Cinnamon Vanilla Star Anise Chia Pudding

I get it: chia seeds are strange. However, for those who find themselves on frustrating diet restrictions, chia pudding can be a welcomed treat for those who can’t indulge otherwise. Also, chia seeds provide several power-packed health benefits, including high fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. They lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, and reduce inflammation. BONUS!

Chia pudding used to intimidate me. The general concept is simple: when you introduce chia seeds into moisture, they absorb it and become gelatinous. (Think of it like tapioca!) However, until recently, something went wrong every time I make it. But I think I’ve finally cracked the ratio, so I’m passing it along!

  • Tip #1: The ratio I prefer is 4 TBSP of seeds to 1 cup of liquid. If you opt to use liquid sweetener drops, be sure to include that in your ratio, as well.
  • Tip #2: Stir the mixture more than once while the pudding is thickening. Once you’ve combined everything, set it aside for 5-10 minutes before returning to stir it again. Chia seeds have a tendency to clump together and sometimes separate; this step will insure your final pudding will come together and be smooth.
  • Tip #3: Some people can’t get past the look or consistency of the seeds themselves. If it’s the black color, opt for white chia seeds. If it’s the seeds themselves, buy ground chia (or even ground it yourself in a spice grinder!). Using ground chia results in a smoother pudding, and recent studies indicate it might increase the health benefits, as well!

Now that you’ve got those basics down, you can make the foundation pudding for whatever flavors you want to add! Consider your favorite spices and fruits (including jams and syrups). Spice blends are a great inspiration, as well. This particular recipe is dairy and sugar free, but you can use any milk or sugar/sweetener you wish.

With fall around the corner, I wanted to make something with the warm flavors of the upcoming season. It starts with unsweetened almond milk for nutty flavor, adding in cinnamon and star anise for a profile reminiscent of chai. Next time I make this recipe, I plan on trying Apple Pie Spice and Pumpkin Pie Spice blends. YUM!

Cinnamon Vanilla Star Anise Chia Pudding
(Original recipe: An Edible Mosaic)

1 C unsweetened almond milk
4 TBSP chia seeds
12 drops Vanilla Stevia drops (I prefer SweetLeaf)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 piece of star anise
1 small pinch salt

Stir all ingredients together in a quart-sized jar with a lid until combined. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. Stir again until well combined. Refrigerate the mixture until it reaches your desired thickness, stirring occasionally. (I recommend a minimum of 2 hours to thicken). Eat or store – covered – in the fridge for up to 5 days. Be sure to remove the piece of star anise before consuming; do not eat it!

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