As should be well established at this point, I am definitely the last person to urge you to go out and purchase expensive, frou-frou, health food store goods that claim to cure cancer and end global warming and make goats grow wings.

So I did not go out in search of chia seeds after they were featured on Oprah! or whatever. Chia seeds found me. With an entire pound of them staring me down from the cupboard, I decided to give them a chance.

You remember those commercials for Chia pets back in the early 90s? Yes, the seeds that made Gen X’s answer to the pet rock grow fuzzy green “fur” and those “magical” raw chia seeds that health food purists have been drooling over for the last couple of years are one and the same. Only now, with the miracle of remarketing, they’re about twelve times as expensive!

Anyway, chocolate chia pudding is actually pretty all right. Its little gelatinous balls are reminiscent of tapioca, and make for a refreshing hot weather treat. One nice thing about chia seeds is that they soak up just about all the liquid you can throw at them. There’s no reason you’d eat an entire batch of chia pudding in one sitting, so when you’re done snacking, top off your container with your favorite milk, stir to incorporate, and let it chill some more — the seeds will soak up the extra liquid in no time.

Oh, and a disclaimer: in addition to being high in Omega-3s, let’s just say chia seeds are known to have a laxative effect. The first time I made chia pudding, I didn’t let it sit and absorb fully. Waiting is for losers, right? So I took a couple of bites of the pudding while it was still crunchy. I won’t romance you with the details of my intestinal pain hours later, but don’t say you weren’t warned. Or hey, maybe you can consider it a “deep colon cleanse.” Right.

Chocolate Chia Pudding
Recipe type: Dessert
  • ¼ c chia seeds
  • ¾ c vanilla rice milk or your favorite non-dairy beverage
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp agave nectar or maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  1. Put all ingredients in a covered container; stir well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Serve chilled.
  3. If it’s too thick for your tastes, just stir in a little extra non-dairy milk right before eating. Top with slices of banana, fresh berries, nuts, or granola if you’re so inclined.
Add 1 tsp hazelnut extract for Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding (my personal favorite), or ¼ tsp peppermint extract for Chocolate Mint Pudding. Add another tablespoon of cocoa powder and some walnut pieces for Brownie Pudding, or throw in some coconut and pecans and a pinch of cinnamon for Cowboy Pudding.