I’m a sucker for sexy bottled beverages at the grocery store.
Lookin’ at you, fancy chia seed frescas.
Well done, marketing gurus. Your eye-catching labels and catchy slogans worked on this chump. Even if I’m already double-fisting iced hazelnut coffees, my head will undoubtedly spin all the way around when I walk by the refrigerated case and spot a lineup of vibrantly-packaged libations pledging to add vitality to my life.
Exaggerated declarations like “ultra-hydrating” and “antioxidant-rich” always catch my eye.
Once again – nice work, advertising experts. Take my money. Go on. Just take it.
Don’t even get me started on the promise of a “natural energy boost.” Though, if you’ve met me, you’ll probably agree that my built-in zippy spirit is already a notch too high on the enthusiasm meter.
In the past few years, I’ve noticed a spike in the production of these potent health bombs and I’ll be honest: my interest was piqued. I mean, who wouldn’t be awe-struck by a brightly-colored beverage bobbing with crunchy, nutrient-packed buds?
One glance at the glitzy price tag, however, and I continued on my merry way. Who has the money for that?
Not this girl.
Last week, I was in the kitchen preparing one of my favorite side dishes and poking around for an important ingredient that lives in the canned veggie section of my pantry.
Okay, okay. I was looking for diced green chilies to make queso… Come on, I’m only human.
On my spicy scavenger hunt, I came upon a container of chia seeds. I had used the little black rounds for a previous recipe project and tucked them away after they had served their purpose. To be honest, other than sprinkling them over the occasional bowl of yogurt, I wasn’t entirely sure where they belonged.
Other than behind the green chilies, apparently.
My mind suddenly traveled back to those glamorously packaged drinks I had deliberated over at the market, and I realized that I had everything on hand to craft my own homemade version (as about half a tablespoon of seeds is all that’s required to make one portion).
I pondered what I paid for that inexpensive tub of chia seeds and compared it to the cost of one single-serve chia seed concoction from the store.
And, well, I’m not good at math so let’s just say, numbers got involved and my brain deflated. Nonetheless, I moved along to my fridge and got to work on my made-from-scratch fresca.
When I hop on the health train, I go big or go home – so for my liquid, I reached for pomegranate juice (not queso, thank you very much).
I keep a small bottle handy to brighten up my morning OJ, and I knew a little would go a long way. Sweet, slightly tart, and abundant in medicinal properties, the violet-hued juice acted as the starting point for my soon-to-be-crunchy bev.
Since it does come at a higher cost, I supplemented it with a less expensive, though equally delicious ingredient.
When pulsed with the pomegranate juice, the bright orbs added substance and volume to the base, not to mention extra potassium, antioxidants, and vitamin C.
Speaking of C, let’s chat about chia seeds.
A drink that you have to chew may sound a little odd at first, but think of it as a bubbly smoothie with a fun texture. Yay!
About ten minutes after I plunked the chia seeds into the blueberry-pomegranate mixture, they plumped up and transformed the thin juice into a thick, gelatinous liquid. The sparkling water (feel free to use plain or the flavor of your choice) gave it a kick of carbonation and made each slurp uber refreshing.
I added fresh mint for a pop of green, grabbed a straw, and gave myself a pat on the back.
Insider tip: if you smack an herb between your hands before using it as a garnish, the leaves will release essential oils, giving your beverage a bright scent.
Thanks to the natural sugars in the juice, and the healthy fat and protein found in the seeds, this drink will help to fill you up and make you feel ready to take on the day. Who would say no to a sippable superfood explosion like this?
Not this girl.Print
With ample antioxidants, and bursting with bright flavor and crunchy texture, blueberry pomegranate chia fresca is a healthy home run.
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 cup chilled pomegranate juice
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 4 cups chilled sparkling water
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint
- In a high-speed blender, puree the blueberries and pomegranate juice until smooth. Pour into a pitcher and stir in the chia seeds.
- Set aside to rest for about 10 minutes so the seeds can plump up, stirring the mixture several times while it sits.
- Divide the chia seed and juice combo among glasses and top with the sparkling water. Gently press the mint between your hands to release the essential oils. Garnish with mint and serve.
- Category: Non-Alcoholic
- Method: No-Cook
- Cuisine: Beverage
Keywords: fresca, chia seed, pomegranate, blueberry, drink, non-alcoholic
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Puree the Blueberries
In a high-speed blender, puree the blueberries and pomegranate juice until smooth.
Step 2 – Hydrate the Chia Seeds
Pour the juice into a pitcher and stir in the chia seeds.
Stirring several times while it sits, allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes so the seeds can plump up.
Step 3 – Add the Sparkling Water, Garnish, and Serve
Divide the chia seed juice among glasses and top with the sparkling water.
Garnish with the mint leaves and serve.
A Bountiful Bubbly Beverage
Once I realized I could make my own nutritious, seed-infused sippers, my mind spun with colorful creations.
How about pineapple juice with lime and fresh ginger as a treat for your tummy and taste buds? Or strawberry-basil lemonade to get a little spring in your step, and your cup?
For an extra squeeze of sweetness, drizzle in some honey or agave syrup.
Double up on the hydration by subbing in coconut water, and use toasted coconut shavings to rim the glass. Peace out, piña coladas. Chia frescas are the new trendy bev in town.
Still thirsty? Get your quench on with these other family-friendly refreshing drinks:
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk
- Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade with Honey and Mint
- Homemade Blueberry Kefir
What fruitful juice combos will inspire you to get in the kitchen and whip up this chia seed beverage? Raspberry and orange? Mango and papaya?
Share your plentiful produce ideas in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on March 7, 2014. Last updated on May 9, 2021.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”