This week I was tasked with creating a quick and portable breakfast recipe, preferably through the use of chia seeds, for a very time-pressed friend of mine. Chocolate chia pudding was the first thing that came to mind, but that didn’t seem quite right. It didn’t seem… interesting enough. I wanted this recipe to really capture the essence of my friend – exotic yet approachable, exciting yet down-to-earth. I suddenly thought of the comforting and aromatic flavours of India and simply couldn’t shake them; everything seemed to just fall into place from there. What I didn’t anticipate was how beautifully this recipe would turn out on the first try.
I was worried that this pudding was too simple – that it would end up bland, lacking a certain je ne sais qois, without the dominant flavour of chocolate – but those worries were unfounded. Cardamom is such a gorgeous spice: understated, fragrant, evocative. It does all the work here, and a little goes a long way. That being said, grind it yourself if you can. The difference between freshly ground and pre-ground is like the difference between orange and processed orange juice, it’s nuts. I also recommend blending your pudding. Most chia puddings are left as is, but I personally can’t stand the texture, with all those little globules getting stuck in my teeth.
But getting back to my story: being tasked with such a specific request really started the wheels in my head turning. I am all about fast and portable morning meals, yet that hasn’t been reflected a whole lot on this blog, probably because my usual solution is a smoothie. If making my morning cappuccino and preparing breakfast takes more than 10 minutes it’s simply not doable, and I refuse to wake up earlier for any reason other than hitting the gym. I also don’t wake up hungry, so even if I made the time to cook an omelette in the morning, I would be forcing myself to eat it.
I hereby promise to include more of my timesaving breakfast solutions… such as throwing things in a bowl and then forgetting about them for several hours. That I can do… and so can you!
That being said, I do have certain morning rituals that I follow and which I feel contribute to good mental and physical health. I start my day with a cup of hot lemon water and 1-2 more glasses of water. Doing this helps wake up your digestive system and other internal organs, and mine, as you all know, need all the help they can get. I definitely notice a difference in how I feel if I skip this step. Sometimes I don’t have time for the hot lemon water, and that’s okay, but at the very least I always leave a full 20 oz. container of water by my bed so that the first thing I do upon waking is drink it. Consuming a glass of water before taking a hot shower has also been shown to help lower blood pressure.
Before I leave the house I also allow myself 10 minutes to sit down, enjoy my coffee, and ease into the day. Yes this requires me to get up a little earlier, but the occasions on which I’ve had to skip this step have left me feeling rushed and stressed, and those feelings bleed into the rest of my day.
By the time I’m actually hungry and ready for breakfast, I’ve been awake for at least an hour and a half. I don’t believe in hard-and-fast rules about how long after rising you must eat. Everyone is different, and listening to your own unique body rhythms is much more important than following rules prescribed by others. The reality of my digestive clock is that (weekday) breakfasts need to be something I can eat on the way to work, or immediately upon my arrival.
This pudding is definitely entering my morning rotation, although it could serve as a snack or dessert with equal ease. Just sweet enough to taste indulgent, yet not so sweet that it will create sugar cravings throughout the day – it is just right. And boasting only a handful of ingredients, it’s something even the most time-starved can pull together!
Cardamom-Kissed Pistachio and Chia Seed Pudding
~ gluten free, vegan, soy free, refined sugar free ~
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 2/3 cup drinking coconut milk (or equal parts canned coconut milk and water)
- 1/3 cup pistachios, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup pitted dates (around 8)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Place all ingredients into a large bowl or measuring cup, cover, and let sit in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
- After soaking, place everything in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Taste and adjust for sweetness.
- If it’s not sweet enough for you, or if you’d rather it taste more obviously like dessert, add a drizzle of pure maple syrup.
Suggested toppings: chopped pistachios, flaked coconut, cacao nibs; fresh blueberries would be lovely too.