You may know Chia seeds better from the eponymously named planter that cemented the name into the minds of children of the 80′s, but as it turns out, the seeds are quite nutritious, and have some unique properties that make them a fantastic ingredient for food.
A relative of mint and basil, when soaked in a liquid, the relatively neutral tasting seeds form a mucilaginous coating that thickens the liquid. This makes it perfect for making a no-cook plant-based pudding. Blend them with some coconut milk and cocoa powder and you can make a delicious vegan chocolate pudding.
After soaking the seeds for about an hour, they soften up and form slick balls about the size and texture of tapioca pearls, which also makes them a delight to use whole, either in a pudding or in a beverage. This simple parfait is nutrient dense, and makes for a terrific weekday breakfast (soak the chia the night before), and yet it tastes like a decadent dessert.
I used coconut milk and strawberries because it was what I hand on hand, but this works just as well with soy milk, almond milk (or dairy milk), and I love changing up the fruits by season. As for the maple syrup, it’s not really necessary given the sweetness of the fruit, but I like my desserts sweet.
Strawberry Chia Parfait
- 1.6 ounces (45 grams or about 1/4 cup) chia seeds
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 strawberries, quartered
- Stir the chia seeds together with the coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Leave this covered for 1 hour for the seeds to rehydrate.
- Line the bottom of 4 small jars or ramekins with a layer of the chia pudding and then add a strawberry to each one.
- Top with the remaining chia pudding and refrigerate until you're ready to eat it.
Yield: 4 small parfaits
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.