Yes, the same seeds that I watered for my terracotta Chia Pet are the main ingredients of this recipe. I’m totally crazy for the tiny seeds. I add them to smoothies, breakfast porridge, baked goods, and even salads as a nutrition booster. Once considered a staple in the Aztec diet, chia seeds are now considered a “super food” for their nutritional benefits.
Chia seeds are well known for being a rich source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, with more per serving than even salmon. They also provide complete protein, antioxidants, and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, and zinc.
The best part – in my gut’s opinion – is the way that chia seeds help with the digestive system. Chia seeds have a ton of fiber. 1 ounce (about two tablespoons) provides 11 grams of fiber, which is over 40% of the fiber RDA for women. This helps regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and aid in digestion. As this recipe will demonstrate, chia seeds form a gel when then come in contact with liquid. Not only does this binding quality provide an excellent egg replacer in baked goods, it also helps bind together stools, promote regularity, and coat the digestive tract in a way that reduces irritation.
After years of struggling with Irritable Bowl Syndrome, learning how to adjust the fiber in my diet has been a key tool in managing my IBS symptoms like constipation and bloating. Chia seeds, as well as flax seeds, have been two ingredients in my culinary pharmacy that keep my digestive system moving and my belly happy.
I should mention however, that when you begin to add fiber to your diet START SLOW. If you are new to chia seeds, their friends flax seeds, or phyllum husk, do not eat half of this recipe by yourself. You could end up with the reverse effects and get quite the stomach ache. Also make sure you drink pleanty of water when increasing fiber to your diet. This will also help keep everything moving along in the right direction...
As one of my clients put it after trying a version of this recipe, “These chia seeds are magic!” Without adding anything besides almond milk, chia seeds form a tapioca-like consistency that is creamy, filling, and totally delicious. By blending up some strawberries with the almond milk before adding the seeds, the pudding becomes infused with delicious strawberry flavor. Topped with toasted coconuts and slivered almonds, you might just think you're eating dessert for breakfast.
This recipe makes enough pudding to fill 5 1-cup mason jars, which is perfect if you are looking for an easy no-cook breakfast for you and your family. I've written it for this quantity because it is a great recipe to batch cook at the beginning of the week and enjoy through Friday, since these single-servings can last in the fridge for up to five days. All you have to do the morning of is add the toppings. The recipe can definitely be halved if you want to make a smaller quantity.
Finally, while I've featured strawberries here as the fruity flavor, feel free to experiment with whatever fruit inspires you. You can use the same method with mango, pineapple, or other types of berries. Mango lime chia seed pudding with toasted coconut and pecans anyone?
Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding with Toasted Coconut and Almonds
Yield: 5 1-cup servings
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 cups strawberries, divided
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chia seeds
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ cup slivered almonds
- Preheat the oven to 300F.
- In a blender combine the almond milk, 1 cup strawberries, cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt until smooth. Add the chia seeds and remaining cup of strawberries, pulsing a few times so that the seeds become uniformly distributed and the strawberries are cut into small chunks. Pour into single serving mason jars or one large glass container and allow to sit overnight or at least 2 hours.
- Spread the almonds onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, add the coconut flakes and continue toasting for another 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow almonds and coconut to cool before storing.
- To serve, top the pudding with about a tablespoon of the coconut and almond mixture.