Rice pudding usually gains it’s richness from dairy, and sometimes eggs. But this vanilla spice rice pudding is completely vegan! The secret is arborio rice, which is used to make risotto. This recipe doesn’t follow the classic risotto technique exactly. It’s similar, but simpler, and still results in a wonderfully creamy consistency.
Creamy Vegan Vanilla Rice Pudding with a Warm Infusion of Spice
This creamy vanilla spice rice pudding is infused with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and orange as it cooks. For the infusion, it helps to make a bouquet garni, which is quite easy. It’s basically a sachet of spices that you place in the cooking water and can easily remove when the cooking is done.
How to Make a Bouquet Garni (and the Alternatives)
To make a bouquet garni, cut a square of cheesecloth or muslin (about 4 inches). Place the spices and orange rind in the center of the material, and then gather the corners together. Tie it with a string to make a sachet that looks roughly like this.
Alternatively, you can buy reusable spice bags. They work great as a bouquet garni bag or for infusing tea.
If you don’t have the materials to make a bouquet garni, you can simply add the spices and orange to the cooking water. And you don’t need to break the cinnamon stick. I do that so that it fits in the bouquet garni.
But if you don’t use a bouquet garni or spice bag, you will have to fish the spices and orange out once the vegan vanilla spice rice pudding is cooked. No one wants to bite into a cardamom pod or whole clove!
Milk Beverage Note
Some milk beverages might separate or appear to “curdle” when cooked. This shouldn’t affect the end result, so don’t worry! When you cook it down and stir it all together, this vanilla spice rice pudding should be nice and creamy.
There really isn’t a hard and fast rule for which brands will separate. It really depends how they are made. That said, I do prefer the more natural milk beverages for cooking, even homemade milk beverage if possible. They don’t have additives that clump or curdle as they cook.
Special Diet Notes: Vanilla Spice Rice Pudding
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
- ⅓ cup raisins
- ¾ cup water
- 3 cardamom pods
- 3 whole cloves
- 3-inch piece cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 6-inch strip orange rind
- 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 cups warm dairy-free milk beverage, divided (see Milk Beverage Note above)
- ¼ cup maple syrup (can sub your sweetener of choice)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Soak raisins in ¾ cup water until plump, about 20 minutes, and then drain.
- Meanwhile, tie the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, and orange rind up in cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni (see How to Make a Bouquet Garni or how to skip it, in the post above).
- Add the rice, salt, and bouquet garni to a medium saucepan. Pour in 1½ cups milk beverage, stir, cover, and bring to a gentle boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the milk beverage is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Add the remaining milk beverage and return the pudding to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. At this point the rice should be creamy and most of the liquid absorbed.
- Remove the rice pudding from the heat and remove the bouquet garni.
- Stir in the plumped raisins, maple syrup, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.