Chia Pudding is the easiest thing to whip up. Just stir together these protein-packed little seeds with milk and wait for a while. They magically turn into a creamy tapioca-like pudding that’s fun to layer with fruit in a red and white parfait.
Happy Birthday Canada!
Today you turn 150 years young. I feel so lucky to be living in this wonderful country. Each year that goes by, I understand more about the blessings we have in this huge land, from sea to shining sea. (I know, corny, huh? But the Canadian national motto is “A mari usque ad mare“, which translates as ‘From sea to sea’, so I guess I can proudly say that.)
Watch Jonathan Torrens lovely song to thank Canada for being wonderful.
Compared to so many other countries, we are just a baby, but I think that’s what makes us so special in a way, too. We get to write our own history. We are an amalgamation of all who have come here. Canada is a land of many faces and cultures, from the Indigenous Peoples who roamed the prairies and forests first, to all who have come since.
I’m a first generation Canadian. My parents were immigrants to this country in the 1950’s, refugees from Germany, displaced persons who found a home here. As a child I never realized how lucky I was or how special their story was. They were just Mom and Dad, telling about the hardships of their childhood. Their story was unique, and yet so similar to many many other people’s.
Now I get it. I realize that because they survived (and so many didn’t), I am the lucky one to be here. To live in this great, glorious, free country. This country that welcomed the scared, lonely, fleeing souls. This country that opened up her arms to them, and said, ‘Welcome,’ and gave them a home.
Thank you, Canada.
In honour of the red and white of our flag, I’ve made you a little Chia Pudding and Strawberry Parfait. Cheers, Canada!
To read some of my thoughts and ramblings on what Canadian Food and Cooking means to me, check out this post (plus there’s a great recipe for Apple or Rhubarb Crisp).
On to the chia pudding.
We’ve been eating variations of chia pudding for several years now, but for some reason, I never thought to post it. It’s hardly a recipe, so it didn’t seem post-worthy. But I think I’ve been doing you a disservice. This is one of my favourite breakfasts – so simple, satisfying, and delicious – in line with this yogurt, honey, and walnut breakfast.
Chia seeds are mighty little powerhouses of nutrition, rich in fiber, protein, antioxidants, omega 3’s, vitamins, and minerals. They’ll give you enough energy to get through the morning easily (from South America – they kept the Aztec warriors in top form). Try them in a refreshing Agua Fresca drink, too. When mixed with liquid, chia seeds soften and absorb water. They swell to about 9 times their volume, exuding a gel that makes them resemble tapioca pudding. They don’t need to be cooked – just stir them up with milk, let them sit in the fridge overnight, add a bit of fresh fruit or berries, a slurp of maple syrup or your favourite sweetener, maybe a handful of crunchy granola, and you’ve got a luscious, healthy, filling breakfast. Serve a smaller portion, with maybe an extra touch of sweetness, and you’ve got a lovely dessert. See how versatile this little seed is?
You can use any kind of milk you like – dairy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, other nut milks. You can stir in a spoonful of yogurt. You can top the pudding with any kind of fresh fruit or berry, sweeten it with maple syrup, honey, stevia, or any other favourite sweetener. You can add all kinds of flavourings and garnishes to the basic recipe.
Chia seeds come in black or white. The have the same taste and same nutritional value. I use the white seeds when making a light-coloured pudding since I think they look more attractive, but the black seeds will work fine, too.
This week we’ve been tending to our friends’ yard while they’re on holidays, and I got to raid their strawberry patch! I picked a couple pails of delicious, sweet, ripe strawberries from their garden. What a gift! The flavour is a zillion times better than the supermarket ones.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: You will find different ratios of chia seeds to liquid if you search online. It is all a matter of taste. I like the ratio of 3 tablespoons chia seeds to 1 cup of milk, as it makes a looser pudding. Some recipes use up to 4 tablespoons chia seeds per cup of milk, but I find that makes quite a stiff pudding. Different milks will also absorb in different amounts, so you may have to adjust the liquid depending on what kind of milk you use. If your chia pudding is too stiff, stir in a bit more milk to loosen it once it has finished soaking. Play with the ratio until you find the pudding to your liking.
I like to make a double batch of this pudding and have it in the fridge for several days for breakfasts. Sometimes I chop the leftover berries and stir them right into the pudding, and eat them the next day. In the winter, I love pomegranate seeds in my chia pudding.
Use whatever sweetener you like. The maple syrup combines well with the vanilla and adds a richness. Besides, it’s a truly Canadian ingredient!
Chia Pudding Parfaits with Fresh Strawberries and Maple Syrup
gluten-free, dairy-free option, vegan
- 1 cup milk, any kind (dairy or non-dairy)
- 3 tablespoons white chia seeds
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (omit if using vanilla flavoured nut milk)
- maple syrup or other sweetener to taste
- a couple handfuls fresh, sliced strawberries (or other berries or fruit)
- a few spoonfuls granola to garnish, optional
Stir together the chia seeds and milk (or you can put them into a jar, seal the lid, and shake them well). Let the seeds soak, then stir or shake them again a few minutes later. Chia seeds need to be stirred a couple times in the first few minutes of soaking to prevent lumps forming. Then stir them once more after about 15 minutes to prevent the seeds settling a the bottom. After that they are fine without stirring. Refrigerate the chia gel for at least four hours, or preferably overnight.
In the morning, stir in the vanilla and maple syrup or other sweetener to taste. (I like about 2 teaspoons of maple syrup.)
Slice up some fresh strawberries.
Plop a spoonful of chia pudding into a pretty glass. Add a handful of sliced berries. Drizzle on a bit of additional maple syrup. Add another layer of pudding, more berries, and another drizzle of syrup.
Top with a final spoonful of chia pudding. Sprinkle on a bit of granola, or top with a berry.
Makes 2 to 3 servings.
The chia pudding will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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