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Vanilla Chia Pudding

Vanilla Chia Pudding

Growing up, I was fascinated by Chia Pets. These terracotta figurines, in which chia seeds are sprouted and grown to resemble fur, were the star of many Saturday morning cartoon commercials. The catchphrase "Ch-ch-ch-chia!" quickly became ingrained in my mind as well as my toddler sister, who spouted the slogan in her giggly high-pitched voice.

After the initial craze died down, my grandmother unexpectedly bought me a Chia Pet for Christmas. It was an Elmer Fudd, with grooves to grow chia hair, which I found deeply ironic since the cartoon character is completely bald. Nevertheless, I was excited about my new toy. I followed the necessary steps, spread the seeds around his head and waited. Nothing happened. My chia seeds, no matter how much I willed them, simply would not sprout.

My Elmer Fudd was determined to stay true to character.

Vanilla Chia Pudding Vanilla Chia Pudding

Many years later, while wandering through the food section of a department store, I stumbled across a bag of chia seeds. As this was before the health food trend set in, the thought of eating the seeds instead of growing them on pottery struck me as odd. I wanted to buy the bag simply out of curiosity, but the seeds never made it into my cart. I often thought of them afterwards, wishing they had made that journey, simultaneously wondering how I would have incorporated them into my cooking.

That passing concern became a real question when a bag of chia seeds finally found itself on my kitchen counter last weekend. After doing a bit of recipe searching, I settled on making a simple pudding.

Vanilla Chia Pudding

Chia seeds have several unique properties which set them apart. Firstly, chia seeds do not seem to have a flavor, not even a subtle one, which makes them easy to mix into other foods, such as smoothies or morning cereals. They are also packed with nutrition, including high levels of fiber and protein, which makes them a healthy choice and can help keep you feeling full longer. Lastly, and most unusual, chia seeds can absorb ten times their weight (or more) in water. When the seeds are mixed into a liquid, they will absorb it, creating a gel.

I used this last characteristic to my advantage. To make this pudding, I mixed the seeds into milk and simply let the mixture set. There is no heat, no additional thickening agents, or cooking required. In many ways, this may be one of the easiest dishes I have ever created.

Vanilla Chia Pudding

Vanilla Chia Pudding has a bright vanilla flavor with a texture resembling a tapioca or rice pudding. Chia seeds are simply mixed into your favorite milk and left overnight to gel—the process couldn't be any simpler. This pudding is healthy enough for a morning breakfast and sinful enough for an after dinner dessert. Serve with fresh berries for color and a swirl of maple syrup for a sweet taste. Chia seeds are available in the health food section of the grocery store (or in specialty health food stores).

One Year Ago: Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two Years Ago: Roasted Cherry Dark Chocolate Brownies
Three Years Ago: Lemon Tarts

Vanilla Chia Pudding

Yields 3 half cup servings

1 1/2 cups (355 ml) almond milk (or your favorite flavored milk)
1/4 cup (50 grams) chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients and refrigerate. Over the course of the next half hour, whisk the pudding every ten minutes as it begins to thicken; this prevents the chia seeds from clumping. After the half hour is up, cover and keep refrigerated at least 3 hours or overnight.

After 3 hours the pudding will have slightly thickened, but it will still be a bit runny. After resting overnight, the pudding takes on a traditional custard-like consistency. Serve the pudding when it reaches your desired texture, topped with fresh berries.

Reader Comments (30)

I've never made ANYTHING with chia seeds before, and really want to. This looks awesome!
I keep meaning to do more with my chia seeds!!! I always forget about them--but this is a great idea. Definitely need to try it! So simple and beautiful.
I am not very familiar with chia seeds. I see it from time to time on blogs. Your pudding looks so good that I need to try it.
I put chia seeds in my breakfast quinoa, but I've never tried making a pudding with them - I'll have to give it a try :)
06.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterVickie
Chia pudding has been my go-to breakfast for months. I make mine with vanilla almond milk. And right before I leave it overnight, I add about a handful of frozen blueberries. So delish in the morning!
06.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLora
I generally just add chia seeds to salads or to smoothies that I consume before they thicken too much. I would love to know what the texture of this pudding is like. Is it slimy? Jell-O like? Or is it really like a pudding? I use almond milk all the time in my smoothies, but I really don't like it on its own because it tastes watery to me. What do you think - is this pudding something I should just give a try? (Thanks soooo much for any reply!)
06.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
I bought a bunch of chia because I heard its the new quinoa, but like with quinoa, I had no idea what the heck to do with it. I'm into the idea of adding some health to a sweet :) Thanks!!
06.3.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfrancesca
I remember those commercials all too well. I would be sitting in the car and try to sing the song but for some reason the ch part would get caught in the throat and i would say it about 20 times before blurting out chia! Haha.

