Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

easy-vegan-vanilla-chia-seed-pudding-with-mango-toasted-coconut-and-dark-chocolate-shavings Chia pudding is weird and awesome. I’ll come back to that.

Oddly enough, I was actually introduced to chia seeds by my roommate a few years ago. One Saturday afternoon, he insisted that we go to Whole Foods to get some chia because his bestie had been eating it and dropping the lbs “without even trying!!” Needless to say, pre-Dude Diet Logan was very excited about these “miracle diet seeds,” and he bought an enormous bag, which he brought to work to make him skinny.

I’m not exactly sure what happened to those seeds, but Logan never spoke of them again. (My guess is that he crushed something like a ¼ cup of them daily for a few weeks in addition to his scary normal diet, didn’t notice any immediate weight loss, and then furiously swore off them for life.) Honestly, I didn’t give chia too much thought at the time, figuring that the seeds were merely a fad that would probably disappear after a couple of months.

I was wrong.

Chia seeds did not disappear. Instead, I started seeing them everywhere. They popped up in the smoothies and vegan baked goods at my local coffee shop, on the blogs, and in the fitness magazines that I subscribe to for fun. Dr. Oz sang their praises, Giada discusses them in that cookbook about how she stays thin, and even Goopy Gwyneth was annoying me about the wonder seeds. Needless to say, I was intrigued.

easy-vegan-vanilla-chia-seed-pudding-with-fruit-nuts-and-chocolate In case you’re not familiar with the trendy superfood, let’s talk chia facts for a second. These unprocessed seeds, which come from a desert plant grown in Mexico, have been around for thousands of years and were a staple in the diet of the ancient Mayans and Aztecs. Aztec soldiers used to crush chia on the reg to boost energy, and the seeds were thought to have magical powers based on their ability to increase stamina over long periods of time. (I want to make so many inappropriate jokes here, but I’ll restrain myself.)

While chia seeds aren’t actually “magic,” they are pretty damn close, and there are lots of reasons to fiesta with these bad boys. First of all, chia is considered a “superfood” because it delivers the maximum amount of nutrients with minimal calories. The seeds are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fabulous antioxidants that protect your body against free radicals, prevent cancer, and fight aging. Chia also contains significantly more protein than other whole grains, and it has a ridiculously high fiber content. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber (40% of your daily value!), which will keep you feeling full and satisfied while improving digestion and regulating blood sugar. Fist bump.

Most importantly, chia seeds are the best plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids on the planet. Omega-3s are glorious, and because they are not made in our bodies, we need to get them from our diet. These fatty acids help build new cells, reduce inflammation, regulate physiological functions, and prevent heart disease and diabetes. They also reduce depression levels (be happier!), improve cognitive function (be smarter!), and promote healthy skin, hair and nails (be prettier!). Hallelujah.

Now that we’ve covered the basic nutritional aspects, let’s talk about the coolest and weirdest element of these funky little seeds. Chia seeds can absorb up to ten times their own weight in liquid. So, when you put the seeds in water, milk, etc., they expand and take on a gel-like quality. After just a few hours of soaking, the seeds swell up and start to look like tiny little alien eggs. Sorry, I’m aware that is a very unappetizing description, but you know I like to keep it real around these parts.

easy-vegan-vanilla-chia-seed-pudding Anyhoo, the gelling capability of chia seeds is ideal for making “pudding,” which is all the healthy rage right now. I’ve been sprinkling chia on my yogurt in the morning, adding it to granola and salads, and blending it in smoothies for a while, but I didn’t take the pudding plunge until this past weekend. After many experimental bowls of alien eggs in my fridge, I finally came up with a Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding that I was happy with.

This simple pudding is nothing more than chia seeds, unsweetened almond milk, pure vanilla extract, maple syrup and a pinch of salt. It’s vegan/gluten-free/paleo and has all of the bomb nutritional elements that I just told you about, making it an unbelievably healthy breakfast, dessert or snack.

