let’s make chia pudding.
Place 1/3 cup of chia seeds in a bowl. Add 2 cups of your favorite nut milk. I don’t do dairy, so I use nut milks or hemp milk. My favorite is almond milk. But if you like dairy then by all means use cow’s milk. I’m sure it works just as well.
Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and stir with a fork every once in awhile to break up the seeds, which will want to clump together. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
When you pull it out of the refrigerator you’ll have a thick tapioca-like pudding. The seeds are now soft, silky and flavorless. The flavor is derived entirely from whatever milk you used, so keep that in mind for flavor profile.
At this point you can enhance the flavor of the milk (for me it’s almond milk) with whatever you would like—fresh or dried fruit, agave, coconut, granola, cocoa … whatever makes you tingly. I added a tiny bit of honey and cinnamon. Simple.
And there we have a delicious and crazy-easy pudding perfect for snacks, dessert or even as a substitute for breakfast cereal.
This recipe will yield 2+ cups and will last in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Other uses for chia seeds: If you like to make smoothies, add a teaspoon of chia seeds and it’ll thicken your smoothie right up. Do the same for thickening soups or sauces.
1/3 cup chia seeds
2 cups nut milk (or any liquid of your choice)
sweeteners/flavorings of your choice (fruit, agave, honey …)