amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

Vanilla Chia Pudding with Berries…and a Chocolate Version

POSTED ON January 13, 2012

vanilla chia pudding

Chia pudding has long been on my list of recipes to post– I have emailed numerous copies of the recipe to people who have tried it over the years and I know some of you have been waiting far too long for it to appear here.

The pudding is featured in this month’s issue of Martha Stewart Living and since many of you can’t get the magazine, I thought it would be nice to post.

Naturally, I couldn’t resist playing around a little and adding some cocoa to my last batch, which I have to say tasted absolutely delicious! So I thought I’d give you two ways to make it.

chocolate version with raspberries

No matter what version you make, it’s the kind of creamy dessert that you simply cannot stop eating. It’s a winner with everyone…unless of course you don’t like the tapioca-like consistency!

Chia seeds are a great endurance food; they’re high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein and fiber and can help decrease body weight and fat.

topped with blue berries, black currants and red and golden raspberries

pudding for 2

Vanilla chia pudding with berries

I love that this dessert is sweetened with dates alone. If you want it sweeter you can drizzle some maple syrup in or over the pudding (I did this for the MSL article).

At the bottom I have given directions for the chocolate variation. Once the pudding is made, you can decide how much, if any, of it you want to dedicate to using for the chocolate recipe and then enjoy it both ways!

½ cup chia seeds

1 cup cashews, soaked in filtered water for 2 to 8 hours

4 cups filtered water

7 Medjool dates, pitted

Pinch sea salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder

2 tablespoons coconut butter, I use Artisana

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 vanilla bean, optional

Raspberries and blueberries to serve

Place chia seeds in a medium size mixing bowl and set aside.

Strain cashews and rinse well. Place in an upright blender add 4 cups of filtered water, dates, salt, cinnamon, coconut butter and vanilla extract. Remove seeds from vanilla bean (if using) and add to the blender, place pod in bowl with chia seeds. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes and pour into bowl with chia seeds and vanilla bean pod, whisk well. Let mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes, whisking every few minutes to prevent chia seeds from clumping, pudding will thicken fast. Place in the fridge and chill for 1 hour.

Remove from fridge, whisk. Remove vanilla bean pod (if using), serve chilled topped with berries.

Stored covered in a glass container in the fridge, chia pudding will keep for up to 5 days.

Serves 4 to 6.

For chocolate version

I use Green and Blacks organic cocoa powder; it’s very smooth, with a rich dark chocolaty flavor and doesn’t need any extra sweetener.

4 teaspoons good quality cocoa powder per cup of pudding

Raspberries to serve

Once pudding is chilled, remove the amount (in cups) you would like to flavor with chocolate and sift in 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder per cup of pudding. Stir well and serve chilled topped with raspberries.

POSTED IN Dessert, Gluten free

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  • Amy, I was just reading your article in MSL last night and am very inspired by your recipes and suggestions on stocking the pantry. I look forward to integrating them, especially using flax seed oil, more quinoa into our diet, and getting in the habit of soaking beans/grains overnight.
    And I simply want to say thank you!

  • Nichoel says:

    I also enjoyed reading the article and that’s how I found your wonderful blog! I am looking forward to stocking my pantry with your suggestions and also to making some of your delicious recipes. Do you have a cookbook?

  • Maria J. says:

    Hi Amy,
    Well this recipe just gets my culinary wheels turning with all the possibilities! Thank you again for such an inventive way to enjoy dessert without feeling guilty! Have you tried this recipe with coconut milk?
    Happy New Year!

  • Hi, Can you use store bought almond milk instead of making the cashew milk yourself?? Sounds delish!

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      You could, but it won’t be as rich tasting. And since you have to blend the dates, you may as well add the cashews and water.
      Let me know how it goes!

  • Thank you for this delicious-looking recipe. I have been searching for a good chia pudding recipe since mine never seems to turn out right. I may try it with some homemade almond milk in stead of the cashews. Can’t wait!

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      It works well with almonds (if you don’t mind the bits of skin) instead of cashews but if you use almond milk, it does turn out lighter and less rich and creamy.
      Let me know how it goes!

  • nancy says:

    I am loving this pudding! It’s a new way for me to incorporate chia seeds into my diet (besides oatmeal and cooked grains) and is a great treat since I run marathons and ultramarathons.
    I am enjoying my course at The Natural Gourmet and have started to give some cooking lessons/demonstrations.
    Thank you for all your inspiration!

