High protein, low fat vegan chia pudding breakfast, topped with a maqui berry smoothie. This chia pudding jar recipe is refined sugar free, gluten-free, dairy free and delicious!
These layered chia pudding jars are the perfect way to start the day. High protein, low fat and these jars are topped with a special maqui berry smoothie, a unique and delicious antioxidant-filled berry.
This healthy vegan breakfast combines the nutritional benefits of chia seeds, banana and maqui berries to start the day the right way. Plus, the recipe is dairy free, refined sugar free, vegan, healthy and utterly delicious.
If you’ve followed my blog for a long time, then you’ll know that healthy breakfasts are actually what started this blog. What began as an obsession with beautiful ( and nutritious) smoothie bowls quickly snowballed into an obsession with plant based and vegan breakfast ideas. Which has now become an obsession with all food and drink.
Chia pudding remains one of my favourite dishes though, as it continues to delight me. I could probably write an entire blog post dedicated to the wonder that is chia pudding. If you want to know a bit more about its nutrients and benefits, then you can on my Detox Smoothie and Chia Pudding post.
For a few reasons to start adding chia pudding to your diet now:
- Chia pudding takes only a couple of minutes to prepare and then needs to be left to set. In fact, overnight chia pudding is a favourite meal-prep option of mine.
- Chia pudding can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days too. Another reason it is terrific for meal-prep.
- It is very versatile as the seeds pick up the flavour of the liquid used to soak them. And you can prepare different toppings for each portion, so you never get bored.
- A tablespoon of Chia seeds contains only 69 calories, with my chia jars containing around 105kcal of seeds. Along with maple syrup and a low-calorie nut milk, a portion of this chia pudding can be as low as 140kcal per portion.
- Its low calories make it perfect as a light snack with some fruit. Alternatively, like with this smoothie topped version, chia pudding can be bulked out with toppings for a nutritious breakfast.
What are Maqui berries?
Maqui berries are small, dark berries that originate from the rainforest in Chile. The South American berries are super delicious, tasting similar to blackberries. However, more impressive than anything are their multiple health benefits.
Note* Maqui berries are similar in many ways to Acai berries. So, if you’re finding it hard to find maqui powder then look out for acai powder ( or frozen berries), instead.
Maqui berries are often labelled as a superfruit too and available as a superfood powder. This is due to their high levels of antioxidants and the various associated health benefits.
Maqui berry benefits:
Like with many dark coloured fruits, maqui berries are packed with anthocyanins. In fact, they are one of the best foods for this phytonutrient.
Note* Other examples include blueberries, aubergines etc.
The anthocyanins found in maqui berries are likely to account for most of their health-benefit ‘superpowers. For instance, they are not only antioxidants but also offer a variety of other benefits. These include anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
Why are antioxidants so important to consume?
I feel like I mention antioxidants SO much of my blog. But that’s only because I love to consume these. More than anything, it’s really simple to do as well.
However, if you are wondering why these are so important:
Antioxidants work by protecting our body from oxidative stress and free radicals. Free radicals are basically unstable molecules in our body that cause inflammation and cell damage. Which, can then lead to chronic diseases, over time.
It’s thought that chronic inflammation is a cause of all sorts of nasty ailments. These include heart disease, arthritis, lupus, and even Cancer. Also, being linked with Cancer and bad gut health – to name a few!
Antioxidants work to stabilise the unstable molecules and ultimately prevent cell damage. Plus, eating an antioxidant-rich diet can also ward off various other chronic diseases, including diabetes.
What other benefits do maqui berries have?
As well as the amazing benefits I’ve already listed, there are many more. For instance, maqui berries are thought to be able to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow.
There have even been some studies suggesting that the berries work as a fat binder. This is all a small scale, obviously, but an interesting bit of information.
- Although there hasn’t been a lot of research done about this, maqui may also lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels.
- They can be useful in blood sugar control for those suffering from diabetes
- Interestingly, maqui berries are apparently also good for gut health. This is because they can help to increase the good bacteria in the gut and improve your overall gut microbiome.
Other benefits are still being researched too. For instance, the fact that maqui may help people suffering from dry eyes etc. Basically, though, these berries are a superfruit worth adding to your diet
What is Maqui Powder?
For this particular recipe, I’ve suggested using maqui powder. Due to their south American origins, it’s hard to come across this fruit in the UK. That’s why the powdered form is your best option.
