Last week I found myself in a breakfast rut. Don't you just hate when that happens? I woke up, walked down to the kitchen and scanned it blankly. I swung open the cabinets and peered into the refrigerator, but nothing looked appetizing. I was bored with my go-to options and was craving something new. That's when I dreamed up this Vanilla Almond Chia Breakfast Bowl. Packed with healthy fats, protein, antioxidants and fiber, it has plenty of nutrition to satisfy and just enough sweetness to leave you scraping the bowl.
Everyone seems to be talking about chia seeds these days, and with good reason! Chia (pronounced chee-ah) seeds are from a desert-growing plant called Salvia hispanica, which is a member of the mint family. There is evidence that the tiny seeds from this plant were consumed by indigenous peoples of North and South America from as early as 3500 BCE. Traditionally, chia seeds were eaten alone or with other grains, ground into flour, mixed with water and consumed as a beverage, or pressed for their oil. They were also used as a base for face and body paints, incorporated into medicines, and kept for ceremonial purposes.
Today chia seeds are celebrating a welcome revival by foodies all over the world and are being used creatively in many dishes. Just about the size of a poppy seed, each chia seed is bursting with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also gluten-free, easily digested, and anti-allergenic, making them a well-tolerated functional food. Here's a list of some of the health-giving compounds you'll find in chia seeds:
- Minerals: Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Manganese
- Vitamins: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Niacin, Folate
- Phytonutrients: Quercetin, Kaempferol, Myricetin, Chlorogenic Acid
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Essential Alpha-linolenic Acid
Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they absorb moisture. When wet the outer layer of the chia seed swells and takes on a gelatinous quality. Unlike many other nuts and seeds, chia seeds are therefore easy on and soothing to the digestive system. In this recipe, the chia seeds are covered with almond milk and left to sit overnight. During this time the seeds absorb the almond milk creating a thick, porridge-like result by morning. The effort needed in the evening is minimal and will take just a few minutes. The results are well worth it; with a little planning you'll have a tasty, nutrient-dense breakfast ready when you stumble into the kitchen in the morning!
As with most recipes I put up on this blog, I encourage you to get creative with your breakfast bowl too! I topped mine with almonds and coconut, but there are many other options. Fresh fruit, nut butters and green blends are all delicious additions. I know some fermented-food-lovers who even mix kimchi into their chia breakfast bowls for an extra probiotic boost (check out a recipe for this in the cookbook Fresh & Fermented if you dare!). We are all unique, so play around to discover what appeals to your taste buds and feels most nourishing to your body.
Vanilla Almond Chia Breakfast Bowl
By Kayla- Radiant Life
Makes 2-4 servings
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 pitted dates, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup sprouted almonds, chopped or slivered
2 tablespoons coconut flakes
In a medium bowl mix together chia seeds, cinnamon and chopped dates. Add vanilla extract, almond milk and stir until well combined. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. The chia seeds will absorb the liquid, resulting in a thickened porridge-like texture.
In the morning, top with almonds and coconut flakes. Spoon desired serving into a bowl and enjoy!