I love pudding.
I do not love traditional chia puddings.
I hate the texture despite my favourite pudding of all time being rice pudding, I just can’t handle the gluey-crunch of the chia. So I set out to make a rich chocolate pudding that did not taste like undercooked rice pudding. My new favourite recipe is sweet without added sugar, has a rich and creamy texture and basically makes me very happy.
Many people reading this blog may be thinking : Cha cha cha Chia! and in fact that is exactly what chia seeds are. It took me a while to get passed this association with funny green heads, but having now disassociated the two in my brain I use chia frequently.
Chia add a good bit of protein, calcium, fibre and healthy fats to my kids diets. Chia is flavourless and blends fairly inconspicuously into just about anything. Particularly if you grind it first. Be careful though its got incredible binding and thickening powers so be aware that the texture will change. However for things like smoothies that are an immediate consumption treat this isn’t a problem. For this reason, this is and these puddings are my two usual places for the chia.
Pudding experiments: I settled on this, and the nut free version after much experimentation with chia puddings. I actually am not a big chocolate fan, I much prefer vanilla and strawberry flavoured sweets like pudding, cakes and ice cream. Unfortunately I have not had much luck with creating puddings in these flavours that I like as much as the store bought dairy equivalents. I also have not enjoyed the store bought soy puddings in these flavours either. I will continue to try and am open to any suggestions. I have also not had much success with homemade rice pudding, traditional or vegan so very eager to hear if anyone has a good luscious vegan rice pudding recipe for me to try. (Reference for my taste: kozy shack pudding) In the mean time I have a plan for a strawberry pudding……
5 dates (I use whatever I have on hand, but for extra sweetness use medjool dates)
2 tbsp. cocoa powder (more if you want)
1/4 cup cashew cream* (soaked raw cashews, put in blender with fresh water to desired thickness) – for a nut free version see version 2
splash of vanilla extract
1 tbsp chia seeds
Put it all in a single serve sized blender until smooth (might require some scraping and you may need to add more cream). Serve with frozen blueberries on top for a fun treat. (it turns the pudding colours as they defrost, try it!)
It makes a cup of pudding, so serves 2-4. my kids rarely eat more than a 1/4 cup of this at a time.
*The cashew cream recipe comes from the Oh She Glows cookbook
We came to visit the grandparents for the long weekend. An out-of-town friend was in for the week so I invited her and her family up for lunch. Her mom promised to come with a chocolate cake, and as a parent of a child with particular dietary needs I have learned to have something exciting to offer when something special gets served. Chocolate pudding is a good alternative to cake but I had no cashew cream or raw nut of any kind, no high-powered blender, and no fancy ingredients (I had to go visit the cousins next door to see if they had any chia hiding out, which in fact they did!). So I set out to replicate my favourite pudding in a less than favourable setting. it worked out pretty well, just a little less smooth.
Nut free, standard blender version:
8 dates, soaked
3 tbsp. chia, ground or grind it in a spice grinder
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 cup plain soy milk
splash of vanilla
Toss all ingredients in blender, pulse, scrape and puree until a smooth texture is achieved.
Explanation of adaptations: I used more dates and chia here because the nut cream is much thicker than soy milk and gives a sweeter flavour than plain soy milk so I wanted to compensate for this a bit. in this version I used black chia. with so many darker ingredients this one looks darker but takes just as milky-good. It’s a little less smooth than my Ninja version (thanks to the ancient blender I was using) but it’s just as tasty in the end. No need for fancy equipment to all those of you concerned you do not have an equipped kitchen!!!