Chia Pudding

Are you a fan of tapioca pudding? If not, this recipe will do nothing for you. If you love the stuff, however, let me tell you about the chia seed.

A tiny black seed native to central and southern Mexico and Guatamala, chia is a nutritional powerhouse.  A single 1-tablespoon serving provides 150% of your daily requirement for omega-3 fatty acids (those nutrients you need for brain function, and which may reduce the risk for heart disease), as well as significant amounts of protein and fiber, and amounts of phosphrous, manganese, calcium, and postassium comparable to flax and sesame.  According to legend, Aztec warriors could survive on nothing more than 1 tablespoon of chia seeds a day..

None of that would be very compelling if chia were gross tasting, of course, but here’s the other interesting thing about these seeds: they can absorb virtually any amount of liquid you soak them in, and when they do they plump up into a sort of gelatinous, tapioca-like consistency.  I know, it sounds weird, but you said you liked tapioca.  They don’t have much flavor, which means that you can season them pretty much however you want.

And so comes in the chia pudding. Delicious.  All you do is mix together some chia seeds, soymilk, and sweetener to taste, give it a stir, and let the seeds do their thing.  I like to eat mine topped with sliced fruit and a tablespoon or so of nut butter.  Sometimes I add a dollop of cool whip (I know, I know).  If you want to make a chocolate chia pudding, mix in a about 4 teaspoons cocoa powder per cup of soymilk. And the best part? It’s super healthy, so you can have dessert for breakfast guilt-free.

Makes 2-4 servings
4 tablespoons chia seeds
2 cups soymilk
sweetener to taste (start with 2T maple syrup or agave, or ¼ teaspoon stevia)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)
a few drops of almond or vanilla extract (optional)

Stir together all the ingredients, cover, and put in the fridge.  Go back and give it a good stir after about 20 minutes, to break up any lumps.  Refrigerate overnight or longer.  Stir every now and again if you think of it; if you forget and get lumps, like I did, we had luck using a manual eggbeater to whip them out.

Serve chilled with fruit, nuts, whipped cream…the possibilities are endless.