vanilla chia pudding (gluten-free + vegan)

I think I've said this before, but this year really does seem to be the year of the cookbook! (Next week I have another amazing one to talk about too!). So many cookbooks have been released, and so many more are in the works.... especially in the food blogging world! It's fair to say that I loooove a good cookbook. Some I love for their recipes, others for their layout and photos, while others I love more for the overall tone and voice behind the book. But it's a very good day indeed, when a cookbook achieves all of these things.

Earlier this year I connected with a lovely girl by the name of Amy Chaplin on Instagram, after she mentioned something about working on her own cookbook. In all honesty I didn't know much about Amy, her blog, or her back story at that stage, so I didn't have any preconceived expectations when she contacted me to see if I'd like to share a recipe from her debut cookbook on here. What I did know however, was that she created beautiful vegetarian (+ often vegan) dishes and her flavour combinations were totally in line with my own (might have something to do with the fact she grew up here in Australia in a vegetarian hippy family, like my own!).

It's pretty safe to say that Amy's book At Home In The Whole Food Kitchen is straight-up amazing. Unlike so many of the other cookbooks released recently, this book has depth, substance, is full to the brim with gorgeous real food recipes, stunning photos and a ridiculous amount of knowledge that only comes from years of experience and truly living the wholefood life. I wasn't kidding when I mentioned on Instagram that it's quickly become one of my top 5 cookbooks, of all time.

vanilla chia pudding
I have a similar chia pudding recipe in my own cookbook, which we eat regularly, but I love the idea of pumping up the flavour with both the vanilla bean (or paste) and vanilla extract in this super creamy cashew-based pudding. I've printed the recipe below as it appears in Amy's book, but you'll see I've also added a few notes for alternatives at the bottom as well.
Serves 6-8

1/2 cup chia seeds
1 vanilla bean
1 cup raw cashews, soaked 2-6 hours in filtered water
 4 cups filtered water, divided
7 medjool dates, pitted
pinch sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons coconut butter or extra virgin coconut oil
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
fresh berries, to serve

Place chia seeds into a medium bowl. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds with the tip of a small knife, and add them to an upright blender. Place the vanilla pod in bowl with chia seeds; set aside.

Drain and rinse cashews, and add to blender with 3 cups filtered water, dates, salt, cinnamon, coconut butter and vanilla extract. Blend on highest speed until completely smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into bowl with chia seeds along with remaining 1 cup water, and whisk thoroughly. (Alternatively, if you have a large blender with a 6-cup capacity, you can blend in all the water at once). Let mixture sit for 10 minutes, whisking a couple of times to prevent chia seeds from clumping. Place in the fridge for 1 1/2-2 hours or until completely chilled. Remove and compost the vanilla pod before serving. Divide into bowls, and serve chilled topped with berries. Store and leftover pudding in a jar in the fridge for up to five days.

Emma's notes: I omitted the vanilla bean and used 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste instead. I used 1/2 cup dried dates in place of the medjool, and soaked them overnight in cold filtered water at the same time as I soaked the cashews.

Recipe from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin, © 2014 by Amy Chaplin. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA.

Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book courtesy of Roost Books. However, I only share things on here that I truly believe in. All thoughts are my own.

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  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    October 23, 2014 at 7:09 am

    Soooo pretty!! This pudding is a stunner. It definitely is the year of the cookbook, but luckily great recipes are coming out of them 🙂

  • Reply
    Millie | Add A LIttle
    October 23, 2014 at 8:13 am

    This looks absolutely delicious and the photos are beautiful!

  • Reply
    Kate Doran
    October 23, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I only recently got to know Amy's blog too but it's so beautiful! I haven't yet got my hands on her book but it's next on my (ever-growing) list x

  • Reply
    October 23, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    this year is definitely the year of cookbook! the pudding looks amazing.

  • Reply
    Maryna Krasnozhon
    October 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    I looked through Amy's blog and her book on amazon. And wow! Thanks for sharing one of Amy's recipes)

  • Reply
    October 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    I think I might be Amy's biggest fan and all of your sentiments on the book definitely match mine. I love when a cookbook is beautiful AND informative AND practical for everyday. Definitely in my top 5 as well and I absolutely love this chia pudding. The little flowers on yours are so lovely, Emma.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    I am so excited about this book. I know her blog and am also a big fan. She is so knowledgeable and her recipes are so unique. I would be curious to know when your cookbook will be available outside of Australia?

