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Make it Natural: Brown Rice Pudding


Don't know about you, but the cooler weather makes us want to indulge in comfort foods. Around here, we find it a fun challenge to take a closer look at comfort favorites and see if we can make some simple changes to improve the nutrition without compromising on flavor. We know you are doing the same thing because one reader, James, sent in a great idea for a rice pudding update-he suggested making this classic, homey dessert with brown rice, non-dairy milk and dried fruits. What a perfect example of how easy it is to update a recipe with a simple swap of a whole grain for a non-whole grain.

We took James' suggestions and created this delightful Baked Brown Rice Pudding.

Here are the changes from the standard version of rice pudding:

  • We used whole grain brown rice instead of white rice. You can cook your own (leftover plain brown rice is perfect) or use the super-convenient frozen, already cooked brown rice. Brown rice boosts dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium and selenium. Find out more about the benefits of eating whole grains and get ideas on incorporating them into your diet.
  • We used organic light coconut milk instead of dairy milk for creaminess and a subtle sweetness. Light coconut milk has about 71% less fat and 67% fewer calories than regular coconut milk.
  • Dried cherries, dried apricots and raisins add great texture and a perfect amount of sweetness. They also contribute some vitamin A, potassium and fiber.
  • "Almonds contribute toasty flavor along with fiber and a boost of important nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and vitamin E. Did you know almonds contain more calcium than other nuts? A great choice!

What efforts are you making to add some healthy angles to holiday recipes? We want to hear all about them!

Did you miss the recipe link above? Here is the full recipe for our Baked Brown Rice Pudding. Got a recipe that needs a natural makeover? Post it in the comments section below! If we select your recipe and publish the improved version on our website, we'll send you a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card.

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Greenling says …

I make a similar rice pudding with black rice, dates or figs, and coconut milk. It's a beautiful magenta-purple colour and has a lovely floral aroma... in addition to having a great nutty-sweet taste. :)

Small Footprints says …

We usually make Hallacas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallaca) for Christmas ... they are kind of like a tamale except they are made with Arena Pan, filled with a meat mixture and then wrapped in banana leaves instead of corn leaves. Traditional Hallacas use lard, oil and a lot of ingredients that aren't figure friendly. In addition, we are vegetarian so ... the meat (usually beef and pork) doesn't work for us. Would you have a lighter, vegan makeover for this traditional holiday food? Thanks!

Raili says …

I love this! It makes a great winter dish/ and or desert. Whenever I take it to potlucks it is gone! Pineapple-Coconut Risotto 2-3 Tbsp Canola Oil Sugar to taste 1 Cinnamon Stick 1/4 tsp Anise 1/2 tsp grated Ginger 1 can pineapple/ or half fresh pineapple 1 L pineapple juice 1 Can coconut milk 2 Cups Arborio Rice 1-2 cups water Heat pineapple juice in separate pan. Heat canola oil and saute rice with cinnamon stick, anise and ginger for a few minutes. Add coconut milk and continue to cook/stir. Add 1 cup pineapple juice and continue to stir/cook. Continue to add juice and stir until rice is cooked. May need 1-2 cups of water to finish rice off. Trick is stir the entire time- about 30min. Add sugar to taste- if you like it really sweet you might need 1/3 cup or so, sometimes I don't add any sugar. I have not tried to make this with brown rice but it would probably still be good- just not as creamy.

Food Makes Fun Fuel says …

I am definitely adding this to my recipe box!

incrediblecrunchyflavor says …

i'm making sweet and salty spiced nuts with egg whites to stick on the flavoring instead of sugar (karo syrup!) or fats (oil or butter) used in other recipes. http://incrediblecrunchyflavor.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/spiced-nuts/

Rugmini says …

Make it natural GLUTEN FREE CREAM PUFFS recipe: 1 cup brown rice flour 1/2 stick butter 1 cup water 1/4 cup sugar 4 eggs Cream filling Heat oven to 350 degrees Boil water with butter,and sugar. remove from heat, add flour and stir until flour does not stick to the pot. Beat the dough with a hand mixer, add eggs one at atime, Spoon the dough (size of a lemon)onto a greased cookie sheet, one inch apart. Bake until golden brown (15 to 20 minutes) Remove the puffs from cookie shet, cool 5 minutes, Slice Open the puffs and fill with whipped cream.

gbfl says …

Here's the latest on the conference's top players who are projected to go from playing on Saturdays to starring on Sundays. 1. LB Jarvis Jones, 6-3, 241, Georgia Why he has the top spot: Jones' battle with an ankle injury hasn't changed his status as the top overall draft prospect in the SEC. He missed his second full game due to the injury in the Bulldogs' 29-24 win over Kentucky on Saturday. Still, Jones remains a versatile defender who can rush the pass or drop into coverage. He'll need a strong second half of the season to maintain his lofty draft status. Season stats (five games): 36 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 9.5 TFLs, 3 forced fumbles, 15 QB hurries, INT. Player ranking: Jones remains fifth overall, and he is the second-highest outside linebacker in CBSSports.com's latest player rankings. Up next: The Bulldogs' next game is against Florida. Jones returned to practice on Monday and is expected to play. Georgia will need him against a Florida team that averages 213 yards per game on the ground. 2. QB Tyler Wilson, 6-3, 220, Arkansas Why he has the second spot: After a slow start for Wilson and the Razorbacks, the senior QB has turned it around in the last few weeks before having a bye last weekend. He'll have a chance to solidify his status as a first-round pick with games against Mississippi State, LSU and South Carolina still on the schedule. Season stats (six games): 124 of 205 (60.5 percent) for 1,957 yards, 14 TDs, 5 INTs. Player ranking: Wilson is ranked as the No. 12 overall prospect and is the third-highest ranked QB in CBSSports.com's latest player rankings. Up next: The Razorbacks play Ole Miss this weekend. The Rebels are ranked No. 65 nationally in scoring defense, so Wilson should have a chance to put some good numbers up. <a href="http://youtu.be/VYEZ9AxEunQ/">NFL</a>