"That looks weird," my sister once said to me, spying the chia seed pudding I was having for breakfast. "Are those...eggs?" she asked.
I was shocked by this for a couple reasons: 1. Chia seed pudding is awesome! 2. What sort of tiny, tapioca-sized eggs would I be eating with a spoon, first thing in the morning, topped with fruit and coconut whipped cream?
I responded to my sister's line of questioning by extolling the virtues of chia seed pudding for about 10 minutes (although my sister will say it was more like an hour): It's make-ahead, customizable, and full of good-for-you fiber, protein, and fats.
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And it's not weird, really! Because you can flavor and top chia seed pudding however you want, you can tailor it to your tastes—meaning if you like the texture, it's the opposite of gross. Here's how to make chia seed pudding without a recipe:
Get your soaking liquid going.
You could use just water, but that's a bit boring. Instead, think of the seeds' soaking liquid as the pudding's chief flavor agent—you can make it nutty, fruity, or chocolatey. For every 2 tablespoons of seeds (which will make 1 serving), try whirring together one the following in a blender until smooth:
3/4 cup water, 1/3 cup pecans or nut of choice (soaked overnight in water and drained), 2-3 pitted dates (soaked overnight in water and drained), pinch of cinnamon, pinch of salt
3/4 cup almond milk or milk of choice, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, a dash of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon maple syrup or sweetener of choice, pinch of salt
3/4 cup almond milk or milk of choice, 1/4 cup thawed, frozen cherries, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon maple syrup or sweetener of choice, pinch of salt
3/4 cup coconut milk, 1/4 cup chopped pineapple, 2 tablespoons unsweetened, toasted coconut, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, pinch of salt
3/4 cup almond milk or milk of choice, 1 teaspoon matcha powder, 1 tablespoon maple syrup
3/4 cup almond milk or milk of choice, 1 tablespoon peanut butter or nut butter of choice, 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Mix it up.
Add the blended mixture to the chia seeds and stir to combine. Let sit for a few minutes, stir again, let sit a few more minutes, stir yet again, cover, and pop it into the fridge overnight. In the morning, the seeds will have swollen and become gelatinous in texture, absorbing all that liquid. Before serving, give the pudding a stir and check the texture. If it's too thick, just add a splash more almond milk.
Top it off.
Top the chia seed pudding with whatever you like! Here are some ideas:
Tell us: What's your favorite way to top chia seed pudding?
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).