I’m not going to sit here and claim that this pudding is the best thing in the world or that it’s my favorite breakfast because it’s not, and I’d rather eat this. That said, it is pretty delightful once you get used to the somewhat strange texture. Some people liken chia pudding to tapioca, but I hate tapioca, so I prefer not to use that comparison. All I can say is that after the first weird bite, it really grows on you, and it’s surprisingly satisfying/fun to eat. I promise.

easy-vegan-vanilla-chia-seed-pudding-with-pistachio-and-blood-orange This version of chia pudding is vanilla-tinged and ever so slighty sweet, which makes it the perfect base for a variety of toppings. Go wild with the toppings, friends, especially if you’re new to the whole chia pudding thing, as they will ease the transition. Obviously, you can top your pudding with whatever floats your boat, but the following combinations are guaranteed winners: (a) Mango, Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate, (b) Blood Orange and Pistachios (c) Fresh Berries, Lemon Zest and Maple Syrup.

If you’re feeling skeptical about this recipe, I get it. I figured most of you would be. But please, don’t knock it ’til you try it, peeps. The pudding takes all of 5 minutes to prep, and then you just let the seeds do their thing overnight. Magic. The pudding will keep for about 5 days in the fridge, so if you whip a batch up on Sunday, you’ll be on track to a happier, smarter and prettier you by Friday! Get on board.

I forgot to mention that Beyoncé eats chia seed pudding. I probably should have led with that…

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding: (Serves 4)
easy-vegan-vanilla-chia-seed-pudding-with-blood-orange-and-pistachio Ingredients:
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons raw chia seeds
2 cups unsweetened almond milk (You can also use coconut, soy, or regular milk)
(*For a thicker pudding, replace 1 cup of almond milk with 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt of your choice)
1¼ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons good quality maple syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
Suggested Toppings: (These are combinations that I like, but feel free to mix and match and get creative!)
Blood orange segments and pistachios
Mixed berries and lemon zest
Diced mango, toasted coconut, and dark chocolate shavings
Sliced Bananas with cinnamon
Blueberries, toasted almonds and maple syrup
Granola and dried fruit

Preparing your Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding:

-Place the chia seeds in a medium bowl.

easy-vegan-vanilla-chia-seed-pudding-step-1 -Add the yogurt, almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup and a pinch of kosher salt. Whisk to combine.

easy-vegan-vanilla-chia-seed-pudding-step-2 -Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally. I recommend letting the pudding rest in the refrigerate overnight, but 4 hours will do if you’re feeling antsy.

easy-vegan-vanilla-chia-seed-pudding-step-3 -Before serving, stir the pudding to make sure that there aren’t any clumps.

easy-vegan-vanilla-chia-seed-pudding-step-4 -Spoon pudding into bowls or glasses.

easy-vegan-vanilla-chia-seed-pudding-step-5 -Garnish with toppings of your choice.

easy-vegan-vanilla-chia-seed-pudding-3-ways

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons raw chia seeds
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (You can also use coconut, soy, or regular milk)
  • (*For a thicker pudding, replace 1 cup of almond milk with 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt of your choice)
  • 1¼ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons good quality maple syrup
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Suggested Toppings: (These are combinations that I like, but feel free to mix and match and get creative!)
  • Blood orange segments and pistachios
  • Mixed berries and lemon zest
  • Diced mango, toasted coconut, and dark chocolate shavings
  • Sliced Bananas with cinnamon
  • Blueberries, toasted almonds and maple syrup
  • Granola
  • Dried Fruit

Instructions

  1. Place the chia seeds in a medium bowl. Add the yogurt, almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup and a pinch of kosher salt. Whisk to combine.
  2. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally. I recommend letting the pudding rest in the refrigerate overnight, but 4 hours will do if you’re feeling antsy.
  3. Before serving, stir the pudding to make sure that there aren’t any clumps. Spoon pudding into bowls or glasses and garnish with toppings of your choice.
http://www.domesticate-me.com/vanilla-chia-seed-pudding/

easy-vegan-vanilla-chia-seed-pudding-with-citrus-and-nuts

  • Guest

    Beautiful pictures!! I’ve never made chia seed pudding, but it might be high time I start.

