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  • Recipe Redux: Chai Chia Pudding with Dried Apricots & Cardamom Spiced Almonds

    Friday, June 21, 2013

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    When the Recipe Redux revealed their latest recipe challenge to its members, I had a moment of …. well … the opposite of inspiration (would that be disinspiration?). The challenge? Make something that puts seeds at center stage. 

    Seeds? Really? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good roasted pumpkin seed and I’ve been known to use tahini (which is made from sesame seeds) in some pretty unconventional ways, but for some reason, I just wasn’t feeling it. 

    Then my friend Jennifer’s voice echoed in my head:

    Jennifer: “Have you had chia seed pudding?”
    Me: “Absolutely not. I don’t like chia seeds…I don’t care how trendy (or good for you) they are. They have a strange texture. And something that can soak up 10 times it’s weight in liquid should not be consumed by humans.”
    Jennifer: “But that is exactly what makes them so awesome for pudding. They thicken it without egg yolks, corn starch, or whatever else….” (trails off with a disturbingly dreamy look on her face)
    Me: ….(unconvinced)

    This is a very unusual reaction from me. I am typically a pretty adventurous eater, especially when healthy “Power Food” ingredients are involved. But chia seeds? Nope, they should maintain their rightful place as green leafy coat on the beloved Chia pet cat:

    But wait….I do love a good challenge. And, I am a firm believer that proclaiming that you don’t like something you’ve never tried is just…well…pretty lame. Bring on the chia seed pudding. 

    I’ll admit I wasn’t really sure how to approach this one. Since this crazy seed can soak up 10 times it’s weight in liquid, what would my proportion of liquid to chia seed be? Will there be algebra involved? 10 to 3? 3 to 10? Brain. Hurts. I decide I will just go with my gut, which, as it turns out, was pretty spot on. 

    The next challenge, how to make it so tempting that I would forget my (admittedly preconceived and uniformed) notion that is was going to be a gelatinous mass of …. something that would justify my chia pudding fear? Chai tea! I love chai just about any way I can get my hands on it….hot…iced….ice cream. Surely it could rock a chia seed pudding (plus, how fun is it to say? cha cha cha chai chia seed pudding). Go ahead, you know you can’t resist.

    So, now I have the flavor figured out….how to deal with my (irrational) fear of the texture? Almonds and dried apricots! Both will be tasty with the chai spices and the textures will work well together. I spiced the almonds with a bit of cardamom and ginger (both key spices in the best chai teas) and added a bit of agave for a touch of sweetness. (It’s worth noting that cardamom has many health benefits….in fact, many cultures around the world use it for common digestive issues including IBS and heartburn).

    And when I finally tasted that first fateful spoonful? I. Loved. It!  Turns out the texture is remarkably like tapioca pudding…one of my favorites! The added hint of chai with the crunch of the spicy nuts and the chewy sweetness of the apricots. Perfection. I mean, how often is it that you can whip up a dessert that is this simple AND full of fiber, protein, omega-3, and all the other good things chia seeds are know for

    I am a convert. Let me know if you are too!  

    Kindred-Kitchen Chai Chia Seed Pudding with Dried Apricots & Cardamom Spiced Almonds


    Kindred-Kitchen Chai Chia Seed Pudding With Whipped Cream
    Kindred-Kitchen Chai Chia Seed Pudding-Vegan Style

    © 2013 Kindred-Kitchen / Nancy Granada

    Recipe Redux: Chai Chia Pudding with Dried Apricots & Cardamom Spiced Almonds

    servings: 4 | time: about 15 minutes plus two hours for chilling

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    1 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
    3 chai tea bags (or 3 tsp. loose chai tea)
    2-3 TBSP. agave nectar (to taste) (honey would be a great substitute)
    1 tsp. grated orange peel
    4 TBSP chia seeds
    1/4 cup slivered raw almonds, coarsely chopped
    2 pinches each of ground cardamom and ground ginger
    1 tsp. canola oil
    1 tsp agave nectar or honey
    5 medium dried apricots, minced
    Whipped cream (optional)


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    1. Place the almond milk in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until it starts to steam but does not quite boil. Remove from heat and add the chai tea. Allow to steep for 5 minutes

    2. Remove the tea from the almond milk and add the agave nectar. Stir to combine and allow to cool to room temperature

    3. Once the almond milk has cooled, add the chia seeds. Stir very well to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 4 hours, making sure to stir the mixture frequently

    4. Meanwhile, make the nut topping by placing the chopped almonds, cardamom, ginger, canola oil and agave in a bowl. Toss well to combine and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes, tossing a couple of times, until deep golden brown. Keep and eye on them for the last two or three minutes…they can burn easily.

    5. Remove parchment with nuts from the pan and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, place the nuts in a bowl and add the minced apricots. Using your hands to break up the nuts, toss well to combine

    6. To serve: Place the pudding in individual serving dishes. Top with whipped cream (optional) and a sprinkle of the apricot/nut topping. Be converted 🙂


    7 responses to “Recipe Redux: Chai Chia Pudding with Dried Apricots & Cardamom Spiced Almonds”

    1. Elizabeth says:

      chia pudding is the bomb! great recipe

    2. Nancy – I so enjoy reading your posts because I feel like you are writing what I’m thinking. I’m admitting here that I haven’t been all that enticed to try chia seeds yet but since you got converted, I’m going to make your recipe – after all, I do like tapioca pudding too 🙂

      • Nancy Granada says:

        Deanna – If there’s one think I’ve learned after years of striving to eat well and keep off the weight I’ve lost it’s that I have to be a pretty adventurous eater…fortunately most of my taste adventures turn out just fine 🙂

    3. ksloan0116 says:

      This sounds delicious and very interesting! I will definitely be trying this recipe.

    4. Cindy says:

      I’m excited to try this. I’ve made jelly using chia seeds for the gelatin effect and it turned out great!

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