A lot of people ask what the secret is in the rich creamy chia pudding that I make. I respond to them, "aside from a lot of love, the secret is to use pure coconut milk”.
Many people confuse coconut milk beverage for pure coconut milk.
The beverage is a compilation of additives such as sugar, vitamins, minerals, gums, natural flavors, lecithin, and carrageenan. Used for milk substitutions in cereal, coffee, etc. it is often a blend of water and coconut cream.
Pure coconut milk, made with coconut milk as the only ingredient, is usually found in cans in the Asian food section of your grocery store. If you have a favorite local Asian food market, you may find pure coconut milk in aseptic packaging.
The variety I buy to make my famous chia pudding is 100% pure coconut milk from cans that have a BPA free lining.
There are no added gums, carrageenan, preservatives or sulfites. This makes a big difference in not only the health of you and our environment but also in taste and texture.
Pure coconut milk is rich, thick, and creamy, and makes the best base for chia puddings.
To make coconut milk from scratch, combine unsweetened coconut flakes (buy sulfite-free) with water in a blender. Blend well then strain off the chunks.
Here is a recipe and how-to guide for you.
This is a delicious and pure food filled with healthy fats and valuable nutrients, but won't work the best for chia puddings.
For the creamiest coconut milk chia pudding, use store bought pure coconut milk!
On a side note, while you can make chia pudding with a variety of plant based milks, you won't have the same results. Pure coconut milk is thick, creamy, and rich.
Many plant based milks are formulated "beverage style" with additives. They are also more watery.
Again, the secret to the creamiest, richest, chia pudding is to use pure coconut milk.
So now that you know my secret to the best coconut milk chia pudding it's time to make your own. Here is a basic coconut milk chia pudding recipe:
VANILLA CHIA PUDDING (makes 2-3 servings)
1 (14oz) can full fat pure coconut milk (My favorite brand is Aroy-D)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
Optional: shredded coconut, fresh fruit, granola to top
Add pure coconut milk to a mason jar (with cover) and whisk until blended and smooth. Add vanilla extract, maple syrup, cinnamon, and whisk.
Add chia seeds and immediately whisk until fully incorporated. Chia seeds clump fast so work quickly in this stage. Put the cover on and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning add shredded coconut, fresh fruit, and granola. Indulge in this perfect chia pudding parfait and enjoy!
CHEF'S NOTE: If you don't use full fat pure coconut milk you may need to increase the chia seeds to thicken the pudding. Full fat pure coconut milk is so thick already that the chia seeds are not thickening it, rather they are just adding protein and more nutrients.
NUTRITION NOTE: I have never been afraid of fat and have maintained a healthy weight my whole life. The fat in coconut milk is fuel for your brain and energy for your body. You need healthy fat to live a healthy life. Having said that, if you have gallbladder issues you may want to stick to another plant based milk and double the chia seeds to thicken. It will still taste good, but the texture will be different. As well, if you suffer from IBS you may want to reduce the serving size to a FODMAP Friendly amount.
Now that I have divulged my secret I look forward to hearing your stories of making your own coconut milk chia pudding and what fun flavors you come up.
Post comments and pics below!
Two years ago at this time I was just coming back from three weeks exploring Thailand and learning about vegan Thai cooking.
That year and into 2019 I had the opportunity to share what I learned by teaching Vegan Thai Cooking classes at a vegan cooking school in Maine. Every class was full of fun and incredible tasting food that my students eagerly cooked.
While everyone enjoyed learning the basics of Pad Thai, Tom Kha, and Massaman Curry, for example, they were surprised by the two desserts I taught them to make.
Traditional mango sticky rice most people had heard of, but banana soup was a new one. One that at first sounded really weird, but that upon tasting was one of the favorite new foods of the night!
I created these vegan recipes to be adapted to Western cooking (aka easy as possible!) and wanted to share them with you now. We have one more month of winter, so why not take a tropical vacation through your dessert plate and try out these delicious, unique, sweet treats!
Mangy Sticky Rice - serves 4 (rice cooker or insta pot needed)
1-2 ripe mangos, peeled and thinly sliced or cubed
1 cup sticky sweet rice (purchase Thai brands only as Japanese sweet rice is different)
1 cup canned coconut milk
2/3 cup water
1 pandan leaf (found in the freezer section at an Asian market or sub 1 Tbsp. vanilla)
3 Tbsp. organic white sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Optional toasted sesame seeds to top.
Rinse rice several times until it is clear. Drain it and place it into the rice cooker bowl. Add coconut milk, water, pandan leaf tied in a knot or vanilla, sugar, and salt.
Press button and let it cook! When the rice cooker button pops, let it sit another 10 minutes to finish the steam cooking.
Scoop onto a plate and serve warm with sliced mangos.
(Note the photo here is of sticky rice that has been dyed purple/blue from the natural butterfly pea flower. And it is topped with fried mung beans which adds crunch.)
