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Christina

Coconut Chia Pudding: A Yummy & Healthy Dessert

Pssst.

I want to let you in on a little secret.

See those little grey seeds up there that look kinda like sesame seeds?  They’re my new obsession.

What are they, you ask? I’ll give you a little OK, a BIG hint.

Chi-Chi-Chi-Chia!

Did you guess it yet? Oh, you guys are TOO good!

That’s right! They’re Chia Seeds and I. Cannot. Stop. Using. Them. They’ve sort of replaced my obsession with wheat germ and flax seeds, for the moment. I’ve been putting them in and on everything and anything since they started stocking them at my local Trader Joe’s. I have to admit that before trying them out a few weeks ago, I’d never had them before. My only experience with the word Chia came from the annoyingly addicting commercial that came on the scene in the 70s. Now you can’t get the song out of your head either, right? You’re welcome. : )

Anyway, when I stumbled upon them and read about all of their health benefits, I knew they were right up my alley. I love finding little (easy) ways to boost the nutritional value of what my family and I eat and Chia seeds fit the bill perfectly. And shockingly enough, they were an easy sell to my 4 year old. After labeling them as Chia “Sprinkles,” he happily eats them on anything I decide to sprinkle them on.

chia seed image

What the heck are chia seeds anyway?

Well I’m glad you asked. Chia seeds are an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, which is a member of the mint family that grows throughout southern Mexico. While you may be more familiar with them as sprouts growing on your novelty Chia pet planters, these tiny seeds are anything but novel.

Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are a better source than flax. They’re also rich in antioxidants and can be stored for a long time without becoming rancid like so many other fatty acid-containing products. They can be eaten whole, which means you don’t have to grind them up like you do flax seeds and are a good source of fiber at about 6.9 grams per serving.

What can I do with them?

Since Chia seeds don’t have to be ground to be eaten, you can feel free to sprinkle them onto anything you’d like. Eaten naked, they really don’t have much of a flavor but they have a little bit of a crunch. When mixed into a liquid, they soak it up and become softer and more gelatinous in texture, which is quite enjoyable in beverages, yogurts and puddings. In fact, in mexico they mix it into different agua frescas and most commonly serve it in a lemonade that is just divine.  

My favorite ways to use chia seeds:

Sprinkled over greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey.

Sprinkled over pancakes, waffles or french toast.

Mixed into smoothies or frozen inside popsicles.

Stirred into a beverage like lemonade — Chia Fresca! (popular in Mexico).

OR

In an awesome Chia Coconut Pudding (recipe below).

This recipe is a great dairy-free dessert. It’s sweet and creamy and feels decadent but is still very healthful. I feel good about giving this dessert to my kids because of the nutritional value of the chia seed and they simply love the taste. Win. Win!

Coconut Chia Pudding

2 servings

Ingredients:

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

1/3 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup honey or agave nectar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

coconut flakes and berries for garnish

Directions:

In a small bowl or large jar, stir together the coconut milk, chia seeds and your choice of sweetener (sugar or agave nectar) and cinnamon. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until the chia seeds puff and expand.

Pudding may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Before serving, stir once and spoon into serving dishes. Garnish with coconut flakes and serve immediately.

Looking for more healthful treats? Try these:

Gluten free apple cake

Baked apples

Pumpkin bread (lactose free)

Strawberry milkshake

16 Responses to “Coconut Chia Pudding: A Yummy & Healthy Dessert”

  1. RichS says:

    Worked a lot better when I warmed it in a microwave for 1 minute before refrigerating.

  2. Sig says:

    Microwave destroys all nutrition, this way you won’t have the health benefit of it

    • Bob says:

      Please explain the science behind this. Microwaves simply use a small band of electromagnetic radiation to increase the movement of atoms. It is very efficient at increasing the movement of water atoms due to it’s wavelength. How could this form of increasing the heat inside of the liquid destroy something that introducing heat any other way would not.

  3. Rita Nieman says:

    I made a parfait out of it with bananas and a nutty granola mixture. It was very nice. It could replace yoghurt in some recipes.

  4. carmel says:

    I could not find unsweetned coconut

  5. Jennifer says:

    We tried this for dessert tonight & we all loved it! Super easy & super yummy!

  6. susan says:

    Hi, is it refrigerated coconut milk or canned? I assume they are different consistencies. I didnt think the refrigerated ones in carton could thicken for a pudding. Thanks for your help, definitely want to try

  7. April says:

    There’s lots of room for experimentation here because it’s super easy to make. I tried this twice and have some comments/tweaks to offer:

    Coconut milk has an inherent sweetness so a 1/4c of agave is way too much. The first batch I made, I used 1/8c of agave syrup and that was fairly sweet. For the second batch, I used about a teaspoon but really didn’t need any. I recommend that you start by tasting your coconut milk and then progressively add sweetener in small amounts until you reach the sweetness you like.

    When I made the first batch, I mixed up the ingredients, placed the bowl in the fridge and went to bed. Many of the chia seeds stuck together and sunk, so I had to work hard to reincorporate the gloppy consistency by stirring and finally got out the hand mixer to help. The pudding was still lumpy but very tasty! The second time, I left the bowl on the counter for a few hours and stirred periodically before refrigerating. What a world of difference!

    Lastly, since I hate cinnamon, I left it out but added about 1 tbsp of vanilla instead. You can put fruit or cacao nibs in before you eat it. The second time, I made half the recipe (because now I was experimenting until I got it right) but added 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder. Between not refrigerating until “done” and the cocoa powder, I ended up with a delicious chocolate mousse! This could be dangerous… ;)

  8. Pilar says:

    I love chia here in mexico is very popular … And i love it with lemonade , i love the pudding with Silk unsweetned coconut milk with cinammon ( i have Insuline resistance) so cinammon helps a lot and chía too .. Long life to this tiny seed

  9. Mariel says:

    For extra thick pudding, I used the Trader Joe’s can of coconut cream. It set within 2 hours and was quite firm, so I mixed with yogurt. Yes, it’s very fattening! I also tried the tip on the back of the chia seed bag of adding cocoa powder. Yum – chocolate pudding! It reminded me of tapioca but so healthy. Delish.

  10. Nitya says:

    Adding some powdered cardamom (a few pods) adds delicious flavor without being too intense like cinnamon. It made this pudding so delicious! I can’t wait to eat it for breakfast again.

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