  • Dana says:

    Just wondering – do you discard the water used to soak the cashews or is this the 4 cups of filtered water used later in the recipe?
    Looks wonderful and am eager to try it!

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Yes, always discard soaking liquid (except when soaking rolled oats as in my breakfast recipes).
      Drain, rinse and then use fresh filtered water. Hope you like it!

      • Dana says:

        Thanks for making these special recipes available to all! Makes a big difference in efforts to eat healthier and enjoy good foods!

  • joan katz says:

    I tried this recipe last Sunday after reading your blog (after hearing you interviewed on NPR). My family loved it! I have made it three times this week and my kids are eating it for breakfast. I love your site and will be making your Whole barley mushroom soup next.

  • Laurel says:

    Delicious! I’m curious about how to make the texture smooth. If you advise blending, at what point shld it occur?

  • Laurel says:

    …or maybe use powdered chia seeds instead of the whole seed? Thank you so much for sharing a guilt-free and completely satisfying treat!

  • Julia says:

    You are my new hero!! I discovered you in MSL and I love your blog,site & recipes. I bought everything to make the chia pudding today, only to come home & discover I only have a scant 1/4C of chia seeds!!! Merde. Any suggestions, or am I buggered?

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Thank you! Half the recipe, it works just as well. Let me know how you like it!

      • Julia says:

        Hi Amy! I did cut the recipe in half, but was still missing a bit of chia. I added more the next day and it was quite yummy:) I also tried the mushroom barley stew. Fantastic, but I’m wondering about the cooking time for the barley? It seemed a bit mushy. I will definitely make it again, but perhaps reduce the initial simmering time of the barley? Thanks again for fabulous recipes!!!!

  • Katie Hansen says:

    Made the pudding tonight and it was delicious! It was slightly watery when I checked it after the 3 hours of chilling so I added about 1/8 cup more Chia seeds and it thickened right up. My son liked it too! Any chance you would have a general idea of the calories in this dish?

  • Anna says:

    Thanks for the inspiration to use chia seeds! Do you know the nutritional breakdown? Serving size, calories and sugar?

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Nothing more than info on some packages….let me know if your findings!

      • Lindsay says:


        I see a few people were curious about calories, as I was myself. This is what I came up with:

        – Chia seeds: 520
        – Cashews: 720
        – Dates: 462
        – Coconut butter: 186
        – Vanilla extract: 148
        – Cinnamon: 19
        – Total: 2,055

        I think the total recipe makes about 5 cups of pudding (4 cups of liquid, plus half a cup of chia seeds that plump up). So, a half cup serving would be approximately 205.5 calories, not including any fruit you top it with or extra drizzle of honey or agave.

  • Wendy says:

    I love your blog! I am soaking cashews to make this pudding tomorrow! I made the kale and roasted squash salad for dinner tonight with quiona and it was a huge hit! Also love the cauliflower and greens soup. Basically love everything you post!

  • Thank you, Amy!
    My mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I understand that Chia seeds are wonderful for retarding progression of the disease. I look forward to whipping up your lovely pudding ASAP. Trust I can substitute Brazil nuts for cashews which are also on the prevention list.
    Mille fois merci.

    The Ninja Baker

  • Randy Skinner says:

    Hello Amy!
    I have a question about the vanilla seeds. Do you include or just use the pod to flavor the chia seeds?

  • Randy Skinner says:

    nevermind about the vanilla seeds!

  • I had recently bought chia seeds and was experimenting with them. I all but gave up until I saw this in MSLiving. Thanks! I love your blog and now I have this delicious and heathly recipe for breakfast. Looking forward to more of your posts and recipes!

  • Olof says:

    Hi Amy!
    I have been trying out some variations of nut-milk since I got a delicious chocolade nut milk on my chia porridge on a resturant.. but I don´t seem to get the right texture.. it vas so foamy and thik, almost like a pudding.. I called up to ask for the ingridients and they are the same as yours but still mine gets quite flat.. do you know what could be the problem??? do I need a high speed blender to make realy creamy and foamy nutmilk?
    thank you for your website!

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Yes, a hogh speedblender makes all the difference but you can get a good consistancy using a good upright blender. Blend it for at least 2 minutes and use a little less water if you want it creamier. Also adding more coconut butter or oil will make it thicker.
      Good luck!

  • Tracy Johnson says:

    Dear Amy,

    I’m having trouble finding Coconut Butter in my area and was wondering what you would recommend as a substitute until I can get some?

    Your friend,

  • Cherie says:

    Thanks for the recipe….I made the chocolate version…yummy!

