Vanilla Chia Puddings

A versatile and healthy recipe from vegan chef Amy Chaplin

Certain things are guaranteed to make your ears prick up, like when Amy Chaplin – private chef to celebrities like Liv Tyler and Natalie Portman – reveals the recipe her clientele request most.

Turns out, it’s these super simple vanilla chia puddings. For those of us who are always in a mad rush in the morning, these puddings make for a healthy make-ahead breakfast option that could save you precious time while avoiding a rumbling belly!

Savoury snacks are more your style? Check out her Herbed Sweet Potato and Caramelised Onion Muffins, another goodie from Amy’s cookbook At Home In The Whole Food Kitchen.

Photo: Johnny Miller

Vanilla Chia Pudding

When chia seeds are added to liquid, they ‘bloom’ and thicken the liquid, resulting in a tapioca-like consistency. When the chosen liquid is a luscious vanilla cashew milk sweetened with plump Medjool dates and enriched with coconut butter, like it is in this recipe, it makes for a delightful sweet treat that is loved by just about everyone. This pudding is the most requested dish among my clients, as they not only enjoy it as a light refreshing dessert or afternoon treat but also think it’s pretty great for breakfast. If you want to serve it as a sweeter dessert, you can top each glass with a drizzle of maple syrup. This pudding comes together in a flash without turning on the stove.

80 g (½ cup) chia seeds
1 vanilla pod
150 g (1 cup) raw cashews, soaked 2 to 6 hours in 2 cups of filtered water
4 cups filtered water
7 Medjool dates, pitted
Pinch sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons coconut butter or extra virgin coconut oil
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Fresh berries, to serve

Make the pudding:
– Place chia seeds in a medium bowl. Split vanilla pod in half length-ways, scrape out seeds with tip of a small knife and add them to an upright blender. Place vanilla pod in bowl with chia seeds; set aside.
– Drain and rinse cashews and add to blender with 3 cups of the filtered water, dates, salt, cinnamon, coconut butter and vanilla extract.
– Blend on highest speed until completely smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into bowl with chia seeds along with remaining 1 cup water and whisk thoroughly. Alternatively, if you have a large blender with a 1.4 litre (6-cup) capacity, you can blend in all the water at once.
– Leave the mixture to sit for 10 minutes, whisking a couple of times to prevent chia seeds from clumping. Place in the fridge for 1½ to 2 hours or until completely chilled.
– Remove and compost the vanilla pod before serving. Divide into bowls and serve chilled topped with berries. Store any leftover pudding in a jar in the fridge for up to five days variation.

Variation: Chocolate Chia Pudding
– Once pudding is chilled, remove the amount you would like to flavour with chocolate and place it in a bowl. Sift in 4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder for each cup of pudding mixture.
– Stir well and serve chilled topped with raspberries.

This is an excerpt from Amy Chaplin’s At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, available here.


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