Saturday, April 11, 2009
The Amazing Chia Pudding—An Easy, Delicious, Nutritious Dessert Or Snack
A few years ago, my daughter took me to Quintessence, a raw food restaurant in east village. It’s a small restaurant, not nearly as elegant as Pure Food and Wine (one of my favs when in nyc). But in this tiny, modest little restaurant, I ate some of the most delicious raw food dishes I’d ever had, and it takes a lot to beat the gourmet raw food that my friends in the south bay bring to our potlucks. But the best dish I had was their chia pudding. That was the first time I had ever had chia pudding. Well, the next night we returned and I skipped dinner completely and went straight for the chia pudding. I asked, no begged, for the recipe. They wouldn’t budge. I even tried to bribe the wait staff. What was I to do? I was returning to California the next day and had no way to satisfy my newly acquired addiction!
I immediately tried to duplicate it. I went through 3 pounds of chia seeds experimenting with different recipes. I’m not sure it’s as good as Quintessence, but it’s pretty darn close. So here is my version of this amazing chia pudding recipe.
Each serving has 2,425 mg of omega-3 and 1,882 mg of omega-6 essential fatty acids! An excellent non-fish source of omega-3’s needed during pregnancy. This dessert is high in fiber and also delivers a healthy serving of calcium and iron, two nutrients that are difficult to obtain in a raw food diet.
Chia Pudding [serves 4]
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours or more
3 pitted, jumbo Medjool dates soaked for 1 hour in 2 cups of filtered water (do NOT discard soak water)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla (or a bit more to taste
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (or a bit more to taste)
Several drops of liquid stevia to taste (if you want it a bit sweeter, optional)
Seasonal berries of your choice
Soak the cashews for at least 4 hours and rinse well. Put them in a high speed blender (like a Vita Mix), along with the dates, their 2 cups of soak water, the vanilla, and cinnamon and blend until smooth and creamy. In a 1 quart bowl, combine this mixture with the chia seeds. Stir vigorously with a fork for several minutes. Let it sit for 15 minutes and stir again until the chia seeds are well blended and no longer clump together. You can add a few drops of liquid stevia or add a bit more vanilla or cinnamon at this point if you desire. Once the mixture is well combined, put it in the refrigerator for at least 6 - 8 hours. If you want to serve this at dinner, make it early in the morning. Otherwise, make it the day before and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. Before serving, top with seasonal berries.
Per serving: 164.5 calories, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, zero g cholesterol, 4.5 g protein, 22.5 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 2.4 g omega-3, 1.9 g omega-6, 2.9 mg iron and 93 mg of calcium.