Figgy Chia Pudding

Gluten-Free, Sugar-free Figgy Chia Pudding Recipe on

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.

Sugar-Free, Canadida Diet Figgy PUdding Recipe on

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.

Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Candida Diet Figgy Chia Pudding Recipe on

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© Ricki Heller

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  1. I’ve never had chia, this may be the recipe for me to try it, as I am enjoying this style of breakfast at the moment.

  2. I adore figs. But I love your new site even more. It’s gorgeous, my friend!

  3. Oh goodness your new site is BEAUTIFUL!

    It’s funny I used to hate tapioca, but I have completely switched camps. I am now in love! And I am having a fig moment right now so this is perfect 🙂

    • Ricki Heller says

      Thanks so much, Gabby!! I’ve done that switcheroo with a few different foods now. Funny how our tastes change over the years! 🙂

  4. I like gluey things like tapioca and rice pudding, but I have a ‘confused’ opinion about chia. I WANT to like it, and I kind of do, but the crunch doesn’t quite sit right with me. I consume a lot of chia in smoothies but usually blend it to avoid the crunch. Sometimes I make pudding, but usually not, though your fig pudding does look delicious. I read somewhere that black chia was superior to white in nutritional value, but have no idea if that is true or not. I agree with you that white looks a lot better. 🙂

    • Ricki Heller says

      Ah, yes, the crunch factor! 😉 If it’s any help, I found that the crunch kind of got lost along with the seeds of the figs, which still do have a bit of crunch. . . so it was all kind of blended together. But an actual blender might be the best way for you to make this, then! 🙂

  5. Oh how I adore figs! I love them!! They are the one fruit that doesn’t bother me with Candida symptoms. Strange, huh? I can’t eat them alone, but with chia and in energy bars, they work great for me! This looks delish!!!:)

    • Ricki Heller says

      So glad to hear that re: candida! I know that dried figs are anti-parasitic, so that may have something to do with it. . . .?? I’m going to try energy bars next, I think. 🙂

  6. just bought some chia the other day and haven’t used them yet, here’s my excuse:)

  7. Oh I love figs and chia…but not Rob Ford. This looks fabulous!!

    • Ricki Heller says

      Ha ha! Poor guy, I wonder if only his mother is left in that category. . . (oh wait, he’s married, right? So I guess his wife goes in there, too). I have to say, I do feel sorry for him–the media has such a field day!

  8. I’m definitely trying this recipe! I love figs! Thank you! On the subject of Julia Roberts, I’m with you on that one!

  9. I find the slipperiness of chia fascinatingly both attractive and repulsive – I suspect I might enjoy this if I could get over my distrust of gluggy cold desserts – it was just not something my mum excelled at (shhhhh – maybe it was all that junket out of a packet) so am not sure but the chia does beckon – and fresh figs are a wonderful thing

    I thought I had written a comment saying how much I loved your new site but I am not sure – maybe I just planned it and that was enough to make it real in my mind 🙂

    • Ricki Heller says

      Well, let’s hope your Mum doesn’t read this blog–ha ha! Though we all know she excels at every other kind of dessert, so no worries, I’m sure! 😉 And thank you for the comment re: the new blog (I seem to remember reading it, too–so maybe we were both on a different plane of existence at the time??)

  10. So grateful you shared your lovely recipe I make Chia Puddings often but I never thought of using Figs! As soon as pick some up I will be making this thank you for all the wonderful recipes and insight you share you are such a blessing thank you, Lovin the changes to your site, please give “the Girls” an extra pat/hug from me!

    • Ricki Heller says

      Thank you so much, Kathy! 🙂 I hope you enjoy figs this way (I know I did!). And The Girls say, “WOOF!!” (I did give them an extra pat–but not sure they noticed, as they get so many already!!) 😀

  11. That picture is too cute Ricki! I’m loving the new site, and now craving some figs 🙂

    • Ricki Heller says

      Aw, thanks!! I guess chia is kind of cute in general, no? 😉 Thanks re: the site, too–glad you like it!

  12. Yum–I love fresh figs! They are such a treat and so delicious 🙂


    • Ricki Heller says

      Couldn’t agree more, Courtney! I grew to love them over time and have really missed them these past 3 years!

  13. Chia is a staple in my pantry – I use a lot of it in baked goods but during this summer I have made a lot of cold ‘pudding breakfast’ blends. They are a wonderful refreshing way to start the day. I like to mix it up the night before. That way the chia really softens up and loses most of the crunch, although sometimes I do like the crunch – it reminds me of kiwi fruit. Also, we are agreed on Ms. Roberts.

    I do like the new format although having been away for a bit it was like stepping through the looking glass the first time – I wasn’t sure it was really, really your blog!

  14. I’m totally with you, Ricki! Love tapioca pudding. And I love anything with chia seeds. 🙂
    Your pictures are just stunning – wonderful recipe. Love that first picture with the cute little heart.
    I’ve found that I don’t have a very sensitive palate. I love strong, strong sour drinks, deep dark bitter teas, highly seasoned dishes, and bold, eccentric textures, the more interesting…the better. But I know some folks who can barely eat a raw tomato or mango. Too slimy they say. I’m glad for my inclusive taste buds and tolerant palate. Makes life with food ever so enchanting. 🙂


    • Ricki Heller says

      Thanks so much, Amber! I don’t know what possessed me to add the heart. . . the way I feel about chia pudding, maybe-? 😉 I have to say, I’m much like you when it comes to food. I recall being totally grossed out by oysters back in the day. . . but I don’t find okra, or chia, to be slimy at all. And the more diverse the flavors, the better! I guess I just love FOOD. 😉

  15. holy yum! Now I wish I bought the big carton of beautiful figs at Trader Joe’s yesterday. I would drizzle some melted almond butter on this too 🙂

  16. Exactly why I haven’t tried chia puddings yet Ricki 🙂 I never liked pudding of any kind. But you almost have me convinced. I’m getting closer and closer 🙂 I loooooove figs. And I just love the look and feel of your new site. So bright!

    • Ricki Heller says

      Thanks, Maggie! I thought you were going to write, “I just love chia pudding”. Soon, soon. . . !!! 😀

  17. Recently I combined the two – tapioca & chia – and made the Mother of all puddings! Squishy tapioca pearls boiled in coconut milk and then soaked with chia seeds. Too much jelly goodness!

  18. Most of the chia pudding recipes that I try are usually hit or miss. I rarely comment on blogs, but I had to here because I just made this and it’s fantastic!! I used about 10 figs, because the ones from my tree are on the small side. I also added 1/2 tsp. of pure vanilla bean powder. My father is from Sicily, and the combination of figs, lemon, and vanilla reminded me of an authentic Italian dessert. Thank you!

    • So great to hear this–thanks so much! I’m thrilled that this broke the “chia pudding barrier” for you! 😀 I wasn’t specifically thinking about Italian flavors, but now that you mention it–I guess it does fit. Yay! 🙂


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