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 opens in a new tab.
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 opens in a new tab 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 opens in a new tab. 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.