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Vanilla Almond Coconut Chia Pudding

July 14, 2016 by Ginger Hultin MS RDN

In my ongoing mission to resist the temptation of grabbing breakfast on the go (darn Starbucks oatmeal!), I’m constantly on the lookout for quick, effortless, and nutritious morning meals that I can prepare at home—especially for those early and hectic mornings. While overnight oats remains a trusty standby, this week, I embarked on a culinary adventure to create another delicious chia pudding. Inspired by the delicate flavor of coconut and fresh fruit, my goal was to craft a breakfast that tasted amazing and offered a satisfying balance of protein and healthy fats. And thus, the Vanilla Almond Coconut Chia Pudding was born. 

Below, I’ll break down some ingredient swaps, but at its core, this recipe remains ultra-simple with just a handful of ingredients and a 5-minute prep time. Despite its rich and decadent flavor, it’s a surprisingly light and healthy breakfast. Here’s a bonus: chia pudding doubles as an excellent afternoon snack or dessert.

Why use chia seeds

Are you familiar with chia seeds? They’re renowned as a superfood, celebrated for their high fiber and omega-3 fatty acid content. Chia seeds are not just healthy but incredibly versatile, too. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I frequently recommend them because of their fiber richness, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and well-balanced mix of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, making them an ideal snack choice. 

Cooking with chia seeds 

If you’re unfamiliar, chia seeds are tiny little brown or black crunchy seeds you can buy packaged or in bulk. I’ve definitely heard of people snacking on them straight up by the spoonful, but to me, that’s not the most fun way. They’re a perfect snack because of their nutrient balance, but you can make them taste fantastic, too. If you want to enjoy them raw, it’s best to sprinkle them on something they can stick to. Think granola or on top of salad dressing. They’ll add a little crunch to your meal and a lot of nutrition.

The most fascinating part about chia seeds? They undergo a remarkable texture change when they meet liquid. These tiny black seeds start hard and crunchy but transform when immersed in liquid, developing a gel-like consistency. If you’re open to experimenting a little, you can make all sorts of recipes with interesting textures. You’ll really like chia pudding if you like textures like rice pudding or tapioca.

Making the Vanilla Almond Coconut Chia Pudding 

Creating my Vanilla Almond Coconut Chia Pudding is a breeze. Simply whisk together the chia seeds, almond or soy milk, a pinch of cinnamon, a dash of vanilla, and a drizzle of honey, then sprinkle in some coconut flakes. Cover this mixture and let it rest in your refrigerator for 2-4 hours or even overnight, allowing all the flavors to meld. Once the pudding is ready, spoon it into bowls and top with freshly chopped almonds and cherries for a breakfast that’s both nutritious and satisfying.

Vanilla Almond Coconut Chia Pudding Recipe Subs

Next up, the substitutions so that you have plenty of options. Here are some easy swaps that you can use to make this recipe your own:

Milk subs

I chose almond or soy milk for my Vanilla Almond Coconut Chia Pudding recipe. Almond milk adds a subtle nutty undertone that pairs perfectly with vanilla and coconut. Soy milk is also mild and lets the flavors from the cinnamon and coconut shine. If you are trying to up your protein intake, soy milk is an excellent option as it has a higher protein content than other plant-based milks. If you’re a coconut enthusiast, you can opt for canned full-fat or lite coconut milk to enhance the coconut flavor. You can absolutely use dairy milk in this recipe. Because I try to keep this blog mostly vegan-friendly or supportive of those with food allergies, I often use non-dairy milks. 

Sweetener Subs

I opted for honey in my Vanilla Almond Coconut Chia Pudding because of its unique, natural sweetness that harmonizes perfectly with the other flavors. It is important to keep in mind that some do not consider honey vegan due to its bee-derived origin. If you’re seeking alternatives, maple syrup and agave syrup are viable choices that can work well in this recipe. 

I generally aim to keep the sweetener content flexible in my recipes, allowing you to adjust it to your taste preferences. Whether you want to make it sweeter or less sweet, the choice is yours. While I haven’t personally tested monk fruit or stevia in this recipe, they could be good options to explore as alternative sweeteners. If you decide to experiment with them, please share your experience; I’d love to hear about it.

Flavor Additions and Subs 

I chose to top my Vanilla Almond Coconut Chia Pudding with almonds and cherries. The combination of crunchy almonds and sweet-tart cherries perfectly complements the pudding’s creamy texture and subtle flavoring, creating a fun contrast.

The recipe is great because of its versatility, allowing you to personalize it according to your preferences and dietary choices. Whether you prefer to keep it simple with just almonds and cherries, go all out with a variety of toppings, or even enjoy it plain, the choice is entirely yours. Consider whisking in or garnishing your pudding with your favorite chopped fresh or dried fruits. If you’re looking to boost heart-healthy fats and protein while adding a satisfying crunch, adding additional chopped nuts like pistachios or walnuts can be an excellent choice. 

Other Anti-inflammatory Recipes for You

I’ve got more to offer you! This recipe brings back memories of my Easy Vegan Chocolate Mousse recipe, also served in charming mason jars. If you enjoy presenting desserts this way, I’ve got a winning Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake you will want to take advantage of. If you enjoyed this version of chia pudding, don’t forget to check out my Chocolate Chia Pudding with Coconut Milk—it’s perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. If you’re curious about other ways to use chia seeds, take a peek at my Cranberry Almond Granola recipe. The options are endless.

Let me know if you try this one- be sure to drop a message down below.

Vanilla Almond Coconut Chia Pudding

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Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vanilla almond coconut chia pudding
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 180kcal
Author: Ginger Hultin

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dry chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond or soy milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dry roasted almonds (unsalted, chopped coarsely)
  • 6 large red cherries (pitted and chopped coarsely (frozen is fine to use!))

Instructions

  • Whisk the chia seeds, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, honey and coconut flakes together, cover and set overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Remove the pudding after 2-4 hours and stir well to incorporate any seeds that have settled to the bottom. Add more milk if needed for consistency.
  • Place into two small bowls and top with freshly chopped almonds and cherries and serve cold.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 324.5mg | Fiber: 6.5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin C: 0mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 8.5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @champagnenutrition

2 Comments

  1. Marissa on September 1, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Holy cow, this is amazing! It’s really hard not to eat the other half that I’m saving for later. I think you’ve helped me discover a healthy way to comfort food. It’s seems like such a versatile recipe too, I’ll have to explore other fruit combinations!

    • Ginger Hultin on September 13, 2020 at 12:27 pm

      Yay! Thanks for that feedback – it’s such a great recipe to have as a staple in the house every week. Let me know what other flavors you try 🙂

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Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO

An award-winning, nationally recognized nutrition expert and media spokesperson.

Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll find cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.

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