Thursday, October 1, 2015

Deliciously decadent chia pudding


Chia seeds seem to be one of the newest "superfoods" on the block and get mentioned everywhere. These little black (or white) seeds are probably closest in taste and texture to poppy seeds, but with a whole lot more exciting properties. 
Chia seeds are derived from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. They can be eaten raw or added to foods and have some pretty impressive nutritional properties:
  • Omega 3 fatty acids– These essential fats that are important for heart health and brain function. Chia seeds are unusually high in omega 3s, and one of the best plant sources. Of the 30% total fat found in chia seeds, more than half is alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which is the plant form of omega-3. 
  • Fibre - Chia's 34% fibre is higher than that of flaxseeds (linseed) or sesame seeds, and works out to be about 10g in two tablespoons (which would make a significant contribution to the 25–30g it's recommended we consume daily). Chia seeds are so high in fibre you need to be careful not to go overboard when you first start eating them- or your belly will notice!
  • Protein and calcium - They are also an excellent source of protein and extremely high in calcium – at 631mg per 100g, this is five times the level in milk (although it may not be so readily absorbed).
  • Chia is also a source of other important minerals including iron, magnesium and zinc. Oh – and it's gluten free, too.
Not surprisingly, many foodies claim chia is a "super" food and list all sorts of health benefits, many of which are over-rated. But while it is a food with some nutritional advantages, it is not magical. What we do know from limited evidence is that including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular risk factors, such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. And although claims of weight loss may be far-fetched, the claim that chia helps you feel fuller for longer is likely more valid, due to its high fibre and protein content.
So what can you do with chia seeds?
Add them wherever you like.I have long been using them sprinkled on breakfast cereal or added to porridge and bakers put them in pancakes, bread, muffins and cakes. But the neat thing about chia seeds are their ability to retain water- in fact they will soak up ten times their weight in liquid - making them ideal for setting and "gelling" puddings and sauces. Apparently they can be used as an alternative to eggs? (Can't say I've tried that one).
I was a little skeptical in making chia puddings as I have bought commercial ones from the supermarket before and to be honest found them gag-worthy - the one I bought in a little tub was cloyingly sweet, watery and a little slimy and went straight in the garbage. So with some hesitation I tried them at home without a completely different outcome - I think using Greek yoghurt changed the texture to a rich creaminess which was divine!
Here's the recipe:
CHIA BREAKFAST PUDDING
1 cup milk (cows milk, almond, soy, whatever)
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1/3 cup chia seeds
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP honey or maple syrup (or stevia or whatever sweetener you prefer)
a sprinkle of cinnamon
Fresh fruit
Method:
Mix milk, yoghurt, vanilla, cinnamon and honey in a jug and whisk until smooth.
Add chia seeds and stir well. Let sit on the bench for 20 mins or so until it starts to set then stir again to ensure the seeds haven't all sunk to the bottom.
Pour mixture into four containers and cover in the fridge overnight to set fully. You can eat them in 2 hours but they taste best after 8 or so.
I layered them with strwberries, blueberries, passionfruit pulp and coconut. I sprinkled almonds on the top of mine and ate it out of the jar, my husband spooned his into a bowl and topped it with muesli. Delicious!

OTHER OPTIONS
Once you have the liquid : seed ratio right, then go wild. Blend fresh or frozen berries with your yoghurt, add nutmeg and star anise for a chai flavour, use coconut milk (watch the saturated fat) and sliced mango for a tropical summer feel, or add oats or quinoa to make a bircher pudding.  They also work for dessert options as below:
CHIA MOCHA CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Want the amazing texture of chocolate mousse with extra health benefits? Chia puddings can go there too! 
1 cup milk (cows milk, almond, soy, whatever)
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract or coffee extract for a mocha flavour
2 TBSP honey or maple syrup (or stevia or whatever sweetener you prefer)
berries and choc chips for topping (or nuts, honeycomb, crushed cookies, whatever!)
Method:
Mix milk, yoghurt, vanilla/coffee, cocoa and honey in a jug and whisk until smooth and the cocoa is well mixed through.
Add chia seeds and stir well. Let sit on the bench for 20 mins or so until it starts to set then stir again to ensure the seeds haven't all sunk to the bottom.
Pour mixture into four containers and cover in the fridge overnight to set fully. I poured ours into fancy dessert glasses and topped with fresh raspberries and dark choc chips. You can eat them in 2 hours but they taste best after 8 or so.
Bon appetit!
For more recipes like this one, follow the Lean Green and Healthy page on Facebook, join our friendly chat group or to have all the tips together at your fingertips, order our LGH ebook online - buy now

No comments:

Post a Comment