Certain foods just seem to polarize people, sort of the way certain celebrities (like Kim Kardashian, Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford, Justin Bieber or Julia Roberts) can elicit frenzied reactions from otherwise sane citizens (okay, so maybe with Julia Roberts, it’s just me. . .don’t get me started).
I’ve written before about cilantro and how people seem to either love it or loathe it. Me, I’ve been in both camps, eventually settling on eternal devotion to the verdant herb. I’ve heard that friendships have ended over a serving of slimy, mucilaginous (or else not slimy, but delicious) okra, depending on whom you ask. And the HH and I have had many a heated debate over the merits (or flaws) of beets.
I know the same aversion/affection emotional dichotomy seems to exist around tapioca pudding, too. For some, the starchy globes evoke comforting memories of childhood, creamy tapioca pudding on a red gingham tablecloth beckoning after school. For others, tapioca may as well be Satan in a saucer: its gluey, squishy pellets bring to mind visions of Halloween past, big bowls of peeled grape “eyeballs” and nightmare associations of every Alien film ever made.
Although I never tasted tapioca until I was in my 30s, for me, it was affection at first spoonful. I am already a huge fan of rice pudding, so anything that resembles it in taste and/or texture sounds appealing to me. And far from finding it goopy, I loved the little pearls suspended in custard, like finding shiny nuggets in the sand while panning for gold.
That’s why I was so elated when I first discovered chia pudding (and even named it “Mock Tapioca” when I blogged about it back then). I’ve since tried chia pudding in myriad variations, from simple chocolate to more elaborate flavors like matcha, blueberry. . . . or this incredible fresh fig-based pudding.
Today’s is a simple recipe, and while the result isn’t entirely photogenic, it is incredibly tasty and satisfying. Toronto’s fresh fig season is pretty short, so I grabbed a bunch while I could. A gal can only eat so many fresh figs on their own (especially if you’re watching levels because of candida), so I decided to concoct a pudding that could easily bide its time between servings for a few days in the fridge. The lemon zest adds a hint of perfume that really elevates the whole dish to something magical.
Between the nutrient-dense figs (one large fig has less sugar and about the same fiber as an apple) and the protein-packed chia (2 tablespoons contain 6 grams of protein), a bowl of this pudding provides a good, nutritious breakfast that can jump start your morning, without fear of a crash before lunchtime.
I’m hoping you’re already a fan of chia pudding the way I am. But even if you’re not, I still think you should give this one a try–you might just love it. And if not, well, maybe we can agree on Ms. Roberts instead.
Figgy Chia Pudding
Great for breakfast or as a snack, this pudding is full of healthy fats, protein, and fiber–making it surprisingly filling and satisfying.
6 fresh mission figs, stems removed and cut in quarters
zest of 1/2 large lemon
1 Tbsp (15 ml) freshly lemon juice
10-20 drops plain or lemon stevia liquid, to your taste
pinch fine sea salt
1/2-1 tsp (2.5 -5 ml) cinnamon, to taste, optional
2 cups (480 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla almond, soy or rice milk, or coconut beverage*
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole chia seeds (white are nicer if you can get them)
In a mini food processor or Magic Bullet, blend the figs with the zest, juice, stevia, salt and cinnamon until smooth. Add the milk and blend just to combine. Pour into a container or large jar. Add the chia seeds and stir to blend. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes, then stir again to break up any lumps and redistribute the chia throughout. Cover the container or jar and place in the refrigerator overnight. Before eating, stir again and add up to 1/2 cup (120 ml) more milk, if needed, to achieve desired consistency. Garnish with more chopped figs or chopped dates and/or lemon zest, if desired, and serve. Makes 2 breakfast or 4 snack size servings. Store, covered in the refrigerator, up to 4 days.
* Coconut beverage is the type in a carton, meant to be drunk like milk (not the kind in a can).
Suitable for: ACD Maintenance, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free (with almond milk), nut free (with soy milk), vegan, low glycemic.
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