Chia pudding with almond milk is a great dairy free low calorie breakfast, snack, or dessert. Top with your favorite fresh or dried fruit, nuts, shredded coconut, or even chocolate chips!
Being a kid in the 90’s and seeing chia pets grow before my eyes on clay heads in commercials while waiting for my favorite TV shows to resume, I never would have guessed that I’d be eating the seeds in a pudding.
Only as an adult did I learn that chia seeds were a staple in the ancient Aztec and Maya diets and that they have been touted for their health benefits for centuries.
In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”
Technically, there are many ways you can eat them, like sprinkled over a salad. However, this chia pudding with almond milk is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.
The seeds are absorbing up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked and developing a coating that gives chia-based foods and beverages a distinctive gel texture.
Chia pudding is reminiscent of tapioca and can be eaten as a breakfast, a dessert, and even a snack.
One of the things I love about it is that you can make it ahead of time as a part of a meal prep and it will keep in the fridge for a week.
You can mix things up by topping the pudding with fresh or dried fruit, nuts, shredded coconut, granola, and more.
And if you’re a chocolate lover, you may enjoy my chocolate chia pudding with almond milk.
Types of Vanilla
Vanilla comes from a pod commonly known as a “vanilla bean”, which comes from the vanilla orchids.
Vanilla pods have been used for flavoring since the Aztecs and was introduced to Europe by a Spanish conquistador, along with cocoa.
Vanilla extract is created by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol for some time. This is the most commonly used type of vanilla.
Vanilla sugar is common in Europe and some parts of the Middle East, like Israel.
It is made from vanilla beans sitting in sugar, vanilla bean powder mixed with sugar, or sugar mixed with vanilla extract.
In some countries, like Italy, you can also find vanilla powdered sugar, which is used for confections.
Vanilla paste is generally a specialty item. It is a thick paste that contains a blend of the scraped-out vanilla pod seeds and vanilla extract.
You can use it as you do vanilla extract and it will leave flakes of vanilla bean like you see in vanilla bean ice cream.
Imitation Vanilla, otherwise known as artificial vanilla or vanilla essence, is made from synthetic vanilla.
This is the compound that naturally occurs in vanilla beans and gives it its flavor.
Can I use imitation vanilla?
Many will tell you that you should use high quality vanilla, just like they say you should use the best cocoa.
However, most of us will probably not be willing to pay the hefty price that comes with exceptionally high-quality ingredients.
Overall, vanilla is very expensive, so the extract is as well.
So, if you’re not going to get regular quality vanilla extract, you might as well use imitation vanilla.
Can vanilla extract be used as a substitute for vanilla beans?
Yes, vanilla extract can be used as a substitute for vanilla beans. Use about 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract for each inch of vanilla bean.
How to Store Vanilla
Pure vanilla extract and other vanilla products should be kept away from heat and light, and should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Is chia pudding dairy?
Yes, chia pudding is usually dairy since it includes milk. However, this recipe is dairy free since it uses dairy free milk.