Super Pudding

A few years ago I, along with everyone else I know who’s ever used a treadmill, read a book called “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall which examined the running techniques of the Tarahumara people, who can run forever without stopping or eating or wearing shoes. The book’s popularity resulted in two trends: (1) barefoot running shoes with individual toe tubes that make people look like amphibians, and (2) the exultation of chia seeds as a pop-superfood.

While the book was good, it didn’t quite inspire me to run barefoot or carry a sack of seeds in my sports bra. But then something wonderful happened, and that thing was chia seed pudding.

I realize it’s probably existed for eons — particularly since “chia” is the Mayan word for strength — but I’m convinced that “Born to Run,” with its tale of runners subsisting on chia alone for endless miles, brought this faux-dessert into our cultural fold, where it now lines the shelves of upscale bodegas and juice bars in the form of the conveniently packaged Chia Pod.

After my first few Chia Pod encounters, a novel cup or so no longer sufficed. Sure, I was fully sated, but I wanted more pudding. Ideally a vat of pudding, because it’s pudding, and it’s delicious. So I looked up some recipes and learned that chia seed pudding isn’t even cooked; it just happens. You mix a few ingredients, do something else for a bit, come back and that’s IT. Which means that enchantingly textured nectar is basically always within reach. And, should one decide to branch out from cinnamon vanilla, there are endless flavor possibilities. Last week I made a grapefruit and coconut milk based pudding with honey basil simple syrup to drizzle on top. You know how long that took? Ten minutes.

And there are health benefits, too. Chia seeds have 11% of recommended daily fiber per ounce, 8x’s the amount of Omega-3s in salmon per ounce, 3x’s more calcium than milk per ounce, protein, antioxidants…blah blah blah. Here’s the pudding recipe:

You will need: 1 cup of nut, coconut or dairy milk, 3 tablespoons of chia seeds, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, honey or maple syrup to taste (a tablespoon or so), and a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor. 

1. Mix the chia into the milk.

2. Add everything else. Depending on what kind of milk you’re using, you may want to add some maple syrup or honey.

3. Stir, refrigerate, stir some more.

Four hours later, chia seed pudding will have happened. If it’s too thick, mix in more liquid, if it’s too thin, add more chia. If the little chia balls don’t delight you, blend before refrigerating (and try half a banana for smoother pudding).

Or, you know, just use your man friend’s.

Balls, that is.

-Kate Barnett

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  • Tatyana Bugayeva

    Yummm!!! Looks and sounds so delicious! Must try! I’m into healthy things too, so this sounds ideal, but I’m not going to run barefoot. Yet! 😉

    Secret little Stars

  • This reminds me of overnight oats. Have you tried those? I would put chia seeds in that too. Giving this a shot fo shoooo.

  • Esther & Grace

    Ive tried chia-it’s good for filling you up too. I saw on Dr. Oz that it absorbs the liquid and forms a gel.

  • Madeline D.

    Literally walking to my kitchen to make this right now. Thank you for this amazing idea!! <3

  • xtyb

    Heads up though-the first day I discovered ChiaPod I went a little crazy and they do kind of gel it up in the colon if you know what I mean. I’d definitely warn against making it with cashew nut milk that would be a double whammy.
    Cant wait to try the overnight oats!

  • Oh! And I thought Chia seeds were important only as the healthiest part my self-made (wholemeal) bread … didn’t know about the pudding. Sounds good, though. Damn triable, so… 🙂

    • Kate Barnett

      tell me more about this bread!

      • Gladly!

        First of all, I think I read somewhere this simple recipe comes from a … bakery in New York 🙂 I am not sure, though. It has made a few rounds on the internets and I have seen a few successful variations, so let me just put down my personal version which works fine:

        500 g wholemeal flour (buckwheat or spelt or wheat …)
        150 g seeds (sunflower, sesame, flax, pumpkin … whichever you want)
        appr. 600 ml water
        a small packet of yeast
        1 teaspoon salt
        – – –
        1 teaspoon (or a desired quantity) chia seeds

        Preparation: as described below, you are going to mix the ingredients without chia seeds and without too much effort, then leave the dough for … 3 to 12 or more hours to develop, add chia seeds and bake it in a pot with a lid at a high temperature.

        Now for the details:

        Mix flour, seeds (without chia) and salt, add water and yeast and mix it a bit with a spoon. No need to twerk it too much, because you are going to cover the dish and just leave the soft dough to develop on its own. Your dish should be only half full, though, because your dough will rise.

        A few hours later, put a pot with a lid into the oven and switch it on – you’ll need 230-240 °C (446-464 °F). Needless to say your pot should be able to stand such high temperature – I use a very heavy Dutch oven and the results are great, but any covered pot should do.

        While waiting for the oven and the pot to reach 450 °F, you can add chia seeds to your bread dough.

        When the heat has been reached, take out the pot, scoop the dough into it with a spoon and don’t worry about the form, most doughs will turn out nicely rounded of their own accord. Put the lid on and leave it all in the oven for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, switch off the oven, take off the lid and let the uncovered bread bake for another 15 minutes while the oven is cooling off. After 15 minutes, take the bread out of the pot and leave it on a rack to cool off.

        You should have a soft, fluffy bread with a great taste – I am not exaggerating, I was about to give up home-made bread when I tried this recipe and now I can’t stop making it. In my experience, the time you leave the dough develop is not very important (but I read after appr. 18 hours you should put it into the fridge or bake it). Also, chia seeds don’t contribute to the taste of bread, but as a
        non-fish-eating vegetarian, I want my omega 3s and eat them, too.

        Nowadays, I often use rye flour instead of seeds and I also add a teaspoon of sugar (and salt). The very first recipe I found said “dry yeast” but I prefer the soft one. And the buckwheat flour was as great as any other … A miracle this recipe is 🙂

  • I do the lazy student route- oats, chia seeds, vanilla soy/almond milk, and honey. Sometimes I’ll add sunflower seeds or walnuts or cranberries. And then I just let it sit in the fridge! Instant breakfast to eat on the way to class 🙂

  • Kate Barnett

    ha! i hadn’t heard that before and just tried to find some research on it. i see it mentioned here and there but can’t find any sources to support it. nothing wrong with moderation, though!

  • Haleyisshort

    I like using chocolate almond milk!

    • Edwina

      Omg that is an amazing idea ! Yummm

  • Adrianna Grężak

    “Born to Run” totally inspired me to run barefoot and eat chia seeds. I’m not into pudding, so I just add about a tablespoon of seeds to water and/or naked juice. The seeds totally help me stay full longer and stay hydrated during a run.

    Pro tip: Keep your seeds in the freezer, they last forever. Someone suggested this in their Amazon review as a way to keep out bugs

  • Just what the doctor ordered — Man Repelling Chia Pudding. Yum. Thanks, Kate. Xo

  • badea.alexandra

    Superfoods, supergrains, superjuicing all super these days :)) I find chia pudding quite disgusting, prefer it crunchy in my yogurt or salad