Jade Pearl Rice Pudding
Rice pudding is one of those old-fashioned desserts that can always be made in a pinch because most people have rice, sugar, vanilla, and milk on hand. A creamy and delicious comfort food, rice pudding is easy to make and can be dressed up with berries, nuts, or plump juicy raisins. But when a member of the family is vegan and milk is no longer an option, the challenge is to figure out a way to make this much-loved dessert just as flavorful and creamy as the traditional version but without the dairy ingredients. With plant-based “milk” – soy, almond, rice, and coconut – widely available at grocery stores, making vegan rice pudding is not only possible but easy and convenient.
My daughter made rice pudding with almond milk one day and the end result was surprisingly delicious but she wanted more bang nutrition wise. Most unsweetened soy milk has more protein, iron, and B-12 than almond milk, so I started experimenting with rice and soy milk and came up with the following recipe, which is sure to please both vegans and non-vegans alike.
I prefer a rice called Jade Pearl Rice by Lotus Foods which is sushi-style rice grown organically in California. Infused with wild-crafted bamboo extract made from the Moso bamboo species that flourishes in the forests of Changde, China, the rice is a light green color (but cooks up beige in this recipe). Bamboo extract is a rich source of chlorophyll and has a light vanilla taste that makes it perfect to use for rice pudding. But, I’ve also made this recipe with jasmine, basmati, and sushi rice, adding a bit more vanilla bean to the rice mixture. Creamy, full of vanilla flavor, and scrumptious, Jade Pearl Rice Pudding is a delicious choice for breakfast, snack, or dessert.
From start to finish, the recipe takes about 45 minutes and does require constant attention because the pudding needs to be stirred almost continuously – similar to how a risotto is made. The near constant stirring is necessary so the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Don’t be discouraged by this step – it’s not hard – just a bit time-consuming but the end result is so worth the time spent stirring!
1/3 cup sugar
6 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped and seeded or 1 teaspoon of ground Tahitian Vanilla bean (available through Williams-Sonoma)
- Place the rice (do not rinse beforehand) in a 4-quart saucepan.
- Add the sugar, vanilla bean, and 1 cup of soy milk and stir to blend.
- Turn the heat on medium and bring to a very gentle boil, stirring continuously.
- Once the liquid has been absorbed, add 1 cup of soy milk and continue to stir while the mixture simmers and the liquid absorbs.
- Add the remaining 4 cups of soy milk in 1/2 cup increments every 4-5 minutes, stirring every minute or two to ensure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan as the milk is absorbed, for a total of 35-40 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, stir continuously. The mixture should be quite thick but creamy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Remove the vanilla bean and discard.
- Scoop the rice pudding into a pretty glass serving bowl. Serve warm or chilled with mixed berries. Walnuts are also a nice addition if you want an added crunch. Makes 6 large servings or 8-10 small servings.