Coconut rice pudding with caramelized banana

Trying to cut back on sugar and baked goods? Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way with this dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan coconut rice pudding. Add caramelized bananas, nuts, dried fruit, or honey as tasty toppings.

Beyond The Peel
Made from pantry staples, this recipe is easy to make, and hits the sweet spot.

I fell in love with this easy to make and “hits the sweet spot just perfectly” coconut rice pudding about 5 years ago. It’s almost a fool proof recipe, made from pantry staples. Before this website ever existed and before my whole food journey began, there was this rice pudding. The only change I’ve made to it since is the type of sweetener I use. I like that I can make endless versions of this based on my mood and what I have on hand.

If you’re new to whole foods, trying to limit the amount of pastries, cakes or chocolates you eat may be challenging. And eliminating all treats may have you doing a bakery drive by like some crazy person. If you’re just starting to reduce the amount of processed foods or sugar in your diet, this type of craving can hit hard. And you know what else? It happens to most decent people. It really does. At least in the beginning.

In fact, I had a moment like this, the day I discovered this rice pudding. The only thing was, there was no bakery or pastry shop in sight. In fact, no store of any kind. I was living at a fire tower in Northern Alberta, over an hour's drive away from anything store-like and unable to leave the tower (on call almost 24 hours a day), I needed to think fast. I had run out of eggs, had no milk, or dairy for that matter, no chocolate and I really needed a “sweet fix.”

This is the dessert that saved me. It now makes a regular appearance and in fact, I make a big batch and freeze individual portions for quick easy dessert solutions when, and if, a sweet tooth decides to hit. Now I know it’s no slice of triple layer chocolate cake iced with chocolate ganache. That’s kind of the point. It’s mildly sweet, slightly nutty and won’t leave you feeling that “post sugar binge regret.” In fact, I’ve even had this for breakfast!

Notes on sugar or rice substitutions, including adding some lovely spices, will follow in the recipe notes. Also there’s a recipe for caramelized bananas. I buy my sprouted brown rice from Costco. Sprouted rice has higher nutritional values due to the fact that it is sprouted, meaning alive, before it is dried and packaged.  In fact all my baking flour is sprouted and we also enjoy a sprouted bean mixture.

Coconut rice pudding

 2 cups sprouted brown rice

2-1/2 cups water

1-1/2 cups coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup palm sugar (also known as coconut sugar)

Add all the ingredients to a large pot. Bring the rice to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to gentle simmer for 45 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes during the last 10 minutes of cooking process. Add water if the rice is beginning to dry out or begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, adding 1/2 cup of water at a time.

Recipe Notes: If you choose to use a different type of rice, you will probably need to adjust the ratio of liquid to rice. Sprouted rice requires less water to cook. Just keep your eye on it during the simmering process and add more as needed. When you first make this, you want it to be slightly runny, like warm pudding. The rice will absorb a lot of the moisture if it is allowed to cool overnight. Reheating the rice pudding the next day will most likely require you to add more water. I added a cup of water the next day during the reheating process. Different types of rice also have different cooking times. Adjust accordingly.

Sugar Substitute: Use any amount of sweetener you need to make it taste good to you. If you’re new to whole foods you may require more sugar. That’s OK. You can adjust it over time as your need for sugar decreases. I love using honey in this recipe as well. Any sweetener can be used here and add a little bit at a time until you get the desired result. Each type of sweetener will also give a slightly different flavor.

Spices: Cinnamon is a lovely addition, as is cardamom. A 1/2 teaspoon of each or of just one makes for a nice change.

Other Yummy Additions: One of my favorite additions is coconut or cranberries. Both can be added during the cooking process. Don’t underestimate adding roasted cashews, pistachios or coconut ribbons as a garnish which are all completely delicious. Nuts and seeds of any kind are delightful as well. It helps add diversity in the textures which lends to a pleasant mouth feel.

Fruit or yogurt: Serve this with fresh or roasted fruit and/or yogurt.

Caramelized bananas

1/2 banana per person

honey (use maple syrup if vegan)

Preheat the oven to broil. Cut the banana in half and again in half lengthwise. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the banana cut side up on baking sheet. Brush with warm honey or maple syrup. Broil until golden brown on top. About 5 minutes.

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