    • Serena_Wolf

      Thank you, Micheline! You must take the plunge. I’m becoming increasingly enamored with it (had to ease into the textural transition), and I’m considering venturing into the chocolate category next. p.s. Just found your blog, and I LOVE it.

      • Dianna

        OOO, must tell…the chocolate category?? Thanks for sharing!

  • Maryann

    First, let me say that I love your blog! I love to cook and am always on the lookout for new and unusual recipes so….I made the vanilla chia seed pudding last night for breakfast for my kids this am. They were a little skeptical when they saw it…think that they were envisioning chocolate pudding for breakfast…but tried it and decided that it wasn’t bad. My dairy free child loved it (exactly who I was aiming it towards) with some homemade granola and strawberries on top. Thank you and keep the recipes (especially the dairy free ones ) coming.

    • Serena_Wolf

      Thanks, Maryann! I’m beyond excited that your kids were at least moderately on board with it. The pudding can be a little scary at first, so I’m impressed that you got them to try it, and I’m thrilled that it was such a success with your dairy free kiddo.

    • Dianna

      Maryann, I’d love your homemade granola recipe. Thanks!

      • Maryann

        Granola – preheat oven to 400F
        4 c oats
        2 c raw nuts & seeds (rough chop)
        3/4 c coconut or grape seed oil
        1/4 c honey
        dried unsweetened coconut, if desired and to taste

        Heat oil & honey until it comes to a boil. Pour over oats and nuts/seeds stir to coat evenly. Spread onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake, stirring often! (i.e. do not move away from your oven or it will burn!) Just before granola is finished baking (this will depend on how well done you like it and how fast your oven bakes) sprinkle on the coconut..this will brown VERY FAST! Spoon baked oat mixture into bowl with dried fruits and mix. After granola has cooled completely, you can store in an airtight container.

        Enjoy!

        • Dianna

          Thanks, Maryann! Can’t wait to buy the few ingredients I don’t already have and try this recipe. Can you tell me what seeds you typically put in yours? And what type of oats? I have quick cook but not sure if that’s the right type. Thanks again!

          • Maryann

            I believe that I use the Quaker quick oats (not instant). As for the seeds; I use flax, chia and sunflower.

  • Deryn Macey

    Yes! I’ve been in love with chia pudding lately, it’s such a great breakfast :) I love you topping ideas!

    • Serena_Wolf

      Thank you, Deryn! I’m kind of hooked now. SO healthy and delicious.

  • Dianna

    Can you tell me how long this will keep once made? I’m wondering if I need to make small batches if it has to be used within a day or two. Thank you!

    • Serena_Wolf

      The pudding will keep perfectly for about 5 days. So, if you make a big batch on Sunday, you can eat it all week!

      • Dianna

        Thank you, Serena!

  • Rachel

    I made this today and, oh my stars, I love it. Unlike you, I was pretty smitten with the texture right away. And, honestly, the toppings are awesome (I just threw on some fresh blackberries), but I could eat the stuff plain.

    PS – pretty sure I’ve made no fewer than half a dozen of your recipes in the last few weeks… and I love it all. Thanks for rockin’ this food blog thing.

    • Serena_Wolf

      Thank you, Rachel! Psyched that you’re so smitten with the pudding and that you dug the texture right off the bat (I feel like getting people to embrace the weirdness is the toughest part). And thrilled to hear that you’re making so many recipe and loving them. Totally makes my day!

  • James DeLoz

    I substituted a Fage Key Lime greek yogurt, for 3/4 of one of the cups of liquid. Used unsweetened organic coconut milk for 1 1/4 cups of liquid. Used half the amount with honey instead of maple syrup, then used kosher salt like it asked. I let sit overnight, and added Nam Doc Mai mango to the top. I am forever changed.

    • Serena_Wolf

      Oh my GOD, that sound unreal. I definitely dig the thicker texture that comes from using yogurt, and Nam Doc Mai mangos are game changers. Definitely going to try your version.

