Short grain brown rice is probably on my top 10 list of favorite ingredients. For sure in the top 15. I think this is due to its ability to go sweet or savory, its light nutty flavor, and its chewiness. The chewiness gets me every time.
I’ve made rice pudding in the past but never with real intention. Meaning, I usually make it from leftover brown rice that I have stored in the fridge. Always delicious and it definitely works, but I wanted to make this recipe from beginning to end with full intent on creating the the most delicious bowl of brown rice pudding.
To start things off I placed the brown rice in my food processor. I was hoping this would help give the pudding a creamier texture and it did just that. The photo below shows you exactly how processed you want the rice, which is not very processed at all. A light processing breaks up the oater coating on the grain which allows more of the rice’s starchiness to seep into the milk mixture, creating a lovely creamy texture.
Lemon, for its fresh pop of flavor.
Vanilla, for its addicting vanilla-ness. [super descriptive]
And fresh berries, because we could all use a splash of spring in our lives [and/or mouths].
If you want to bathe in this, believe me, I don’t blame you.
The recipe is lengthy in overall cook time but the process is quite simple and actually kind of relaxing when you’re in the stirring phase.
Pull up a chair, grab a book, and stir. It’ll be worth it.
The resulting rice pudding has cream + chew in all the right places with hints of caramel sweetness, vanilla, and lemon.
Feel like turning this into a sweeter dessert? Add another 1-2 tablespoons of muscovado sugar and top it off with coconut whipped cream. You can serve it warm or chilled and it would be perfect served in little dessert cups for a party or brunch.
Lemon Vanilla Brown Rice Pudding with Berries gluten-free, vegan // yields 4-6 servings
- 1 cup short grain brown rice
- 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
- 4 cups unsweetened almond or soy milk, divided
- 1 cup water
- 1 vanilla bean scraped of seeds, about 1/8 teaspoon vanilla beans – pod reserved
- 2-3 tablespoons muscovado sugar, or brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- zest from 1 medium lemon, zest only the very top yellow skin
- 1 cup fresh chopped berries
- squeeze of lemon juice
- pinch of sugar and sliced almonds, optional
Optional but recommended step: Process rice in your large food processor until some of the grains are cracked and you see a dusty film on the rice and sides of the bowl, ~10-20 seconds. [refer to photo 2]
Heat oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the rice and lightly toast for 3-5 minutes stirring frequently. Slowly pour in the water [it will spatter] followed by only 1 cup of milk. Return to medium/med-high heat and bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Adjust heat if needed to keep at a constant simmer. Cook covered and without stirring for 45-50 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Tip the pot and quickly lift the lid to ensure no water is still in the pot. Remove from the heat and keep covered for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork.
Return rice to the burner over medium heat and pour in the remaining 3 cups of milk, vanilla beans, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine then place the scraped vanilla bean pod in the pot. Bring to a constant simmer [small bubbles] stirring frequently for about 23-30 minutes. The milk will absorb and the mixture will become very creamy in texture. In photo 6 you can still see some liquid from the milk but in photo 7 the milk has been absorbed and is very creamy. You are looking for a thick but pourable, creamy texture.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and lemon zest. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes to thicken and cool a bit. Toss berries with a squeeze or two of lemon juice. Place warm rice pudding in bowls and top with berries, almonds, and a pinch of sugar if desired.
To serve chilled: Let cool for about 45 minutes then place in an uncovered glass bowl until fully chilled. Serve, then cover remaining rice pudding to store in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat: Place portion in a small pot over medium heat and add a few tablespoons of milk to loosen. Heat, stirring frequently until warm throughout.
notes: Towards the end of the cooking process taste the rice to see if the sweetness is right for you. Add more if desired. If you don’t have vanilla beans simply stir in 2 teaspoons—total—of pure vanilla extract once you take the rice off the heat [do not add the other 1/2 teaspoon].
If you have pre-cooked brown rice in the fridge you can definitely use it for this. You’ll need about 3 1/2 cups of cooked, short grain brown rice. Start with this step: “Return rice to the burner…”
I made a 2nd batch skipping the rice processing but found it to not get quite as creamy throughout and it had a much chewier texture. The processed version is still nice and chewy but not overly so. Either option works, but I prefer to lightly process the rice.
What springtime recipes are you currently digging or want to see me create? I’d love to hear from you!