Powerhouse Chocolate Pudding Pie

This treat is sweet and creamy and crunchy and chocolately and HEALTHY. Not just healthy for a dessert or healthy-ish. Every ingredient is nutritious. You could eat it for breakfast or feed it to your kids for breakfast. They’ll think you are the coolest mom, and you will be (for reasons they’ll understand when they are 30).

(Rachel, the daughter)

There’s this cake my mom used to make. You’ve probably had a version of it. It has a shortbread crust, a layer of chocolate pudding and whipped cream topping, and maybe a sweetened cream cheese layer too. In some circles it’s known as “Better Than Sex in a Pan.” I’ve never had sex in a pan, so I can’t attest to that, but I do remember sitting on a bar stool at the kitchen island eating it strait out of the pan and being very satisfied.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had it (the dessert, that is), but I’ve been craving that shortbread crust and chocolate pudding combination for the last few weeks and trying to think of a healthy vegan version. Yesterday, I saw a recipe for chocolate chia pudding on the Engine 2 Diet’s Facebook page. They had frozen it into “fudgsicles.” Clever. Immediately, I was reminded of my favorite crust that I use in my frozen No Bake Apricot Bars. Made out of cashews and oats, it is rich and buttery like a shortbread cookie. It would be perfect for a cold puddin’ pie.

Chia seeds are like a nutritional powerhouse and they have virtually no taste. I put a tablespoon in my oatmeal and my smoothies. They basically offer all the nutrition of flax seeds, except they don’t have to be ground for our body to absorb the nutrients and they don’t have a strong taste like I find flax often does. The seeds absorb liquid and become gel-like, which is how they turn almond milk into “pudding.”

Chia Seeds

Jackson devoured the pudding and the frozen bar I gave him. I used dates to sweeten it, so I had absolutely no reason to feel guilty for giving my one-year old this dessert. In fact, it’s good for him. He needs the healthy fats from the cashews, coconut oil, and coconut milk; the fiber and protein from the oats; the omegas from the chia seeds; and the heart and skin protection from the flavonoids in cocoa powder (a super food for toddlers).

My little puddin’ pie. Why do boys always get the long eyelashes?

Oh, and I assure you, I don’t post a recipe I don’t love…so you know I loved it just as much as Mr. Long Lashes up there did.

Served frozen (as shown here) or refrigerated (as shown at the top of the post).

Powerhouse Chocolate Pudding Pie

Inspired by FatFree Vegan and Oh She Glows (two of my favorite vegan bloggers)

(NOTE: Plan ahead for this recipe. The pudding must sit for at least an hour and up to overnight.)


  • 1 c. nondairy unsweetened milk
  • 3 T. full fat coconut milk (from a can)*
  • 3 dates, pitted and chopped (soak in a little warm water if they are tough or your blender isn’t very strong)
  • 2  t. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 3 T. chia seeds


  • 3/4 c. whole cashews (raw, toasted, roasted – whatever you have)
  • 3/4 c. regular oats (for Gluten-free, use GF oats)
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt (omit if cashews are salted)
  • 3  medgool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil, melted

Optional Toppings

Kitchen Gadgets

  • Blender
  • Food processor

Pudding Ingredients



In a blender, combine the first five pudding ingredients. Pour into a tupperware bowl with a lid and add chia seeds. Use a whisk or fork to stir in chia seeds. Stir every five minutes or so until all the chia seeds have started to swell a little and turn light grey. Cover and store in the refrigerator for a minimum of an hour, overnight is best. Stir it every so often if you can. You are looking for the seeds to lose all of their crunch and absorb the liquid until it looks like pudding.

The chia seeds immediately start to thicken the almond milk mixture. This is after stirring a couple of times.


Spray an 8×8 pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a food processor, process cashews, salt, and oats until a fine crumble forms. Add dates and process until crumbly again. Add coconut oil and process until sticky. Press into pan to form a crust. Freeze for five minutes to harden or until the pudding is ready.

My favorite crust for no-bake desserts.

Pour the pudding over the crust and either refrigerate or freeze. Either way is delicious. The refrigerated version is a little crumblier and I’m assuming only keeps for a day or two. I loved it with a few sliced bananas on top. The frozen version comes out in nice bars and if kept covered tightly should keep for a few weeks.

(Update: After two batches and several taste tests, I decided I prefer it refrigerated rather than frozen. Both are good, but the refrigerated version reminds me of chocolate cream pie…mmmm.)

*Freeze leftover coconut milk in an ice cube tray. You can add it to smoothies, oatmeal, or make coconut covered cherries with it later.

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The Title: Powerhouse Chocolate Pudding Pie
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10 Comments on “Powerhouse Chocolate Pudding Pie”

  1. Okay, I know I’m your mom… but this recipe is pure genius! I’m going to make it to serve your health nut sugar-free Granny this week. May top it with a little coconut milk “whipping cream” to “gild the lily” as she would say!

    • Rachel Randolph says:

      Granny will LOVE this! I can’t stop eating it. You may want to double the recipe, I think you guys will want an 8×11 of this. I made another immediately after I tasted the first one. 🙂

    • Melissa Vrabel says:

      Like I told you, my rule of thumb is, if your mother will eat it, then I know it’s healthy 🙂 I will be making Rachel’s recipe this weekend, if I can wait that long.

  2. I need the recipe for coconut milk whipped cream, too, then. I love this!

    • Rachel Randolph says:

      Hey Erin, I linked to the recipe for coconut whipped cream in the Optional Toppings ingredient list. I haven’t done a tutorial on it here, but several other bloggers have. Mom and I have both made it with success. Basically, you just refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk that separates. Skim the thick cream off the top and whip it for several minutes. Sweeten or flavor with a little sugar (or preferred sweetener) and vanilla. Voila!

  3. I adore this recipe!! Chia seed pudding sounds divine – annnd now I want pie 😉

    • Rachel Randolph says:

      Thank you! Question for you. I was checking out your blog and noticed you don’t do sugar or dried fruit. Would you just skip sweetener all together for something like this since your taste buds have changed or would you use apple concentrate or something else? Just curious!

  4. LindieSue says:

    Can you think of a way to make it with carob powder or some other cocoa substitute for those of us allergic to chocolate (caffeine)? Cuz I really want to try this.

    • Rachel Randolph says:

      I think carob powder would work just fine. I haven’t used it, but it’s a little more bitter, right? You may want to add another date to counter the bitterness. Or….you could go a different direction and use a handful of strawberries or blueberries instead and make it fruity instead of chocolatey. I’m eager to experiment with the base pudding recipe. I don’t see any reason it can’t take on any flavor you want it to. Please let me know what you try and how it works!

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