  • Tran Nguyen

    I’ve been a huge fan of chia seeds ever since I read Born to Run. I saw ChiaPods for the first time at a bike show a couple months ago in London and immediately thought to myself “How can I make this?”. This is exactly what I was looking for and it looks amazing. Question – How long does it last? Should I assume the same “best by” date as the yogurt/milk, or should I subtract a few days. It would help if I could make a batch on the weekend to go with my morning granola throughout the work week.

    • Serena_Wolf

      Hi, Tran- So psyched you’re going to try this. (It’s awesome.) The pudding keeps well for 5-6 days in the fridge (assuming your milk/yogurt is fresh), so you can definitely make a big batch on Sunday and eat it all week!

  • NORMAJEAN123

    Bananas, strawberries and cinnamon!! Yummy!!

  • julie176

    Mixed this up and put it in the fridge before bed last night. Woke up this morning and it’s as runny as milk an the seeds don’t appear to have swelled. I don’t stir occasionally because it was overnight, but I expected it to be more pudding like. Is this normal? I’ve never had chia pudding. :). I did not use Greek yogurt

    • Serena_Wolf

      Julie, so sorry to hear this didn’t work! So, the pudding isn’t super thick without yogurt, but it definitely shouldn’t be runny, and the seeds should noticeably have grown/look jelly like. I’m wondering if maybe its the chia seeds you used. You need to use whole, raw chia seeds not milled/ground, and you need at least 3 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds per cup of milk. Maybe try it with 1/4 cup chia per cup of milk and stir it at least once before you go to bed!

  • Lisa Chouinard

    This was delicious! I was hungry, so ate it straight away with the yogurt/almond milk combination. I made a larger batch and will maybe have it for a snack later or for breakfast.

    • Serena_Wolf

      So glad you liked it, Lisa! Going the greek yogurt/almond milk route is great if you’re in a hurry because it thickens almost immediately.

  • AmyRW

    Serena, can I ask you what camera and lens you used for this? It looks fantastic! Did you have a light set-up or were you using natural light? Love the pudding by the way! :-)

    • Serena_Wolf

      Hi Amy, I used a Canon EOS Rebel T2i with an 18-55mm lens. I don’t have a light set up, so I use natural light for all my photos, which then usually require a little bit of editing in Lightroom (depending on how much light I can coax through my living room window)!

  • Shannon

    This was surprisingly good. I say surprisingly because my first, & only, experience with gelatinous chia seeds left something to be desired. I went with 1/2 ff greek yogurt & 1/2 almond milk, & I think this really made the difference. It’s as if the greek yogurt toned down the slimy-ness of the chia…either that or I didn’t notice it as much because I knew what I was getting into this time round. Either way, thumbs up! I just chucked on a 1/2 of a banana coz that’s what I had on hand, but this would be a great base for so many things.

    • Serena_Wolf

      So happy to hear this!! I always recommend the 1/2 yogurt-1/2 milk situation to first time chia pudding eaters, precisely because of the sliminess you described.

  • Cindy

    I made this for the first time today, LOVE it! I just used the chia seeds soaked over night in unsweetened almond milk, vanilla and blueberries, fantastic. I did not use sweetener as I find blueberries added just the right sweetness for my taste. I would compare the texture to tapioca, and I love tapioca! What a healthy alternative!

    • Serena_Wolf

      Thank you!! I love the idea of soaking the seeds with fruit in them (and lowering the sugar content by eliminating sweetener)! I need to experiment with that ASAP.

  • Carolyn Trufelman

    IMO the liquid ratio is off on this recipe – need less liquid to make it truly puddingey. That said it tasted good so I just ended up sticking a straw in it and treating it like bubble tea (but better). I’m excited for this new use for chia!

    • Serena_Wolf

      I’m glad you tried this! So, traditional chia pudding is a pretty runny (it’s pudding-esque, but definitely not like a “real” pudding). However, you should try doing half almond milk and half yogurt (if you’re vegan, you can use almond or soy yogurt!) for a thicker pudding!

  • Carole Mannino

    Do you have nutritional info for your recipes?

