Chia seeds are one of my favorite ingredients. The term “super-food” gets thrown around too much these days, but chia really is the epitome of a super-food. To quote Christopher McDougall in Born to Run:
In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone. As tiny as those seeds are, they’re superpacked with omega-3s, omega-6s, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants. If you had to pick just one desert-island food, you couldn’t do much better than chia, at least if you were interested in building muscle, lowering cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart disease; after a few months on the chia diet, you could probably swim home.
One of the great things about chia seeds is that they “gelatinize” in liquid. This turns a tablespoon of chia and some liquid into a semi-solid jelly that makes the perfect texture for a breakfast porridge.
There are at least 2.85 million chia pudding / chia porridge recipes on the internet. What’s new and better about this one? For starters, we’re blending the chia seeds to give it a nice creamy consistency. We’re also adding some rolled oats, vanilla, and lemon juice to round out the flavors. And there’s some mashed banana that we’ll add at the last minute.
This recipe needs at least 2-3 hours in the refrigerator for the seeds to gelatinize, but it keeps well for several days. It’s a great idea to make a big batch one evening so you have a healthy, super-food breakfast already made for the next 2-3 days.
Makes 1 (big) bowl
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 banana
- 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- dash of cinnamon
Add the almond milk, chia seeds, rolled oats, lemon juice, maple syrup, and vanilla to a blender and blend until the chia seeds and rolled oats have been fully puréed. At this point, the mixture will still be a runny liquid – the chia seeds need a few hours to thicken into a gel. Add to a covered container (mason jar?) and refrigerate overnight, or at least 3 hours.
When you’re ready to serve the pudding, thinly slice 1/3 of a banana and set aside for garnish. Mash the other 2/3 of the banana into your serving bowl. Add a tablespoon of shredded coconut to the bowl. Finally, pour the chia pudding over the top and mix the banana, coconut, and chia together.
You may be wondering why we don’t just add the banana while blending. The problem is, the banana would turn brown and develop some weird flavors if it was left in the refrigerator overnight. That’s why it’s best to simply mash and stir in the banana right before serving.
Add the toppings! The pudding is great by itself, but the toppings take it to another level. Lay the banana slices on top, sprinkle on a few raisins, dust with some shredded coconut and cinnamon. Experiment with other additions as well, such as chopped nuts or additional spices.
Question of the Day…
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take ONE food item with you, what would it be? (I think we all know what I’m taking…)