I fell in love with this stuff at a holiday crafting session with mothers from my daughter’s school. Our hostess served it in a big bowl next to tiny silver cups and spoons with tea at around 10am, and it was a total crowd pleaser. Since then, it’s been a go-to recipe that I whip together after the kids’ bedtime, and thoroughly enjoy it early in the morning as we get ready to go. But it’s not just for breakfast! This pudding is the bomb at any hour: it’s naturally sweetened, gluten-free and vegan. You can use a blender if you’d like, or just whisk the ingredients together. The blended version will give you a heavier, creamier pudding while unblended has more texture. Both are amazing.

1.5 c. of unsweetened almond milk
1/3 c. chia seeds
1/4 c. cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder (you can also reduce this to 1 tbsp with similar results)
2-5 tbsp real maple syrup (without blender) or 5-9 pitted dates (with blender)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Directions: Mix everything together, except sweetener, and vigorously whisk. If you aren’t using a blender, add your maple syrup and mix to combine. If you are blending, add your dates and blend. Let it sit, covered, in the fridge for at least 3-5 hours.

This can be served with  fruit, granola, alone, or even whipped cream. Try making it a few times, tweaking the recipe as you desire and you’ll be in love, like I am!

Rebecca Conroy grew up in NYC and has been a Brooklynite for 20 years and is now the mom of two young kids. Aside from writing, she works in photo and film production and has a rich history in the visual arts. Being a Teaching Artist in NYC’s public school system for years has allowed her to work closely with children and her community.