‘Tis the season for pumpkin pie. Who doesn’t love a nice creamy, pumpkin-y, perfectly spiced slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day?
If you are not a pumpkin pie fan, I am not sure that we can be friends anymore.
I love pumpkin pie so much that I begin to crave it way before Thanksgiving. To make a pie that serves 8 when there are only two of us to eat it is not the best idea. Those leftover slices would be calling my name every time I walked into the kitchen. And I walk into the kitchen a lot, so that’s a lot of pie.
To satisfy my pumpkin pie craving I knew I needed something that would be lighter, healthier, easily adjustable in quantity, and reminiscent of pumpkin pie.
My Pumpkin-Spiced Chia Seed Pudding Topped with Pecan Crunch met all of my requirements. I wouldn’t say it is worthy enough to replace a pumpkin pie on the big T-day, but it sure is satisfying for a pre or post-pumpkin-pie-day treat.
This dessert is satisfyingly creamy, and the perfect spiced pumpkin flavor topped with the ultimate pecan crunch. It is easy to make, customizable, highly shareable, gluten-free, vegan, and healthy.
Let’s talk about how incredible chia seeds are for a minute.
Nope, I’m not talking about the Cha-cha-cha-chia pets that were all the rage in the 90s. Okay, yes, the seeds used to grow the grassy little pets are in fact the same. But, instead of growing them we are going to eat them!
Chia seeds may be tiny but they are mighty. They are packed full of nutrition. They are filled with protein, fiber, Omega-3s, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and are loaded with antioxidants. I try to eat a serving at least once a day to reap the health benefits.
Besides the health benefits, chia seeds are versatile and fun to cook with. You can simply sprinkle them onto your yogurt or cereal, or add them to a smoothie. You have seen me use chia seeds in a magical way last week with my Cranberry Chia Seed Jam. But how in the world do they create that gelatinous, pudding-like texture?
As I mentioned before, chia seeds are packed with fiber. So much fiber that when they are soaked in a liquid the fiber inside them will soak it up and the chia seeds will expand and become soft and luscious. Cool, right?
They can even be used in place of eggs in vegan baking.
My all-time favorite way to enjoy them is to make a pudding using them. I have been making vanilla and chocolate varieties for a healthy treat for quite a while now. This pumpkin-spiced variety is my current favorite.
- For pecan topping:
- ½ cup raw, unsalted pecans (or nut of choice), roughly chopped
- ½ cup steel cut oats (use the gluten-free variety if desired for a gluten-free recipe)
- 2 teaspoons grade A real maple syrup
- 3 teaspoons melted extra virgin coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch sea salt
- For pudding:
- 1 cup pumpkin puree, homemade, or canned
- 1 cup lightly sweetened almond milk, or milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons grade A real maple syrup, or to taste
- 2 to 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- Pinch sea salt
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- For the pecan topping:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the pecans, oats, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, and sea salt together on the baking sheet. Spread out evenly.
- Cook the topping for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring at the 5 minute mark. Once slightly browned and crispy remove from oven and set aside. *
- For the pudding:
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the pumpkin puree, almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, sea salt, and chia seeds. Mix until combined.
- Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow the chia seeds to expand to create a pudding-like consistency.**
- When ready to serve, remove the pudding from the refrigerator and stir to make sure everything is combined. Spoon the pudding into small glasses or bowls. Top with the pecan topping and serve immediately.
*The pecan topping can be made up to 1 to 2 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. It is best eaten within 1 day for the most crunch.
**The pudding can be made up to 48 hours in advance.