Simply delicious Tropical Chia Pudding recipe and a recap of my ALDI test kitchen trip in Chicago! (this is a sponsored conversation provided by ALDI. All opinions are my own.)
Have you heard about my first experience in an ALDI store? I wrote all about my undying love for ALDI in this post. While I was in Chicago a few weeks ago, I was able to go into the ALDI test kitchens with some other food bloggers.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but when I first walked into the headquarters, I was pleasantly surprised by the vastness of the building. It was big, bright and very clean. We set our purses down in one room and then went into a room with two tables stocked with food. Below is what I saw:
There were plates and bowls marked with an A or a B. We were given a checklist and told to try each of the products and check the box for the one we liked better out of the two. There was Havarti cheese (pictured above), yogurt, guacamole, chips, orange juice and crackers.
After tasting them, the true brands identity was revealed. Out of the six samples, I chose four of the ALDI brand. The other two products I didn’t choose from ALDI were so similar in taste that I ended just picking one. What does this mean? ALDI products are pretty darn delicious and they taste just like brand name products.
But what’s even better? ALDI products are much cheaper than the name brands! Take a look at this chart above. I know it’s a little hard to read the small print, but each product we tested is up there and the green arrows show the savings from the name brand to the ALDI exclusive brands. Just another reason to shop at ALDI. 😉
After we taste tested, we were brought back into the first room and were able to listen to Registered Dietician Tara Gidus and Chef Brigitte Nguyen speak to us about eating for energy. I learned a lot of tips from them during their presentation.
Did you know you should be getting 30 grams of protein for breakfast? THIRTY! Tara talked to us about the proper snack and meal sizes. She also explained how if we eat the right foods, we will feel better and have more energy. Brigitte showed us some delicious recipes she came up with to help us eat healthier.
You can see our samples below. Bottom left is a Chicken & Sweet Potato Patty that you can make for breakfast (each patty has 15g of protein!), then the Tuna Salad Veggie Cups that were made with hummus instead of mayo. Bottom right is Tuscan Shrimp with White Beans & Quinoa. I’ve made it for my family twice since being home from Chicago and they LOVE it!
Top left is the Cottage Ranch Dip and then the Tropical Chia Pudding on the right, which is what I’m sharing with you today!
I can’t even tell you how delicious this tropical chia pudding recipe is! It’s super easy to make, healthy, filling and tastes like dessert without the calories of a dessert! Here’s how simple it is to make, you just soak chia seeds in coconut milk and then mix in Greek yogurt. Layer it in a glass with some tropical fruit and top with coconut. Boom. Healthy breakfast, snack or dessert!
I’ve also made this recipe a lot since being home from Chicago. I’ve tried all different assortments of yogurts and fruits and feel good about the combo I’m sharing with you today. I really hope you’ll try it. Even if you’ve never had chia seeds – this will change your mind about them. I’m pretty confident you will want to make this chia pudding recipe over and over again.
Okay, back to the test kitchen…after our presentation with Tara and Brigitte, we were brought into yet another room. This one had several work tables and side tables full of every salad ingredient you could think of and every dressing ingredient you could ever imagine.
We were told we had 20 minutes to make our very own version of a salad in a jar. Guys, this was like Chopped style. Do you know how much I love that show?! Never in a million years would I have ever thought I’d have an opportunity like that!
Well, needless to say, I freaked out a bit. I started about three different dressing recipes before deciding on one. There was too much to choose from!
Ultimately, I decided on a southwestern avocado dressing (pictured above) with Greek yogurt, orange and lime juice, lime zest, chopped cilantro and S & P. I wished I’d had a little milk to thin it out but it was still delicious.
For my salad, I added spinach, tomatoes, chopped grilled chicken, red onion, black beans, garbanzo beans, a little bow tie pasta for texture and some crumbly feta cheese on top. Cowboy Cilantro Chicken Salad, baby! Doesn’t it look so cute layered up in the jar? 😉
We introduced our salads and explained what was in them and then the judges (Dietician Tara and Chef Brigitte) judged them. I didn’t win the grand prize BUT I was still super proud of myself for holding it together during a Chopped-style challenge, haha!
When we were finished with the salads in a jar, we headed off to eat MORE food. There was an entire healthy feast for us all to enjoy. At that point, I was already stuffed but I made room in my belly for some delicious treats, like these below…
If you follow me on Instagram, you may recognize this picture below of me with my salad in a jar! I sure had a great time in the ALDI test kitchens. I can’t wait for ALDI to come to Southern California! Until then, I’ll be making this chia pudding recipe…over and over again. I hope you’ll try it too!
- 3 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 5.3-oz containers coconut Greek yogurt
- 1 mango peeled & diced
- 1 cup fresh pineapple peeled & diced
- 2 cups strawberries hulled & diced
- shredded coconut for serving
- Stir the chia seeds into coconut milk and refrigerate for at least an hour (I like to soak overnight).
- Fold in yogurt to chia seed mixture.
- In glasses or jars, layer it: strawberries, yogurt mixture, pineapple, yogurt mixture, then mango. Top with coconut and serve. Enjoy!
Thank you ALDI, for letting me get an inside peak in the Test Kitchens!
Sounds so delicious. Thank you, Jen.
Meriem @ Culinary COuture says
The picture of all of us with our salads is PERFECTION! Whoever had your phone was aligned perfectly in the center LOL I got cut off in most of the other pictures, even my own, so I’m elated right now 😀
Chia pudding is so good! I need to make it more. Thanks for the reminder and I’ll have to try this recipe next. It was fun meeting you at Indulge PDX this past weekend!
Thanks Bonnie! I love your blog – it was great meeting you in Portland!!
Ruby M. says
So glad I found your blog. I’m excited about the Chia pudding!
It is SO good! You have to make it soon!
Priscilla Prather says
Everything in this post I want to know how to make. EVERYTHING!!! I do a Taste Test Friday in my FCS class but I REALLY like the idea of a TEST KITCHEN!!!
Recipes please!! The dressing. The salads. All yum!