Rice pudding is not a particularly sweet dessert to begin with, as it focuses primarily on the rice and milk that make up its bulk. But sweetness is what makes it dessert instead of a pleasant side dish, so sugar is really a key ingredient. I typically use regular sugar for my rice pudding. I have dressed it up before with a little drizzle of maple syrup before serving, too. This version uses agave syrup – a sweetener that is known for its low glycemic index – as a sweetener. The low glycemic index means that agave does not cause as large of a spike on blood sugar levels as some other sugars do, making it a better choice for diabetics and those who simply need to keep an eye on their blood sugar.
This rice pudding starts out with leftover white rice, agave syrup and milk. I always like rice pudding that uses leftover rice because it gives me a good use for that extra container of steamed rice I have after I get Chinese food for dinner. If you don’t have leftover rice, you can simply boil some in water first, drain it, and use that. The agave makes the pudding subtly sweet, and the vanilla still stands out in the pudding when served. If you like your rice pudding sweeter, you can top this with a drizzle of agave or simply add some extra syrup to the pudding when you’re making it.
I make this version of rice pudding for older relatives of mine instead of making cakes or cookies. It’s comfort food, food that they ate when they were kids, and this makes the familiar flavors of the dish a little bit healthier.
Rice Pudding with Agave Syrup
1 cup leftover white rice (already steamed/boiled)
1 3/4 cups milk, any kind
1/4 cup agave syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Combine leftover rice, milk and agave syrup in a medium saucepan. Turn heat to medium and bring mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and stir in the vanilla and raisins, if using. Cook until most of the milk is absorbed and pudding looks very creamy (25-35 minutes total cooking time).
Divide rice pudding into individual serving dishes serve warm or chilled.
Sprinkle each dish with ground cinnamon before serving.
Makes 4 servings.