Before cherries are gone for the year, I thought I’d share this quick and very easy recipe for chia seed pudding. When cherries are in season, and I can find good tasting organic ones, there’s really no other fruit I’d prefer to eat. So when I recently found organic cherries at my local supermarket, and they were good, I had to grab a couple of bags. Besides popping them in my mouth and eating them alone, I’ve been adding them to a variety of things—oatmeal, smoothies, salads, and chia pudding.
My son LOVES chia pudding, and I give it to him without any added sweeteners (maple syrup or honey), just fruit. After buying it a few times at local cafe’s and restaurants, I decided it was not only cheaper, but also healthier to make my own chia pudding at home. And, it’s so easy! I often make chia pudding plain or with berries, but the past few days I’ve been making it with cherries since they’re only in season for a short time. If you can’t find cherries, feel free to substitute with other fruits like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, or mangos. All are delicious options. If you can find guavas, feijoas, or passion fruit I imagine those would be good too.
This recipe is quite versatile. Here, I’ve used coconut milk, but any other plant milk (like almond, cashew, or hemp) will do. Before adding the chia seeds, you can blend up a few cherries with the coconut milk to make the milk pink (see photo above), if you’d like. Feel free to experiment. You can try other nuts and flavor combinations—blueberries and cardamom, strawberries and vanilla, cinnamon, dates, and so on. As I write this, I’m also thinking about a Mediterranean version with rose water and pistachios that sounds nice…. Next time! As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Have fun with it. You can mix it with oatmeal or have it alone for breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert.
Coconut Cherry-Almond Chia Pudding
1¼ cup coconut milk (or other plant milk)
¼ cup chia seeds
½ teaspoon almond extract (vanilla extract is fine too)
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey (optional)
1-2 teaspoons slivered almonds
small handful pitted cherries, sliced (more if you blend with the milk)
In a small bowl combine milk, chia seeds, almond extract, and maple syrup, if using. Stir, then cover and allow to sit in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least an hour or two.
Remove from the refrigerator. Your pudding should look thick and the chia seeds gelled. If it’s too thick you can add a little more water or milk. Scoop into serving bowls and top with almonds and cherries and drizzle with maple syrup, if you’d like. Serve immediately.