I know – does the world really need another chia pudding recipe? You’ll have to trust me when I say that I wouldn’t publish one here unless it was a really, really good recipe that could possibly elevate chia pudding in your mind from “health food” to “certifiably craveable dessert (slash breakfast)”. I first learned how to make a proper chia pudding from Amy Chaplin, a long-time inspiration for all things culinary wellness and author of one of my most treasured cookbooks, At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. My recipe is adapted slightly from hers – the creamy base for this pudding is a homemade cashew milk sweetened only with dates and made extra decadent with a touch of coconut butter. Most chia pudding recipes use store bought non dairy milk, which comes out fine and is certainly more convenient, but I find that the homemade cashew milk base is what makes this recipe really special and a cut above the rest, so it’s really worth the extra small effort here. Homemade cashew milk is actually very easy to make – there’s no straining or pulp to remove – and things are simplified further if you have a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec. I love using a generous amount of pure vanilla extract (it’s worth it to splurge on a good brand as it makes all the difference in flavor, and a little goes a long way) and make sure to add a touch of sea salt for flavor balance.
I’m a big fan of chia pudding because it’s fairly easy to batch prepare a lot at once, and then you’ll have plenty in the fridge for whenever you need a fast breakfast, on-the-go snack, or a simple dessert. It’s also a perfect snack to give to kids – the flavors are really customizable, and you’re giving them a hearty dose of nutrients with each serving and most of them (even the picky ones!) won’t turn their nose up at it.
If you don’t know much about chia seeds yet, they’re a great source of natural energy, essential omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, zinc, antioxidants, and are low in calories. They’re a true superfood and worth making the effort to add to your daily diet. I buy mine at Costco and store them in a mason jar in the fridge to extend their shelf life (they should last 1-2 years this way!) – aside from chia puddings, I add chia seeds to smoothies, baked goods, oatmeal, and granola.