photo by Brenda Godinez via unsplash

Layer on the flavor

Rebecca Firkser
February 07, 2018

You’ve heard of chia pudding, also known as chia seeds soaked in nondairy milk overnight until the whole mess is thick and creamy, but have you ever tried it? I’m going to be honest: Solo, chia pudding can be a bit, well, gloopy. There’s no point in denying it. However, when it's layered in a parfait with other textures and flavors like yogurt, crunchy nuts and granola, and sweet, juicy stewed berries, chia pudding is actually really tasty. Plus, you’re getting way more fiber from those chia seeds than you would with that sugar-packed fruit on the bottom yogurt cup. Finally, no more 11 a.m. stomach-grumbles. Here’s how to make one.

Make a batch of chia pudding. Since there’s going to be a whole mess of other stuff going on in the parfait, go for a classic chia pudding recipe: Mix 3 tablespoons chia seeds with 3/4 cup your preferred milk in a bowl or jar, adding a splash of vanilla extract if you’d like. If you’re into chocolate chia pudding, add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to the mixture. At this point, the chia pudding will be pretty bland, unless you’re using sweetened nondairy milk. If using unsweetened nondairy milk (or real milk) you’ll probably want to add 2 teaspoons of maple syrup. Do that. 

Transfer the pudding to a jar or container with a lid that is a fair amount larger than the amount of chia mixture you’re pouring into it. Chia pudding will grow as the seeds gel—it won’t be a Lucy Ricardo baking bread situation, but you’ll want some wiggle room. Let the chia pudding gel in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but 8 is better.

When your pudding has thickened, prepare the rest of the parfait. I like to stew berries by boiling about 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries with a little water and a splash of lemon juice. However, if you don’t have time for that, mashing fresh or thawed frozen berries with a muddler or fork also works just fine.

Chop a mixture of your favorite toasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, and pecans are good) until you have about 2 tablespoons worth. Smaller sunflower seeds are also delightful here, but you don’t have to chop those. 

Spoon some chia pudding onto the bottom of a jar or glass, then add a scoop of whatever yogurt you have on hand—I think coconut yogurt is divine here. Add a plop of the stewed berries, then layer of the nuts, and finally a little sprinkle of cacao nibs or granola. Repeat this process until you’ve used all the chia pudding or run out of space in your jar, whichever comes first. 

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