April in the Raw is a fabulous concept designed by Brittany of Real Sustenance. This month-long event is filled with raw inspired recipes from a group of incredibly talented bloggers! Each day of the month a different blogger will share a recipe on their site, and I am so excited to be sharing this recipe for Almond Mocha Chia Pudding.
First, a little about raw foods and me. I started reading up on raw cuisine when I switched to a dairy-free, vegan-leaning diet, and got even more interested in it when switching to a gluten-free diet. I have always made an effort to incorporate lots of salads and smoothies into my diet, but what made me seek out more raw recipes was that it is a genre that is largely naturally gluten- and dairy-free. I say largely, because I have seen recipes with sprouted wheat berries, but for the most part raw dishes are gluten-free and vegan.
I do not believe the premise that cooked foods are wholly depleted of nutrients, but I am a big believer in getting lots of vegetables into my diet, and the more raw veggies the better in that they are closer to the source. Also, as I delved into more raw foods recipes, I was continually impressed with the creativity, variety, flavor profiles and sheer nutrient density of raw foods. I also learned I had a couple of misconceptions about raw foods that needed clearing up – I always thought raw foods aficionados ate salads and smoothies (which are fast to make) and incredibly complicated desserts and snacks that required time and patience and dehydrators, which completely intimidated me. Until I started reading blogs such as Choosing Raw and Pure2Raw or books such as those from Ani Phyo, I did not realize there were plenty of dishes that fit on the spectrum between the salads/smoothies and the more complicated dishes – things that are just a bit more work than throwing together a salad, but almost as easy. Nut pates (such as the raw walnut cheddar in this lunchbox) and collard or chard wraps were discoveries for me that are now staples to my meals. Faye’s lunchboxes have also been very inspiring.
Chia pudding is another discovery in that category. While chia pudding requires a bit of a wait to be ready, I think of it as an instant recipe in its ease – you combine, stir, and wait a bit, stir again, and then a little while later you have a nice pudding that is very satisfying and has good fats, lots of protein and fiber. I mean, really – a total win-win. I encourage you to read up on the benefits of chia seeds, but today I am here to tell you they are completely delicious in various pudding forms. I eat them as desserts or snacks, and usually sweeten them with stevia but you can of course use other sweeteners. You have seen this Pumpkin Chia Pudding from Choosing Raw in many of my lunchboxes (like here) – technically that is a semi-raw recipe, in that the pumpkin is cooked, but I do not worry too much about semantics about raw, high raw, semi-raw and so forth. By default, and because I like my salads and smoothies and collard wraps, I eat semi-raw at this point, and it works very well for me.
The chia pudding recipe is completely raw if you use a raw sweetener such as agave or dates, a raw almond milk and raw almond butter, but there is no reason you cannot use store-bought almond milk (I often do) or a roasted nut butter. I prefer to sweeten with stevia, which is probably not raw, so adjust your sweetener accordingly if you want a completely raw recipe. You can also make this pudding with water instead of almond milk but it will not be as creamy.
And finally, a note on raw cacao nibs. When I first tried them, I thought they would taste like chocolate and was sorely disappointed, but over time, I grew to like their coffee-esque flavor. Since I do not drink coffee (it does a number on my tummy) I like using cacao nibs when I want some crunch and a coffee flavor.
This pudding is rich and satisfying, but has some lightness and crunch too. It was inspired by Choosing Raw and Pure2Raw – Gena, Michelle and Lori have been wonderful resources in easy and wonderful raw cuisine. Enjoy.
Almond Mocha Chia Pudding (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Soy-Free, Low-Glycemic, Semi-Raw or Raw, depending on ingredients used) – Makes 2 generous servings
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (for homemade almond milk, see here)
- 1/4 cup raw almond butter
- Liquid sweetener of your choice – I like 1/4 tsp vanilla stevia, but you could use 1 Tbsp agave or puree some dates with a bit of water or almond milk
- 6 tablespoons chia seeds (I buy them at Amazon or nutsonline)
- 1-2 Tbsps raw cacao nibs, plus additional for serving
Whisk almond milk with almond butter and sweetener until almond butter is distributed pretty evenly (you will still have small chunks of almond butter, but that makes the pudding even better). Whisk in chia seeds and combine well. Set aside for 10 minutes. Whisk again and place chia pudding in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, but overnight is fine too. Prior to serving, stir in cacao nibs and top with additional nibs if desired. If the pudding is too firm and you cannot incorporate the cacao nibs easily, add a tablespoon of almond milk. Variation: for a smoother pudding, blend pudding before stirring the cacao nibs into the pudding.
In addition to April in the Raw, I am also linking this recipe to
- Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, hosted by Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free
- Gluten-Free Wednesday at Gluten-Free Homemaker
- Diane’s Real Food Weekly at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang