A topic that seems to come up a lot among conscientious eaters is healthy breakfast. Or rather, the lack of time for it or general confusion as to what to eat in the first place. Whether you’re short on time or simply don’t feel like cooking in the morning, having a make-ahead breakfast recipe up your sleeve can be a game-changer.
I, for one, love waking up early because it gives me extra time to take care of myself and do stuff that makes me feel good – like exercising, journaling, or tidying up the house – before the craziness of the day sets in.
With that said, I don’t always wanna cook at 7am, and that’s where my favorite make-ahead breakfast comes in: chia pudding with a simple homemade granola. I usually make both components during Sunday night meal prep so I’m set for the rest of the week.
What Makes Chia Pudding Unique
Chia pudding is the perfect meal prep breakfast because it couldn’t be simpler to make (no cooking involved!) – and it keeps in the fridge all week. Chia seeds are rich in fiber, which helps control blood sugar and cholesterol and promotes gut health. They’re also an awesome source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and calcium, and just two tablespoons of chia seeds contain as much protein as one egg.
Another cool attribute of chia seeds is that they take on a gel-like/pudding consistency when mixed with a liquid (which enables them to be used as a “chia egg” in baking). The fact that they absorb water also means they expand in your stomach during digestion, which may help you feel full for longer.
The outlined chia pudding is a simple, barebones recipe. It’s thick and creamy, and I like to think of it as a vegan yogurt substitute. If you wanna jazz it up a little, play around with the flavorings I suggest below. (Chocolate chia pudding is especially yummy with bananas and strawberries!)
Homemade Granola vs. Store-bought
A common misconception is that granola is hard to make, which couldn’t be further from the truth – homemade granola requires basically zero kitchen skills. While it has the reputation of being good-for-you, store-bought granola is typically loaded with sugar, poor quality oils, and artificial flavors. Making your own lets you control the ingredients; plus, granola is infinitely customizable so you can create the exact flavor you want.
The most important thing to remember when making granola is not to stir it while it’s baking or while it’s still hot from the oven. Baked granola turns into clusters as it cools and if you stir it before it’s cool then you will lose all that crunchy clump action.
Again, this granola is pretty barebones, so feel free to make it your own with a little cinnamon or cardamom, switching out the almonds for other nuts, or using dried apricots or dates instead of cranberries.
Add some berries or chopped fruit and this make-ahead breakfast recipe is complete. If you prefer to eat during your commute – or at school or work – layer the pudding into a to-go jar, top with fruit, and add granola on top. Keep in mind that if the pudding and granola sit together for too long, the granola will become soggy, so don’t pack individual servings in advance.Print
For the Granola
- 2 ½ cups “old fashioned” rolled oats
- ½ cup raw sliced almonds (or chopped nuts of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup dried cranberries
For the Chia Pudding
- 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
- ½ cup chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- (Optional flavorings: vanilla extract, cinnamon, matcha, cocoa powder)
- To make the granola, preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, toss together the oats, nuts, and chia seeds. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and whisk until smooth. Pour the oil mixture over the oat mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until the oats are evenly coated.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes (resist the urge to stir the granola), then rotate the baking sheet, and continue baking until the granola is fragrant and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely (do not stir) – the granola will become crunchy and form clusters as it cools. Scatter the cranberries over the top and transfer granola to an airtight container. It will keep at room temperature for up to several weeks.
- To make the chia pudding, in a large bowl, combine the milk, chia seeds, and syrup and whisk. Let stand 10 minutes. Whisk again to break up any clumps. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the pudding gels, at least a few hours or overnight. The chia pudding should be thick, creamy, and without any clumps. Taste and sweeten with more syrup, if needed. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Serve the chia pudding topped with fruit and granola.
- Calories: 500
Keywords: breakfast, vegan, chia pudding, granola