I love the look of this pudding. I don't know why because the little blog dots are kind of visually displeasing,but at the same time it makes the pudding look so intriguing.
I love how this pudding looks, I bet it tastes just as good! :D
06.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLooking FANCY
Chia pudding sounds like something I must try! Loved the way you presented this. Very neat blog and awesome recipes, I must say!! :)
06.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPurabi Naha
This looks amazing! I'm seeing chia seed pudding made with hazelnut milk and a dusting of dark chocolate shavings for something a little bit indulgent. Must give this a go!
06.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCaits @ plumful
Beautiful styling! I still can't get the chia song out of my head whenever I see a recipe pop up for it ;)
I've been eating plumped chia seeds in smoothies for a while, but haven't tried this yet - can't wait to give it a go. Thanks so much for developing the cool recipe.
I can't get past the beautiful styling of the dish. You have to write a post of photography and styling. Thanks
This recipe is a winner in my book! Easy and good for you!

Your pictures are beyond beautiful. I am glad God gave you this talent. You are blessed!!
06.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjanet
Chia seeds freak me out! :(
06.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJarome
Never understood how to eat Chia seeds! I'm so curious about it, I wanna try this recipe right now!
I made this as soon as I saw it - IT IS SO GOOD!!! And so healthy...maybe one of the most nutritional and healthy dessert ever!!!!! THANK YOU!!!
06.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelloPinky
Second time making this and it is still amazing! I eat it for breakfast or snack time and eat it along with all kinds of fruits!
06.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicole
I finally made this last night and I LOVE it! To me it has the about the same taste and texture as tapioca pudding does. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
07.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan H
Just wanted to say that I found this recipe via google last night and made it for brekkie today and it was delicious. Thanks!
07.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLouisa
I've seen this last friday and tried it out yesterday...
Since I don't drink regular milk, I used soy milk... and instead of maple syrup, honey.
It turned out really well!! Love it, the vanilla flavor with the soy milk works great, really sweet ^^
It's like mini tapioca bubbles xB My family says it looks disgusting, like... frog spawn or something
xD but I don't mind... that means 'more for me! yei!!' :3
08.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCassy
Replace the maple syrup with organic coconut sugar and add Cinnamon as well. I use the white chia seeds as well which looks pretty!
So delish :)
08.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristine
Is it possible to do this recipe as a warm/cooked version? Would simmering it on low-ish heat for the 30 minute period, where you keep mixing it to avoid clumps, work?

The reason I ask, is that I just found this recipe and it's December, not June. Ergo, I'm thinking about doing this as a warm dessert pudding.

BTW - I really like your photography style.
12.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThadeus
Thadeus-- Actually, here's what I'd do. Just before serving, pop the pudding in the microwave for 30 sec to 1 min (or longer). You will not ruin the consistently and it will be warm and ready for cold weather. The pudding really is best if it sits overnight because the consistency is more pudding-like.
12.30.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I have tried making chia seed puddings before but could never get the consistency right, I used your recipe and it worked perfectly. I'll definitely be having it on a regular basis from now on and I'm going to try heating it up tomorrow morning. Thank you for a great recipe :)
01.6.2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuD
This is one of my obsessions for breakfast lately. I eat it so much, I might start to sprout. Leaving it overnight gives it the best consistency, however in a pinch, you could put a little less milk and leave it for 15 minutes. The texture is different -- a bit crunchier -- but it still works. My two kids says that it looks like dragon scales (!) but that's fine, more for me .
02.3.2014 | Unregistered Commenterandi
I make mine in the microwave because I'm too impatient to wait overnight :) I use a tad less milk and nuke it 30 seconds to a minute at a time until it's boiling. Then I let it sit a while (half hour maybe?) to let the seeds puff. It's a good warm pearly pudding texture with a few light crunchies. I also like to stir in a little cocoa powder (dutched, not sweet hot cocoa mix) before heating to make chocolate. Yum!
02.6.2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
You can also swap out the almond milk with coconut milk and top with organic coconut flakes! Delicious!
02.6.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDe
We all thought this tasted like cucumber pudding. Inedible. :(
03.8.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPat

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