I’m not entirely sure how or why I don’t yet have a recipe for rice pudding around these parts, given the fact that a) it’s super easy b) it’s super comforting c) it can be super healthy and d) I’m kinda obsessed with it. To be fair, I like just about any recipe that requires slow, methodical stirring over a hot stove with something that smells amazing bubbling away in the pan. It’s the perfect anecdote to the winter weather blues, because instead of fighting the cold and the wet, you just kind of roll with it and make your house super cozy and stick your nose in the air as you look out the window like “Ha! You thought you could make me all melancholy with your dreary weather, but now I’ve got a bowl of rice pudding and a happy belly so joke’s on you!”
There are some people (most people?) who like their rice pudding nice and hot off the stove, and if there’s a shiver in my bones, I’m certainly likely to go that route. My favorite way of eating it, however, is cold out of the fridge, after it’s become even thicker, creamier, and more flavorful. But that’s just how I used to eat it at my yiayia’s house, and it’s how my mom taught me to serve rice pudding after her mom used to make it, so there you go. Cold or hot, it’s still bound to be delicious.
It’s kind of ridiculous how something so tasty can be so healthful. The trick is to use brown rice instead of white, making this pudding full of a whole host of healthful benefits. For instance, brown rice is chock full of fiber and minerals like selenium and manganese, and it also helps stabilize blood sugar levels instead of sending you off on a sugar high. This recipe is also low in fat from the use of almond milk and the lack of many eggs (with a vegan option as well!). And the flavor is amped up with cinnamon and maple syrup, making this rice pudding an absolute dream.
Is the sky gray outside your window? Is your home feeling particularly drafty? If so, I think you know what to do.
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Brown Rice Rice Pudding with Almond Milk
3/4 cup brown rice, uncooked
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups almond milk
1/4 cup cane sugar
2-3 Tablespoons maple syrup (or more cane sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cinnamon sticks OR 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg, beaten (optional; omit if vegan)
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
dash of nutmeg
Combine the water and uncooked rice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer over low heat and cook, covered, for 45 minutes until tender.
Once the rice is cooked, add 1 1/2 cups almond milk, sugar, maple syrup (if using), salt, and cinnamon sticks/ground cinnamon. Cook over medium low heat until thick and creamy, roughly 20 minutes.
If you are using the egg, add a few large spoonfuls of the rice mixture to a small bowl with the beaten egg and stir until combined (this brings the egg to the temperature of the pudding so that it won’t scramble). Return the egg and rice mixture back to the pot, along with the remaining 1/2 cup almond milk.
If you are not using the egg, just add the additional milk and continue with the recipe.
Cook for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and a dash of nutmeg.
Serve warm from the stove or refrigerate until cold.