A little over a year ago, I did a purification detox to rule out food allergies. It was vegan for the first 7 days, grain, sugar, and gluten-free for the first 14, and lasted 21 days altogether. I lived on salads, lentils, and protein shakes. Dessert was fruit for the first 2 weeks, and tiny squares of dark chocolate after that.
Breakfast was always a shake or smoothie; sometimes lunch was as well. One afternoon I tossed a handful of chia seeds into my smoothie. About 15 minutes later, it was a blob. I had no idea that chia had gelatinizing qualities. I’ve since used it to make quick-set jams and jellies. This recipe for healthier pudding was in the Sam’s Club magazine, Healthy Living Made Simple, September/October 2014.
Vanilla Chia Pudding Parfaits
- Prep.Time : 5 miC
- 4 servings
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp. agave, plus
- 4 tsp. for serving
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Kosher salt
- cup chia seeds
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- In a medium bowl, gently whisk the almond milk, yogurt, 2 Tbsp. agave, vanilla and 1/8 tsp. salt until just blended. Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes. Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, in a medium bowl, toss the berries with the remaining 4 tsp. agave. Mix in almonds.
- Spoon the layers of pudding and berry mixture into 4 bowls or glasses.
I thought I had almond milk in the house when I started making this recipe. Oops, must have used it all. So, to make things interesting, I used 1 cup of TruMoo chocolate milk. Chocolate and strawberries go great together! Against my better judgment, I kept the agave amounts as written. Everything came together easily, although the 5 minutes prep time is deceiving. I don’t like when recipes lead you to believe that you’ll be eating in 5 minutes! After the 30 minutes of standing, I whisked the “pudding”, covered it, and set it aside to put it in the basement refrigerator. It was starting to set before I even got it down there. I had the berries already sliced and ready to go because I had a feeling this pudding wouldn’t need to sit overnight.
But I forgot that it was pie night, so the components to the pudding sat in the refrigerator until the next morning. I had friends coming over for dinner, and put these together in case anyone wanted to try it (they opted for pie). I ate one of these delights for breakfast the next day instead.
Verdict: Wow! The pudding had a creaminess I wasn’t expecting, and the chia seeds were like tiny beads of tapioca (which I normally can’t stand). Truth be told, when I layered the puddings, I tasted the milk mixture, and it had a weird aftertaste that I couldn’t place and didn’t find pleasant. Luckily, either the additional setting time and/or the juices of the strawberries masked or eliminated that flavor. The fruit and pudding together is a home run. The almonds give it a little crunch, and the agave was just sweet enough.
I’m fully aware that almond milk may not create the creaminess achieved here, and I really do intend to try it as a non-dairy concoction. Husband was just informed that he might try a reduction in trigger foods (dairy, gluten, sugar) to help him with a few health issues he’s been having. He’s gung-ho right now about trying almond milk and grain-free/low-sugar dishes. So my next Costco run will include replenishing our almond milk supply and this dish will get another incarnation. I’m excited to try it with other berries or berry combinations as well. Stay tuned!