Chia seeds have gone from being a novelty gift to potent and popular superfood in the past several years. One of their most popular culinary applications is in making a nutritious pudding, but can you grind them for a smoother pudding? We've looked into this topic to bring you the answers you seek.
You can absolutely grind chia seeds to make a pudding! In fact, many prefer the texture of pudding made with ground chia seeds instead of whole ones.
Even better, grinding chia seeds is as easy as throwing whole chia seeds in a spice grinder and blending them to a fine powder. Then you can just blend the chia seeds with milk, sweetener, and flavors of your choice, chill, and serve!
In this article, we'll bust out our magnifying glasses to take a closer look at chia seeds, grinding them, and making pudding with them. We'll also see how puddings with whole chia seeds and ground chia seeds differ, what gives chia seeds their healthy and wholesome reputation, and where you can buy them. Read on to learn all about it!
How To Grind Chia Seeds
Grinding chia seeds is an easy task, especially if you have the right equipment handy.
By far the easiest way is to use a spice grinder. Spice/coffee grinders work better than blenders because the blades take up more space inside the vessel. This makes them better at grinding small quantities of small foods, such as coffee beans, cumin seeds, or, you guessed it, chia seeds!
All you have to do is add the whole chia seeds to the grinder and blend them until they form a powder.
If you already have a spice or coffee grinder, you can simply use the one you've got. Make sure to clean it thoroughly so other flavors don't find their way into your chia seeds.
If you don't have one, they are useful and there are many affordable options on the market. The chefs and researchers over at Serious Eats recommend the Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder. It has a machine-washable, detachable cup and a cord that can be tucked away under the machine for easy storage.
Grinding Chia Seeds Without a Spice Grinder
A spice grinder isn't the only option for grinding up your chia seeds. You can also do so in a blender, but you may find the results inconsistent. Most blenders are designed for blending up larger chunks, so they struggle to get an even grind on small foods like chia seeds.
If you want a really controlled and consistent grind, your best bet is to go old school. What do we mean? It's time to bust out the mortar and pestle!
You will be able to get a much finer and more consistent grind with a mortar and pestle because of how much control you have. You'll also be able to grind a very small amount with this method, which can be challenging in a spice grinder and almost impossible in a blnder.
Of course, mortars and pestles have their downsides too. They're heavy and take up space (although they look great on the counter). It also takes a bit of manal labor and some practice to get used to using one.
That being said, they can also be kind of fun to use too. You may find yourself looking for reasons to grind up spices, make pesto, smash ginger, and all sorts of other fun tasks with your mortar and pestle.
How to Make Pudding with Ground Chia Seeds
We've seen that you can grind chia seeds for pudding and how to do so. But how do you make the actual pudding? No worries; we've got you covered.
Once you've ground the chia seeds, the rest is easy. Add the ground chia seeds to a blender with the milk, sweetner, and flavors of your choice. To get the ratio right, there are many recipes you can follow.
Sweet as Honey's recipe for chocolate peanut butter pudding calls for 1 cup of ground chia seeds, a quarter cup of liquid sweetener such as maple syrup, 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk, a half teaspoon of vanilla extract, and just a pinch of salt.
This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free. You can also make it low-carb and keto-friendly by opting for a sugar-free sweetener and natural peanut butter.
If your looking for an easy-to-remember recipe, No Recipes has you covered. Their chia pudding calls for 30 grams each of ground chia seeds, cocoa powder, and coconut sugar. Just blend that with one can (1.5 cups) of coconut milk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract, then chill it in the refrigerator for an hour.
Do You Need to Grind Chia Seeds for Pudding?
Now that you know how to grind chia seeds and make pudding with them, you might be wondering if you can't just use them whole. And, well, you certainly can! However, the texture of pudding made with whole chia seeds is different than puddings made with ground chia seeds.
By grinding your chia seeds, you can get a really smooth texture that's more similar to traditional puddings. Pudding made with whole chia seeds, on the other hand, has a unique texture. The obvious difference is that the seed is still there, meaning the pudding will be somewhat grainy.
Many also find the coating on whole chia seeds to be, for lack of a better word, slimy. For some, it takes time to acquire an appreciation for puddings made with whole chia seeds.
Another benefit to grinding your chia seeds is that it can make the nutrients in this superfood more bio-available. It's hard for your body to digest chia seeds, which makes them great for helping you get things moving, but means your body misses out on some of their nutrients. Ground chia seeds are easier for your body to digest.
Recipes for Pudding with Whole Chia Seeds
Now that you know more about the differences between puddings with whole and ground chia seeds, let's take a look at some recipes that call for whole chia seeds!
The most well-known approach is the overnight pudding, such as this one from The Minimalist Baker. With this approach, cocoa powder, syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla extract are mixed together, then combined with almond milk. Afterward, whole chia seeds are added to the mixture, which then stays in the refrigerator overnight to get the right texture.
But we've seen a lot of chocolate puddings already. Aren't there any other flavors out there? Look no further than this orange pudding from Cookie and Kate. Combine orange zest, cashew milk, and vanilla extract, then mix in your chia seeds. Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes, then whisk it again to get it smoother. After that, just let it chill in the fridge. The combination of orange and vanilla promises to taste like creamsicles, but minus all that extra sugar.
Is Chia Seed Pudding Good for You?
Chia seeds are often touted as a so-called "superfood." But is there any validity to these claims?
The important part of staying healthy is a balanced diet, and no single food can replace that. However, chia seeds definitely deserve a place in such a balanced diet.
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the same ones found in fish oil. Omega-3s are healthy fats that have been shown to be good for the health of your heart, brain, and joints. They are also rich in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.
Many of the recipes we've looked at for chia pudding also avoid excessive sugar and fat. When compared to conventional options, chia seed puddings are definitely a healthier choice.
Where Can You Buy Chia Seeds?
Not so long ago, the most reliable way to buy chia seeds was to buy a chia pet. However, the past several decades have seen the rise of the chia seed as a delicious and nutritious food. With that, it's become more and more prolific, and more and more stores carry these tiny wonders.
These days, many standard grocery stores carry chia seeds. However, they can appear in different sections depending on how the store categorizes them. Generally, you'll want to check the health food/ organic food aisle. They are also sometimes kept near rice or baking goods.
If your local grocer doesn't carry them, you can also buy them at specialty health and nutrition shops.
Of course, you can buy any and everything online these days. Chia seeds are no exception. You can have them delivered right to your doorstep!
If you want to make a silky smooth pudding, you can even buy ground chia seeds to save you the trouble of grinding them yourself at home.
Chia seeds aren't just great for making puddings, either. You can add them to salads or soups for a bit of extra nutrition and texture. You can also add them to your fruit and yogurt for a healthy topping!
The next time you're craving a tempting pudding, consider going with a chia option. They're satisfying, easy to make, and a healthier option than the processed stuff in the plastic cups.
Now you know how to grind chia seeds for pudding and have a handful of recipes you can turn to. We've also seen the key differences between making your pudding with ground chia seeds and whole. You even know more about what makes chia seeds nutritious and where to get your hands on some!
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