Confession: I am not a "fruit for dessert" person. Don't get me wrong, I *want* to be. I always crave something sweet after dinner and know a handful of luscious berries is healthier than a scoop of dairy-free Ben & Jerry's. But I've bought vibrant bundles of fruit only for them to go bad in the back of my crisper too many times. So I was intrigued when Well+Good's co-founder Melisse Gelula let me in on a healthy evening fruity snack that won't go bad as quickly, making it less of a commitment: dehydrated strawberries.
Apparently they were all the rage on Well+Good's latest retreat in Austin, Texas, hosted by psychiatrist and a farmer Drew Ramsey, MD and Yoga For Bad People founder Heather Lilleston. One morning, the intimate group of retreat goers—who were basically all BFFs just a few days into the retreat—were all gathered around the kitchen for a cooking demo hosted by author and Kale & Caramel creator Lily Diamond. She was serving up a strawberry chia pudding, starring, yes, dehydrated strawberries. (Apparently the Trader Joe's kind are her fave, BTW.) Sweet and satisfying, this parfait works just as well for dessert as it does for breakfast.
"Freeze-dried strawberries deliver a potent dose of sweet-tart berry flavor and nearly neon pink hue, offering all the potency of the fruit sans water," Diamond says. "Crushed, you can add freeze-dried berry powder to smoothies, juices, yogurt, hot cereal, baked goods, and so much more. Whole, the crunchy delights are perfect in granola, cereal, and other dry snacks. They’ll soften up when exposed to liquid."
Stumped on how to use freeze-dried strawberries (besides just eating them whole)? Her chia pudding recipe is insanely simple—and everyone loved it, thanks to her secret fruity ingredient. Want to try it yourself? Check out Diamond's recipe below and follow her on Instagram for more healthy food inspo.
Strawberry chia pudding
- 1/3 cup freeze-dried strawberries
- 1 cup milk of choice
- 1/4 cup chia seeds (white chia, if possible)
- 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pinch sea salt
1. Use a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or blender to pulverize the freeze-dried strawberries.
2. Add 1 generous tablespoon strawberry powder and one tablespoon of milk to a bowl, and whisk vigorously to blend, eliminating all clumps.
3. Add remaining ingredients (including the rest of the milk) and continue whisking to ensure no clumps of chia form. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes, then whisk again to incorporate liquid and remove clumps.
4. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight, then serve as desired! Delicious with yogurt, fruit, nut butters, seeds, and any other toppings.
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