I spent a good many of my childhood holidays pining after the Chia Pets shown in those catchy commercials. Would I find the Chia Sheep, Chia Cat, or coveted Chia Dinosaur under the tree this year? Nope. I sadly never got one.
Now that I am grown and had completely forgot about my chia pet hopes as a child (until writing this post…note-to-self for next holiday), the chia seed has come back into my life in a completely different light. The chia seed is great eats!
The record of chia seeds as a cultural superfood date to Mayan and Aztec times in Mexico. Hailing from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, they are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, calcium, and manganese.
When exposed to moisture, chia seeds make an emollient gel similar to flax seeds and expand to approximately 4x their original size. The gel is a great beauty treatment for the skin, but also is perfect as an all natural pudding! We make almost weekly batches of chia pudding at our house and our two year-old loves to dump in the ingredients and stir it to perfection. It is a fabulous, healthy treat you can feel great about giving to…well…anyone!
2 1/2 cups milk of your choice (cow, almond, hemp, coconut, etc)
2-3 Tablespoons of sweetener (agave, brown rice syrup, honey, maple syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 cup Chia Seeds
zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk (I like to use a combo of almond and coconut milks), sweetener, and vanilla. Add chia seeds and lemon zest (if using) and stir to combine. Refrigerate approximatey 4 hours or until the mixture has reached a pudding-like consistency, stirring occasionally.
Eat it up! It is even great for a nice, summer breakfast.
Since discovering the benefits and deliciousness of including raw vegan foods into her diet in 2008, Stephanie has been experimenting with “new to her” nuts and seeds with great success. Luckily, her husband and daughter are willing lab rats.