  • Natali Gill says:

    I’m trying to decide how much I would pay for a bowl of this right now. Definitely $100, maybe more. Ingredients going on the grocery list now! How great would it be to get my sweet-toothed son turned on to something like this!

  • Sara says:

    I adore the pudding recipes.. I’m intrigued by them since here we don’t have them.. 🙂 and what so nice photos!! It wil be a hard job, but I’ll try&taste both versions, u know, just to be sure which one I like more..

  • Corrinne says:

    This recipe looks soooooo good. I was wondering, though, how to adapt it for a soy- and nut-free diet? Any suggestions? Oat milk? Coconut milk?

    (I was a vegetarian for 15 years, and for whatever reason developed allergies to both soy and nuts in my mid-thirties – and am now bummed out when I see awesome recipes like so many of yours that I can’t eat. Wah!)

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Coconut milk would work or a combination of of oat and coconut milk. If you use coconut milk, you could skip the coconut butter.
      it adds richness, but you wouldn’t need it.

  • Elizabeth says:

    this pudding rocks! I topped it with frozen mango chunks and just about lost my mind. Thank you for sharing your skills!

  • jacqui says:

    Hi Amy,
    Adding cardamon makes it into a exotic dessert . Very nice after a middle eastern meal. I can recommend Claudia Roden’s cookbooks with her 30 years of traveling and gathering recipes she is a great source.

  • Mikki Sage says:

    hi there! love this recipe and blog– I am going to post your recipe on my blog– as well. there’s a shop by my house in venice, ca… that make chia pudding but it gets expensive. i’ve been looking for a good recipe–and tried this one. it’s fantastic! cheers!

  • kelsey says:

    oh, cashews have totally been what i’ve missed on when I make mine. killer! i’m a bit ashamed to not have found your blog sooner, everything looks incredible!

  • this is a wonderful site will surely return back to get information from the informative articles.

  • Jeff says:

    just read your article in MSL, I was wondering, if I can’t find coconut butter, can I use regular butter? can I ask why soak the cashew? what does that do to the cashew? also, if I used soaked almonds instead would that work?
    going to try these on my kids

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Coconut oil a good substitute for coconut butter or leave it out. I wouldn’t put butter. Soaking cashews helps them digest more easily and also blend into a smooth milk.
      Almonds work great, but are not as creamy as cashews. Hope your kids enjoy it!

  • katie shaw says:

    All I can say is YUM! My life and MS have been much better since cutting out dairy. Without dairy, I’ve realized that there is a whole world of flavors that I never thought about. Again, YUM! Love your blog…


  • Michelle says:

    Hi Amy,
    Very excited about trying your recipe and looking at some other you have. I’ve just given up sugar (mostly to lose weight but also improved health). I’ve been attempting deserts – one with chia and one with quinoa and have had very average results! Would love to try a blend of the two using your recipe. Would u have any suggestions what ratios I might try? Thanks for your help!

  • Kate Lumsden says:

    Thanks for this recipe! I just sent it to an Ayurvedic counseling client as something to have instead of yogurt at night. I think she’ll love it! Thanks for posting!

  • Excellent post, I will be checking back regularly to look for updates.

  • Maryam says:

    Any replacement on the coconut butter. Can’t seem to find it here.

  • Angel says:

    I just found this on a search and this is the best looking recipe by far. Would coconut oil work in place of the coconut butter? I have never seen the latter in Sydney.

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Yes you can use coconut oil in place of coconut butter. Coconut butter is a whole food as it is made from grinding dry coconut into a butter, just like nut butters.
      You can easily make it yourself!
      Let me know how the recipe goes!
      Amy x

  • joanne says:

    Can I use raw cacao powder for the cocoa powder in this recipe? Is there a difference between the two? Looking forward to trying this recipe!

  • Amy says:

    Hi Amy-

    I just made this recipe from your cookbook. I only had ground chia seeds on hand, so that is what I used. But I assume your recipe is for whole chia? It took a lot longer than 2 hours to gel. Is that normal? Also, I have heard that people need to be careful eating chia seeds because they can expand all the way up your esophagus. Really! So what I am asking is: can I eat a whole bunch of this delicious pudding without the chia filling up my entire digestive system? But seriously, I do want to know about using the ground verses whole chia. Thank you!


    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Hi ~ Yes whole chia will create the best consistance I think but I’m interested to know what happens with the ground chia.
      I have never heard that it can expand that much! I think its safe to say you can eat the pudding as a meal 🙂


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