Chia seed is one of my favorite ingredients of all time. I grew up in the 90s, so until they underwent a renaissance in 2014 as a health food staple, chia seeds were known to me as one half of a bewitching time lapse equation. When I was little, all you needed were some chia seeds, water, and a perforated kitten figurine, and you had yourself four to six weeks of slow-release magic known as the Chia Pet. These made for a fun introduction to horticulture, though my struggling houseplants will tell you my green thumb never really progressed. There was a certain poetry to the simplicity of a Chia Pet; with just two ingredients and minimal effort, you could enjoy a wholesome and delightful creation. So you can imagine the thrill I felt upon learning that, coincidentally, chia seeds also make a delicious two-ingredient breakfast food.
Truly, all you need to make tasty chia pudding are two things: chia seeds and a liquid in a 1:4 ratio. When stirred into water or milk, the soluble fiber in chia seeds forms a gel that allows the mixture to take on a thick, creamy viscosity similar to tapioca pudding. This is just one amazing characteristic of chia seeds, of which there are many. Did you know that these tiny powerhouses are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid, a nutrient that’s super important for long term heart health? They’re also loaded with crucial vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorous, and zinc. Up close, they look like dinosaur eggs. And the list goes on.
Young coconut, also known as green coconut, makes a wonderful addition in chia pudding. Thanks to the natural sugars in fresh coconut water, you don’t need to add any sweetener, though you can if you prefer it. The meat from a young coconut is moist and creamy, and when you blend it with coconut water, presto: fresh coconut milk. Coconut milk on its own has a delicate, naturally sweet flavor, and serves as a neutral base for fancier flavor combinations like strawberry or double chocolate, as in this recipe.
Some people don’t care for the bouncy, chewy texture of chia pudding; if you know you’re not a fan of bubble tea, you might want to use ground chia seeds or try adding whole chia seeds during the blender step to get a smoother finish (don’t worry, it’ll still form a gel). You can store chia pudding in the fridge for up to five days and up to a month in the freezer. I find that freezing a pudding made with ground seeds has a nice froyo-like consistency, perfect for warm summer mornings. Since this bulk recipe makes enough pudding to last a week, you can mix it up with different fruit add-ins, like pineapple or mango, and toppings such as chopped nuts, fresh berries, or peanut butter.