Feb 06

Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten-free)

Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten-free)

Ever since Serial nabbed my attention (and everyone else’s) in early December, I’ve been obsessed with podcasts. I have an hour round-trip commute to work each day, so listening to them has splattered my once-deemed-monotonous daily drives with feelings of productivity and inspiration.

There’s one called The One You Feed that I’ve fallen particularly in love with because it offers a fresh, realistic, and approachable perspective on life. The entire series is inspired by this parable:

An old grandfather told his grandson: “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, and resentment. The other is good. It is joy, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and bravery.”

The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

Let that settle for a moment.

I’ve heard those words repeated so many times over the last two months as I’ve worked my way through about half of the 60+ podcasts in the series, and each time it resonates a little bit stronger with me.

The idea that good and evil reside within each of us, and it’s the choices we make — day in and day out — that determine which one of those sides is prevailing at any given moment? I find this to be such an empowering message and also a calming one. Empowering because it suggests that we can shift the battle at any moment and calming because it normalizes those evil feelings that we all grapple with but try so hard to push away. And you know what happens when we try to push them away? They grow bigger and stronger. Because somewhere in the midst of all that denial is a whole lot of evil wolf food.

I’ve been thinking about this idea of good wolf/evil wolf so much over the past two months that I figured it was about time I mention it on the blog. I’m not sure if any of you have ever felt this way, but I’ve tended to harbor guilt when I’ve experienced feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy, etc. I believed those feelings were wrong and that a kind person, which I consider myself to be, doesn’t experience them. In lieu of acknowledging those evil yet incredibly normal emotions, I’ve often opted to push them aside in hopes that doing so might dissolve them and that only the good, happy-go-lucky emotions would prevail. Totally not what happens! Instead of producing more goodness, that cycle only adds an additional layer of evil (i.e., guilt) to an already counterproductive and oppressed style of coping. This podcast reminded me that it’s not just important but necessary to experience the depths of all emotions — the good, the bad, the happy, the sad — because by fully experiencing each we’re in touch with our own reality. And I’m fairly certain the good wolf enjoys keeping it real.

What does the above have to do with Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding?

A. Everything

B. The good wolf likes being fed Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding

C. Nothing

D. B and C

If you guessed D, you’re probably right. In all seriousness though, if you have some free time or hefty commute time on your hands, give The One You Feed a listen. I’ve skipped around quite a bit, but my favorite episodes have been 06 and 54. But every one is uniquely inspiring, and I find myself nodding my head in amazed agreement at the practicality and truth of the strategies, suggestions, and notions offered up in each interview.

Okay, enough with the deep stuff, let’s float on down to the recipe for this sweet and spiced vanilla chai chia pudding. To make this snack/dessert, you’ll simply add nut milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper to a container. After a quick whisk to combine, you’ll pop it in the refrigerator for four hours or overnight so that the chia seeds have time to expand and thicken the mixture. Then, pour into glasses or bowls, top with coconut whipped cream (optional), and enjoy.

This one is sweet enough for dessert, healthy enough for a snack, and delicious enough for a good wolf.

And on that cheese-tastic note, I hope you all have an awesome, fun-filled weekend!

Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten-free)

Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten-free)

Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten-free)

Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten-free)

Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten-free)

4.6 from 5 reviews
Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten-free)
Prep time
Total time
Sweet vanilla and chai spices are whisked into nutrient-rich chia pudding to create a spiced pudding. This chia pudding makes an excellent snack or healthy dessert!
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 2
  • 1½ cups almond or coconut milk
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch to ¼ teaspoon ground cloves or to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
Optional Topping
  • coconut whipped cream
  1. Add all ingredients to an airtight contain, and whisk together until incorporated.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
  3. Divide between two glasses or bowls, and top with coconut whipped cream, if desired.
  4. Serve and refrigerate leftovers.






  1. Ashley, I don’t comment very often, but your posts always make me smile! And make me hungry too :). This chia pudding looks really yummy. Also, I’m intrigued about the One You Feed podcasts… going to have to check those out. Have a lovely weekend!

    • Aww, Larice! Your comment made ME smile! It’s so encouraging to hear that because it can be a bit nerve-wracking to share this kind of stuff. I’m also glad the posts make you hungry! You have a lovely weekend too, and let me know if you give One You Feed a listen. There’s a lot to chew on, and I love discussing/digesting it with others.

  2. I often make chia puddings… so this recipe is perfect for me. Loving the sound of a chai flavoured pudding especially!

    • Chia pudding is one of my go-to healthy snacks. The combinations are endless, and it’s always so satisfying. Thanks, Thalia!

