I met Amie Valpone in New York a few months ago, at the International Year of Pulses launch party. I was surrounded by people I didn’t know and feeling a little shy, and Amie bounded up and introduced herself, bubbling over with enthusiasm. I was so glad.
She kept referencing how sick she had been—a decade of chronic illnesses (lyme disease, hypothyroidism, leaky gut syndrome and more) slowed her down immensely. She is finally cured after seriously detoxifying her life, from the products in her home to the food she eats.
I had a hard time imagining this vivacious woman with glowing skin being sick and bedridden, but I could sense by the passionate tone in her voice that her illness and recovery were both very real. The motivation behind her website, The Healthy Apple, and her new book, Eating Clean, is to help others get better and feel better.
She sent me a copy of her book, which is full of solid information and practical advice for detoxifying our homes and diets. I like to think I run a pretty clean operation over here, but she has inspired me to do even better. I can’t wait to make her simple (and cheap) cleaning solution of orange-infused vinegar.
Her book offers over 200 simple and healthy recipes (that’s right, 200!). The chia seed pudding in the breakfast chapter caught my eye, and I enjoyed it so much I just had to share it. I’ve tried chia seed “pudding” before and just couldn’t get behind that oddly gelatinous texture. Amie’s version, however, is blended with cashews and dates for ultra creamy pudding. She added a swirl of chia gel to hers, but I think I like mine best all creamy. It’s up to you.
In case you aren’t familiar with chia seeds, they are the same seeds that grow long and green on Chia Pets. They’re a South American super food full of fiber, protein, Omega-3s and minerals. They plump up into little gelatinous balls when they rest in water. You can see them floating around in bottles of kombucha these days. This pudding is the first time I’ve ever truly enjoyed them, so thank you, Amie!
This pudding is energy dense, so it is a great breakfast option. It’s so rich, creamy and decadent, though, that I’d serve it for dessert, too. I loved it on its own, and with some leftover berries from a cookbook shoot on top. Any fruit with tropical vibes would be especially welcome.
I tried stirring in some cocoa powder and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (pictured in the last photo), and it reminded me of a Frosty crossed with the instant pudding cups of my youth. So good. If you (or someone you know) could benefit from cleaning up your diet and home, be sure to pick up a copy of Amie’s book, Eating Clean!
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 6 large dates
- 2/3 cup raw cashews (if you don't have a high-powered blender, these will likely need to be soaked in water for 2 to 4 hours, then drained)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- Fresh fruit: berries, sliced bananas, chopped pineapple, etc.
- Sprinkle of cocoa powder, mini chocolate chips or finely chopped dark chocolate, toasted coconut, cinnamon, etc.
- In a liquid measuring cup, combine the water and chia seeds. Set aside until the mixture forms a gel, about 20 minutes.
- If your dates aren't soft and plump, place them in a bowl and pour hot water over them. Set aside for up to 20 minutes, or until the chia seeds are ready. Drain.
- Pit the dates. In a blender, combine the pitted dates with the cashews, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Pour in half or more of the chia gel (I prefer chia seeds in their blended state, so I poured in almost all of mine). Puree until smooth. If your pudding gets warm in the process, you'll need to chill it until cool.
- Serve individual portions of pudding with any remaining chia gel swirled in. Top with any garnishes you'd like. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Chocolate pudding option: Stir in cocoa powder, to taste (a little goes a long way). Add some mini chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate if you want to go all in!