Summery Chia Seed Jam Parfaits

Lemon Vanilla-Kissed Strawberry Peach Chia Seed Jam Parfaits (vegan, gluten-free, low sugar) | Follow Me on Pinterest

That’s a long recipe title, isn’t it? I debated leaving out the “lemon and vanilla-kissed” part, but given that the weather is firmly in the frigid winter category after a couple of briefly sunny and mild days, “lemon and vanilla-kissed” feels especially good. Even better when combined with strawberry and peach.

Lemon Vanilla-Kissed Strawberry Peach Chia Seed Jam (vegan, gluten-free, low sugar) | Follow Me on Pinterest

I know, I know. I live in New England, where winters are always terrible (except that one eerily warm one in 2010-11, I think?). But I promise you, this winter has been bitterly cold and especially long, even by Boston standards. So that’s why you’re seeing a seasonally inappropriate recipe here. Because I need a taste of summer for sanity’s sake, and if you’ve had a similar winter, I bet you do too.

Organic strawberries were $5.99 a pound at Whole Foods and I cringed, but I still bought them. I had to. I couldn’t find fresh peaches (duh), though I did find frozen and ended up buying frozen strawberries for the jam as well, which meant that I savored the fresh strawberries in all of their delicious simplicity. Like cherries and watermelon, one can never have too many strawberries.

Lemon Vanilla-Kissed Strawberry Peach Chia Seed Jam (vegan, gluten-free, low sugar) | Follow Me on Pinterest

Chia seed jam is something I’ve been making since last summer, after seeing a really simple recipe for a blueberry vanilla variation on the back of a Bob’s Red Mill bag. I’ve adapted it over the months to use even less sweetener, because unless we’re talking rhubarb, most fruit is perfectly sweet all on its own – despite what the ingredients on store-bought jam would have us believe.

Lemon Vanilla-Kissed Strawberry Peach Chia Seed Jam (vegan, gluten-free, low sugar) | Follow Me on Pinterest

Strawberry and peach are a great pairing, and lemon and vanilla bean make this really something special. The way it will make your house smell when you’re cooking it…it’s intoxicating, almost to the point where you’ll forget that it “feels like 3” outside.

I’m already contemplating turning this jam into one very awesome pie filling, but in the meantime, I recommend a pretty coconut milk yogurt and (chocolate!) granola parfait. Or you could just eat it straight out of the jar. That works too.

Lemon Vanilla-Kissed Strawberry Peach Chia Seed Jam (vegan, gluten-free, low sugar) | Follow Me on Pinterest

Lemon & Vanilla-Kissed Strawberry Peach Chia Seed Jam
Cook time
Total time
Strawberry and peach are a great pairing, and lemon and vanilla bean make this really something special. This easy-to-make chia seed jam is low-sugar and perfectly sweet all on its own.
Recipe type: Jam
Serves: one 14 ounce jar
  • 10 ounces frozen strawberries, defrosted
  • 10 ounces frozen sliced peaches, defrosted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or coconut nectar or maple syrup)
  • 2½ tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ⅛ teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • stevia to taste (optional, I used 10 drops of liquid vanilla stevia)
  1. Combine the defrosted strawberries, peaches, and agave nectar in a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the fruit begins to soften, about 5 minutes. The strawberries will break down on their own, but you can use a fork or a potato masher to mash the peach slices if you like. Keep the texture a bit chunky, unless you'd prefer a smoother jam.
  3. Add the chia seeds to the saucepan and reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring constantly. Cook the jam for an additional 5 minutes, or until very thick.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest, and vanilla.
  5. Taste and adjust the sweetness if necessary. I used a few drops of liquid stevia.
  6. Transfer the jam to a jar or airtight container and allow it to cool, then slather it on toast, use it in a parfait, or make one killer pb & j. I also like to add it to oatmeal or as a sauce for banana soft-serve.
  7. Chia seed jam should be kept in the refrigerator and will last about a week.
If you can find and afford organic strawberries, peaches and lemon - choose them over conventional fruit. Strawberries and peaches are in the "dirty dozen", and you'll be using the lemon zest in this recipe.

Photography by Aaron Scott.

I’m trying to figure out how I can live in Boston for late Spring through Fall, then move somewhere sunny and warm December through April. Southern California, Arizona, Miami…those would all work.

Let’s take a quick mental vacation:

If you could move according to the seasons, where would you live?


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  1. says

    This looks GREAT, and I totally agree that this winter has been exceptionally brutal. I’d love to live in California – San Francisco, specifically – during the winter months!

    • says

      San Francisco wasn’t warm enough for me, although 50s versus teens is a definite improvement! I think I want 80 degrees year-round. 😉

  2. Molly says

    I’m totally going to start making this–and I agree, the natural sugar from fruit is more than enough.

    I moved from Arizona to Boston. This is my first real winter. And, despite what everyone is saying, I haven’t been phased (except for these past couple weeks as the winter seems interminable…) because I had no idea what to expect. In my mind, this weather seems tolerable because I have no point of comparison. Just goes to show how powerful the mind really is :) I’ve been dealing with the seasonal depression with raw veggies, regular exercise, and a whiskey tasting in Brookline this weekend. Sometimes, alcohol is necessary.

    • says

      The whiskey part cracked me up. It’s true – sometimes alcohol is necessary. haha
      Glad you’re handling your first Boston winter well – if you’re not phased by this one, you should be in good shape for the next (fingers crossed next winter is not worse!).

  3. says

    Coming from a fellow Massachusetts resident, I agree that this winter has been especially bad. Just really, really cold. I can deal with the snow, but I’m getting sick of the continuous single digit temp days!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I’m a huge fan of (yogurt) parfaits for weekday breakfasts. They keep me full for hours! I’ll have to switch it up a bit and bring this one into the mix!

  4. says

    This is gorgeous Amanda!

    I’ve been wanting to make chia seed jam ever since I saw it on OSG, which was at least a year or more ago. I don’t know what’s stopping me!

    I think your lovely strawberry-peach-vanilla-lemon version will be my initiation to chia jams.

    I am SO over this winter! I am running a half marathon on Sunday and it’s supposed to be 23 degrees. Last year when I ran the same half marathon, it was in the 70s!

  5. says

    One can NEVER have too many strawberries. They are $6.00 a lb. up here too, but in Alaska…that’s no surprise! I need to be making this parfait. It’s been much too long since I’ve had my hands on a parfait!

  6. says

    I’m so over this winter in Boston. It’s such a tease to leave work while it’s still light out, thinking I’ll have time to go for a run before dark, but feeling too cold to do so! I’d love to spend the cold months in southern California…a warm, sunny “winter” in a place with a thousand and one vegan options sounds pretty nice right now!

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