  3. Hi Ashley,

    Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m glad you are enjoying the show. James is definitely one of our most popular episodes.

    • You’re welcome, Eric! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful, empowering message with the world. It’s inspiring in a real, honest, and approachable way, which is so needed. All the best to you!

  4. Oh yummy! This can be my updated version of “rice pudding”. Love the message too!

  5. I absolutely love chia seeds! I think that adding vanilla is a very interesting twist.

  6. Hi Ashley,
    I deeply resonate with the ‘wolf tale’ each time I have it presented to me, have not listened to the podcast play. I appreciate the chia pudding recipes, yummy spice combo.

    • It’s such a thought-provoking parable, isn’t it? I feel much the same each time I hear it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you enjoy the chia pudding, Anita!

  7. Bridget says:

    Good morning, Ashley!
    So I have attempted this lovely recipe and I’m having a bit of trouble and I can’t seem to find out the reason. I followed your recipe and measured accordingly, but the pudding is not thickening?!?!? I even tried transferring it from a plastic tupperware to a mason jar and still no luck. It’s killing me because it smells so good and I’m dying to try it!!! Can you shed some light on this for me PLEASE??? I would really appreciate it and I look forward to trying more delicious recipes of yours!
    Thanks a bunch and hope you have a blessed day!

    • Hi, Bridget! I am so sorry for the delay and that you’re having/had trouble getting the chia pudding to thicken. Did you use the full 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chia seeds? Sometimes the chia seeds can clump together, so whisking it thoroughly can help disperse them if that is the issue. I’ve used this particular ratio of chia to plant milk time and time again, so I’m stumped as to why it wouldn’t be thickening as it should. If none of the above work, simply whisk in more chia seeds and it should set for you. I hope this is helpful!

  8. Hey Ashley! I just posted your recipe as one of three awesome ways to use protein powder. I work at Peach Vitamins, an independent health food store in Atlanta, GA, and we just came out with our proprietary vegan protein powder blend. I wanted to show our customers some interesting ways they could use protein powder, so I wrote a blog post about it. I love chia pudding and make it all the time- in the version I posted on our blog, I simply added a scoop of vanilla protein powder to make it even more filling. Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Hey, I tried your recipe but I think the amount of cloves is way too much. Cloves are very powerful.

    Basing off this recipe for spicy chai which has cloves as 1/10 the amount of cardamom, I would use 1/20 of a tsp of cloves for your recipe : http://www.thespicehouse.com/recipes/spicy-chai-recipe

    1/20 of a tsp is really tiny. According to this scale, it would be a pinch:
    a Hint tiny amount (1/2 drop)
    a Drop 1/64 teaspoon (1/2 smidgen)
    a Smidgen 1/32 teaspoon (1/2 pinch)
    a Pinch 1/16 teaspoon (1/2 dash)
    a Dash 1/8 teaspoon (1/2 tad)
    a Tad 1/4 teaspoon

    • Hi, Ray! I’m so glad you tried the recipe, and thank you for taking the time to comment with feedback. I’ll make note of your thoughts regarding the cloves within the recipe.

  10. Hi just wondering if you have a nutritional breakdown of this recipe as I would like to convert it to WW POINTS. Thanks kindly really love this recipe.

    • Hi, Tania!! I”m so glad you’re enjoying the recipe. Unfortunately, I don’t have the nutritional breakdown.

    • Hi Tania. You can use the Recipe Builder tool in the Weight Watchers APP to get the points. I recently looked up that 1/2 cup of Chia seeds is 6 points. I found that surprising because chia seeds are very high in fiber which is not a usable carbohydrate for the body to convert to glucose. Most of it is eliminated by the body because of its fiber content.

  11. Just ate my first bowl of this…………it’s AWESOME!!! Thank you for sharing this recipe, Ashley. :)

  12. I made this last night and it thickened up somewhat, but the seeds are still crunchy…is that normal? I was expecting more of a soft texture like tapioca. Also, I used organic skim milk because that was all I had…would that have made any difference in the outcome?

    • Hi, Kristen! Yes, the chia seeds will still have a subtle crunch to them and will be surrounded by a softer, gelatinous coating. I’ve only used plant-based milks when making chia pudding, so I’m not sure if or how skim would affect the tecture but it could have made a difference.

      • Thank you for your response! It tastes great, but just wanted to make sure I did it right!

        • You’re welcome! Glad you’re enjoying it — chia pudding is a bit strange on the first go, but it becomes incredibly addictive the more you have it! Enjoy :)


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