I had tried those premade chia-seed drinks, and I had had some chia pudding at the raw vegan temple in NYC, Organic Avenue. “Yum” I thought, and I loved that chia seeds were so healthy (see details below). But when I was at Whole Foods the other day, I spotted some of the seeds, Googled some recipes (while standing right there in the aisle like a dork!) to get an idea of how hard it was (NOT hard, seemingly!) and put the bag of Navitas chia seeds in my cart.
It couldn’t be much easier to make chia pudding, honestly. I eat it every other morning or so for breakfast now and it’s filling and delicious. It keeps in the fridge for a few days (it’s never lasted much longer than that before I chowed it down, so I’m not sure exactly when it would go bad), and it pairs with all sorts of fruits and flavors. But there is a trick! So pay attention.
Starre’s Chia Seed Pudding (Basic)
3/4 cup vanilla almond or hemp milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds
Simply pour the chia seeds in a jam jar (I like the cute Ball jars or Mason jars), and then fill with milk of your choice.
Shake, and leave on counter for 10 or 15 minutes.
IMPORTANT: Shake very well again (like 20 seconds, hard) and put it in the fridge. If you forget this step, you will end up with all the chia in a lump at the bottom.
Leave 5-6 hours (or overnight or longer); pudding will be ready when you are.
Calories: 170-180, depending on what kind of milk you use (two tablespoons of chia seeds have 135 calories in them).
Note: I like the presweetened milks for this recipe, even though I don’t normally buy them, because when I used unsweetened milk, and then added maple syrup, the pudding didn’t gel properly. Of course, if you want to add your own sweetener, you still can, but then you should add it right before you eat. If you use the already-sweet milks, it’s easier and the sweetness is perfectly worked through, just like real pudding.
Delicious additions I’ve tried mixed in before refrigerating (that worked!):
1 tablespoon raw cacao (again, I love Navitas’)
A handful of raisins
Maple syrup (mixed in after chia has already gelled)
And of course you can put anything at all on top; I like fresh fruit, or if I’m really hungry, a handful of my very favorite granola of all time, Nature’s Path Hemp Plus Granola! I love that I’m getting chia and hemp seed power in this meal.
I generally try to keep New World foods together in creating dishes; so I think maple syrup and strawberries (both North American), and chia seeds, cacao (both South American in origin) go together well.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
The bennies from chia are numerous; these below are tops in my mind (list via SFGate), but they are also gluten-free, don’t need to be ground (you can eat them whole and get the nutritional goodness), and due to their high fiber content, they keep you full, longer.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds’ lipid profile is composed of 60 percent omega-3s, making them one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids — specifically, of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.
Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. That is one-third of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day.
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. The high antioxidant profile also helps them have a long shelf life. They last almost two years without refrigeration.
Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese. These nutrients help you prevent hypertension and maintain a healthy weight, and are important for energy metabolism and a part of DNA synthesis.