They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But in a world full of busy schedules and accidentally snoozed alarm clocks (guilty), it can be hard to make a balanced one. That’s why we love this recipe for perfectly creamy chia pudding. It’s vegan, delicious, and super-easy. What’s more, chia seeds are a great source of nutrition!
Of course, the breakfast thing is a bit of a generalization (who are “they”, anyway?). However, like most cliches, there is definitely some truth to it. While you sleep, your body is busy replenishing and repairing itself. This means people often wake up hungry and in need of energy.
Breakfast can boost you up, improve your concentration, and make you less likely to overeat later in the day.
Chia has seen quite a resurgence in recent years. However, did you know chia was popular centuries ago? In fact, according to some sources “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength”. Of course, it might also derive from the native Mexican word “chian”, for “oily” …
Anyway, people with high energy needs like warriors and messengers (long distance runners) ate or drank chia as fuel. It was even traded as currency!
Therefore, chia was an important nutrition source in Mexico up until the Spanish conquest. Sadly, the Spanish prohibited chia and replaced it with foreign grains like wheat and barley. So, despite being a staple food (right up there alongside beans, maize, and amaranth) this little seed went underground.
Eat Chia Pudding for Nutrition!
Don’t let the tiny size of chia seeds fool you – chia is a nutrition giant! One ounce nets you more than half the daily recommended dose of vitamins B1 and B3! You also get a good slug of vitamin B2 and folate. In addition, there are loads of minerals. In fact, you’ll get at least 20% of your daily dose of iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and calcium.
Chia seeds are an especially important component of a plant-based diet. This is because they have a high protein content for a plant. In addition, gram-for-gram, they are higher in calcium than dairy!
You’ll also find those famous fatty acids – omega-3s! In fact, chia seeds have more omega-3 fatty acids per gram than salmon! Specifically, chia provides an omega-3 called ALA, which is an essential nutrient for human health*.
Overall, chia seeds are one of the best nutrient sources on the planet. Every chia calorie is just bursting with nourishment. And you know what? We haven’t even mentioned fiber yet!
*Note: ALA isn’t the whole story when it comes to omega-3s. You should also consider adding EPA and DHA by consuming seaweed or algae. For example, you can eat sushi wrapped with nori. You can also find seaweed in grocery stores as a salty, crispy snack. Additionally, there are several EPA/DHA supplements made from algae.
Eat Chia Pudding for Fiber!
You can use chia seeds whole, or grind them up – their neutral taste makes it easy to add them to almost anything. Chia seeds are also packed with fiber. In fact, fiber makes up about 90% of chia’s carbohydrate content. As a result, chia won’t raise your blood sugar. Chia also helps with digestion and feeds the friendly bacteria that keep your gut healthy.
But how is this related to pudding? Well, chia absorbs about 12 times its weight in liquid when you soak it! The seeds swell up and form a thick gel that resembles tapioca or – you guessed it – pudding!
Chia Pudding Recipe Tips
So how do you turn a bunch of hard little seeds into pudding? Well first, choose your milk. We love hemp and oat milk in ours (or try coconut milk for a decadent dessert) – but any plant milk will make a good chia pudding.
Next, add the liquid to a bowl. This is also a good time to mix in the sweetener. After that, you can slowly add the chia seeds while you whisk briskly! This chia trick helps remove any lumps or air pockets from the pudding. Finally, if you’re not heading straight out the door, then stir the pudding again after about 10 minutes. This will make it even smoother!
The chia will thicken into pudding after about one hour in the fridge. However, the longer you leave it, the creamier it gets. We recommend leaving it overnight and waking up to chia pudding for breakfast!
Playing with Texture
Not everyone loves the texture of chia pudding the way we do. However, there are plenty of ways to mix it up. We usually layer the chia with our mix-ins, so you get some pudding and fruit (or nuts, or whatever you want!) in every bite.
The whole chia pudding mixture can also be blended either before or after it sits in the fridge. This makes something almost like a mousse!
Chia pudding keeps well in the fridge, so make a big batch and you’ll have breakfast for days! 3 to 5 days, to be exact. You can make it in, or divide it into, single-serve jars. Alternatively, just whip your chia pudding up in a big bowl and spoon it as you need it! We’ve even been known to throw chia seeds, plant milk, and our mix-ins into a mason jar – then just give it a big shake!
Speaking of mix-ins …
Mix-ins for Coconut Chia Pudding
- Tropical: finely sliced tropical fruit, such as mango, banana, passionfruit, papaya, and pineapple.
- Pina Colada: 1/2 cup of crushed/roughly chopped pineapple, a squeeze of lime, 2 tablespoons of coconut shreds.
- Strawberries and Cream: sliced or crushed strawberries (feel free to use different berries).
- Almond Joy: 1 tablespoon of cacao powder, 2 tablespoons of coconut shreds.
- Banana Cream Pie: 1 banana (sliced), 2 tablespoons coconut shreds, a drizzle of thick coconut cream.
- Key Lime Pie: 1 teaspoon of lime zest, 2 tablespoons of thick coconut cream.
- Banoffee Pie: 3 chopped caramelly Medjool dates (soak in hot water for 10 minutes if they are a little dry), 1/2 – 1 banana (sliced) and 2 tablespoons of thick coconut cream.
Mix-ins for Almond, Cashew or Oat Milk Chia Pudding
- Peanut Butter and Jelly: 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 1/2 cup of crushed strawberries or raspberries.
- Pumpkin Spice: 1/2 cup of mashed pumpkin with 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice.
- Chunky Monkey: 1/2 – 1 sliced banana, 1 tablespoon toasted walnuts, and 1/4 cup of fudgy chocolate protein bar pieces.
- Apple Pie: 1/2 cup of stewed apples, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon).
- Cranberry and Pear: 1/2 cup of homemade cranberry sauce and fresh pear slices.
Chocolate Chia Pudding
- Chocolate Chia Pudding: 1 tablespoon cacao powder, 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs or vegan chocolate chips (make it even more chocolatey by using chocolate milk for the chia pudding).
- Peanut Butter Cup: 1 tablespoon cacao powder, 1 – 2 tablespoons peanut butter.
No matter what you do, you just can’t go wrong with this staple. We’d love to see you put your own spin on the recipe, so please share your marvelous creations below or on instagram!
Did you try this recipe? Let us know what you think with a comment and rating! Every bit of feedback helps make the blog even better!
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