I vividly remember the first time I tried a Chia Pudding. We were in hospital after my baby daughter’s surgery and my sister was visiting from Europe. She arrived one morning with little ramekins of sweet fresh delight for our breakfast: Chia Puddings topped with fresh mango.
Hospital food is bland at best, made more so by the beige hospital environment. The constant beeps and excess of tubes and cords and monitors means you have to dial down your senses just to stay focussed. The overall experience can be a strange flatness.
Enter the Chia Pudding with Mango: Bright colour, fresh vitality, seeds that pop in the mouth, creamy sweetness, it was an awakening for the taste buds and all the other senses too!
So you can see why I’m sold on these little beauties.
Also, in my practice, I work with so many people who want a healthy sweet treat. Many of them can’t do gluten or dairy or sugar or nuts.
And so chia puddings are a little ray of sweet sunshine, for breakfast, dessert, or just a yummy snack. And they are the easiest things in the world to make.
Because we have Christmas in summer here in the southern hemisphere, we don’t need the rich heavy traditional steamed pudding that warms the heart and tummy on a wintry day. Read on for a fresh light summery version instead, celebrating the berries of the season!
Why chia? You may well ask. These tiny black seeds from South America are action-packed morsels of goodness. They are a complete protein, which is rare in the plant world, providing all the essential amino acids. They are the highest plant source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are amazing for your skin, your liver, your brain, your mood, your energy, your every cell. They also help to reduce inflammation. Then they are also super rich in antioxidants, high in fibre and a great source of calcium. There is nothing not to love!
When hydrated in any liquid, chia seeds swell up to approximately ten times their tiny size, and form a gel-like substance. There are some wonderful chia drinks available, and you can make your own with fresh juices. I find these the most satisfyingly thirst-quenching drinks around.
There are a zillion recipes for Chia Puddings, but once you get the basics right you can adapt them easily to suit any taste buds or occasion. Because you make them the night before, they make a super quick grab-and-go breakfast option too.
1 cup of some kind of milk/liquid
3 Tablespoons Chia seeds
(This ratio is approximate but a good general guide, some people like less seeds, some like more)
The liquid is often coconut cream or coconut milk, but can be sweetened or unsweetened almond milk, or any other liquid you like.
To this you can add an optional sweetener, eg. maple syrup or stevia.
Mix all ingredients well, then pour into individual bowls, ramekins or glasses.
Refrigerate overnight, or for approx 6-8 hours.
To serve: top with fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, cocoa nibs, coconut flakes, granola, whatever takes your fancy.
To make a chocolate version, add 1T cacoa or cocoa, and sweeten to taste.
Here is Natasha’s version:
1 can of coconut cream
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
4 Tablespoons of chia
Refrigerate over night, then top with fruit, seeds and nuts
Here is Ella’s version:
Blend the following ingredients –
1 cup almond milk
1 ripe banana
1t maple syrup
1T almond butter
½ cup frozen berries
And then add to 5T chia seeds
Refrigerate overnight and top with toasted muesli and fresh fruit
And here is a Christmas version just for YOU!
1 cup coconut milk
½ tsp vanilla essence
2t maple syrup
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp zested orange peel
3T chia seeds
Refrigerate overnight and serve with:
Fresh raspberries and strawberries picked from the garden
Slices of orange (optionally soaked in Cointreau for a special Christmas zing!)
A sprig of mint
(Dust with icing sugar if you do want that snowy feel)
Happy Christmas everyone, may you have a relaxing break and eat some wonderful food to excite your senses and launch you into a magnificent 2020.