This simple, gorgeous Vanilla Pineapple Chia Fresca is fruity, refreshing, and surprisingly filling with the added nutritional value of chia seeds!
After a couple of weeks of misplaced January weather at the beginning of April, and a sprinkling of snow over the weekend, the weather warmed up today for the first sign of spring! And I responded in the best way I knew. By busting out one of my favorite warm weather drinks – this gorgeous Vanilla Pineapple Chia Fresca!
This will be the first of many chilled, refreshing drinks that I’ll be sharing with you guys over the next few months. I thought I’ll start with this, since this pineapple chia fresca is a really refreshing and healthy summer drink, with fresh pineapple flavor, a hint of vanilla and lime, and a generous dose of chia seeds!
I was obsessed with basil seeds (also known as tukmaria, sabja or kasa kasaa) when I was young, thanks to this addictive Sri Lankan dessert drink called falooda. The basil seeds form a delightful gelatinous layer when soaked in water, and I’d add them to my drinking water all the time. I loved that chewy texture, which a lot of people found to be weird! 😀
Chia seeds are quite similar. They too become gelatinous and chewy when soaked in water, but that jelly layer isn’t as thick as with basil seeds. The nutritional value of these two types of seed are also different. Chia is known to be the more nutritious of the two. These chocolate chia bliss balls and this overnight pumpkin pie chia pudding parfait are two of my favorite chia treats!
The difference between unsoaked basil and chia seeds. Basil seeds are black in color, while chia seeds are brown and mottled.
For this vanilla pineapple chia fresca, you could just as easily substitute the chia seeds with basil seeds for a sweet pineapple basil seed drink. Sometimes I use both for the best of both worlds. 🙂
The difference between soaked chia and basil seeds
And I adore pineapples! I can’t eat a lot of it because of the bromelain which makes my tongue itch a little when I drink water after eating pineapple. BUT I have absolutely no aversion to pineapple juice! I can drink lots and lots of it. And I re-purpose pineapple throughout summer to make all types of pineapple treats such as this creamy pineapple tart, pineapple curd, pineapple popsicles, and even this pineapple syrup!
You can make this vanilla pineapple chia fresca in one of three ways.
- Juice fresh pineapple with your juicer (a slow juicer or a centrifuge juicer).
- Place the pineapple in your blender and then pass it through a sieve to remove the pulp (you may need to squeeze the pulp to get the juices out).
- Or you can buy 100% natural pineapple juice from your local market. Alternatively, you can get your local market to juice a fresh pineapple for you too. If you’re buying pineapple juice, do check the label to make sure there aren’t other additives.
The lime zest, lime juice and agave syrup enhance the freshness and sweetness of the pineapple. The agave (or sugar) is completely optional, and the amount of it that you add will vary depending on how sweet your pineapple is. The natural vanilla bean extract serves as a natural sweetener for the pineapple juice as well, so make sure to taste your pineapple chia fresca before you add any sweetener like agave or sugar.
The chia seeds are soaked in water for about 20-30 minutes to let them form that gelatinous layer. Basil seeds on the other hand will become jelly-like much faster than chia seeds, and will swell more in size as well. The addition of chia seeds (or basil seeds) makes this vanilla pineapple chia fresca surprisingly filling. Plus, with all the nutritional value of chia seeds – such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, calcium, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals, this pineapple chia fresca also gives you a nice boost in energy while helping you cool down.
This pineapple chia fresca isn’t overly sweet, and it’s , fruity, refreshing and tart with a hint of floral flavor. They are perfect for spring/summer parties and picnics.
Vanilla Pineapple Chia Fresca
Vanilla Pineapple Juice
- 1 pineapple peeled and cut into pieces (about 2 lbs)
- 2 - 3 tbsp agave syrup or 2 - 3 tbsp cane sugar
- 1 lime zest only
- 2 limes juice only
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- ⅔ cup water
- Crushed ice
Vanilla Pineapple Juice
With a Juicer
- Juice the pineapple pieces in your juicer.
- Add the lime juice, lime zest and vanilla, and mix well to combine. Taste and add agave syrup only if needed. Refrigerate until needed. You should have about 3 cups of juice.
With a Blender
- Add the pineapple and lime juice into the blender. Blend until smooth.
- Pass the pineapple through a sieve to separate the pulp. Use the back of a spoon to press the the pulp in the sieve to extract all of the juice.
- Mix in the vanilla and zest. Refrigerate until needed. You should have about 3 cups of juice.
Using Store-bought Pineapple Juice
- Mix lemon juice, zest and vanilla with 3 cups of pineapple juice. Stir and keep refrigerated until needed.
- Place the water in a bowl and sprinkle the chia seeds on the top. Stir to combine. Whisk the chia seed mix every 5 minutes to break up any clumps. They will be fully soaked in about 30 minutes, but you can leave it in water for longer.
Vanilla Pineapple Chia Fresca
- In a glass, add some chia seeds to the bottom. Top with some crushed ice and then pour the chilled pineapple juice over it.
- Stir to suspend the chia seeds. Garnish with mint and serve.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”
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