When I met my husband back in the day, I had never tried Indian food (crazy, I know!). He introduced me to some of the best Indian restaurants in Montreal, and to this day, it remains my favourite dinner date treat. Although I don’t cook much Indian food at home, I am amazed by the delicious combinations of spices and it really is a very veg-friendly cuisine. We love to order it in as a treat from our favourite restaurant, and even my 4 1/2 year old son asks for Indian food. We are just obsessed with chickpea chana, aloo gobi, biryani, onion bhaji, and I’ll stop now before I make everyone really hungry…. 🙂
This brings me to the ever-refreshing mango lassi that I was daydreaming of when I created this recipe. Traditionally, lassi is a yoghurt-based chilled drink hailing from India, and either made sweet or savoury. When making fruit lassi, mango is the most popular. This is my take on the mango lassi incorporated with chia seeds to make a filling, refreshing, vibrant mango lassi parfait. I never liked yoghurt, so I didn’t use it here, but if you would like to use yoghurt/non-dairy yoghurt then leave out the cashews and water and add 1/2 cup yoghurt. I just love the creaminess cashews bring to a dish or drink and I think they worked really well in this parfait.
If you are new to chia seeds, I just want to emphasize what a nutritional powerhouse this little seed is. I’ll start by saying, yes it looks totally weird when you soak it, almost alien-like. I know that doesn’t sound at all appetizing, but it’s actually really great-tasting soaked in almond milk or milk/juice of your choice. Chia seed contains a wealth of fiber—5 grams in just one tablespoon. It is the fiber in chia that causes chia seed to swell when combined with water, creating chia gel. Chia gel can also be used as a substitute for eggs in vegan baking.
Ounce for ounce, chia seeds have more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Chia is one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 in any food. Chia also contains calcium; three times more than skim milk.
Great ways to use chia:
- Sprinkle on cereal or salad.
- Add to shakes or smoothies.
- Add to baked goods like muffins, cakes, and pancakes.
- Make into gel and use to thicken puddings, sauces or dips. You can make chia gel by adding 1/3 cup of chia seeds to 2 cups of almond milk (or juice, or water). Mix well to avoid clumping. Place the chia seeds in in a sealed jar and refrigerate overnight.
- For vegan baking, replace one egg with 1/4 cup of chia gel.
So, I guess you’ve now realized I am a big fan of this great little seed, so I’ll get on to the recipe! This makes two servings, but for the purpose of taking a pretty, layered photo, I stuffed it all into one mason jar. 🙂
- For the Chia Seeds:
- 2 cups vanilla flavoured almond milk
- 1/3 cup white chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- pinch of salt
- For the Mango Lassi:
- 2 medium mango, peeled
- 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 medjool dates, pitted
- pinch of salt
- pinch of ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons chopped roasted pistachios (optional)
- Prepare your chia seeds the night before by combining almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt in a jar. Stir well, cover, and place in the refrigerator. After about 30 minutes, stir again to prevent clumping. Place back in the refrigerator overnight.
- Soak your cashews overnight in a jar filled with water.
- In the morning, remove chia and cashews from the fridge.
- Blend 1 mango along with the cashews, water, dates, and a pinch of salt until you have a smooth consistency.
- Dice the one remaining mango.
- Layer parfait in a large cup or jar: spoon chia mixture into glass/jar first, then mango lassi, fresh mango, repeat. Top with fresh mango, pistachios, and ground cardamom.
- Serve cold.
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