Peanut butter and jelly. Just the name conjures childhood memories of a perfect lunch; the soft, gooey bread, crunchy, salty peanuts and tart but sweet jelly. Each bite better than the next until your done and running back out to play with your siblings and friends. Ahhhhhhhh. Fast forward a few decades and you arrive at this recipe, still the perfect combination of PB&J but now all grown up! Add some soluble and insoluble fiber and you've got a match made in heaven no matter your age.
So whats the deal with fiber you ask? A lot! Fiber is a broad term encompassing the portion of foods we eat that are not digestible. Fiber passes through our intestines unphased by digestive enzymes but along the way fiber can help our bodies out in a huge way. Now it's important to know that all fiber is not created equal and there are two main types; insoluble and soluble fiber which are both important to your diet in balanced amounts. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, meaning within your gut insoluble fiber passes along through with little change. This type of fiber can improve constipation by adding "ruffage" and encouraging the excretion of waste, basically it helps keep food moving through your gut at a steady pace. Soluble fiber does absorb water and creates a gel when exposed to liquids (you will see this first hand with chia!). This gelatinous property can slow digestion to keep you feeling full for longer and also contributes to soluble fiber's ability to reduce cholesterol. Remember that a balance in the diet of both types of fiber is best and luckily chia is a great source of both. Just a 2 Tbsp serving of chia seeds packs a whopping 11 g of fiber; 75% being insoluble and 25% soluble. Chia seeds are unprocessed and unlike flax seeds do not need to be ground prior to eating for our bodies to obtain their nutrients. Because of their soluble fiber content, when placed in liquids chia can expand up to ten times their size! This is what allows their nutrients to be more available to our bodies as well as making them great egg replacements or binders in recipes. So let's get down to it.
PB&J Chia Pudding
PREP TIME: 5 mins
TOTAL TIME: 10 mins (let sit in fridge for at least 6 hrs)
1 cup plain unsweetened milk kefir (or 3/4 cup plain yogurt)
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, or milk of your choice (if using yogurt instead of kefir increase to 1/2 cup milk)
4 Tbsp white chia seeds (black will also work but will look and taste slightly different)
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup*
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter**
Sprinkle of sea salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp raspberry preserves (or preserves/jam of your choice)
In two 10-12 oz mason jars, combine half of the ingredients in each - 1/2 cup plain kefir, 1/8 cup almond milk, 2 Tbsp chia seeds, 1Tbsp maple syrup, 1 Tbsp peanut butter, and sprinkle of sea salt. Screw on a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously until all ingredients are combined. Allow pudding to rest and gel up in the refrigerator for at least 6 hrs (we prepare ours just before bed so it's ready to go the next morning for breakfast).
Once your pudding has set, you can make pretty layers in new jars (pictured above) or simply add the following toppings to your set pudding; 1/2 sliced banana, 1 Tbsp raspberry preserves, and 1/8 cup chopped walnuts.
*Make sure to read your ingredient lists when buying maple syrup - ingredients list should contain maple syrup only, nothing more and nothing less!
**Same goes for peanut butter - only ingredients should be peanuts and optional salt
We recommend this recipe as an easy, prepare ahead breakfast to fuel your busy days and keep you satisfied until lunch. Or really for any time you want to crack open an old photo album and reminisce about your childhood. This recipe can be a kid favorite as well and maybe even take the place (gasp!) of the typical PB&J sandwich. Hey you never know.
Jess & Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.