This chocolate chia pudding with cherries is a creamy and easy dessert that the entire family can enjoy. It has no dairy, no refined sugar and a delicious creamy chocolate flavor that gives it all the flavor of a dessert but all the nutrition of a healthy breakfast.
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This creamy chia seed pudding is a healthy dessert, snack or even breakfast. Chia seeds are mixed with almond milk and maple syrup and the resulting pudding is topped with fresh cherries and cacoa nibs. This is a dessert you can enjoy without feeling guilty!
Why Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds aren’t something I liked the first time I tried them. I enjoy overnight oatmeal, so a few years ago once I heard how nutritious chia seeds were I decided I should add some to my overnight oatmeal. I added a teaspoon or so at the bottom of a mason jar and filled it with the rest of the overnight oatmeal ingredients.
What I ended up with was a gelatinous layer of chia seeds stuck to the bottom of the mason jar. It turns out if you don’t stir or shake the chia seeds they just become a hard, unappealing blob. So after that I just ignored chia seeds!
But then my son was diagnosed with a dairy allergy and had to eliminate all dairy products from his diet. And it turns out that the fact that chia seeds gel in liquid is very useful for making dairy free pudding! So in an effort to give him some more dessert options I realized I need to revisit chia seeds so I can make healthy, dairy free desserts, like this Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are really, really good for you. They provide complete protien, making them great for vegetarians. And they also have lots of omega 3 fatty acids, complex carbs and fiber.
The seeds are low in net carbs, which means most of their carbohydrates are pure fiber. This makes them very appealing for someone following a keto diet. They also absorb about 27 times their weight in liquid. As soon as the seeds come into contact with water they start to form a gel, which is why it is important to stir or shake the pudding and break the clumps up as they gel.
How to Make Chocolate Chia Pudding
This chocolate chia seed pudding is very easy to make. Mixing the pudding at least once after making it is important, because it distributes the seeds evenly which keeps the pudding creamy. So the key to making this dessert is making it in something that will allow easy mixing.
After trying a few different things I prefer to make my chocolate chia pudding in a mason jar with a lid. I can put the lid on and shake it vigorously to mix. I have also made it in a bowl with a whisk, but I tend to spill the cocoa powder when I make it that way, and it seems harder to mix it thoroughly.
So to make the pudding I pour some almond milk into a mason jar and add cocoa, chia seeds and maple syrup. Make sure you add the liquid first. I like my pudding thick so I use a ratio of 1 cup almond milk to 1/4 cup chia seeds.
You can use other types of milk, like coconut milk, oat milk or cow’s milk. And the type of sweetener you use can also vary. I like maple syrup, but if you are following a keto diet stevia would be a better choice.
Then I put the lid on tightly and shake it until all the cocoa powder is mixed in. I leave it on the counter and shake it again after about 10 minutes. Don’t skip the second shaking! Then it goes in the refrigerator to chill and is ready to eat whenever you are happy with the consistency. I like to let it chill for about 6 hours before eating.
Topping the Chocolate Chia Pudding
This dessert tastes good all by itself, but adding extra toppings just makes it better. I like to pour it into dessert cups and then add toppings to make it look fancier and more like a dessert.
Chocolate goes well with fruit, so I tend to use fruit to top it off, like the cherries I used here. But there are lots of other great choices:
I also like to add crunchy toppings sometimes, like cacoa nibs or almonds. But if you are adding something crunchy you should wait and add it right before serving to keep it crunchy, not soggy
This chocolate chia seed pudding makes enough for two servings and keeps for 3-5 days in the refrigerator covered. It is a great thing to make ahead of time and have on hand. I like to have a healthy choice available to me for when I am craving chocolate!
In fact while I originally started making chocolate chia seed pudding for my son I mostly make it for myself now. It turns out that I love being able to eat chocolate pudding for breakfast or a snack!
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- cacao nibs
- Pour the almond milk into a pint size mason jar.
- Add the chia seeds, cocoa and maple syrup.
- Put the lid tightly on the jar and shake vigorously until the mixture is fully mixed.
- Leave the jar on the counter for 5 minutes and then shake vigorously again.
- Refrigerator for about 6 hours or up to 5 days.
- Top with cherries or other fruit and cocoa nibs.
You can vary the milk and use coconut milk, cow's milk or oat milk. Don't use full fat coconut milk from a can, it is too thick.
You can vary the sweetener and use agave, stevia or chopped dates.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 239 Total Fat: 10g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 11mg Carbohydrates: 33g Fiber: 10g Sugar: 16g Protein: 6g