Rice pudding. It’s amazing, right? Timeless comfort from the humble union of rice and milk, sweetened, stirred, and perhaps bedazzled with a spark of dried fruit or ground cinnamon. Made with long-grain (basmati) white rice, it’s an elegant dessert, but made with chewy, short-grain brown rice, it’s my jam as a substantial snack or—made with a little less sugar—an alternative to oatmeal for breakfast. 

For this vegan version, homemade cashew-coconut milk makes a smooth and creamy backdrop. And because I’m lazy—I mean, really busy—I favor rice pudding that makes use of leftovers. Be it from the weekend’s Indian-inspired potluck or last night’s Thai takeout, cold cooked rice is sweetly reborn. Don’t stop there: make some tasty leftover quinoa or steel-cut oat or sushi rice pudding. You’re limited only by what’s taking up space in the fridge. 

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Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unroasted cashew pieces
  • 2 cups hot water
  • ½ cup full fat Thai coconut milk
  • ½ cup organic sugar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups cold, cooked rice (long-grain white or short-grain brown are favorites)
  • ½ cup raisins or chopped dried fruit
  • Ground cinnamon for garnish

Instructions:

Combine the cashews and hot water in a blender and soak for 20 minutes. Once the cashews have softened up, add the coconut milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Pulse until very smooth. 

Pour into a large saucepan; add the cooked rice and dried fruit. Bring to an active simmer over medium heat. Stir the pudding constantly with a wooden spoon; the cashew milk will thicken as it cooks, so it’s important to keep stirring to prevent burning. 

Cook and stir for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the pudding has thickened to the desired consistency. Remove from heat and ladle into individual parfait cups or into one large glass dish. Sprinkle with a light dusting of ground cinnamon. Cover and let set for at least 15 minutes; pudding can be eaten warm, but tastes best if chilled overnight, then nibbled on throughout the day. 

Try These Super Awesome Mix-Ins:

    • ¼ cup diced candied ginger
    • ½ cup unsweetened, lightly toasted coconut flakes
    • For Indian-inspired pudding, use cooked basmati rice. Spice it up with 1 tsp. ground ginger and ½ tsp. ground cardamom
    • Top each serving with diced ripe mango and a drizzle of coconut milk whipped with a little sugar  

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Recipe by Terry Hope Romero

Photograph by Angela DeCenzo

This recipe originally appeared in the October/November print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today

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