Chia seed puddings are all the rage these days, and for good reason. When stirred with water, juice, or milk, the seeds gel up and thicken, creating the most delightful tapioca-like texture. It's easy (no heat required!) and contains all the nutrition of chia seeds, which taste neutral enough that you can play with your favorite flavors. In my case, that means a sweet spring combo of strawberries, coconut, and lime.
To make this creamy dessert, simply puree a couple big handfuls of strawberries in a blender with coconut milk, honey, vanilla, and lime zest. Whisk in chia seeds, refrigerate for at least four hours, et voilà — pudding! No messing with the stove, plus it's free of dairy, gelatin, gluten, and refined sugar. For a strictly vegan version, you can swap out the honey for a sweetener like maple syrup or agave nectar.
A sliced strawberry makes a lovely topping, as do coconut flakes, cocoa nibs, nuts, or whatever your sweet tooth desires.
Strawberry Chia Pudding
16 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled
1 1/2 cups (or one 13 1/2-ounce can) coconut milk
1/4 cup honey, or to taste
1 vanilla bean, scraped
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/2 cup chia seeds
Place the strawberries, coconut milk, honey, vanilla, and lime zest in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add more honey if desired.
Place the chia seeds in a large bowl, pour the strawberry mixture on top, and whisk thoroughly. Let stand for 10 minutes and whisk again.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 3 days. Stir the pudding before serving. The longer it sits, the thicker the pudding will become; if you find that it is too thick, whisk in a little water (or coconut water, if you have some on hand).
Spoon into individual cups or bowls and garnish (see suggestions below).
Sweeteners: Honey may be substituted with other sweeteners like maple syrup, agave nectar, date syrup, etc. Adjust amounts for desired sweetness.
Garnish ideas: strawberries, coconut flakes, lime zest, chopped or slivered nuts, cocoa nibs, fresh mint.
(Images: Emily Ho)