I might have not survived this long and dark winter without layered chia creations. Chia snack jars are simply brilliant as a brekkie or snack: they give me a healthy boost in the morning and enough energy to survive afternoon hours without a lazy slump. I usually combine chia seeds with either plant-based milk or yogurt, depending on the texture I want to achieve – milk for a gel like pudding and yogurt for a firmer parfait. I’ve come to the conclusion that a creamy element works well in parfaits. Another tasty addition is something crunchy. So with the creaminess of cashews and crunchiness of other nuts I created this healthy blueberry chia parfait with tahini granola.
This heavenly tahini granola is a great snack on its own too as it can be broken into clusters and nibbled like cookies (kids favorite!). With just wholesome plant-based ingredients such as tahini, nuts & seeds, coconut oil and dates, these clusters can definitely be described as the healthy kind of cookies. I always make a big batch of granola, and store the clusters in a huge glass jar. What always surprises me is how fast the jar becomes empty. Not sure if it’s my hubby or children stealing granola cookie clusters from the cookie jar 🙂
To me, an integral part of plant-based puddings and parfaits are chia seeds. These nutrient-dense seeds are one of the amazing super foods I found out about when I switched to eating plant-based. The advantages of these tiny seeds are undeniable: they contain omega-3s, fiber, protein and quite surprisingly as many antioxidants as blueberries. Chia seeds are extremely versatile too; they can be used in baking instead of eggs, smoothies to boost nutrient content, in seed breads and even granola (like my tahini granola!). And last but not least they work as a miraculous thickener in puddings and parfaits.
There are probably a billion chia pudding and parfait recipes online, but this blueberry chia parfait is special as it is a very thick and creamy one. And like my tahini granola, it is made of only wholesome real food ingredients. I used my favorite berries as flavor (and for the color, too 🙂 ) – frozen wild blueberries (bilberries), but I’m sure this recipe will work with any kind of berries. Can’t wait for summer versions of chia snacks with fresh berries!
pps. After posting an image of this blue parfait to Instagram I have received many questions on HOW to achieve this blue color. I have just one logical explanation for the color: magical winter light in Finland, which makes almost anything BLUE. I was very lucky to catch this special moment on a winter’s day. One (small) part of me can’t wait for next winter..winter light..and the moments to capture blueberry creations which magically turn blue (and not the usual purple).
I don’t normally do this (I shoot raw and edit my images to enhance the natural colors and brightness), but here is a totally unedited picture of my magical BLUE blueberry parfait 🙂
- Blueberry chia parfait
- ½ cup cashews (soak cashews)
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp creamy coconut milk or other plant-based milk (I used ½ cup coconut milk and 2 tbsp coconut cream)
- 1,5 tbsp chia seeds
- 3-4 tbsp frozen (or fresh) blueberries
- 1,5 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- For layering: more blueberries and tahini granola
- Preparations for blueberry chia parfait: Soak cashews for 2 - 4 hours in warm water with ½ tsp of sea salt: put cashews in a jar or a bowl and cover with water.
- Blueberry chia parfait: when cashews are ready, drain and rinse them properly.
- Blend all parfait ingredients in a high-speed blender or powerful food processor until smooth consistency reached.
- For a two toned parfait add first 2 tbsp of blueberries and blend all ingredients.
- Divide the blended mixture in half, put one half into the fridge to set (for 10 min or overnight) and the other half into a bowl and mix in 2 tbsp blueberries.
- Put the other parfait mixture into the fridge and let set for 10 minutes to overnight.
- Layering the parfait: mix the thick parfait with a spoon and add more plant-based milk if needed. Put half of the parfait into a small jar, add crumbled granola and blueberries. Add the second parfait layer, granola and blueberry toppings.
For a less thick and creamy parfait, just add more liquids e.g. plant-based milk.
- Tahini granola
- Dry ingredients:
- 2 cups chopped nuts (e.g. pecans, cashews, walnuts and almonds)
- 1 cup (gluten free) rolled oats
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp Himalayan salt (or other good quality salt)
- Wet ingredients:
- 12 pitted dates (medium size)
- ¼ cup tahini (I use a slightly salted version, add a pinch of salt when using an unsalted version)
- 4 tbsp coconut oil, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- (optional: 1 tsp ground cardamom)
- Pre heat oven to 300 F/150 C.
- Chop nuts and mix all dry ingredients together.
- Blend all wet ingredients into a thick date-tahini paste with a food processor.
- Mix wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. It is best to use your hands when mixing as it is important to get all bits and pieces covered in the date-tahini paste.
- Put the sticky granola dough into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure to spread the granola into a dense even layer.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, turn the baking sheet around and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Check the granola after 30 minutes and continue for another ~5 minutes until it is getting crispy and brown (but not dark brown).
- Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the granola cool down on the baking sheet for at least 30 minute before breaking it into clusters and crumbling it into the parfait.
- Store granola clusters in a jar in room temperature for up to two weeks.