Feb 21

Butternut Squash Chia Pudding

Book Club dinners when you’re on a cleanse are hard.


They’re even harder when you’re hosting and therefore responsible for food.  The icing on the cake is that the theme is French (to go with this month’s book selection).  Who ever heard of French vegan food?!

This may have had me sweating a bit.


So I said to myself:  Man up.  You can do this thing.  I think.



Predictably, I’m got a late start today so the details will have to come later, but it went really well!  Like, 100x better than I expected.


The menu included:

  • Provençal Spread and Veggies
  • Salade Niçoise with Tempeh “Tuna”
  • Oven-Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with (vegan!) Goat Cheese
  • Roasted Eggplant Bruschetta


I warned everyone ahead of time that it would be a clean dinner… and they subsequently brought meats, desserts, and wine. :)



French wine Dessert was the saddest thing for me to miss.  There are so many possibilities for making French desserts that would have been fun to create.  There will be many other dessert opportunities in my life though.  And bottles of French wine.

In order to feel a little less left out, I created my own dessert to enjoy.  And you know what… I can honestly say it was satisfying.  (But I did swoon a little over homemade banana pudding.)


Chia pudding has long been a breakfast favorite.  As of last night, it’s been upgraded to dessert.



No this isn’t chocolate cake.  But it is good.


Made like a traditional chia pudding (chia + liquid + congeal in the fridge), the twist here is the sweet squash and a quick blend at the end.



The cocoa-flavored stevia did give it notes of chocolate-y goodness.  I also loved the classic pie flavors the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg lent the dish.



A spin mix in the Magic Bullet at the end smoothed out the chia to make this like the pudding you grew up eating,  (Thanks to Kasey @ Power Cakes for the idea!)

Yes, you can have your pudding even if you don’t eat your meat.



Butternut Squash Chia Pudding

  • 1/2 butternut squash, roasted
  • 3/4 C unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 7-8 drops cocoa stevia
  • Shake of salt


In a small bowl, mash up butternut squash until it becomes a puree (some small pieces are ok).  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 mins (or overnight for breakfast).  The chia will absorb most of the liquid.

Place mix in a blender (I used my Magic Bullet) and blend until smooth (about 20 seconds).  Remove, place in bowl, and enjoy!

Note: This would make a great post-workout snack!  Just add a scoop of protein powder and increase the amount of liquid you mix in.

Unfamiliar with the benefits of chia?  Click here for my post on why they rock!


I cannot wait to share the rest of the meal with you all!

For those with diet restrictions, do you ever feel left out in food-centric social settings?  How do you navigate?

Has anyone ever been to France?  I’m thinking that may be this year’s big trip…



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  1. Tina @ Best Body Fitness

    When training for my competition, I had to bring meals with me wherever I went. Some people were just curious and asked questions, others made a big deal about it. It definitely got old. But when you know your goals, you just get it done. :)

  2. Lee

    I was vegetarian for about six months and went back to eating fish/seafood because I felt really left out and annoyed when I went out to dinner with friends. There was usually one vegetarian dish on every menu, but sometimes it was a creamy pasta that I didn’t want. So, yes, I’ve definitely felt that way.

    I went to France when I was 13 but I was too young to appreciate it.

  3. Tiff

    Trying a new kitchen challenge is fun when you’re cooking for yourself, but it’s downright stressful when testing it out on others. You seem to have pulled it off, which doesn’t surprise me! :)

    1. Laura

      You are so right! It did improve my focus though. :)

  4. Alayna @ Thyme Bombe

    The food you made looks absolutely stunning! I’m sure your guests were pleasantly surprised.

  5. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    Yes, I do sometimes feel a little left out, so that’s why I ALWAYS bring my own dish to share now. It sure would be nice if everyone cooked all plant-based meals, but I know that’s unrealistic. ;) That’s when I remind myself why I eat the way I do – it’s not about it being easy for me, it’s about doing what I feel is right.

    I haven’t really had a problem going out to eat 99% of the time, I just get creative. :)

    1. Laura

      I love your outlook on this – doing what’s right and what makes you feel good is where it’s at.

  6. Khushboo

    Wow your food looks so delicious…and so creative! I never would have thought to use butternut squash in a dessert but I’m not surprised it tasted great- such a great combo of flavors! When I was losing weight and super strict with what I ate, social settings were occasionally daunting…especially when options were limited! I came to realise that although options may be sparing, chances are I will always be able to find something…and to indulge in the conversation instead!

    1. Laura

      Thank you! that’s another great point – indulging in conversation is more satisfying than gorging on cheese dip in the long run. :)

  7. Cait's Plate

    I went to France two years ago and it was AMAZING! I highly, highly recommend it!!!