Sweet Coconut Milk Soup with Banana - serves 4
3 cups canned coconut milk
1 pandan leaf or 1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. organic white sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 firm bananas cut in half then down the middle and in half again to make 4 pieces (16 total)
In a wide pot bring coconut milk and pandan leaf (tied in a knot) or vanilla just to a gentle boil. Add the sugar, salt, and bananas and cook over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes or until bananas are soft and tender, but not mushy. (Be careful that it doesn't fully boil).
Remove from heat. In 4 separate bowls divide the sweet coconut broth with 4 slices of banana each. Serve warm and enjoy!
LOOKING FOR MORE RECIPES AND INSPIRATION TO COOK PLANT BASED MEALS? STAY TUNED FOR PROGRAMMING AT THE LOVELY NEW EMERY FARM MARKET & CAFE THIS SPRING.
Not local? Online programs will be coming soon too!
,As the poet Rumi so simply stated "Never give from the depths of your well, but from your overflow."
Self care and self love are not synonymous with selfish. In order for you to shine your brightest and share your gifts to the world you must take care of yourself. This means fueling your body with vibrant foods, taking deep relaxing breaths of fresh air, letting your mind stop for a minute, and doing things that make you happy.
Sounds simple, but sadly many of us don't take the time to truly honor and care for ourselves. We need to ask ourselves "Why?".
Why don't we take that 30 minutes we stare at social media or race through our work lunch to instead meditate, get outside of the office, or just sit and eat? Why don't we value our bodies, our minds, and our spirit as much as we value others, our work and our cell phones? What has happened to us?
And we wonder why so many are suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, random aches and pains, digestion disorders, and so forth. Maybe because we aren't valuing our divine selves and taking care of our needs.
So for Valentine's Day this year, why don't we commit to showing ourselves LOVE. You are so worth it.
5 Ways to Show Yourself Love
Now go fill your well you beautiful being. Then shine, shine, shine!
Bliss balls are those wonderful little protein packed vegan truffles that can be made a gazillion different ways.
They are usually made from a variety of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits with either cocoa, carob, or flavorings added. You add your desired blend into a food processor, whiz them until they make a dough, form them into little balls, then pop them into your mouth! Yummy!!
This recipe uses protein packed foods such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and almond meal, along with carob powder and the ancient grain known as teff.
Teff seeds are super tiny red brown seeds that are a staple food in Ethiopia and Eritrea. They are also grown in Idaho and can be purchased at your local grocery store from the Bob's Red Mill line. Teff is gluten free, high in calcium, iron, protein, and fiber. (Power food!!)
Try this recipe today for a healthy, protein packed dessert!
Carob & Teff Bliss Balls
Makes about 9 one inch round balls. Store in the fridge.
2 Tbsp. teff seeds, toasted in a pan
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup craisins
2 Tbsp. carob powder
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 Tbsp. maple syrup (to taste)
pinch of salt (to taste)
In a small food processor fitted with an S-blade add all ingredients and pulse until a sticky dough is formed. Use your hands or a small cookie scoop and roll into one inch balls. Optionally roll in carob powder or toasted teff seeds.
You can sub cocoa powder for the carob powder and change the ratio of seeds if needed. Play with the ingredients to get the taste you like!
Photo by Stacey Hamblett (me!)
When you have an abundance of carrots, what do you do? Make carrot cake! I had all the necessary ingredients for a good batch of cake and even had vegan cream cheese in my fridge, so I decided to play with creating a new recipe.
This cake is hearty as it is full of shredded carrots, unsweetened coconut flakes, and walnuts. It is flavorful as it is made with 5 spices, coconut milk, and almond flour. And it is moist and not at all gritty like some gluten free foods can be.
I just baked the cake and alternated from eating as is to simply adding a spreading of vegan cream cheese (Tofutti brand). But you could also make a glaze with vegan powdered sugar, orange zest, orange juice and a bit of coconut or almond milk to thin to the right consistency. Simply whisk all together and pour on.
Or you can make a cream cheese frosting with equal parts of room temperature vegan cream cheese and vegan butter, blended with vegan powdered sugar and vanilla/lemon/orange extract, and a bit of coconut or almond milk to thin to the right consistency. Place all in a bowl and use a handheld mixer to blend until frosting like.
Again, if you want a fast and easy cake though, just bake, let cool, smear on vegan cream cheese, and maybe grate some orange zest on top and VOILA! Eat and enjoy!
CARROT CAKE - VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE
makes one 9" cake layer
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9" springform or cake pan.
1 cup almond flour
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3 Tbsp. ground flax mixed with 1/2 cup water (let sit 5 minutes to thicken - "flax egg")
1 cup coconut milk (from can, not the beverage)
1/2 cup organic canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla or orange extract
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts or raisins
In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients from flour to spices. In a separate bowl mix the flax egg mixture with coconut milk, oil, and extract. Add the wet mix to the dry and blend until ingredients are all incorporated.
Fold in the carrots, coconut and raisins. Pour mix into pan and bake 50 minutes to 1 hour or until top springs back when lightly touched or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool then either drizzle on glaze, frost, or add cream cheese OR just eat as is! Can be frozen in small pieces and taken out of freezer and microwaved to enjoy anytime.
This blog is an exploration of life, love, adventure and art primarily through the medium of food.