Chocolate-Coconut Rice Pudding Breakfast Recipe

This naturally sweetened whole-grain dish will last you an entire workweek.

By: Ali Eaves

Everyone knows eating a healthy breakfast is essential to start your day off right--without it, you'll feel groggy and be more likely to overeat later. But if you're anything like us, all too often your intentions to make a veggie-stuffed omelet disappear as you're rushing out the door, and you end up grabbing whatever's closest.

Fortunately, dietitian Doris Kuehn has a solution: a delicious breakfast you can make on Sunday that will last your whole workweek.

Though the coconut and cocoa nibs make this sound like a dessert, nutrition-wise it's anything but. It packs in a serving of whole grains, and it's sweetened with molasses, which adds significant amounts of potassium and iron as well as a robust flavor.

Kuehn says cocoa nibs are ideal for people who crave chocolate on a daily basis (not that we know anything about that). They also have a rich antioxidant profile (three times as concentrated as green tea), and lots of fiber and magnesium.

This recipe takes a while to make, but it makes your kitchen smell like German chocolate cake--and who doesn't want to wake up to a guilt-free version of that every day?

Yield: 5 servings
Per-serving nutrition: 467 calories, 24.3 grams fat, 21 grams saturated fat, 135 milligrams sodium, 228 milligrams potassium, 63 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 7 grams sugar, 5 grams protein.

Ingredients

2 cups short-grain brown rice
1 tablespoon coconut oil or coconut spread
4 cups of unsweetened coconut beverage (such as So Delicious)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3 tablespoon molasses (use unsulphured if possible)*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
*Tip: Before measuring the molasses, spray the measuring spoon with cooking spray, which will make the molasses come out easier and help you get a more accurate measure.

Steps
1) Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Spread the coconut flakes or chips in a thin layer over a baking sheet with ridges and bake on the lowest rack setting for three to four minutes. Keep an eye on the flakes to make sure they don't burn, and stir if necessary.

2) In a heavy, medium saucepan, melt the coconut oil. Add the rice and brown it for about four minutes. This will give the rice a nutty flavor.

3) Once browned, add the coconut milk and vanilla. Bring to a boil, cover the saucepan, and reduce heat to low, simmering lightly and stirring periodically until the rice is tender and the mixture thickens.

4) Add the molasses, coconut flakes, and cocoa nibs towards the end of the cooking process to preserve crunch. It will take 45 minutes to an hour to cook the rice, so add the additional ingredients 30 to 50 minutes in, depending on how fast the liquid is absorbing.

5) When the rice is done and a small amount of liquid has retained, turn the heat off and let the rice sit under the closed lid for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or chilled.

Make sure to refrigerate the mixture in an airtight container right away since you'll be enjoying it throughout the workweek.

Note: You can replace the molasses with brown sugar and the cocoa nibs with mini dark chocolate chunks for a less expensive dish that's still healthy.

Doris Kuehn, RD, LN, works for the District of Columbia Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. She will graduate from the Culinary Arts Program at the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School this year.