This may come as a shock to most of you, but I'm kind of a minimalist in the kitchen. I prefer not to keep a ton of complicated ingredients around, sticking instead to some versatile basics that lend well to a plethora of different recipes. That's why chia seeds have become a fast favorite around here. They store for months without any fuss, and they work as easily into a chia pudding as they do a salad dressing, pancakes, protein bars, jam or muffins.
I've actually found that I have all of the ingredients for this chocolate chia pudding on-hand anytime, making it the perfect healthy craving-quasher at a moments notice. We actually use self-stable almond milk, so everything in this recipe can be found in our cupboards. And bananas? Well, with four boys ages 6 and under those are a staple around here!
- 1 banana split in half
- 1 cup almond milk
- 3 Tbsp raw cacao powder
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
In a powerful blender, combine half the banana, cacao, vanilla and two tablespoons maple syrup. Pour in the almond milk. Blend until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the chia seeds.
Let sit in the fridge for four to six hours. This allows the seeds to absorb the mixture and thicken resulting in a pudding like consistency.
Remove from fridge and stir in the last tablespoon of maple syrup as well as the second half of the banana.
If you haven't gotten on board the cacao bandwagon yet, now's the perfect time. Raw, powdered cacao has a ton of antioxidants and has even been found to boost the immune system. Keeping cacao around is a great way to get your chocolate fix in a healthy manner. You can add a dash to pancakes, bread, smoothies and more. We keep some in our pantry to hot chocolate from scratch, easy chocolate sauce, a quick spread similar to Nutella. The options are practically endless!
To add a real health punch to this recipe, chia seeds have been all the rage with my hipster friends in recent years. They're super-filling because they puff up in liquid and are full of fiber. They're also PACKED with protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
When I really want to add a flavor twist, I even stick some dried coconut into my chia pudding! Coconut flesh would be a good substitute for those who don't like bananas, too. I know it sounds absolutely crazy to not like bananas since they're like heaven-sent little packages of portable sweetness, but Nate informs me that some people aren't banana fans. Apparently, to him, they “taste like something you eat when you're trying to get rid of cramps.”
Hey, that's yet another reason to love this recipe! Especially if you're PMS-ing. This here is the ultimate mood-lifting, cramp-fighting, delicious little bowl of happiness that the whole family can get on board with.
Don't tell anyone, but I sometimes even feed this chia pudding to the kids for breakfast.
Have you ever had chia pudding?