Chocolate Avocado Chia Pudding

 {vegan, Paleo, nut free, gluten free, grain free}

Another chia recipe? Yes, I'm a bit of a chia enthusiast but for good reason (I mean, they are stupid healthy for you and limitless in their uses). Plus, this one involves chocolate.....something else I'm enthusiastic about.

Chocolate Avocado Chia Pudding

Chocolate Avocado Chia Pudding

My daughter recently noticed those snack pack pudding thingies in some of her classmates' lunches. The apple doesn't fall far from the chocolate-loving tree and she took note that she never had them. Crap. 

I like the challenge of seeing if I can make healthy copycat versions of foods that I wouldn't normally embrace into my diet. Snack Pack puddings (that are so processed that they don't even need to be refrigerated despite having "milk" in them) are something that makes me wrinkle my nose. The blend of chemicals that mimic the flavor and consistency of traditional, amazing, delicious pudding just doesn't call to me. But I can understand why my daughter (and any other red blooded 3 year old) would want in on some of the chocolate action. So, thinking of my coconut chia pudding and a chocolate avocado mousse I had made once upon a time, I thought I would see if I could make a natural, nourishing version of the processed food that she was seeking.

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The result? Creamy, delicious, smooth (for those of you who gag at the chia seed texture),and oh-so chocolaty. Its decadent guys, and I don't use that word lightly. It's so good that I kept running to the fridge to sneak bites of it when my daughter wasn't looking. While I made this with a preschooler's palate in mind, this pudding will definitely leave any chocolate-loving adult licking their bowl clean.

Now, don't go running scared from this recipe because I combined avocado and chocolate. I know it sounds bizarre  but they are actually a delightful combination. The avocado gives a lovely creaminess to the pudding, yet its flavor is undetectable. Also, (true to form) it allows me to sneak just one more lovely plant into my family's diet. This pudding is so incredibly easy to make (mixed entirely in the blender, because that's how I roll) and then sets in the fridge for 4ish hours before it is ready to inhale. I made it as part of my meal prep, allowing the pudding to set in small, individual containers so that I could just throw a pudding in my daughter's (or my husband's or my own) lunch box while packing.  

Makes about 6 servings

2 cans (15oz) full fat coconut milk chilled in fridge overnight (I used Natural Value coconut milk) OR 1 cup coconut cream

 3-5 tablespoons maple syrup/honey  (depending on how sweet you want it) 

1/2 ripe avocado, pitted

1 very ripe banana

2 tablespoons chia seeds 

4 tablespoons water  

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1. In a small bowl, combine the chia seeds and water. Whisk to combine and let sit for at least 5 minutes to hydrate.

2. While chia seeds hydrate, take your coconut milk out of the fridge and open cans. Scoop the coconut cream that has settled at the top of the cans out and put it into your blender. Save the coconut water that remains in cans in your fridge for smoothies or another dish.

3. Add  avocado and banana to the blender with the coconut cream. Run for 30 to 45 seconds or until the mixture has a smooth consistency. 

4. Add remaining ingredients (including hydrated chia seeds) to the blender and run until the pudding is a smooth texture. If needed, scrape down the sides of the blender a few times. Taste for sweetness and add more maple syrup/honey if desired.

3.  Pour pudding into individual containers or a large bowl. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. 

4. Enjoy cold with fresh fruit garnish or as is. Store leftovers in fridge for up to 4 days.

 

Adapted from The Minimalist Baker