I’ll be honest, chia seeds are one of those superfoods I have to nudge myself to eat. With each spoonful, I remind myself, “Fiber. Protein. Omega-3 fatty acids. All nine essential amino acids.” While chia seeds are flavorless, it’s the texture that takes some getting used to.
These little seeds expand and swell when placed in liquid, soaking up to ten times their dry weight. They transform into little gel-like globules, which makes consumption a bit of a slippery endeavor.
To get past the texture, I pair the chia seeds with my favorite fruit and fixings, adding both flavor and a burst of color to the “pudding” that forms when chia seeds are soaked in almond milk. With summer on my mind, fresh papaya and coconut shreds bring a touch of the tropics to this healthy Papaya Coconut Chia Pudding.
The base of the pudding consists of unsweetened almond milk, freshly cubed papaya, unsweetened coconut shreds, real maple syrup, and vanilla paste. Vanilla Paste is one of my new favorite ingredients, which is made by scraping out the inside of a whole vanilla bean.
The flavor is much more potent than vanilla bean extract. You can order it online, or purchase it from a specialty kitchen store such as Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table. I recently stumbled upon it at my local grocery store, Stop & Shop, in the baking aisle.
I use vanilla paste often in baked goods, but it can be used wherever you want amped up vanilla flavor (imagine it in a glorious vanilla bean ice cream!)
Papaya, when ripened, is brilliantly orange and very tender. I love it for both its color and mellow sweetness.
After pulsing the fresh fruit and other base ingredients in a blender, the chia seeds are stirred in to soak up all the beautiful liquid.
You can chill the mixture overnight, or for two to three hours prior to serving. I whisk the pudding occasionally to break apart any chia seed clumps that may have formed. It’s amazing how much the consistency changes in a short amount of time!
To serve the chia pudding, I garnish with additional papaya and coconut and a sprinkle of cinnamon, but you can certainly add granola, too. With its gorgeous colors, this chia pudding is a beautiful addition to Mother’s Day brunch (and a good conversation piece!) It can also be stored in a small container for an on-the-go breakfast or snack.
I would love to hear your thoughts on chia seeds and chia pudding. Are you a fan? What is your favorite way to prepare chia pudding or use chia seeds?
- 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1½ cups cubed fresh papaya (plus additional for garnish)
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes (plus additional for garnish)
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
- ⅛ cup real maple syrup
- ⅓ cup chia seeds
- Combine all ingredients except the chia seeds in a blender, pulsing into smooth.
- Pour blender contents into a large bowl and stir in the chia seeds. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Divide the chilled and thickened pudding into four
bowl, garnishing with additional papaya and coconut flakes, if desired.