vanilla chia pudding

Okay people. We’re going there. If you were hoping for something decadent, come back in a week or two. This recipe can be filed under healthy. Or wholesome.

What we have here is chia pudding. Chia? Yes, like ch-ch-ch-chia. Chia seeds have become popular in the way that flax and hemp seeds are. They’re rich in antioxidants and omega-3s. I am definitely a fan of flax seed, but I never quite got around to trying chia seed. But then I landed on this recipe for vanilla chia pudding while flipping through the January issue of Martha. Something about it was very intriguing. Perhaps because it was described as being like rice pudding, and I do love rice pudding. I decided to give it a whirl.

There are plenty of good things in this pudding – it has a homemade cashew milk base, it’s sweetened with dates and maple syrup, and contains a little bit of coconut butter for richness. The chia seeds actually have a very tapioca-like texture, which I rather enjoy. And the berries on top are perfect, adding a pop of color and a brightness in flavor.

I will warn you now that this pudding is not for everybody. But if you’re looking for a healthy dessert or you just want to try something new, then you might just love it. It’s not necessarily something I would serve while entertaining. I would, however, share it with friends who are being conscious about their diets but still want to satisfy their sweet tooth. I plan on making it again and again.

vanilla chia pudding

from Amy Chaplin via Martha Stewart Living

serves 6-8

1/2 cup chia seeds(available at healthfood stores and on-line)

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped, pod reserved

1 cup cashews, soaked in filtered water for 2 hours to overnight

4 cups filtered water

7 medjool dates, pitted

pinch of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons coconut butter

4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups mixed berries

3/4 cup maple syrup for drizzling

Place the chia seeds and vanilla pod in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

Drain the cashews and rinse well. Transfer the cashews, filtered water, dates, salt, cinnamon, coconut butter, vanilla extract and vanilla seeds to a blender. Blend on high for 2 minutes. Pour the cashew mixture into the bowl with the chia seeds and vanilla pod. Whisk well. Let the mixture stand for 10-15 minutes, whisking frequently to prevent clumping.Refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.

To serve: Discard the vanilla pod. Whisk the pudding and divide among bowls. Top with berries and drizzle with maple syrup.

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