Vegan Arroz con Leche - If you love rice pudding but can't be bothered to put the oven on to bake one for three hours, try my vegan Arroz con Leche, a simple, sweet rice dessert cooked right on the hob, ready in less than 30 minutes!
My Mum made the best rice pudding. It was thick, sweet and enriched with evaporated milk, baked in the oven until a thick, chewy skin formed. I would eat it, with more sweet milk poured over it, bowl between my knees, reading Chalet School stories.
Sadly, vegan Rice pudding is just not the same. Non-dairy milk seems to give the rice a decidedly cardboard-y taste which is not really to my liking.
Why is Arroz con Leche so Delicious?
There is hope, however, in Arroz con Leche (literally rice with milk), a traditional Spanish celebratory dish, that uses coconut milk and is deeply spiced with cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
The kicker? It's cooked on the hob, not baked in the oven, so that the rice remains creamy and soft, but more importantly, is ready in just about half an hour.
- Rice, of course! I like to use basmati, preferably, but I only had risotto rice today so I used that. Don't use an easy-cook rice as they are too mushy.
- Coconut milk, canned. You could use fresh coconut milk or all soy milk, but I don't think you will get such a rich, creamy rice pudding.
- Cinnamon. I don't recommend omitting this, but if you absolutely hate spices, go ahead and replace it with a dash of vanilla instead, for a more traditional rice pud!
See recipe card for quantities.
Gently heat the milks, sugar and spices until just simmering
Add the rice and simmer until tender
This dessert is just so simple. Heat the milks, sugar and spices until just simmering and amalgamated.
Add in the rice, stir gently, and reduce heat to a very gently simmer. Stir periodically to ensure that it isn't sticking.
Hint: because of the nature of risotto rice, it does tend to stick a little towards the end of the cooking time, so do keep an extra close eye on it.
- Rice - you can change out which type of rice you use, and even use brown rice for an almost healthy dessert! You could also use black rice or jasmine rice.
- Sugar - use sweetener of your choice, or reduce the quantity to suit your palate
- Milk - you can replace the soy milk with the plant-based milk of your choice
You can change this dessert up a little to suit your guests.
- Kid Friendly - stir in some chocolate chips just before serving
- Deluxe - stir in some vegan double cream at the end to really enrich the flavor
- Healthy - replace the sugar with some natural sweetener or add some chopped dates and hazelnuts
- Serve hot or cold - I love to serve this cold with some sliced mango
I like to use a small saucepan to cook this in, but one with a heavy bottom. I like to leave the rice gently to cook whilst I do other things, and I need to trust the pan I'm using. I love this Kuchenprofi pan which has a clad bottom to avoid sticking and burning.
Refrigerate for a couple of days and gently reheat in a saucepan when required.
Not suitable for freezing.
I have found that some coconut milks cause a little bit of extra oil towards the end of cooking, so try and find a low fat coconut milk if you don't like the idea of this.
Vegan Arroz con Leche (Mexican Sweet Rice)
- ½ cup Long Grain Rice You can also use Arborio or Basmati rice but not, under any circumstances, Easy-Cook. It will turn to mush.
- 13 oz Coconut Milk can
- ¼ cup Non-Dairy Milk
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Ginger
- ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon Ground Cloves
- ¼ cup Sugar (or to taste)
- ¼ cup Raisins (optional)
- Gently heat the Coconut Milk and non-dairy milk in a medium saucepan until it starts to simmer.
- Stir in the rice, spices, salt, sugar and raisins (if using).
- Cover and turn down to the lowest heat setting. Give it a stir every so often so make sure it doesn't stick.
- Cook until the rice is tender and the sauce is thickened. If the rice seems like it is absorbing too much liquid and is getting too thick, add a little more milk.
- Serve dusted with a little more cinnamon.