Recently, chia seed pudding became our favorite snack. Chia is the common name for Salvia hispanica, an aztec superfood. If you’re not familiar with its role in the kitchen, you may nonetheless have a faint memory of that word “chia”… perhaps the stuttered jingle, “ch-ch-ch-chia. That’s right: chia seeds are what sprout into the phyto-fleece of the tele-mythological chia pets.
But long before the word chia was used to abuse the ears of television viewers, it referred to the nutritious seeds indigenous to Mexico. Wikipedia informs us that:
The word chia is derived from the Nahuatl word chian, meaning oily. The present Mexican state of Chiapas received its name from the Nahuatl “chia water” or “chia river.”
Fascinating. But wait, oily? That doesn’t sound nutritious. Ahhh, but these bad boys are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, the one thing healers and nutritionists of all modalities and traditions seem to agree we need more of in our diet. Specifically, chia seeds contain a high concentration of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), the same vegetarian source of omega-3′s that is found in flax seeds, and which I believe the human body converts to EPA and DHA (found in fish oil) as needed. They also have lots of protein and fiber.
So it would be great to find ways to sneak more of this superfood into our diet. The best way that we have found is to make a chocolate chia seed pudding. It is vegan, raw, super nutritious, has a fun texture, and is delicious. Oh, and it is easy to make and requires no cooking. I think kids would especially love this – if you catch them before they’re fixed in their fussy ways.
When you mix chia seeds with liquid they gel up like tapioca. It creates an odd consistency: a little gooey, a little crunchy. The closest thing I can think of is caviar. But open yourself up to a totally new experience that is chia seed pudding.
You can get chia seeds at health food stores, but hunt around for lower mark-ups. We found a great source for around $5/lb at an import/bulk food store in the neighborhood.
Here is the recipe I use to make batches of pudding for our house:
Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
1 cup Chia seeds
3 tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder or Processed Cocoa Powder or a mix of the two
1 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
32 ounces Almond Milk
14 ounces (1 can) Coconut Milk
1/3 – 1/2 cup Agave nectar
1/2 heaping teaspoon Salt
In large sealable container mix chia seeds, cacao and cardamom. Mix up well, get rid of clumps in cacao powder. You can add more cacao/cocoa to taste, but you probably want to up the sweetener accordingly.
Add almond milk, coconut milk, and agave nectar. Mix well with a spoon and/or shaking if container allows. Let settle for a few minutes and then stir/shake again to remove any lumps.
Let sit for at least an hour at room temperature. Then add salt and mix well. The theory behind waiting on the salt is to allow for osmosis to do its work as the chia seeds absorb the liquid. In my experience salt inhibits the gelling.
Finally, put in fridge at let sit until it has all been devoured.
Rinse and repeat!