Last week, I griped about bloggers who praise Healthy Dessert Substitutes (HDSs) as “tasting just like the real thing.” To comprehend that statement is to confirm its falseness: a substitute, by its very nature, is not the real thing. As much as it may mimic its inspiration, it will never taste just like the real thing.
Buuuuut, as you might have guessed, curiosity killed this cat. My sis’ mention of chocolate chia seed pudding piqued my interest — how would such a pudding taste, I wondered. Would it be so reprehensible that I’d spit it out, slapstick style? Because that would be hilarious and messy. (Most hilarious events are also messy, as we all know.) Or would it bear reasonable semblance to true chocolate pudding? If the latter were true, I’d be forced to remove my foot from my mouth — something I hate doing, but which would be necessary to maintain this blog’s dubious objectivity.
I had on hand almost all of the necessary ingredients, even chia seeds. A few months back, having read a bunch of buzz about these wunderseeds, I bought a bag; when my enthusiasm [inevitably] waned, the bag found its way to the back of the fridge. No worries, though — the seeds are still well within code! (I checked.)
To be sure, the simplicity of this recipe was a big draw. I like big, messy, complicated projects, and I like small, quick, beautiful-in-their-self-containment projects — my preference depends on the day, my needs, my mood. This weekend was activity-o-thon, so short & sweet was the name of the game. From start to finish*, this pudding only takes about 20 minutes to prep. Cleanup is also a breeze.
Saturday morning, I prepared my pudding MOSTLY according to the recipe. I wanted to follow the recipe exactly, but Lucky doesn’t carry coconut oil. Rather than making a separate trip to Whole Foods, I subbed in shredded coconut; this minisubstitution was the only one I made. (Note: When Ali found out that I couldn’t find coconut oil, she offered to mail me some. Thanx, sys!)
Saturday afternoon, I sampled the chocolately wares. My verdict? The pudding tastes like ueberhealthy food masquerading as dessert. It doesn’t taste bad — it just doesn’t taste like chocolate pudding. Mostly, it tastes like mashed avocado and chia seeds, gently sweetened with honey — just what you’d expect. Appearancewise, the pudding is fuggo. Truly, it looks regurgitated. I’m not selling you on it, I’m aware, but I am being honest. Consider yourselves warned.
This isn’t a craveworthy dessert: that much is true. But you know what it is? Awesome pre-run fuel. Sunday morning, before heading out for a 7-miler, I ate a small (approx 1/4-cup) portion of this pudding, and I had insane energy. My pace improved slightly (but noticeably!), and my muscles didn’t fatigue as quickly. Make what attributions you will — confirmation bias, anyone? — but I thank the chia seeds.
Simple as the idea is, it bears repeating: every dish has its proper time and place. It just so happens that the time for this pudding is before a long run — not at the end of a lavish dinner.
Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
- 8 tbsp. black chia seeds
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 tbsp. raw honey
- 1 medium avocado, peeled and seeded
- 2 tbsp. raw cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp. organic coconut oil
- Combine chia seeds and water in a small bowl. Stir for three to five minutes until seeds become gelatinous.
- In a food processor, add chia seed/water mixture, honey, avocado, cocoa powder, and coconut oil. Process for three minutes, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Adjust honey and cocoa powder to taste.
- Pour pudding into individual bowls and chill for several hours. Serve cold.
*Excluding cooling time. You could eat the pudding @ room temp, but I wouldn’t recommend it.