Monday, June 30, 2014

Vegan Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

                                              Happy 4th of July week

Because of the holiday Danielle and I decided to post some healthy desserts this week. We thought it might be fun to just do a whole week of recipes. David and I are presently in Chicago on vacation. We came here to splurge on everything and anything food related. We don't often get time to travel for fun and this trip we decided to go all out.

 Being such a food driven individual I feel like this is an absolute requirement from time to time but there are many ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without entirely wiping out your calorie bank for the day. While working as a baker at The Birchwood Cafe (a locavore driven cafe-focusing on a lot of healthy alternatives to the norm) I learned some very valuable techniques in creating healthy and tasty snacks and deserts. One of my favorites that we made was the coconut tapioca pudding. A lot of our regulars woulds stop in at The Birchwood in search of gluten free and vegan options. This was one of our completely vegan and gluten free options. Pudding is one of my favorite desserts, so I was very excited to stumble upon a healthy alternative.

At home I have made some tweaks of my own to the recipe to make it even a bit more health conscious. I love tapioca but there isn't a lot to them. They are mostly pure starch and don't have any added health benefits. I wanted to create the same texture that the tapioca adds to the creamy coconut custard but with some added nutrition. There has been a lot of talk lately abut the chia seed. Chia seed is traditionally consumed in Mexico and the southwestern United States. They were cultivated for centuries by the Aztecs of Mexico and became a staple in their diets because they could be consumed as an high energy supplement. Chia is a vegetarian source of omega fatty acids, protein, calcium, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and soluble fiber. Like tapioca, chia seeds absorb liquid and swell up to form a gel. I thought this would be a great addition to my pudding.

Vegan Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

2 cups coconut milk
1 cup almond
2 1/2 tbls clover honey
1/2 cup chia seeds
3/4  coconut unsweetened
1 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla bean
2 tsp Fresh Mint, chopped
pinch of salt

1. Steep mint and almond milk together in a sauce pan on low (about 10 minutes, immediately drain and cool- the milk must be at room temp when you use is for the next part of the recipe).

2. Combine coconut milk, water and shredded coconut in blender. Mix on high speed until creamy. Empty in bowl and set aside.
3 In same blender add almond milk (at room temperature), vanilla, honey, and pinch of salt and mix together on high until creamy. Pour into large mixing bowl

3. Add chia seeds to the almond milk mixture and whisk briskly until combination thickens.

4. When mixture resembles a pudding texture add the coconut milk and flake mixture and whisk a bit more.

5. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate  30 -40 minutes before serving. 

During the summer months I think its nice to add fresh herbs to your cooking whenever possible. I thought the mint would cut through the cream a bit and add a nice freshness to the dessert. The chia seeds and honey together make this dessert extremely "more-ish- I usually can't stop eating the pudding once it is ready to serve it becomes a bit of an addiction. 

We will be featuring some other great recipes this week so for sure check back. I will also be featuring Barb Zapzalka from the Pumphouse Creamery in our "Real People Wednesday" series. 


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