    • Reply
      October 31, 2014 at 5:26 am

      My cookbook will be available in the States next year, will announce properly soon xx

  • Reply
    Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth
    October 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks for introducing us to Amy and her cookbook. Such high praise from you is certainly a testament to the quality of her work! Can't wait to try this beautiful recipe.

  • Reply
    J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats
    October 23, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    I think the secret to good chia pudding is a rich base (whether its coconut or cashew or whatever). If you try to make it super light with just almond milk it ends up being more jello-y than true pudding.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I have been hearing so much about this book, so I am super excited to buy it!
    Your photos are lovely. And your review of the book is really touching.

  • Reply
    Christine // my natural kitchen
    October 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I love this recipe! I got Amy's book last week and this was the first thing I made from it – it's really a gorgeous book, and becoming a quick favourite of mine too. Your photos of it look beautiful, these puddings look so pretty with the berries and flowers!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Prettiest chia pudding I've ever seen.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    that sounds amazing. thanks for sharing!
    xo, cheyenne

  • Reply
    October 26, 2014 at 9:18 am

    How delicious. I am usually a savoury breakfast person but have been craving sweet lately (crazy!) I'd love to give these a go.

  • Reply
    Ashley Marti
    October 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Oh yes! I've tried making a pudding like this with no luck, but I cannot wait to try again. This looks wonderful!

  • Reply
    InTolerant Chef
    October 26, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    This looks really good Emma, the ones at the supermarket are yucky so I'll definitely be making this one at home. Love the look of the borage flowers too 🙂

  • Reply
    Vanessa @VeganFamilyRecipes
    October 27, 2014 at 7:54 am

    I love the simplicity of this recipe. I'm such a big fan of chia puddings and the way you garnished it looks amazing. Really beautiful!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    This looks good, I never had chia desserts (only savoury dishes) and I am always on the lookout for vegan desserts :-). I should check the book out, thank you for the info!

    BTW, feel like hosting a Sweet New Zealand sometimes soon? Let me know, ciao

    • Reply
      October 31, 2014 at 5:27 am

      Thanks for the offer Alessandra but I've got a little too much on my plate at the moment to host Sweet NZ. xx

  • Reply
    Marijke Van Doornick
    October 27, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Wow! I love everything about this post – the recipe, the sumptuous photos, the bowls. . . and the fact it's gluten-free and vegan. Every box has been ticked and then some. Thank you so much! Mari, x

  • Reply
    Valentina Duracinsky
    October 28, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I think that book was already in my wishlist but I'll make sure…

    great pictures!

    Valentina Duracinsky Blog

  • Reply
    london bakes
    October 29, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I've read so many good things about this book and everyone seems to absolutely love it. I can't wait to buy a copy myself! This is so beautiful too; I love those pretty petals and berries on top.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2014 at 3:50 am

    Hi Emma I was on my way to the West Coast from Nelson 2 weekends ago for a girls weekend. I got an email from the library as I drove through town telling me your Cook Book that I had reserved was available to pick up. It would make me late to pick up my friend but I decided that the opportunity to revel in your recipes all weekend could not be passed up so I detoured to the library and picked it up. I wallowed in it all weekend, soaking up each and every recipe. What a bummer that I was away from my kitchen for the weekend. Was just about jumping out of my skin with the urge to start cooking. I have followed your blog for a while and love it. With most recipe books as I read through I will get really excited about maybe 5 recipes max but about three quarters of your book had me itching to get cooking. This last weekend was Labour Weekend here in New Zealand. I cancelled all life, farmed out the kids and spent nearly the whole weekend cooking from your book. My family don't eat enough for me to cook enough so my neighbour had a very well-fed weekend. Books are an expensive luxury for us at the moment but for the first time in a long time I will be buying a new cookbook as the library will be wanting this copy back soon and I cant write my notes in it! Keep doing what you do. You're awesome! Nicky from Nelson

    • Reply
      October 31, 2014 at 5:29 am

      Nicky, you have no idea how much your sweet comment means to me! I'm thrilled beyond belief that you have found loads of recipes in my book to make and thank you so much for purchasing a copy when I know how expensive they can be to some families. Much love xx

  • Reply
    Avianti Jewelry
    November 28, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    This look so good. I love putting chia seeds in smoothies but this looks delicious. Can't wait to try it! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Informative URL for Atlantic Highlands NJ Maid Service website
    November 17, 2015 at 2:03 am

    I love chia pudding and have not made them in so long. These sound so delicious!

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