    • Serena_Wolf

      Unfortunately, I don’t have the nutritional information for my recipes. But I find this nutrition calculator to be very helpful! http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php You can simply cut and paste the recipe into the box.

      • Carole Mannino

        Thank you very much!!!

  • locavore

    I’ve been loving my chia breakfast for several months. For those who are not strictly paleo or vegan, I think it’s fantastic mixed with rolled oats (they soften along with the chia seeds and don’t need to be cooked) and soaked with whole milk. Rather than mixing in a bowl, I just toss the seeds and oats in a canning jar, shake to combine, then fill with my liquid of choice and shake vigorously a few times. With the oats mixed in it only takes a few shakes for the seeds to “set” and then I can just leave it in the fridge overnight for a perfect no-cook oatmeal/pudding.

    I also love mixing in pistachios, almond slivers, or raw coconut flakes, but my hubby doesn’t like nuts in his puddings. Any suggestions for how to add the extra flavors without disturbing the texture? Not sure if I want to get a blender involved.

    • Serena_Wolf

      Love that you’ve been into chia pudding for so long. I’m a big fan of mixing oats into my chia pudding as well, and the canning jar trick makes things so much easier! As far as adding extra flavoring without upsetting the texture, I would suggest adding extracts. A little almond or coconut extract goes a long way!

  • Emily

    I prepared this for breakfast today! I used half milk, half Greek yogurt, and it came out nice and thick. I mixed chopped strawberries into it and it’s divine :)

    • Serena_Wolf

      Emily, that looks delicious! So glad it was a success.

  • Baha

    Looks amazing! Can it be heated up after refrigeration (would it affect the almond milk)?

    • Serena_Wolf

      Thanks, Baha! I wouldn’t heat it up. It’s meant to be eaten cold, and the heat will break down the milk/pudding consistency.

  • Zoya Mir

    Chia has always been amazing to me, and I have always loved a good chia seed recipe. I’m fasting as a Muslim in the holy month of Ramadan (no food or water from 3 am – 7:15 pm) and am dying to dive into my batch chilling in the fridge. Just an hour left…

    My mother makes this amazing bubble tea-like drink called ‘tukhm malanga rooh afza’, Urdu for chia seeds in rooh afza. You might be familiar to rooh afza; it is a sweet red-tinted rose syrup and is mixed in water or milk. My mother makes a jug of it and adds about three cups of soaked chia. My sister loves the stuff and downs a jug and a half every day :).

    Anyway, thanks for the amazing recipe!

    • Darcy Ricketts

      Ii made it using 2% milk 1 cup and fat free yogurt 1 cup chia seeds 1/4 cup 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoon s maple . A pox 1 cup blue berries a pox 356 cal per 1/2 cu]

  • Brielymar

    I found this recipe when I was looking for gluten-free, dairy-free breakfast ideas. I made this last night and I couldn’t wait until the morning to taste it. Yumm-o! I LOVED the texture! Only substitution I made was I used agave instead of maple syrup. Divine! Love your blog! Can’t wait to try the avocado toast with spicy maple bacon and scrambled eggs on my fun day.

  • Hobs

    I make a pina-colada version that is delicious. I soak them in a combination of pineapple juice with light coconut milk (the canned version, not the dairy version). Its also great with some raisins mixed in, as they soak up the juices too. Its a delicious healthy dessert

    • Serena_Wolf

      That sound unbelievable! I need to try it ASAP.

  • http://www.neverskipdessertblog.com Mackenzie Findlay

    I’m totally intrigued! Like you, I have seen chia seeds popping up everywhere but haven’t gotten around to making them yet! I’ll have to buy the ingredients next time I am at the store! (my blog: http://www.neverskipdessertblog.com)

  • Erich Foster

    1/4 C + 3 T. = 1/2 C.

    • Serena_Wolf

      It’s actually just shy of 1/2 C (1/4 C=4T), but you can definitely use a 1/2 cup chia for a thicker pudding (which I actually prefer!) :)

      • Erich Foster

        You’re right. I will just use a 7/16 C measuring cup. lol

        • Serena_Wolf

          Hahaha perfect!