Advanced Superfood: Vanilla Chia (Pet) Pudding Recipe

| April 3, 2011

You will either love it or hate it.

Either way you will probably joke and sing a ditty about it.

And it’s not like it’s new or anything. Why, Oprah has already proclaimed it a “superfood.”

But, hey, it’s new to me (thanks, Ruhiyyih!) and, boy, am I excited about it—in large part because I’m a pudding girl and specifically, a tapioca pudding girl, which is what it most resembles. It has a slightly nutty flavor.

And it’s quite likely to be the healthiest pudding you will ever eat.

I’m referring to chia pudding. Made from chia seeds. (All together now: ch-ch-ch-chia!)

Yes, the same seeds that grow the “hair” on chia pets and chia people and, most recently, a chia Obama, make one heck of a pudding.

It turns out that the seeds are not just edible, but supremely good for you. High in antioxidants, fiber and protein, they have more omega-3 fatty acids than flax seeds—which is really kind of awesome. Chia seeds were a main staple of the Aztec and Mayan diets, and eaten by Aztec runners because it gave them the stamina to run longer distances for longer periods of time. (Most of the runners to whom I’ve mentioned chia seeds already knew about it and many use it.)

When chia seeds are mixed with liquid, they absorb several times their volume in moisture and turn into a pudding consistency.  When ingested, they promote a feeling of fullness. That makes them a dieter’s dream. They’re also ideal for diabetics because of the increased transit time through the digestive system and significantly slower rate of glucose absorption.

I eat it because it’s yummy. Also because it gives me a ton of energy.

Vanilla Chia (Pet) Pudding


Here’s how I make Vanilla Chia Pudding:

– 2 tablespoons of chia seeds

– 2/3 cup of milk (use your favorite milk, cow or vegan. I do a mix of 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk and 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla hemp milk—the almond milk because I love it and the hemp milk because my nutritionist raves about it.)

– 1 capful of vanilla extract

– Sweetener to taste*

*To sweeten, I suggest maple syrup or agave with the caveat that you should always go light rather than heavy. If you’re diabetic or for whatever reason prefer a no-glycemic pudding, I highly recommend stevia (which is how I like it). My personal take on stevia: (a) once I got used to it, I really liked it (and even came to prefer it in tea and lemonade); and (b) again, you want to add less rather than more—just enough to have a sweet note in the background. Too much stevia and all you’ll taste is the bitter. Also, certain brands of stevia taste better to me than others. I really like Sweet Leaf and both the Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s house brands.


Mix everything in a bowl and leave it on the counter. The pudding will begin to thicken in about 15 minutes. You should do another couple good stirs at about the 5 and 10 minute marks.

You can refrigerate your pudding and eat it for a couple of days, though if you’re anything like me, the batch won’t even make it past that hour. Chia pudding, by the way, makes an ideal breakfast.

Chia seeds are pricey: between 13 and 20 dollars a pound at Whole Foods and health food stores. But you can find them online for about $5 a pound. A few of the sellers on Amazon seem to have lots of great reviews.

My clinical nutritionist told me not to eat more than 3 tablespoons of chia seeds a day. This is my understanding of his explanation why: “The body’s digestion blah blah fatty acids blah blah no more than 3 tablespoons a day blah.”

And no matter what my husband claims, I swear I’m not getting a kickback from the Chia Seed Mafia.

Please do drop me a line to let me know what you think of the pudding.


Check us out on Hearth and Soul Hop, Tasty Tuesdays, and Real Food Wednesday!

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Category: Dessert, Featured Articles: Health & Nutrition, Health & Nutrition, Recipe Vault

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  1. April’s YBR Roundup, A New Level of Yum! | February 25, 2012
  1. Belinda says:

    What a great recipe! I’m going to give this a go! I love chia seeds – they’re great with coconut oil & peanut butter on crackers…or mix in with black sesame seeds on seared tuna! Are you sure you’re not in with the Chia Seed Mafia? =)

  2. Ben says:

    I was surprised to find out that here in Mexico chia is a very popular ingredient. Great recipe!

  3. Sommer says:

    This is my sort of Superfood! If only all good-for-you dishes were sweet!

