Coconut Chia Rhubarb Parfait

Coconut Chia Rhubarb Parfaits are a great way to start or end the day and a wonderful way to enjoy one of my favorite seasonal food items without all of the guilt that can come along with cake mixes and butter.

Chia seeds are one of my favorite quick dessert items to keep in the cupboard.  Because they can make any liquid thick, I use them for quick fruit jellies to keep in the fridge or to turn my favorite flavored milks or protein shakes into pudding.  Chia seeds are a great source of calcium, protein, fiber, and omega 3’s.  What’s not to love about eating dessert and doing something good for your body at the same time?

To make the Coconut Chia Pudding, blend the chia seeds with coconut milk – the kind from the carton, not the can – honey, and vanilla extract.  When the tiny black seeds are left in the liquid for a few hours, they turn the coconut milk into a delightfully light gelatin-type dessert with a consistency similar to tapioca.  For the strawberry rhubarb topping, I cooked rhubarb with fresh sliced strawberries, honey, and vanilla.  For a garnish, and to bring out a little extra coconut flavor, I added toasted coconut flakes.  You can make this dish ahead of time and just store the topping and coconut chia pudding in the refrigerator.  When you are ready to eat, just layer it in a parfait glass or a to go container to bring with you for a special treat at work.  When I served this at home, the kids went nuts for it, and I couldn’t have been happier!

Coconut Chia Rhubarb Parfait

For the coconut chia pudding:

3 cups coconut milk, from a carton, not canned.

⅔ cups chia seeds

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ cup honey (more or less depending on your taste)

For the strawberry rhubarb topping:

3 cups rhubarb, sliced 1 inch, fresh or frozen

3 cups sliced fresh strawberries

⅓ cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To top the parfaits:  Toasted coconut flakes or whipped cream.

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the pudding.  Whisk together, cover, and store in the refrigerator for 4 hours before serving.  (It can be used ahead of time, but I personally prefer it to sit longer.)  Store until ready to use.

Meanwhile, in a sauce pot, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, and honey and cook over medium heat until the fruit is broken down and the mixture is smooth, about 30 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla extract.  Let cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make the parfait, place the coconut chia pudding in the bottom of a bowl, wine glass, or any pretty container you have.  Layer it with the rhubarb topping and sprinkle with toasted coconut or even whipped cream.

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