Spiced Peach & Pecan Chia Pudding

Spiced Peach & Pecan Chia Pudding

I am a creature of habit.  I find comfort in routines and schedules.  In fact, if you called me up at 10:30 in the morning and asked me to go to lunch, I would spend the next hour and half having a serious internal struggle about the merits of going to lunch versus continuing on with my lunch as I originally planned.  This inner conflict makes absolutely no sense since more often than not, what is originally planned does not actually involve any plans – at least none that can’t be changed for one day.  I desperately want to be that spontaneous person that does things like make last-minute lunch plans, but internally, I resist it to my very core.

Just as much as I find comfort in routine, so too do I find it in food, which is a thread that runs DEEP in my family.  While finding comfort in food can be a serious handicap to eating well, in my case, it can also be an asset.  Specifically, if you find comfort in planning out meals as I do, then it makes eating well infinitely easier.

Spiced Peach & Pecan Chia PuddingLucky for us, we are right smack in the middle of peach season, Friends!  Isn’t it glorious?  Summer is coming to a close, but before it does, you need to find a way to get more peaches in your life!  Spiced Peach & Pecan Chia Pudding is a healthy and delicious way to get your fix before they’re gone!  As an added bonus, chia pudding keeps well for several days so it is perfect if you are meal planning and prepping ahead.  

Right off the bat, I caution you from overthinking the whole “What exactly is chia?” thing. 

Answer: It’s a seed.

Specifically, it’s a seed that is high in fiber and calcium with more omega-3 fatty acids than flax seeds and unlike flax, chia doesn’t need to be ground up for the nutrients to become bioavailable like flax. 

I eat chia pudding almost every day, as my afternoon snack.  The fruit varies, but inevitably my giant lunch/cooler bag that I shlep to work daily, will have some variation of chia pudding in it.  With the end of summer coming, I have my mom’s spiced peach jam on the brain, so this time around I added some of those same warm spices to the pudding and it works so nicely with fresh peaches and some of my favorite Salty Sweet Pecans sprinkled on top.   I don’t add any sweetener to the chia mixture when I make it, but you definitely could drizzle in some honey, maple syrup, or agave.  I would start with 1 teaspoon of sweetener per ½ cup of milk and then add more as needed. 

Spiced Peach & Pecan Chia Pudding

If you have never made chia pudding, a few things to consider:

  1. Chia pudding is not pudding in a traditional sense.  It’s more of a gel than a pudding.  If anything, it has a texture that is somewhat similar to tapioca, and even that is stretching it a tad far.  The silky, creamy pudding you are used to is not at all like this.  For one, it is made up of seeds that absorb moisture to thicken the milk.  So disabuse yourself of any notion that this is just a healthier version of the jello pudding cups you loved as a kid.  
  2. The best way to mix the chia is to whisk it into the milk and continue mixing for about a minute, until it is all incorporated.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes while it starts to thicken.  Then mix it well again.  If you just mix it once in the beginning, all of the chia seeds will fall to the bottom of the bowl and stay there, so you’ll have a runnier “pudding” on top and then a very thick layer of seeds on the bottom.  Mixing it twice will ensure that the seeds are all distributed so in the end the pudding is a uniform consistency. 

This is a perfect snack, a light breakfast, or it even works for dessert!  Make some before the peaches are gone!

Spiced Peach & Pecan Chia Pudding

Spiced Peach & Pecan Chia Pudding
Serves 4
Cinnamon, ginger, and a pinch of cloves are a perfect complement to late summer peaches and honey-toasted pecans.
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For the Pudding
  1. 2 cups almond or cashew milk
  2. 3/4 cup chia seeds
  3. 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  4. 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  5. pinch of ground cloves
  6. 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  7. 2 peaches, pitted and diced
For the Salty-Sweet Pecans
  1. 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
  2. 1 tsp. light olive oil
  3. 2 tsp. honey
  4. 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
For the chia pudding
  1. 1. Whisk together milk, chia seeds, vanilla, and spices. Set aside for 5-10 minutes so that it starts to thicken.
  2. 2. After 5-10 minutes, mix again.
  3. 3. Top each serving with 1/2 of a peach and pecans.
For the Salty-Sweet Pecans
  1. 1. Toss pecans with olive oil. Toast nuts in a skillet over medium heat for several minutes, until they begin to smell fragrant.
  2. 2. Add honey to the pan and stir well to coat the pecans. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. 3. Stir nuts constantly, for 1 minute or until the honey begins to caramelize on the pecans and turn a dark, shiny brown.
  4. 4. Remove from heat and spread out on a piece of parchment to cool.
  1. Chia pudding alone keeps well for several days, making it ideal to make ahead for the week!
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