  4. Tsering says:

    Initially I thought you were joking..cos as I read all that came ringing into my ears is ch..chc..chia..and the picture of scooby doo with chia growing out of its ears! I love the recipe, I love superfoods!

  5. shilloy Sanchez says:

    I love the humor by which you have introduced this fabulous recipe! I am a vegetarian who has vegan tendencies and has been working on leaving dairy in the dust (for the most part). I have missed puddings and had never thought about finding a healthy recipe! So imagine my excitement upon learning that the chia pet (which i adore) can also become a newly loved pudding (with almond and soy milk)!!! YAY! I’ll circle back after I’ve tried it out. Thank you Amanda!

  6. Superfood! So much fun to read as well!

  7. Sounds really interesting! I had seen them before at the health food market and did not know how to use them; great recipe! Reminded me of the agar-agar I was raving about the other day, with all its virtues!

  8. Sounds yummy and nutritious! I’ve seen chia seeds in my supermarket, so need to pick some up to try!

  9. Swathi says:

    Chia pudding sounds dleicious. My hubby is diabetic, he bought some. eating at ration with his oatmeal. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul Blog hop.

  10. Stephanie says:

    I have been obsessed with chia seeds for the last month or so! I can’t get enough of ’em! I make a similar pudding, but I add a tbsp or so of cacao powder. So delicious!

  11. alissa says:

    I had no idea that chia seeds were a superfood. Looks interesting, that’s for sure!

    Thanks for linking up to Tasty Tuesdays!

  12. Fun recipe! I keep hearing about chia, but haven’t taken the plunge yet. A bit pricey as you say.


  13. denise says:

    Don’t even joke about the Chia Seed Mafia 😉 I LOVE it when something is yummy and good for you – not enough of those around. Never seen the seeds except in the Chia Pets, but now I will look out for them and if I try this, I will let you know what I think 🙂

  14. sweetlife says:

    Thanks , I have seen chia seeds used on top of oatmeal but never alone!! this would be perfect for my mom (and me) sending her the recipe!!


  15. Looks so good! I would love some too!

  16. I have a bag of chia seeds in the cupboard — but I`ve failed to be inspired so far…Oprah didn`t do it, but your vanilla pudding did — looks tasty. Theresa

  17. Heather says:

    Is it wrong that I just can’t help but sing the Chia Pet song any time I hear the word chia? Probably…but I have heard that it is a great food and would love to try this making this pudding.

  18. I’ve only heard of this, never tried it. Very curious about the taste.

  19. rebecca says:

    looks great and fun way to use it

  20. Juliana says:

    I never had chia seeds…and would love to try it out. What an interesting way to prepared it…pudding 🙂 Have a great week ahead!

  21. loRi :) says:

    WOW! I am a lover of tapioca pudding, and have been trying to reduce or eliminate sugar from my diet and eat more raw food. THIS IS THE PERFECT thing! I used cashew milk, pure vanilla and a couple drops of liquid stevia. So good!!

  22. chris says:

    SAGE is a global organization dedicated to inspiring Entrepreneurship and
    bringing about a positive social change. The Chia-Art Contest from the people that brought you the popular Chia-Pet. They are looking for ideas for the next Chia-Pet. Are you creative, artistic, or just like having fun? Then give the Chia-Art Contest a try. The contest is to design your very own table top model to be judged and possibly viewed by the Chia-Pet team. Please visit for more information and go to to register.

  23. Eric says:

    Wow, that sounds good. I am going to have to try that when I get home. I love anything with Chia Seeds due to the benefits they give! Have you ever tried anything else with Chia Seeds; ie making your own Chia Pet? You should try it and enter what you made into a contest that I recently found. You can go to to learn more. If you decide to register, you can register via or go to which will automatically put in my announcer ID. If you register via then please put my code as the announcer code. 21CHA is my code. Thank you! It cost $5 or $7.50 and you can win $500!

  24. Byn says:

    I made this for my blog a few weeks ago and my kids and I loved it! I could eat it every day if good milk wasn’t so expensive. I also like making it with prepared Quinoa to give it a little extra protein boost.

  25. Katie says:

    I never knew you should limit your intake of Chia seeds. Thanks for the info, Amanda.