Cherry Basil Chia Fresca

Cherry Basil Chia Fresca (A Vegan, Sugar Free Natural Gatorade)

Cherry Basil Chia Fresca

We’ve been through a bear of a heat wave here in NYC.  Last weekend, Zack and I had to stop into an Old Navy and spend 20 minutes soaking in the AC while sitting under a sundress-clad mannequin so as not to faint in the middle of the street.  This weekend, we’re getting out of town – Zack’s planned a surprise birthday trip, so tonight, I’ll be getting in a car with a packed suitcase and no idea where I’m off to!  For those of you still stuck in cities (or in summer at all, really) – let me introduce you to your new best friend:  the chia fresca.

Cherry Basil Chia Fresca

Hi there, chia fresca! Now, what exactly are you?

Why, so kind of you to ask.  When you mix chia seeds into a creamy liquid, you create chia pudding, like this Pumpkin Pie chia pudding, or this Strawberry chia pudding, or even this Chocolate Lavender chia pudding (can you tell I like chia pudding?).  When you mix it with macerated fruit, you make chia jam.  When, however, you make chia seeds into a large amount of juice, you get chia fresca.  Chia fresca is essentially nature’s Gatorade.  The chia seeds expand and become gelatinous, so it’s super easy to drink, but they pack a protein punch, with a ton of minerals and fiber – so essentially, you’re upping your juice’s game exponentially.  I’m not a huge fan of Boba tea personally, but Zack says this reminds him of a slightly healthier version of that.  I think of it as the perfect mid-afternoon snack – super hydrating, and just filling enough to tide you over till dinner.

Cherry Basil Chia Fresca

Cherry Basil is just the beginning!

No, really.  I chose them because basil is one of my all-time favorite summer flavors – I buy it in abundance at the farmer’s market and pack it into everything I can during the summer months (see: last week’s thai pesto pasta).  Cherries have been everywhere lately, and like so many fruits, they pair beautifully with basil.  But really, use any juice you like.  A few combos I think would be amazing chia frescas:

Strawberry Basil

Blueberry Lavender Lemonade

Strawberry Rosemary

Raspberry Rose

I also think it’d be a great addition to a super fresh green juice.  The only thing that really matters here is the juice: chia seed ratio, simply because if you use too much, it’ll gel too thickly, and you’ll lose the drinkability factor.  But play around!  Have fun!  It’s summer; it’s too freaking hot to be serious or adhere to recipes.

Cherry Basil Chia Fresca Cherry Basil Chia Fresca

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Cherry Basil Chia Fresca (Vegan, Refined Sugar Free, Protein Packed and Super Refreshing)

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Chia Fresca

  • 2 cups cherry basil juice (or juice of choice)
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds

Cherry Basil Juice

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup packed basil leaves
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


Chia Fresca

  1. To make the chia fresca, simply stir the chia seeds into the juice until well distributed, then let sit for 20 minutes, or until seeds are gelatinous. Drink and enjoy! This will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Cherry Basil Juice

  1. Blend together water, cherries and basil until very smooth. Add in lemon juice; blend again until smooth. Using a fine mesh strainer or a nut milk bag, strain out pulp until you’re left with just juice! Makes about 2 cups.