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Holiday Saffron & Citrus Rice Pudding – swell

Holiday Saffron & Citrus Rice Pudding

Citrus Saffron Rice Porridge
Citrus Saffron Rice Porridge Closeup

I’m a sucker for puddings, and when I started thinking about a traditional Swedish dessert made from whipped cream and orange slices folded into cinnamon-y leftover rice pudding, I thought about the ways I could change it to not just veganize it, but make it a little bit of my own.  Enter our good friend saffron, used for savory purposes in Spanish and Italian-style cuisines though largely for sweet uses in the Nordic countries.  I haven’t yet mastered a really great vegan lussekatt recipe, so my mind and tastebuds wanted to merge the rice pudding and the saffron together…creamy, golden heaven!  With some delicious satsuma and kiwi slices and some pomegranate seeds for a burst of color, it was full-blown holiday love for me.

If it’s hard for you to find (or afford) saffron, fear not; this will still taste perfectly lovely without.  But if you are going for saffron, I highly encourage you to go for some good stuff; the largely flavorless variety found in Mexican aisles of your local grocery is mainly for adding color, not flavor.  The cheapest I’ve found locally in Minneapolis is at Trader Joe’s, of all places.  This is quite rich and quite a treat, so I recommend smaller portions.  It’s delicious slightly warm or chilled, and will add a lovely rainbow of natural colors to a chilly winter night.

Holiday Saffron & Citrus Rice Pudding
serves 3-4

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 14.5-oz can coconut milk (light is fine, or you could replace half with another non-dairy milk)
1 cinnamon stick
5 green cardamom pods
1-2 tablespoons coconut nectar, agave or other sweetener, or to taste
1 generous pinch saffron threads, crushed between your fingers

1-2 satsuma or other seedless mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented

1-2 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Combine the rice, coconut and other non-dairy milk if using, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods.  Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the rice from sticking.  Add the sweetener and saffron, and continue to cook for 20-30 minutes, or rice has swelled and liquid is reduced.  (The liquid may still be somewhat thin, but will continue to thicken as it cools.)  Cool slightly, or refrigerate as desired.

Stir in the satsuma, portion into bowls, and top with kiwifruit and pomegranate seeds to serve.

9 Responses to “Holiday Saffron & Citrus Rice Pudding”

  1. sarah says:

    I love rice puddings! The colors in this are amazing! I can just imagine how wonderful this smells when it’s cooking. This is going on my list to make.

  2. Emmy says:

    That looks great. I am not a breakfast person but have recently been trying to make myself eat breakfast by making this type of dish! Definitely going to have to try this one!

  3. Fanny says:

    Oh. My. I’m Swedish but have never had a citrus-rice pudding in my life. This sounds absolutely amazing though, and I might have to make it for breakfast tomorrow. Thank you!

  4. veganlisa says:

    The colours are amazing- I bet the saffron makes this pudding a very sophisticated treat. I just spent 15 minutes extracting pomegranate seeds from their membrane embrace so I really appreciate the effort that goes into creating a beautiful sprinkle of seeds.

    Happy Holidays a-k!

  5. I love the look of this pudding! So many of my favorite flavors all in one warm bowl… yum! I’m a freak for saffron.

  6. Oh man, I am a sucker for puddings *and* I am a sucker for saffron! Why does it have to be so expensive? My precious!

    Thanks for letting me know about Dandy Blend! I had never heard of it before, but it sounds good. I’m going to try to beg for a sample before I order a bag. *cheapskate*

  7. Gauri Radha गौरी राधा says:

    Sounds delicious!!!

  8. This is such a beautiful photo. I love the colours/shades and rice pudding with saffron reminds me of so many Indian desserts with similar ingredients. This is one of my favourites for sure! Thank-you for sharing.

  9. Atoosa says:

    There’s a very traditional saffron rice pudding cooked with cardamon and topped with cinammon in Persian cuisine as well: Sholeh Zard. It’s a fancy dessert, and sometimes is also garnished with slivered almonds and pistacchios. I love it and make my own vegan version occasionally. Never thought to add pomegranates, though I associate them with my Persian heritage too. Will definitely try this Swell Swedish version soon!

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