Monday, February 18, 2013

Simple Coconut Chia Pudding

Today I am participating in 5-Ingredient Monday, a weekly blogging event devoted to simple gluten-free recipes with a minimum of ingredients.  Hosted by the lovely Iris Higgins, the mastermind behind The Daily Dietribe and co-author of The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guide, she relates how the beginning of the week can be rough, and the last thing most of us want is to have to prepare an elaborate or time-consuming meal at the end of the day.  So why not come up with recipes that can be whipped up relatively quickly, that won't border on reading an encyclopedia when going through the ingredients, and that taste delicious?  

Why not, indeed. 

Today's offering was inspired by a recent post on Facebook where a friend was searching for a chia pudding recipe and was convinced that I may have been the one who had shown it to her.  Now, full disclosure, I am not the biggest fan of chia pudding.  Most times I have had it, it has left me wondering if eating frog eggs would feel any different in my mouth.  And even when I shared a sweet potato chia pudding recipe here around Thanksgiving last year, I incorporated ground flax and psyllium husks to make the texture more palatable.  So when my friend tagged me in this post, I had a little chuckle. [The silent kind where your shoulders bounce up and down but no sound comes out.  You know the one]

1st try topped with ground black sesame, sultanas, and blueberries.

But when she found the recipe and shared it in a proceeding comment, I became intrigued.  Most recipes had not been this pared down (4 ingredients total), and the way she described it as having a "nice tapioca pudding consistency" actually sounded appealing.  So I gave it a shot...and was quite impressed.  This chia pudding tasted much better than previous ones I had experienced.  Satisfying, faintly sweet, and not slimy and reminiscent of pre-tadpoles or caviar.  Actually, quite 'tapioca-like.'  And the coolest thing was how versatile it was, a blank canvas for any variety of tasty toppings or mix-ins.  And when I tried it again, with a few adjustments including a touch of coconut, I knew I had to share it with you.  

From chia-pudding doubter, I had officially converted into a fan riding the chia-pudding double-decker bus.  And hopefully after trying today's super simple recipe, you'll be able to jump on board as well. [cue revving of engine and bus door swinging open...]

Coconut Chia Pudding
Gluten-Free & Vegan

Active Prep Time: less than 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: at least 1 hour
Cooking Time: none
Yield: approx. 1 1/4 cups

1 c + 1 tablespoon So Delicious coconut milk beverage
1/3 c raw chia seeds
1 teaspoon finely shredded dried coconut
1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
1 pinch salt

1.  In a medium-sized jar, combine all ingredients.  Secure lid and shake vigorously for about a minute. You should reach a point where the chia seeds are no longer clumped together and appear to be suspended throughout the mixture.  I used a 'blender-ball' from one of my protein shake blender bottles and it seemed to help.
2.  Place jar in refrigerator and chill for at least one hour, although I will say that letting it go longer is not a bad thing.  To prep in advance, make it in the evening and allow to chill overnight or make it in the morning and allow to chill over the course of the day.  So cool to have pudding ready and waiting for you when you want it.
3.  To serve, garnish with fresh or dried fruit, nuts or seeds, and a drizzle of additional sweetness if your tastebuds request it.

I find using white chia seeds to be more aesthetically appealing.

Blender ball enjoying a pudding bath.

Yummy flecks of coconut throughout, adding textural interest.

And that's it.  So simple, right?  And if you take away the dried coconut, even simpler and more malleable to whatever you want to make of it.  But if you want to gussy it up, the sky's the limit.  Now that you have the basic proportions for a successful chia pudding, you can add vanilla beans, mix in fruit preserves, make it chocolatey with cocoa powder, add chai spices and garnish with chunks of dried ginger, mix in pureed bananas at the start, layer it in a cake parfait or top it with crumbled gluten-free cookies - so many ways to make it uniquely delicious.  And another great thing is how nutrient-rich this dessert is.  Packed with omega-fatty acids, a good source of protein, and fiber-filled, it satisfies on so many levels.  I wouldn't hesitate to call this a 'healthy' dessert.  I actually might flaunt it as such.  

And there you have my contribution to today's 5-Ingredient Monday.  Quick, simple, and delicious.  And to think that it all started with a case of mistaken identity and a silent chuckle.  


Big Thanks again to Iris for starting this event and cordially inviting me to participate.  Kindly visit her beautiful blog, not only for more awesome 5-Ingredient Monday recipes, but for a mother lode of allergen-friendly, body-honoring deliciousness.


  1. Hi Jonathan, what's a blender ball? The puffing looks great. Thanks for the detailed coverage.

    1. It looks like a small, spherical whisk and comes with Blender Bottles. It's intended for making protein shakes, or mixing other powdered beverages, on the go. Beyond making chia pudding, they're also helpful for shaking salad dressings together and other such agitation/emulsification kitchen needs. Definitely recommend!

  2. Yes, I love chia pudding! This is exactly the kind of recipe I love to share on 5-Ingredient Mondays. Simple and innovative! Here's the link:

    1. Thanks, Iris! And thank you again for being a hostess with the mostest!

  3. Ooh, that looks delicious and I already have the ingredients on hand. My daughter will have a blast shaking it up too! Looks like a great snowy day project for this afternoon!

    1. Agreed! I hope it proves to be both enjoyable to make and to eat for both you and your daughter. :)


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