Chia seeds have come a long way from the ch-ch-ch chia pet commercials of my youth. In the last year or two, chia seeds have started to dominate discussions of healthy cooking due to their nutritional attributes and versatility. While trendy, it’s hard to argue with their ridiculously high fiber, easy digestibility, high alpha-linolenic concentrations, B vitamins and calcium. In fact, cultures in Central and South America have incorporated chia seeds into heir diets since Pre-Columbian times.
When added to liquid, chia seeds expand and create a gel, and can be used to thicken soups, smoothies and jams, or serve as an egg replacement in baking. I’m also finding more and more commercial products from juices to cereals containing chia in either whole seed or milled form. I recently tasted a deliciously refreshing brand of drinks called Chia Star that are high in omega 3s, potassium and antioxidants.
Apart from sprinkling chia seeds on my yogurt or throwing a few seeds in a smoothie, I haven’t done much with them until now. This nutty coconut chia pudding recipe comes together in minutes, (seconds, if you’re really organized) followed by a couple hours’ rest in the fridge where it will thicken as it chills. I sprinkled pomegranate seeds on top of the chia pudding, but you can substitute any fruit such as diced mango or raspberries, nuts or cacao nibs.
- 1 14-oz can lite coconut milk
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 2 T agave nectar
- ½ t lime zest
- pinch of salt
- ½ c shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
- ½ c chia seeds
- pomegranate seeds (aka pomegranate arlis) for garnish
- other optional garnishes: cacao nibs, toasted chopped nuts, chopped mango or berries
- In a medium bowl, combine coconut milk, vanilla extract, agave nectar, lime zest and salt, and mix well. (If you'd like the pudding a bit sweeter, you can add more agave nectar at this point).
- Stir in coconut flakes and chia seeds. Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
- Stir before serving and garnish with pomegranate seeds or other favorite toppings.