As I write, I am humming the Chia Pet jingle. I grew up watching this commercial on TV and was the proud caretaker of a few of my own Chia Pets. At the time, I would not have considered eating the seeds I was mixing to make my pet magically grow its green body, but now they’ve become a staple in my kitchen.
The health benefits of these ancient seeds are remarkable. A member of the mint family, chia is the richest plant source of Omega-3, stabilizes blood sugar levels, contains anti-inflammatory properties and is a great source of protein. Wow! Aside from its nutritional punch, chia seeds also taste good.
Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and can be sprinkled on salads and yogurt, stirred into oatmeal or tossed into muffin batter. My favorite way to enjoy these little brown seeds, though, is in pudding.
When chia seeds are soaked, they absorb a large amount of liquid and transform into a texture rather like tapioca pudding. This simple little pudding is a snap to create. You can make it with the liquid of your choice – milk, juice, coconut milk or almond milk all work well. Dried fruit, toasted coconut, maple syrup, cacao nibs or nuts are all tasty suggestions to add. Just mix your ingredients together and let the chia seeds work their magic. This is a marvelous breakfast to prep the night before. In the morning, grab your jar from the fridge and you’ve got a delicious start to your day. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even layer the pudding with fresh berries and yogurt for a pretty parfait.
Since I drink tea most mornings, I decided to try using it for chia pudding. I love the sweet, spicy taste of chai spices, so I stirred in some cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black pepper and a drizzle of honey. For a bit of creaminess, I added coconut milk (whole milk also tastes good). When the pudding had thickened, I topped it with fresh berries and enjoyed a terrific breakfast. Singing ch-ch-ch-chia has taken on new meaning!
Chai Chia Pudding
1 cup strong black tea (I use English breakfast)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup coconut or whole milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
Fresh berries for serving
After steeping your tea, pour it into a jar or other container with a lid. Add the cinnamon, pepper, cloves, cardamom and honey and stir. Set aside to cool until room temperature. Add the milk and chia seeds and stir well. Cover and pop it into the fridge. After about half an hour, give it another good stir to prevent the chia seeds from clumping.
Chill for a couple of hours or overnight. When ready to serve, give the pudding a stir and spoon the pudding into two bowls and top with berries.