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
- 1 serving protein powder Plant-based or whey; unflavored/unsweetened are my favorites, but vanilla or chocolate flavors work well here, too.
- 1½ cups milk Any milk you like and tolerate: cow's, sheep's, goat's, almond. I used Elmhurst's hazelnut milk to test this recipe & calculate the nutrition information.
- 6 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract Alcohol-free, preferably; my favorite is Trader Joe's.
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa Preferably organic.
- pinch salt
- optional: sweetener to taste For instance, maple syrup, liquid stevia, monk fruit sweetener, allulose, etc.
- sugar-free chocolate chips I use Lily's semi-sweet baking chips
- cacao nibs
- raspberries, blackberries, strawberries
- a few chopped nuts (I like hazelnuts)
- In a small bowl, combine the protein powder with a splash of milk or water and mix into a paste with a small whisk or spoon; this allows you to stir it into the hot pudding without it forming lumps. (Whey protein powder is especially prone to lump formation…)
- Pour the milk into a Pyrex measuring jug or other type of microwave-proof bowl and heat on HIGH for 1½ minutes; the milk should be hot enough to steam but not boil. If you don’t have a microwave, heat the milk in a small pot on the stove.
- Stir the chia seeds into the hot milk with a wire whisk and let sit for a minute. Add cocoa powder and stir again until all ingredients are well combined. Stir in the protein powder paste until fully combined. If desired, add a sweetener of your choice – start small and add extra if needed. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, covered to keep warm.
- 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.