Does anyone remember as a kid eating those Jello Pudding Cups that were layers with vanilla and chocolate pudding as a snack? Those were probably one of my sister’s and my all time favorite snacks, and we would totally cherish every little morsel of pudding in that cup…except for the times when I would convince my sister that we should race to see who could finish the fastest…let her win, and then make her watch me cherish mine for the next 10 minutes. Hey, that’s what big sisters are for right? Anyway sometimes I really am amazed at how far we have come in the world of healthy snacks, especially as far as kids are concerned. Now I grew up in a house where that Jello Pudding was probably the most processed snack my mom would buy for us, but her and I still talk about some of the foods we used to eat and what we would de differently if we knew then what we know now. As a nutrition professional I love that people are so energized about food, healthy eating, sustainable food systems, and an overall wholesome lifestyle. But what pains me is what I get calls from countless friends and family members who are confused by all the nonsense that is marketed about food and our health today. Now there really is no easy way to seamlessly maneuver through all of the false health claims and pretty packaging, but if there is one thing I know for certain, most of the time if it sounds to good to be true…it probably is.
Now chia seed pudding is not something that is new to the world of health blogging, but it is new to me. Mostly because I have tried time and time again to make a chia pudding recipe that I actually enjoy as much as that good old Jello Pudding from the package. Most of the time I will read recipes of beautiful, mouth watering desserts that are also health conscious, only to discover that they taste pretty disgusting, and chia pudding was one of those desserts that over the years I have been disappointed by time and time again. But finally I have a recipe that just tastes good (should I even say great?!) And no it isn’t going to magically make you drop those last 10 lbs you have been working on, heal your leaky gut, or clear brain fog, but what it will do is provide you with a fiber rich, low-calorie, decadent dessert or snack that just works, and will make you forget that it actually is pretty darn healthy too. Have I won you over yet? Trust me this one is worth trading in your pre-packaged anything for.
CHOCOLATE COCONUT CHIA PUDDING
♥ 3/4 Cup Light Canned Coconut Milk (store in refrigerator until ready to use)
♥ 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
♥ 1/3 Cup Chia Seeds (whole not ground)
♥ 1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cacao Powder
♥ 1/2 Tsp Gluten Free Vanilla Extract or 1/4 Scrapped Vanilla Bean
♥ 1/4 Tsp Salt
♥ 1.5 Tsp Cinnamon
♥ 4 Pitted Medjool Dates
Optional Toppings: Shaved Coconut, Berries, Dark Chocolate Shavings, Raw Cacao Nibs
Note: This is not a sweet dessert and is more in line with a bitter 80% dark chocolate flavor profile. I personally like to add sweetness with fresh berries and shaved dark chocolate, however if you want to add more sweetness I would recommend adding 1.5 tsp of natural maple syrup for a little natural sweetness.
Makes four, 6 oz servings:
Place canned coconut milk in the refrigerator and allow to cool overnight if possible. This will allow the cream from the coconut milk to separate from the liquid in the can. Remove coconut milk from the refrigerator and scoop the white cream from the top of the can. Measure out 3/4 cup of cream/liquid coconut milk (some cans will have more cream than others). Next, combine all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes or until pudding mixture is smooth and has started to thicken. Note: You also have the option to leave out the chia seeds and simply stir them into the mixture after blending for a different textured chia pudding, much more similar to rice pudding than your traditional smooth pudding. Pour pudding into individual serving sizes, or a medium sized mason jar and allow to cool overnight. Serve after chilled and top with toppings of your choice. Some of my favorites are cacao nibs, shaved coconut, dark chocolate shavings, all berries, or almond butter.