Orange Vanilla Brown Rice Pudding

Orange Vanilla Brown Rice Pudding

Orange Vanilla Brown Rice Pudding

This healthier brown rice pudding is made with coconut milk, short grain brown rice, orange, & vanilla, and lightly sweetened with maple syrup or honey.
Let me be real for a minute here – some of you know that I have clinical depression which has improved a lot over the past couple of years, but right now is a difficult time. It’s far and away from my worst – not suicidal or hallucinating – but I feel it creeping back in with lethargy along with low self-esteem, appetite, and motivation. It seems to be linked with our move – I’m much more isolated now, don’t have access to a proper kitchen to work yet (or a shower) and my eczema flared up badly for the first time in two years.

It might be the season contributing, I’m not sure. I know I feel better on the rare days the sun shines. But right now, just shooting a recipe feels like a massive undertaking. Getting out of bed, or not crying as I write this, feels like a lot of work. So I think for now it might be time to turn to my medication again, which I was able to stop taking about a year and a half ago, to level out and get back to normal. I might give it another week or so and see what happens first.

Going back to meds seems like a cop-out or a step backward, but you know what, that’s what clinical depression is. It’ll never go away completely and that’s fine. Understanding that medication is there when needed is a blessing and I have been lucky not to need it for the past while. I’m hopeful that once winter is over, and we have at least part of the renovations done, that I might be able to wean off it again. We’ll see.

The inflammation caused by an allergic reaction I had a couple months ago, coupled with stress making my severe eczema stick around at the moment, could be contributing as well. That’s why I’m thinking I might give it a week before starting medication again, because for me, I know that those two go hand in hand. And I beg of you, please don’t tell me to drink celery juice as some sort of miracle cure, because that it ain’t.

Okay, let’s talk about this healthy whole grain brown rice pudding.

brown rice pudding
First of all, don’t love the way that sounds! But brown rice is undoubtedly the healthier big sister to white rice, because it’s a whole grain, and whole grains are awesome. The nice thing about brown rice, too, is that it’s 100% gluten-free if that’s a concern for you, but you still get the good stuff from it. This plant based pudding is made with leftover rice (or cooked just for this), then cooked again with a can of full-fat coconut milk.

Why short grain rice? It’s most similar whole grain rice to arborio, which is the best rice for pudding. Arborio rice has a high starch content, which creates the creamy texture of risotto, and is ideal for rice pudding. Short grain brown rice is the closest we can get and it works well. Cooking the rice beforehand, then a second time in the coconut milk, helps to imitate the starchy texture.

Orange Vanilla Brown Rice Pudding

INGREDIENTS
400 grams cooked short grain brown rice
400 ml full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste*
Zest of an orange
Pinch sea salt
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey to taste
1 orange slices
INSTRUCTIONS
Place the rice, coconut milk, vanilla, orange zest, and salt into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce to low and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. The rice should have absorbed most of the coconut milk and have a creamy consistency.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the maple syrup or honey. Serve the rice pudding warm, topped with orange slices. Add a little extra coconut cream and cinnamon if desired.
NOTES
* Vanilla powder (1/4 teaspoon) is an excellent substitute, as is 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.