    1. Laura

      Ohhh… I’ll have to pick your brain!

  8. janet @ the taste space

    Whenever I host a dinner/potluck, I always tell people what I will be making, even if a main so that if they will feel deprived eating a hearty soup, they know to bring their own whatever.. It is nice to see everyone pitching in with their favourite treats! I can’t wait to see your vegan French meals. :)

  9. Kiri W.

    Your dishes sound fantastic! I’d love to try a tempeh nicoise!
    And mm, that pudding looks good. I’ve never had chia seeds, but I am intrigued.

    1. Laura

      The nicoise was me 2nd favorite (behind the tomatoes). It was so colorful!

      You have to try chia! They are really great for you nutritionally and I am amazed by how much liquid they soak up – super hydrating.

  10. Kristy @ KristyRuns

    I want that pudding!!! I never feel left-out since I’m vegetarian/vegan. I rather know what’s going into my body and not feel like crap. :)

    1. Laura

      Quote of the day. I want to put “I rather know what’s going into my body and not feel like crap” on a cool background and pin it.

  11. Anonymous

    Bullet-ing the chia at the end is such a simple idea but something I’d never think of! Looks yummy. I hope you plan on sharing all those vegan recipes!

  12. Carol @ Lucky Zucca

    Where do you get your Chia seeds?! I want to get some but they seem so expensive… $15 at WF !

    1. Laura

      Have you not been to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market?? They are like $3 there. Same with flax. And the coconut oil is $5! It’s like heaven. I’m going again this weekend if you want to join – it’s a great (cheap) way to stock up for a vegetarian diet.

  13. Laura @ LauraLivesLife

    Oh my goodness – I SO want to be a part of your book club now! Everything sounds so delicious and healthy, but most delicious!

  14. Cucina49

    I am really intrigued by the vegan French menu–it sounds great! Looking forward to the bruschetta recipe.

    1. Laura

      I’m posting that one of Friday (I think). I want to do everything at once, but don’t want to overwhelm (both myself and others :) ).

  15. Maggie @ kitchie coo

    Wow, way to go on the vegan French meal! It is gorgeous and I bet it was delicious. The no wine thing though…ugh. When I was pregnant it was so hard not drinking wine with everyone else…but I powered through!
    I visited France 4 years ago and it was AMAZING. We drank so much amazing (and inexpensive) wine and the food was unbelievable. You should definitely make to France this year, you won’t be disappointed!

    1. Laura

      The threat of fetal alcohol syndrome will certainly keep you sober! LOL! :)

      I can only imagine… we experienced the same thing in Italy last October. There was only one bad glass the whole trip (which is fantastic considering how many glasses we had).

  16. Ashley @ Freckles & Spice

    I have been reading French books as well. For Christmas I got both The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
    (currently reading) and Lunch In Paris: A Love Story, With Recipes. Alas, I have never been to France though. I’ve only been to Spain and Italy. I’m dying to go. French is the language I took in high school too.
    PS. All your cleanse recipes have been really fabulous. Makes doing a cleanse look not so hard. Can’t wait to try this one and the cherry bomb recipe.

    1. Laura

      I’ll mark those to read! I never took French, which is what makes me most nervous about going. You should just come with! :)

      Truly, the cleanse hasn’t been too hard. It’s been fun to have to be so creative.

  17. Allie

    If anyone could make a French vegan meal it would be you! :)

  18. STUFT Mama

    First of all, so glad the whole thing went well. :) And…… you know how I feel about my chia. he he! This pudding looks AMAZING!!!!! Good idea to blend it in the Magic Bullet at the end! Soooooo need to make this!

    1. Laura

      Thank you! I should have thrown some spinach in that pudding too. ;)

  19. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.

    I think everything you made sounds wonderful! You did a great job!

  20. Healthiful Balance

    Ohh that looks like a yummy soup! I’m looking for some new yummy soup recipes to try. :)

  21. Samantha Angela

    That sounds awesome with squash!
    I love chia pudding.

  22. sportsglutton

    You post some ridiculously good stuff my friend, but I just can’t do pudding. Can’t do it. I feel good though I could do the butternut squash mac and cheese I posted today, as I traditionally am not a fan of squash. Then again I know that I should trust ya and just try it. :-)

    1. Laura

      LOL! Come on, Glut. You can do it. The chia is great for hydration after all that sports-watching you do. ;)

  23. Baker Street

    I really doubt I’d be able to hold on this diet! I must say you’re doing a fantastic job!

  24. Amanda - RunToTheFinish

    oh my gosh this is an awesome idea!! i am pinning it to make next week

    1. Laura

      Thank you! Let me know how you like it! :)

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