Luckily the freeze-drying process is used to retain the nutrient density. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to be able to add this superfruit into all kinds of meals. Simply add a spoonful to your morning oats, yoghurt bowls, smoothies, juices etc.
How to Make the Maqui Berry Layered Chia Pudding Jar:
Just like with all my chia pudding recipes, I like to prepare this as a meal-prep option as an ‘overnight chia pudding’. This isn’t 100% necessary though as the chia pudding only needs a minimum of 30 minutes to begin to thicken and two hours to be ‘ready’. However, I like to refrigerate overnight, so I only have to prepare the smoothie before serving.
Once ready, store the chia pudding covered, in a refrigerator, for up to 5 days. Just another reason it’s wonderful for meal prepping- including the fact that it’s ridiculously quick and easy to make.
To prepare the chia pudding mix the seeds, liquid, sweetener and homemade vanilla powder or vanilla extract. Make sure you stir the mixture well, to avoid clumps of seeds sticking together and sinking to the bottom of the mix. Then leave covered in the fridge, to thicken.
Note* the vanilla is optional, but I love the additional dessert-like taste it provides. Also, for a thicker pudding, you can include 2 tbsp of seeds per 1/2 cup liquid portion.
For the smoothie, I use frozen bananas for a thicker mixture, so remember to place those in the freezer too. I always have some ready and waiting since I use frozen bananas almost daily
To prep the bananas:
Peel them, chop them in half and layer in a single layer in a freezer-friendly bag. I suggest using a re-usable silicone option to avoid single-use plastic.
Alternatively, you can also prepare a large batch and place them in a single layer on a large tray. Once frozen, transfer these to a bag. That way they won’t all be stuck together, and you can easily take out your needed portion at any time.
When you’re ready to serve the chia pudding jars, blend all the smoothie ingredients, till smooth and creamy. Layer the smoothie over the chia pudding in your cups/ mason jars and then top with your toppings of choice.
I suggest some fresh or frozen fruit, edible flowers or sprinkles like coconut. I’ve also tried this smoothie with the addition of some almond butter before, which was creamy and delicious.
The Maqui Smoothie Topped Chia Pudding Recipe:
Layer 1: Chia pudding
- 1 cup almond milk (or any milk of choice)
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or powder
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup (or your favourite natural sweetener)
Layer 2: Maqui berry smoothie
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 tablespoon freeze dried maqui powder
- 1/2 cup almond milk (or any liquid of choice)
Toppings (optional toppings):
- Few blueberries
- A drizzle of homemade coconut yogurt
- Edible flowers
- To prepare the chia pudding mix the seeds, liquid, sweetener and homemade vanilla powder or vanilla extract. Make sure you stir the mixture really well, to avoid clumps of seeds sticking together and sinking to the bottom of the mix. Then leave covered in the fridge, to thicken.
- Place the bananas in the freezer too, ready to use for the smoothie when frozen*
- When you're ready to serve the chia pudding jars, simply blend all the smoothie ingredients together, till smooth and creamy. ** Layer the smoothie over the chia pudding in your cups/ mason jars and then top with your toppings of choice.
- I suggest some fresh or frozen fruit, edible flowers or sprinkles like coconut. I've also tried this smoothie with the addition of some almond butter before, which was creamy and delicious.
Note* the vanilla is optional, but I love the additional dessert-like taste it provides. Also, for a thicker pudding you can include 2 tbsp of seeds per 1/2 cup liquid portion.
* To prep the bananas: Peel them, chop them in half and layer in a single layer in a freezer-friendly bag. I suggest using a re-usable silicone option, to avoid single-use plastic. Alternatively, you can also prepare a large batch and place them in a single layer on a large tray. Once frozen these can be transferred to a bag. That way they won't all be stuck together and you can easily take out your needed portion at any time.
** If you can't find maqui powder. A good alternative would be Acai powder.
Other Chia Pudding Recipes You May Like:
If you’re in the mood for some other chia pudding recipes then I have a few options for you. For another healthy smoothie topped version, here’s my Detox smoothie & Chia pudding jars. I also have simple oceanic chia pudding jars that you can top with your choice of healthy toppings. Lastly, this Strawberry smoothie topped chia pudding is both simple and delicious.
If you want ideas for other healthy vegan breakfast recipes, feel free to look at my breakfast tab on this blog. There’s a wide selection of dishes including granola, smoothie bowls etc.
If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think in the comments. You can also tag me in your recreations @AlphaFoodie.