I can’t help but giggle a tiny bit when faced with chia seeds. These days they are a serious super food sold in health food shops the world over, flaunting their numerous health benefits at us as pictures of slim chia-endorsing celebrities flash across the internet. I remember a time though, not so long ago, when chia seeds had a far less dignified image as they were sold to kids to be grown on terracotta heads or sheep. Does anyone else remember chia pets? (Ha! Just discovered they still exist!)
When I first heard of the whole chia seed pudding trend I was fully ready to mock it heartily because of its chia pet past, and also because I can on occasion be a tad cynical when it comes to ultra trendy food. But before writing it off so flippantly I figured I’d give it a chance. And when I did I had to swallow my sardonic pride and concede that I actually really like chia seed pudding.
I must admit that it is a bit of a weird texture if you’ve never had it before. When you soak chia seeds they release a gelatinous coating which makes up the pudding-y part of the chia seed pudding, but unless you blend it will still have the seeds in it too. It’s kind of similar to tapioca pudding. I really like that texture, but I have read comments on other sites where people aren’t too keen on the graininess. If you blend it after soaking though, you can make it as smooth or leave it as seedy as you like.
It turns out that when we were kids growing chia on the backs of our clay sheep, we were actually missing out on a magnificent and rich source of nutrition that has been cultivated and eaten for thousands of years. Originally from Mexico and South America, chia seeds were cultivated by the Mayan and Aztec people, and were actually believed to hold supernatural properties. In truth these tiny seeds are loaded with beneficial omega-3s, fiber, protein and calcium. Supernatural indeed!
So as I jump onto this chia seed bandwagon, a bit of an obligatory right of passage for a food blogger writing about healthy stuff I think, I decided to do a bit of a twist on chia seed pudding by trying to create a slightly moussey texture. I added slightly less liquid than I would for pudding, and also blitzed in some (you guessed it) cashew cream, but left it seedy enough to still have a bit of texture. The complementary flavours of chocolate and raspberry were lovely, and looked quite pretty in a glass too! This recipe makes enough for four generous servings. Chocolate berry layered chia mousse is wonderful for breakfast, or would make a really nice dessert to serve to guests… or, of course you could forgo the whole thing and dust off your chia pet!
- 75g chia seeds
- 250mL almond milk (or milk of your choice, coconut is gorgeous)
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder (or raw cacao)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 dates, chopped
- 3 Tbsp cashew cream
- 25g chia seeds
- 80mL almond milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 75g frozen raspberries (or fresh if you prefer)
- 1 Tbsp cashew cream
- Place all of the ingredients, except for the cashew cream, in a jar or bowl. Mix very well, cover and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes (or you can leave it over night if you’d like). Do the same in a separate jar or bowl for the rasberry layer.
- Once the chia is soaked blitz each flavour separately with their respective amounts of cashew cream. I used a stick blender for this as it adds a bit of air to the mix, but it would also work in a normal blender. Blitz it until it’s reached your desired consistency.
- In four glasses or dessert bowls, spoon the mousse in, starting with the chocolate, to make two chocolate layers with raspberry in between.
- Garnish with mint leaves for a fresh and pretty touch.
- For the cashew cream leave 100g raw cashews to soak overnight in cold water. In the morning drain and rinse well and then blitz until smooth with 75mL of clean, cold water and 1 tsp maple syrup.