[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi. My name is Erin Harner. I'm a registered dietitian nutritionist with Cornell Wellness. Today I'll be preparing a strawberry coconut chia pudding.
So if you've never chia pudding, it has a texture similar to tapioca pudding, but it doesn't require any cooking, which is really nice. It takes about 30 minutes to set up in the refrigerator, or you can do it overnight, which also works really well.
So all you're going to do is take a blender or a food processor and you can make it right in there. So we're going to start with two cups of strawberries. Now since it's not strawberry season, I'm going to use frozen strawberries. And these are organic strawberries. Strawberries are extremely good for you. They're loaded with a ellagic acid, which is an anticarcinogen. They're loaded with polyphenols and anthocyanins, which are extremely antioxidant. And they have a lot of other health benefits.
One downside of strawberries is that they're covered in pesticides. So I am going to make sure that I always get organic strawberries. The Environmental Working Group just came out with their 2017 shoppers guide to pesticides, and strawberries are number one. So if you're looking for the crop with the highest number of pesticides strawberries is it, followed closely by spinach, peaches, and some other things. But strawberries are number one. So if you are going to do strawberries make sure you get organic to try and reduce your burden of pesticides in your diet. All right.
So I'm going to add about two cups. You can use the markings on the blender, or I know that there's just under two cups-- or just over two cups in my strawberries. OK. So add about two cups to the blender. Next thing I'm going to do is add some coconut milk. So the trick with coconut milk-- coconut milk is made from shredded coconut. So you can actually make coconut milk yourself at home from shredded coconut. One interesting trick about coconut milk is the lite coconut milk is far less fat and calories than the regular coconut milk. However, they just add extra water. So if you're buying lite coconut milk, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's going to be a lot more cost effective to buy the whole coconut milk and just add half a can of water. But I bought both just for purposes of illustration here.
So I'm going to use one can of coconut milk. And you can see that that pours really nicely, whereas the full fat can will have a pretty thick layer of fat on the top. So you can reduce the calories and fat in your dish by using a lite coconut milk, or you can just dilute it yourself with some water. They do cost the same. All right.
Next thing I'm going to add is some honey. So honey-- it's a little bit questionable about whether honey is plant based. It's made by bees. Is it vegan? Is it not vegan? Is it plant based? Is it not plant based? It depends on who you talk to you. Just in case we have any super strict vegans here or anyone concerned about the welfare of the honeybees, we're going to not use honey. And we're going to use something slightly more exotic called coconut nectar. So you can use agave. You could use any number of sweeteners. You could avoid the sweetener entirely. This is another recipe that you can adapt and make it your own very, very easily.
Depending on the fruit that you use, you don't actually need sweetener at all. So some fruits are very sweet and wouldn't need any sweetener. So I've made this successfully with peaches, with cherries-- sweet cherries, sour cherries-- blueberries. You can mix them all together. It's delicious. And a huge hit with my children.
So for this recipe I'm going to use a quarter cup of coconut nectar. Again, it's only a little tiny bit. There's already a lot of sweetness from the strawberries themselves.
AUDIENCE: What is this made up of?
ERIN HARNER: It's made up of the nectar of the blossoms of coconuts.
AUDIENCE: Would maple syrup work?
ERIN HARNER: Maple syrup would work very well. Yep. Maple syrup. The only thing about maple syrup is it has a little stronger flavor, so you're going to be able to notice that there's maple syrup in there. You could also use some stevia, either liquid or granular. You could use sugar if you wanted to. You would just add a little bit more liquid, a little bit more water.
I'm using coconut nectar just because it's an exotic ingredient and I wanted to share it with you.
And it has less fructose than agave does. Agave is extremely high in fructose. So I'm going to try and stay away from that if possible.
Next thing I'm going to add is some vanilla extract. So this is a gluten free vanilla extract made from potato vodka. So that's one thing is all vanilla is not gluten free. So if it needs to be gluten free, make sure that you're looking at the labels and make sure you know that it is gluten free vanilla. I'm going to add a little lime zest as well. Lime zest adds a really nice color and flavor to this. It contrasts really, really nicely with the strawberries and the coconut.
So if you're using some other kind of fruit, you can omit the lime zest. You could use lemon zest. Or you could add whatever else you wanted. You could use almond extract, coconut extract, raspberry extract. Again, like the minestrone soup, it's all about proportions. You can make it however you want. So I encourage you to experiment. Again, like that like the vegetables, fruit is a very important part of a plant based diet.
So I'm going to put this on the blender and blend for just a minute.
So it looks as though I just made a smoothie. I essentially did just make a smoothie. So what we're going to do here-- let's grab a bowl.
OK. So I'm going to add the mixture to a bowl.
Here we go.
OK. I'm going to take a whisk an add that chia seeds. So you may not have seen these before. So chia seeds, they're normally black. These ones are white. They're just a different variety-- the nutrition content is the same. I prefer them for chia pudding just because they're light in color and they take on the color of whatever you are mixing them with. The black chia seeds look a little bit more like fish eggs if you add them to chia pudding. But it's totally up to you. White chia seeds are definitely more expensive, but I just wanted to share them with you that they exist.
One of my other favorite egg replacers-- so chia seeds also make a fantastic egg replacer. So you can blend one tablespoon of blended chia seed plus 3 tablespoons of water, and if you blend that up together and mix it that becomes the replacement for one egg. And that will work in just about everything except if you're making something super egg heavy like an omelette. So baked goods, pancakes, whatever you want to use it for. That's a fantastic egg replacer.
AUDIENCE: What were those numbers again?
ERIN HARNER: So one tablespoon of ground chia seed. And I would recommend getting whole chia seed and then grinding it up right before you're going to use it. Chia seeds are extremely high in omega 3 fatty acids, and they'll go rancid if they're left ground for a long time, especially at room temperature. If you're going to get ground chia seeds I'd store them in the freezer.
I'm just going to let this sit for a little bit. And again, chia seeds are very high in fiber, so they're going to soak up-- they're going to absorb that moisture and absorb that liquid in the dish.
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Erin Harner, RDN, makes a vegan, gluten-free Strawberry Coconut Chia Pudding.