For those of you not familiar with Nom Nom Paleo and the creativity of Michelle Tam, the mastermind behind the brand, you are missing out. While Michelle is known for promoting many aspects of a paleo lifestyle, I mostly follow her delicious recipes. Even if you do not follow a paleo(ish) diet, you should think about including her recipes into your cooking repertoire. Since Nom Nom Paleo consistently churns out mouth watering creations, I thought it would be the best place to start for my first recipe review. You can try the recipe for yourself here.
Before I jump into my review, let me say I am not the kind of cook who likes to follow exact instructions, which is why I don't do a lot of baking. I prefer to experiment, taking on a "throw in a little of this and a little of that" mentality in the kitchen. Obviously a recipe review requires following each step exactly, so this was a learning experience.
I have never cooked with chia seeds before, and maybe only eaten them once or twice. Chia seeds have always been considered highly nutritious, but it seems, at least to me, their modern rediscovery as a "super food" has created somewhat of a craze. In making this recipe, I was hoping to find out what the craze is all about.
As you can tell, I am a Trader Joe's shopper.
The recipe was simple and easy to follow, my kind of cooking. I decided to go light on the honey and a little crazier with the cinnamon, based on my personal tastes. I do not own a science beaker (although now I want one), so my trusty Pyrex bowl did the trick, and as usual, my Cuisinart stick blender proved its worth.
I left the mix on the counter for about 45 minutes, while my husband and I went outside to read at the coffee shop across the street. As Nom Nom Paleo promised, when I returned, the chia seeds had soaked up much of the liquid, however, I did notice more water at the bottom of the bowl than anticipated. I then left the mix in the refrigerator overnight.
The next morning, I woke up, eager to see if the chia seeds worked their magic...they did (mostly)! The seeds soaked up 99% of the remaining liquid, leaving a thick, pudding-like mix. I was hoping for more consistency in the texture, though. The top was firm, while the bottom was a little soupy. Perhaps it could have benefited from an additional stir or two while forming.
To finish the recipe, I toasted unsweetened coconut flakes. The original recipe calls for larger flakes, but I could not find an unsweetened variety in my grocery store. However, a sweetened version would also work well if that is your preference.
Who knew taking 5 extra minutes to toast coconut flakes would produce such an amazing result? I could have easily and happily just eaten the bowl of toasted flakes.
The last part before eating was assembling the parfait. I added peaches and banana based on what I already had at home, but any combination of fruit would work well. I also added a few extra shakes of cinnamon on each layer...cinnamon is currently one of my favorite flavors, especially with fruit.
The recipe worked well, but not my favorite. Based on another, and recent, experience with substituting coconut milk for dairy, I think that was the flavor I did not like. If I try chia seed pudding again, I will experiment with using almond or cashew milk.
Did I fall instep with the chia seed craze? Not exactly, but I am not writing them off yet, especially since I now have a mostly full bag of chia seeds sitting in the pantry. I would welcome any suggestions for how to use them up.
Even though I did not love this recipe, I encourage you to try it. It was quick, easy, and would make a great alternative to eggs in the morning for those who like the taste of coconut milk on its own. I am also giving Nom Nom Paleo an A+ for, as always, providing clear instructions, and helping me create a dish almost perfectly resembling the photo on the website.
Coconut Chia Pudding by Nom Nom Paleo
Clarity of Instructions: ✭✭✭✭
Met Expectations: ✭✭✭
Each category is ranked from 1-4 stars.
Walking enthusiast, kitchen experimenter, sports lover (watching, not playing), and future world traveler.
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