I try not to feature any one ingredient too heavily on this blog. Much like at my dinner parties, I try to steer away from repetition, and produce something new with every dish. I'm pretty sure some of our friends who eat in our apartment regularly have begun to think I have some sort of endless well of varied recipes in my head.
But in our day-to-day cooking and eating, there are certain ingredients, foods, and themes that reoccur regularly. Chia seeds are one of them. While I've only posted one other chia recipe to this blog, S and I enjoy chia desserts pretty regularly. There are a glut of chia recipes out there already, but I frequently nix the idea of a recipe in favor of putting together a pudding from whatever I already have in the house.
That's the beautiful thing about chia seeds- they're very versatile. They'll soak up any kind of liquid you pour them into, and varying the amount can produce everything from smoothie, to jam, to pudding consistencies. They're also tasteless, so you can add them to just about anything you like the flavor of to make a pudding.
They're great with coconut milk, or almond milk to make pudding, fantastic in juice to make a chia fresca drink, great with mashed berries to make raw jam, and taste great topped with just about any combination of fruit.
So consider the recipe below a backbone or a jumping off point. You can change up the sweetener, add a little fruit juice to change the flavor, top it with granola, or with different fruits (perhaps kiwi and pineapple, or berries and melon), toasted sesame seeds, muesli, whatever you like! The beauty of chia pudding is its simplicity and adaptability, so experiment away!
Coconut-Chia Breakfast Pudding with Mango, Almond, and Banana
2 C coconut milk (or almond)
1/4 C chia seeds
2 tbsp coconut butter optional*
1/2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla)
2 tbsp maple syrup (or agave or honey)
1.4 C shredded dried coconut
1/2 C almond slivers
If your coconut butter is cold and rock hard like mine was, put it in a little bowl and microwave it about 20 seconds at 50% power, or pop it in a bath of warm water until it softens. Add coconut butter to a large bowl or container with a lid (don't put the lid on yet though), and stir in the maple syrup and almond extract until smooth and well combined.
Add about 1/2 C coconut milk and mix until the coconut butter/maple is thoroughly mixed into the coconut milk. Add the rest of the can of coconut milk and mix well.
Whisk in the chia seeds, pop on the lid and refrigerate at least three hours, or overnight. Overnight is ideal for breakfast usage.
Add the almonds to a small, dry skillet, and place over medium-low heat and stir often. Don't take your eyes off the almonds, and ideally slowly stir these the whole time as when they start to toast they can burn quickly. Also moving and turning them will help them toast evenly. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the almonds begin to turn pale brown and smell toasty. As soon as the almonds go from ultra pale beige to toasty light brown, remove pan from heat and continue to stir almonds for about 1 minute, to finish off toasting. If you smell anything burning, dump the almonds out onto a room temperature plate to help them stop cooking. Set the almonds aside.
When I'm having this for breakfast I do all my chopping in the morning right before I eat the pudding, but theoretically you could cut up the mango the night before and toss it with a bit of lemon juice, then keep it in the fridge until the morning, but I think I would hold off on cutting the banana until right before serving because old sliced banana is slimy. Peel and chop the mango into about 1/2 inch cubes. Peel the banana and cut into thin slices.
Take the lid off the pudding, give it a stir and spoon into bowls, top with the banana and mango, then sprinkle with the toasted almond and shredded coconut. Enjoy!
*The coconut butter is optional, as it isn't integral to the success of the recipe, so if you don't like/are allergic to coconut, or if you don't want to buy a whole jar for one recipe, then you can omit it without any replacement. It makes the pudding a bit creamier and also a bit stiffer, and generally bulks it up a bit, but I have made many chia puddings without it. If you'd like a thicker pudding without adding coconut butter, then add an extra 2 tbsps of chia seeds.