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Lemon Meringue Banana Cream Chia Pudding

Gluten-Free * Dairy-Free * Vegan * Absolutely Delicious *

A few months ago, I decided to run a series of plant-based cooking classes and recipe share workshops. My goodness it has been fun. Have I ever mentioned how much I love cooking and feeding people? I really do! This is one of the recipes I served at the Vegan Energy Bars and Raw Desserts class I put on last night.

I love coming up with new and interesting ways to chia seeds, but chia pudding is still one of my favourite ways to use them. There are so many different flavours to play around with. The possibilities are endless! This recipe is lemony and tangy and wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer day. Even though this isn’t really a meringue, the taste reminds me of lemon meringue pie, hence the name.

Lemon Meringue Banana Cream Chia Pudding

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons whole chia seeds
2 bananas
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 30 minutes)
Juice from one large lemon

Zest from one lemon
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Method:
1. Begin by adding the cashews to a bowl and fill with water. Let the cashews soak for at least 30 minutes. The longer you can soak the cashews, the smoother and creamier they will be when you blend them. I’ve gone as far as soaking them overnight. If soaking overnight, cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator. Drain before use.
2. Combine the cashews, coconut milk, banana, lemon juice and maple syrup together in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
3. Pour mixture into a large bowl and stir in the chia seeds. Cover and let sit for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally.
4. When the chia seeds have absorbed the liquid and have become soft and plump, stir in the lemon zest.
5. Pour into serving bowls and enjoy!
Best served chilled.
* Garnished with banana slices and fresh mint.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Red Velvet Chia Seed Pudding

Chocolate Hazelnut Red Velvet Chia Seed Pudding

Chocolate Hazelnut Red Velvet Chia Seed Pudding
* Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 small beet, baked and purred
2 Tbsp. cacao powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup almond milk
2 Tbsp. hazelnut butter
1/4 cup dried organic cranberries

Topping
Coconut whipped cream (or cream of your choice)
Raspberries
Cinnamon

Method:
Begin by making the beet puree.
Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350° F.
Wash and scrub the beet to remove any dirt then wrap it in aluminum foil. Place beet on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. When cool, remove the foil and slip off the skin, which should easily slide off. Roughly chop the beet and place in a food processor with just enough water to pulse into a smooth puree. Set aside.

Mix the cocoa powder, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla together in a bowl. Add the chia seeds to the mixture, then pour in the almond milk, stirring well. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes before stirring again. Stir every 5 minutes for the first 20 minutes, then refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight, to allow the chia seeds to plump up and absorb the liquid. After 2 hours, you can add the remaining ingredients.
In a small pot over medium heat, warm the hazelnut butter then add it to the chia seed mixture. Stir in the beet puree and add a touch more almond milk to achieve the desired consistency. Lastly, mix in the dried cranberries.
When ready to serve, pour into serving bowls, top with the whipped cream of your choice and garnish with raspberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Coconut Whipped Cream (needs to be refrigerated for 4 hours)
This whipped cream can be added to any dessert. It remains solid at room temperature and can be piped into a variety of shapes or simply dolloped on top.

Ingredients:
389 ml (14 fl oz)can full fat coconut milk (room temperature)
1½ Tbsp. agar flakes or 1½ tsp. agar powder
2 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
2-3 Tbsp. raw cane sugar, or powdered sweetener of your choice (stevia, coconut sugar etc.)
1/2 cup almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened, your choice. I used unsweetened)
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Method:
1. Begin by combining the coconut milk, almond milk and agar in a small pot. Whisk well, then allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Stir in 1 Tbsp. of the cornstarch along with the sugar and blend until smooth.
3. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously until it reaches boiling point.
4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Be careful not to overheat or burn the mixture.
5. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
6. If you are using the agar flakes, strain the mixture into a glass bowl to remove any bits that haven’t fully dissolved.
7. Let the mixture cool at room temperature for 30-45 minutes then place in the refrigerator overnight (or for a minimum of 4 hours).
8. When the mixture has chilled, place in a food processor with 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch and process until smooth. You may adjust the sweetness at this point, if desired.