Chia was a health fad; the foodie trend of a few seasons back, fueled by raving reviews accompanied by pics of mason jars filled to the brim sprawled across Instagram… The food phenomenon is here to stay, it’s weathered the test of time and has even managed to trickle down from the uber health conscious, landing on the breakfast tables of us regular folk. And rightly so, chia pudding is significantly healthier and more wholesome than your daily slice of buttered toast. As a vegetarian (I said it, I couldn’t contain it any longer and had to let you know about my dietary decisions), this is kind of big news. I’ll take any extra serving of protein I can get, with chia’s omega-3s being an extra bonus. I’m not saying I’m a food know-it-all, if it were up to me triple cream brie would be one of my five-a-day, but nutrients are nutrients. It’s highly unlikely you haven’t seen chia pudding plastered on breakfast and brunch menus yet or even sold ready-made in whole foods, and now some chain, supermarkets. Chia seeds are readily available and given how little you need to use each time, pretty good value for money. But here’s the truth, you don’t need to be paying X amount of dollars for what is undoubtedly the easiest ‘meal’ to prepare. It’s so simple that I’ll go as far as saying you can prepare it in your hotel room whilst traveling (granted you’ve either bought chia seeds with you or managed to find some in a local grocery store). Bottom line is, if you haven’t tried making your own chia pudding before, or want to try it but don’t want to splurge, here’s the single serve three step recipe that hasn’t failed me thus far in over two years.
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 cup almond milk (if you’re allergic to almonds, it’s easily substituted with coconut, soy or regular milk. In terms of nut milks, you don’t have to stick to almonds, try cashew, hazelnut or other nut milks, they all work as well. As long as you stick to the 1 cup : 3 tablespoons golden ratio, you’re pretty much free to do as you please)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Agave/maple syrup/sweetener to taste (I opt not to add any sweetener, but if you’re looking to satiate your sweet tooth, roughly 1 teaspoon should suffice)
- Pour the almond milk, vanilla extract and optional sweetener in to your chosen container (mason jar, glass, bowl or half a coconut, you do you) and stir until combined. If you’re looking to make it more interesting, now’s your chance. Add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of sweetened cacao powder for a chocolate chia pudding, or get inspired and see what others have done. It’s easy to play around with this one and hard to mess it up.
- Add the chia seeds and mix well. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes and stir again, to avoid clumping. You can stir interspersedly if you have the time, but it’s not needed.
- Leave to set for at least an hour, however if you have time to spare, +/-3 hours or even overnight will result in a thicker consistency.
- Note that you can make a big batch, by multiplying the recipe, and refrigerate it, prepping for the week ahead. It’ll keep for 3-5 days in an air tight container.
The Fun Part:
Undoubtedly my favorite part, adding your selection of yummy toppings- from fresh fruits to crunchy granolas- and making it all look rather pretty. From a dollop of your favorite nut butter or greek yoghurt to cacao nibs and buckwheat clusters, the choices are endless. Today’s chia pudding was topped with fresh figs, pomegranate seeds, passionfruit and almond slivers.
And that’s all there is to it; minus the wait for the chia pudding to set, this is no more than a 10 minute deluge from your daily activities and guaranteed to become a firm morning staple.