How to Make Rice Pudding into a Healthy Breakfast

Vintage Cookbooks

What are your first cooking memories? Mine are of making Jell-O pudding. For safety purposes I had to use a back burner. I remember standing on a chair, stirring the milky mixture while I waited for it to thicken. Then putting it in the refrigerator for after dinner when it would be cold. I loved it; it was satisfying and deeply chocolaty.


Healthy Rice Pudding

I still crave the comforting quality of custards. I even had it for breakfast once. In fact I would be happy to have pudding for breakfast everyday; I just needed to figure out a healthy version. The challenge was to keep it creamy, but still low in sugar and fat. I also wanted some fiber to help keep me full. I decided to try making a whole grain version of the lemony rice puddings found in Greek restaurants.

Precooked Custard

Since rice pudding aficionados recommend Arborio rice, I substituted short-grain brown rice. I also used 2% milk to keep the fat content low.

Healthy Rice Pudding with Blueberry Compote

Although I usually like my custards cold, I prefer this one warm, or at room temperature. Good plain, I couldn’t resist trying it with blueberry compote to compliment the lemon flavor. Try my recipe and see what you think.

Healthy Rice Pudding

Serves 3

2 1/2 cups 2% milk (use the Fairlife brand for extra calcium and less sugar)

1/3 cup cooked short grain brown rice

½ a vanilla bean scraped of seeds

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 pinches salt

2 tablespoons maple syrup

½ teaspoon brown sugar

1 egg

Combine milk and rice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. After it has reached a boil turn it down to a simmer. Add the vanilla bean seeds, lemon zest and salt. Stir frequently and allow it to thicken, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup and brown sugar.


Lemon Zest
Split Vanilla Bean with Seeds
Split Vanilla Bean with Seeds

Reduce the heat to low. Beat the egg in small bowl. Add a tablespoon of the warm milk to the egg and whisk vigorously. Repeat several times until the egg mixture has become creamy. Add the egg mixture to the milk. Stir while it thickens another five to ten minutes. Do not let it boil or it will curdle. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator. If reheating in a microwave, check every 30 seconds.

Thickened Custard

Blueberry Compote

1 cup blueberries

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon butter

pinch of salt

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir sauce to make sure the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 2 minutes. Uncover, smash the blueberries and cook stirring occasionally until slightly thickened.

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