UPDATE: I was thinking about my friends with nut allergies after I posted this recipe for Vanilla Chia Pudding. I decided to re-work the recipe making it nut free. This version is not only free of nuts, but cuts out some of the steps which will save time, without sacrificing the flavor or consistency. So, here are modifications for a simplified version, sans nuts. For those not allergic to nuts; these time saving modifications can also be implemented in the original pudding recipe. The original post is below the list of modifications, so both versions of the recipe are available.
- Replace the Soaked Cashews with Soaked Sunflower Seeds. (yes, you still need to soak the seeds, just place them in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of sea salt and cover them with filtered water for 2 hours).
- If you do not have Vanilla Beans in your pantry increase the amount of Vanilla Extract. Instead of 1 Tablespoon you can increase the amount to 2 Tablespoons.
- Decrease the Water from 4 Cups to 3 ¼ to 3 ½ Cups. (we liked it better this way).
- You can omit the Coconut Butter completely without sacrificing texture.
- I increased the amount of cinnamon and ginger in the nut free version. 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of ginger and added a dash of nutmeg.
- NOTE: This pudding is not sweet, so if you have a sweet tooth add more maple syrup/raw honey to taste, or if you are watching your calories add liquid stevia.
My best friend sent me a subscription to Martha Stewart Living as a Christmas gift, and the first issue arrived the other day. I spent a few moments flipping through the pages and a recipe for Vanilla Chia Pudding caught my eye; it was free of grains, refined sugars, eggs, and casein. The photograph was not the most beautiful in the magazine, but let’s be honest a pudding made with Chia Seeds is going to be a bit on the gray side. Many of you may be thinking Cha Cha Cha Cha Chia….yes, these are the same little seeds made famous by the Chia Pet Commercial. Chia Seeds not only sprout on little clay figurines, they are also a healthy addition to your diet. Chia is high in Omega 3’s, potent antioxidants, fiber, and is a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and manganese.
The photograph in the magazine looked like tapioca, which the D-Man adores! While this may have been a coincidence, I had 3 pounds of raw cashews soaking that were destined for my dehydrator. Remember that soaking nuts, seeds and grains removes phytic acid which can cause intestinal distress and interfere with the absorption of iron. The one cup of soaked nuts needed to make this pudding would not be missed, and the other ingredients are staples in my pantry. I had planned a simple dinner and had nothing to offer my boys for desert, so I decided to give it a try. I tweaked the recipe a bit as I went along, and this is what I came up with.
½ Cup Chia Seeds
1 Vanilla Bean Split in Half (seeds scraped and pod reserved)
1 Cup of raw cashews soaked in filtered water for at least 2 hours
4 Cups of Filtered Water
7 Medjool Dates Pitted (approximately 5 ½ ounces)
2 Tablespoons of Raw Honey or Maple Syrup
Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
1 teaspoon organic Ground Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon organic Ground Ginger
** 2 Tablespoons Coconut Butter
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Maple Syrup (drizzled on pudding before serving)
Soak Cashews (mine had been soaking for 5 hours and had sprouted)
Split the Vanilla Bean and scrape the seeds into a blender.
Place Chia Seeds and Vanilla pod in a medium bowl and set aside.
Drain cashews and rinse well.
Add the cashews, filtered water, dates, salt, cinnamon, coconut butter, vanilla extract, honey or maple syrup to the blender that contains the vanilla seeds.
Blend on high speed for 2 minutes and pour into the bowl with the chia seeds and vanilla pod.
Whisk all ingredients well and let mixture stand for 10 to 15 minutes whisking every few minutes to prevent the chia seeds from clumping.
Refrigerate until cold (approximately 3 hours)
Discard the vanilla pod, and give the pudding a final whisk before serving.
Top with fresh berries and a drizzle of maple syrup.
The Pudding can be refrigerated in a covered glass container for up to 5 days.
** If you do not have coconut butter you can substitute Organic Coconut Cream Concentrate or Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.