Instead of using this space to rant about the injustices and outrageous practices of our food system, HEALing Foodie will now be a documentation of my trials, successes, and errors in the kitchen. It might be a while before I work up the courage to share my cooking blunders (they happen more often than you might think). But here's an uber successful recipe I've been excited to share since I first made it back in February 2013. It's uber successful not because I think it is, but because it has won many praises at an office potluck, wowed a few guests at dinner parties, and has been a highly requested recipe from coworkers and friends. If you're searching for a no-cook summer dessert that's light, refreshing, and healthy, your search can come to an end with the Chia Seed Pudding.
Chia Seed Pudding
Makes 4 generous servings or 6 petite servings
1/2 C chia seeds (available at health food stores and grocers like Trader Joe's and Sprouts)
2 1/2 C vanilla-flavored sweetened almond milk (can substitute with soymilk, rice milk, or hemp milk)
1/2 C sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted in skillet or in toaster oven using shallow pan
Diced mangoes, strawberries, and/or pineapple. Blueberries and cherries work well, too.
To a quart-size or larger container (more convenient if it has a matching lid), add chia seeds, shredded coconut, and almond milk. Stir well with fork so chia seeds are submerged in liquid and reduce formation of lumps. Some seeds will like to float. Once well-stirred, cover with lid and put in fridge. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, overnight preferably. Before serving, stir mixture to make sure no lumps of chia seeds are settling on bottom.
To serve, spoon mixture into bowls and top with choice of fruit.
If you like your pudding to be looser, add 1/2 to 1 more cup of almond milk to the mixture. Refrigeration and time are essential for this pudding since chia seeds soak up a lot of liquid and gel up when given time. This pudding keeps well in fridge up to a week.
The amount of sweetness is just right when using both sweetened milk and shredded coconut plus the fresh fruit. If you usually have unsweetened milk on hand, no need to buy a sweetened carton just for this recipe. Simply swirl in some agave nectar or honey after the mixture sets.
Chia seeds are native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala but are now largely grown in Australia. You might have seen these little black seeds floating in agua frescas served at Latin American restaurants before. In each tablespoon of dried seeds, you'll find 6g of fiber, 3g protein, and 2.9g of omega-3 fatty acid. And yes, chia seeds are the precursors to the green grass on ch-ch-ch-chia pets.