Budino with Pom-Chia

Art Smith

Blue Door Kitchen & Garden, Chicago

This dairy-free, low-sugar dessert is made with chia seeds, which gives a boost of protein. While demonstrating this super-simple recipe to a packed room of Charleston food lovers, Smith told the story of how he learned to work with chocolate—when hiding in the chocolate room during his internship at the Greenbrier Resort (to avoid getting yelled at). 


  • 4 cups coconut milk, preferably Thai Kitchen brand (2 1/2 cans)
  • 20 ounces 60-percent bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raw agave or coconut palm sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds for garnish


Make the chocolate budino base: in a saucepot, heat the coconut milk until simmering. Place the chocolate chips, agave or coconut palm sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Add the warmed coconut milk to the bowl and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the ingredients are very well incorporated–it should be a thick, smooth, dark, chocolatey liquid. Pour the batter into casserole dish and refrigerate overnight to allow it to set.

Make the pom-chia: in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together pomegranate juice and the chia seeds and leave it on the counter at room temperature. Stir every 20 minutes. After 1 hour, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to allow the chia seeds to absorb the juice and thicken overnight before using.

Assemble the budino: spoon about 1 ounce of the pom-chia mixture into a decorative bowl or glass. Scoop a generous 1/3 cup portion of the thick chocolate budino on top and garnish with a spoonful of toasted almonds.


16 servings