When you start to type in “chia health benefits” in a search engine, what pops up first is “chia head,” which is kind of funny. The universe is a weird and wacky place alright and isn’t it just a sweet paradox that the chia that is currently whirling in everyone’s smoothies and floating, suspended in its own goo in mason jars everywhere, is the same chia that has been “easy to do, fun to grow” since the 70’s? Available in Presidential Candidate and zombie plantings right now.
There’s a big ol’ fuss about chia being a superfood, what with all kinds of goodies like Omegas, minerals, protein and something called glucomannan packed inside these teeny, tiny little black seeds—they are very powerful indeed. They also have the ability to get stuck in every little nook and cranny in your craw and if you swallow a big spoonful of raw chias, they can expand in your throat and become impacted, thereby earning you a trip to the ER for some poking and prodding.
Being chia virgins, and wanting to avoid a medical emergency, we decided to give it a go with a recipe featuring something seasonal. Chia pudding is the current rage and we decided on a whip-up of some pumpkin chia pudding using oat milk (imagine trying to milk an oat…talk about a tough job), a very ripe banana, some coconut sugar, a splash of vanilla and a few shakes of pie spices in addition to a few heaping spoonfuls of pumpkin puree.
First off, it’s a very easy job—much easier than milking oats. We simply soaked the seeds in the oat milk overnight, then in the morning, added the remaining ingredients. Apparently a good go in a high-powered blender will make it more pudding-like. Our blender must not have been powerful enough as the seeds didn’t get broken down in any meaningful way that changed the texture.
And about that texture.
We’re generally not ones to be squeamish about a funky mouthfeel. Oysters go down the gullet happily and we like a good jellyfish sunomono salad as much as the next guy. Something about the mucilaginous quality of the pudding was just a little off-putting at first. The flavor was really nice as it had all of the particulars of a pumpkin pie flavor profile, but the consistency was not really viscous, but more like…goop.
We pushed forward.
A few more spoonfuls in, we decided that the affinity we had for the flavor and the idea we were eating something that was healthy as well as iconic, tipped the scale in favor of a thumbs-up. Then we actually started to kind of like the consistency. Chia seeds themselves don’t have any perceptible flavor but the goo can be flavored-up in many ways. Cocoa and coconut are popular combinations, but all recipes seem to be on the sweet side. Pizza-flavored chia pudding doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar so maybe we’ll use the rest of our stash to see what that would taste like.
It just may be the next big thing in mason jars everywhere.