Chia seeds are as close to a wonder-food as any I know. They provide high-quality protein, bone-strengthening calcium, stacks of fiber and those hard-to-come-by-unless-you-like-oily-fish omega-3 fatty acids.
They’re also very low in digestible (net) carbs, especially compared with other popular warm breakfasts like oatmeal; a serving of this pudding contains 11 grams net carbohydrate, versus around 30 grams for a typical bowl of oatmeal. So if you’re dealing with (pre)diabetes and metabolic syndrome or are eating a low-carb or keto diet, chia seeds should be a staple in your kitchen.
Alas, raw chia seeds are no fun to eat as they get stuck in your teeth, and when you soak them in cold milk or yogurt to make pudding, they take hours to set. That’s why I decided to try cooking them — with exciting results (instant thickening).
This recipe will have you whip up deliciously creamy, chocolatey chia pudding in less than 10 minutes so you can get at the seeds’ yummy goodness right away! And if you love it as much as I do, you can make a double batch (4 servings) so all you need to do on a busy weekday morning is scoop some into a bowl, warm it up in the microwave, top it with berries, nuts and chocolate chips and dive into an energizing breakfast that will keep you going for hours.
Warm Chocolate Chia Pudding
- 2 cups milk plant-based or dairy milk; I used my super-simple homemade nut milk
- 1½ servings protein powder unflavored & unsweetened, plant-based or animal protein powder (I used whey, but hemp protein powder works well, too)
- 7 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract alcohol-free, preferably; my favorite is Trader Joe's.
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa Preferably organic.
- 1 pinch salt
- sweetener to taste for instance, a keto sweetener like Besti, liquid stevia, monk fruit sweetener, allulose, maple syrup, etc.
- sugar-free chocolate chips I use Lily's semi-sweet baking chips
- raspberries, blackberries, strawberries
- a few chopped nuts (I like hazelnuts)
- Pour 1½ cups of the milk into a 1-pint Pyrex measuring jug and microwave on HIGH for 1½ minutes; the milk should be hot enough to steam but not boil. Alternatively, heat the milk in a small pot on the stove.
- While the milk is heating, combine the remaining milk with the protein powder in a medium mixing bowl and make a slurry with a small whisk; this allows you to stir it into the hot pudding without it forming lumps. (Whey protein powder is especially prone to lump formation.) Set aside.
- Stir the chia seeds, cocoa powder and vanilla extract into the hot milk with a wire whisk. Now fold in the protein slurry and stir until fully combined. Cover to keep warm and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. Sweeten to taste with your preferred sweetener (see ingredients list for options).
- Serve into two bowls and enjoy immediately (warm), or cover and chill for later (cold or reheated). To serve, top with fresh berries, a sprinkling of chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts and a splash of milk or cream.
- One serving is calculated as a heaping cup of chia pudding. As it is high in protein and fiber, this dish can feel very filling for some people, so this recipe may make three servings for some people.
- The nutrition information was calculated using super-simple homemade plant milk (using Trader Joe's Mixed Nut Butter), Besti sweetener and AGN Roots whey protein isolate. If you use different ingredients, the nutritional profile of the dish will change. You can calculate the modified nutrient profile on Cronometer.
- At 37 g, the carb count of this dish looks relatively high, but remember: 18 g of that number is fiber (which doesn't affect your blood sugar). Thus, the net carb content per serving is 18 g, which is actually quite low-carb. Adding fruit will increase the carb count -- if you want a better idea of how much carb you'll get per serving, use Cronometer to calculate this.