This strawberry chia pudding recipe makes a great breakfast or healthy dessert. It’s easy to put together and is a creamy, sweet and satisfying treat that can be made in advance. This is a wonderful choice of dessert any time strawberries are in season. With only 5 ingredients, it’s a simple recipe and one that is approved for many diets. The recipe is both dairy-free and gluten-free. (To make a vegan strawberry chia pudding, use agave nectar in place of honey.)
Why we should all be eating chia seed pudding
Chia seeds could easily make the list of the world’s most healthy foods. Fiber-rich, the seeds are a source of protein, manganese, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a source of the powerful antioxidant quercetin, which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Chia seeds are extremely versatile but one of the best ways to use them is to make a chia pudding. Although you can eat chia seeds whole and dry, according to our nutrition director, Delahna Flagg, chia seeds are easier to digest when soaked (as they are when you make them into pudding). So you’ll get more nutrition from eating a chia seed pudding than from sprinkling the same amount of chia on your salad.
Additionally, there is a sensory pleasure when you transform dry chia seeds into a creamy pudding. The seeds swell up and develop a gel-like consistency when soaked. The result is a pudding that’s creamy but there’s just a hint of crunch at the center of each seed, making the experience far more interesting than slurping down your average bowl of custard.
And since this chia seed pudding recipe layers the benefits of chia with the flavor and health benefits of the superfood acai, you’re really getting a powerhouse of nutrition from your dessert!
Where to buy chia seeds
How to make this strawberry chia pudding
As I mentioned, making chia pudding is incredibly easy. This pudding only calls for five ingredients. It also takes only three steps to make. Once you’ve assembled the ingredients, you just blend, mix and chill.
- Fresh strawberries – This recipe is best when it is made with peak-of-season strawberries. I’ve been asked, “Can you use frozen strawberries?” Unfortunately, the answer is no. For this strawberry recipe, fresh is best. In fact, if you can get fresh-picked, or better yet homegrown strawberries, you won’t believe the great flavor it brings to the pudding.
- Non-dairy milk – Just use your favorite non-dairy milk, such as oat, cashew or almond milk or whatever you have on hand. To give the pudding a tropical flavor, try using coconut milk.
- Honey – Although this pudding gets a little sweetness from the strawberries and acai, it needs a touch of extra sweetness. I use honey but if you want to make this recipe vegan, you can use agave nectar.
- Chia seeds – Obviously, you’ll need dry chia seeds to make this recipe. Chia can be stored in the pantry for up to one year. If you aren’t sure whether your chia is too old, taste a couple. If there’s any bitterness, throw them out. You only need 2/3 cup chia seeds for this recipe, so make sure you store whatever’s left over in a dry place.
- Acai fruit puree – This is the recipe’s most exotic ingredient but it’s one that adds incredible nutrition to this chia seed pudding recipe.
What is acai?
The ingredient in this chia pudding recipe that gives it deep color is acai puree. But color is not the only thing acai brings to this recipe.
Acai is called the superfruit of the rainforest and for good reason. This nutritious berry is a source of fiber, protein and calcium and is considered a good source of vitamin A. But it is most notably an excellent source of powerful antioxidants. (It is said to have 10 times the antioxidant power of red wine.) And acai is also a noted aphrodisiac.
Where to buy acai puree
I usually buy acai at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. If you don’t have a store that carries acai in your area, you can order acai fruit puree online. (But do not try to substitute with acai powder or an acai fruit juice blend.)
How to use acai puree in this pudding recipe
For this recipe, you’ll use acai berry in a frozen puree form. Acai is rarely sold as a fresh berry because it is difficult to transport. You will most often find it sold as juice or fruit puree. Most acai dessert recipes will call for using the frozen packets.
To make this acai berry dessert, I recommend letting the acai puree thaw slightly. This way, it will blend more quickly. (If you’re using a powerful blender like a Vitamix, there is no need to thaw the frozen acai.)
Adding acai to this pudding recipe will give the final flavor richness. It also enhances the strawberry flavor and gives the final dessert a bigger berry flavor than you get from a chia seed pudding made just with strawberries.
Troubleshooting: why isn’t my chia pudding working?
If your pudding seems too runny or the chia seed clumps, you’ve probably made one of the following mistakes:
- Used chia seeds past their expiration date – If you can’t remember when you bought your chia seeds, check the expiration date before you start cooking. If you’ve already made the pudding, return it to the fridge and check again in a few hours. The seeds have not gone bad, they just take longer to absorb the liquid.
- Didn’t stir thoroughly – When you add the seeds to the pudding, you need to make sure that you stir until all of the seeds are submerged.
Although a good chia pudding is great on its own, toppings can add to the presentation. Beyond sliced strawberries, this pudding can be topped with a variety of healthy and tasty ingredients to give it additional flavor, texture and eye appeal. My topping choices include:
- Toasted coconut chips
- Shredded mint leaves
- Edible flower petals, such as rose or lavender
- Bee pollen
- Slivered almonds
- Mixed berries
You can also turn it into a chia pudding breakfast bowl like an acai bowl. Just serve it in a bowl topped with sliced bananas, chopped nuts and/or granola and fresh berries as a filling and delicious breakfast treat.
How to store leftovers
This chia strawberry pudding will last in the refrigerator for 4-5 days in an airtight container. But you can also freeze it. The best way to do it is to portion it out into individual freezer-safe containers and freeze single servings. These will keep for up to four weeks.
More great chia seed recipes
Chia Pudding with Strawberries and Acai Berry Puree
- 1 cup fresh strawberries
- 6 oz frozen acai puree
- 6 oz almond or oat milk or your favorite non-dairy milk
- 2 Tbsp honey*
- 2/3 cup chia seeds
- Additional sliced strawberries for garnish or your favorite chia pudding topping optional
- In a blender, puree the strawberries, acai puree, nut milk and honey until smooth.
- Transfer the acai mixture to a medium-size mixing bowl and stir in the chia seeds. Stir thoroughly before covering. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for a minimum of 3 hours, (or overnight).
- To serve, divide the pudding among parfait glasses and top with fresh strawberry slices or other toppings, (optional).
A note on the provided nutrition informationThe nutrition information provided has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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