I know. The “ch-ch-ch-CHIA” thing has gotten old. But, it’s so hard to resist using it! So I use it here – just the once.
If you aren’t familiar with chia seeds, they are itty bitty seeds that pack a nutritional punch! Reported to have the richest and most stable source of omega 3′s, chia contains more of these essential fatty acids than flax seed. And, unlike flax seed, you do NOT need to grind them to absorb their nutritional perks. They are also high in protein, containing ALL essential amino acids, are rich in vitamin A, C, folate, calcium and iron, are high in antioxidants, and are an excellent source of fibre. All that in these tiny seeds! Mama nature, you rule!
The flavor of chia is fairly neutral, with just a mild nuttiness. The texture is more noticeable than the taste. The whole seeds are crunchy but soften (slightly) and plump if soaked in liquid. The ground seed is much like flax meal in that is absorbs liquid, and becomes gelatinous. Unlike flax meal, it doesn’t have that bitter aftertaste. Chia seeds are widely available in stores now, in both white and black colors. I prefer the white seeds most often for culinary use, because they can more easily be camouflaged in cooking and baking. But, black and white seeds can often be interchanged.
I use them daily in our green smoothies, and also often add ground and whole seeds to recipes like muffins, quick breads, pancakes, and even savory recipes like veggie burgers and loaves. They also give a slick nutritional bump to oatmeal, non-dairy yogurts, and whole-grain cereals.
In this yummalicious pudding (Dreena vocab), you can use either black or white chia seeds. And, the pudding is sweetened very simply and purely with dates, though I also give you the option to use coconut sugar and/or pure maple syrup if you prefer. My tests for this recipe began with those sweeteners, but when I swapped in pitted dates, I fell in love with the new texture and flavor. Plus, I add just a touch of shredded unsweetened coconut for texture, and also a few miniature chocolate chips (a little goes a long way).
And, this recipe delivers “instant” pudding. Because the seeds are blended, the chia sets up almost straight away… so no need to chill, no need to wait. (Even though slight chilling is optimal for serving.)
Our girls LOVE this pudding. I’m talking L-O-V-E. One of our daughters doesn’t like puddings in general, but will ask for this one. They get giddy when I tell them I have chia pudding in the fridge. This folks, is a very good thing.
“Instant” Chocolate Chia Pudding gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free (Here is RECIpage link to print/share)
This chia pudding sets quicker than other versions, since the seeds are blended first. It sets up almost instantly, and is fudgy, coconutty, and yummalicious!
1 cup plain or chocolate non-dairy milk (see note)
1/2 cup (packed) pitted dates, plus another 1-3 dates to taste (or 2 tbsp pure maple syrup plus 2 -3 tbsp coconut sugar or more maple syrup, adjust sweetness to taste, see note)
3 tbsp chia seeds (black or white)
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or can use the seeds scraped from one vanilla bean)
2 – 3 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp mini non-dairy chocolate chips (optional for sugar-free option – but SO fab, even a tbsp!)
In a blender, add milk, dates (or coconut sugar/maple syrup), chia seeds, cocoa, salt, and vanilla. Blend (starting on low speed and then working up to high speed) for a minute or more (depending on blender), until the seeds are fully pulverized. Taste, and if you’d like it sweeter, add another few dates or another tablespoon of maple syrup (or coconut sugar). If you’d like a thinner pudding, add another drop of milk and blend again (it will thicken a little more as it chills). Transfer mixture to a large bowl/dish, stir in coconut and chocolate chips, and refrigerate until chilled, about 1/2 hour or more (it will thicken more with chilling, but really can be eaten straight away – especially if using the dates as they also thicken the mixture). Serve, sprinkling with more coconut, and topping with fresh berries or other fruit if desired. Serves 3.
Milk Note: I typically use unsweetened plain or vanilla almond milk when I make this pudding. If you are using a sweetened vanilla or chocolate milk, you may want to reduce the sweetener.
Sweetener Note: Dates are terrific in this pudding! I wasn’t sure I’d like it as much as using maple syrup or coconut sugar – but I like it as much, or more! If you’d prefer to use all maple syrup, it will thin the mixture slightly more than if using a combination of coconut sugar and maple syrup. So, reduce the milk measure just slightly under 1 cup.
Have you ever made chia pudding? How do you regularly use chia seeds?