Meet my new bestie, Chia Seeds

I’m going to put 2 points on the board for you, here in the first 12 seconds of this blog post:

In a blender, … 1/2 banana + 1/2 cup lite coconut milk + splash of vanilla extract = heaven in a glass.

Also known as one tasty banana shake. Growing up, I was in Brownies (remember Brownies? The pre-k for Girl Scouts). I don’t remember much, but I do recall we made banana shakes one day. The recipe was something like, 1 c milk, 1 banana, 1 tsp vanilla, 3 – 4 ice cubes and like 1 CUP of sugar. Okay, it probably wasn’t a cup, but why do i remember it like it was a cup? Maybe because I was in second grade at the time. At any rate, it was a shake recipe that I still remember to this day, and made on may occasions. This heaven in a glass took me right back.

Okay, back to the topic at hand. The first time I remember trying chia seeds was when I was on a business trip in New York. My hotel was a couple of blocks from a raw juice bar (a bar that was, like next door to Dunkin Donuts). At the time I was trying to stay grain-free as much as possible, and dashed in there to see what it had to offer. In their to-go cold shelf was some chia pudding. Yes, it was delish. Later that trip I was in Whole Foods and picked up a chia-seeded yogurt. They were both after-dinner treats that hit the spot for me. (For the record, that NY business trip did not stay grain-free, as i very well recall visiting both that Dunkin Donuts AND the Bouchon Bakery at Columbus Circle, where that Whole Foods is also located). I just looked up that juice bar for you. It was Juice Generation. I know you were dying to know. And yes I remembered correctly, there is a DD right near it, too. I can’t forget the DDs.

So where was I. Ah, yes! Chia Seeds. Now, on your own search “benefits of chia seeds” to read all about why everyone is goo-goo-ga-ga about these little things.. Here is the 3-second replay: “Maximum nutrients for minimum calories” (I got that from Dr. Oz). Plus, when mixed with liquid they acquire this very cool gel, so it acts like a thickener. Which presumably is why in Paleo and Whole 30 worlds you’ll see chia seeds in recipes for puddings and stuff.

To be clear, according to the Whole30 masters, chia seeds are not encouraged, but not banned. That might be the case in some Paleo-circles as well. I’m going to take a wild guess that you are going to be better off with a Banana-Chia Seed pudding than an artificially flavored Strawberry Pudding from a box. Just thinkin’ out loud here.

Speaking of Strawberry Pudding … here’s the next score, a surprise kick return for a touchdown to start the second half.

Strawberry-Coconut Chia Seed Pudding aka Strawberries on a Cloud. Oh yes, I went there.

  • 4 – 6 medium sized strawberries
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp Chia seeds

Put it all in the blender and blend till smooth. Pour into a jar or container of some sort. Use a spatula to get all the goodness in there. Chill overnight or at least 4 hours. I did a check at hour 3 and my eyes were like “WHA THIS IS AMAZING”. The next morning, my second taste test and still yum. I took a scoop and laid it on top of the last of my Apple-Raisin-Concoction, brought it to work and still yum. Winner.

Stawberry-Coconut-Chia Seed Pudding

Stawberry-Coconut-Chia Seed Pudding

Final score, a pick-six because your team is THAT good: This Banana-Coconut Chia Seed Pudding is adapted from this recipe.

  • 1/2 banana
  • 3/4 cup lite coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • splash of vanilla (optional … is this Whole30 approved? I keep meaning to check)
  1. Blend.
  2. Pour
  3. Chill. Sometime in the middle of the fridging, take it out and stir it up, making sure that the seeds aren’t clumping up.

My other recommendation is to enjoy within 24 hours (so chill overnight, then enjoy). Otherwise the bananas take on that “I’m a banana that’s been in the fridge for a couple of days” taste. You know the taste I’m talking about? When I researched different pudding recipes, it was during my quest for a sweet Whole30 treat. Many of the recipes I found included honey or maple syrup, so I was trying to find a fruit or ingredient sweet enough that it didn’t require a sweetener. Bananas are perfect for that, however for best taste it needs to be enjoyed somewhat quickly.

Initial thumbs up from the kiddo. But when I asked the next day if she wanted some she declined. Must have known about the banana-a-day-later taste.

Ultimately it’s not artificially flavored pudding consistency for me. More like a porridge. Which, for me, is a nice alternative on those mornings where I’d like a bowl of something. If I plan properly, I could wake up in the morning and have just that. A sweet bowl of pudding-porridge.

One note about playing with your ch-ch-ch-chia pet – I mean seeds. When washing up, man those seeds get everywhere. And because thay have that cool gelling action, when they stick to everything. Sponges. Blenders. Sinks. Just letting you know ahead of time.

Don’t be daunted by the price. They’re expensive. At Metropolitan Market it’s something like $16 a bag. At PCC they had them on sale, and on top of that I was there on member discount day so together I think I was able to save $5. But, do the math. How many tablespoons are in this big bag? How often do you by a pound of medjool dates for a recipe? Price it out per recipe and I think you’ll see it’s not much different (perhaps even more cost-effective) than buying a can of coconut milk or that other special ingredient.

Additional research and inspiration (yet to be tested):


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