By Dianne Bunis

What are chia seeds? Edible seeds that come from a desert plant Salvia hispanica, dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. The tiny black seeds pack a giant nutritional punch. Chia seeds have a high density of omega-3 content which helps to naturally reduce inflammation and cholesterol, plus maintain blood sugar levels. Loaded with antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, protein and fiber, they add a mild nutty flavor and when combined with liquid, they form a pudding-like consistency similar to tapioca.

Enjoy a summer dessert that is incredibly delicious AND healthy with chia seeds and strawberries, now in season!

Chocolate chia seed pudding

4 servings

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup chia seeds

2 cups organic unsweetened almond or coconut milk

1 tablespoon good quality cocoa powder

1/8 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon local honey or maple syrup, plus 1 tablespoon for drizzling

1 pint fresh strawberries

1/4 cup sliced almonds

PREPARE

In a medium bowl, add almond or coconut milk, vanilla, cocoa and chocolate, whisk chia seeds into mixture, then refrigerate for one hour.* Stir in 1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup) to the mixture, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Wash, hull and slice strawberries, add the almonds then drizzle with remaining sweetener.

When ready to serve, spoon the pudding into vintage glasses, mound with strawberry mixture.

*This step may be prepared and refrigerated overnight.