Vegan Black Rice Pudding

I'm starting off the week on a sweet note with black rice pudding. I've been thinking about this recipe ever since X's mom gave me a bag of black rice and this weekend I finally had time to give it a go. I really like rice pudding, but sometimes the sugar and dairy can be overwhelming for my body even if it tastes delicious going down. My version with black rice takes dairy completely out of the equation and reduces the amount of sugar used. Black rice, typically in the Asian section of the grocery store, is naturally sweet and becomes gelatinous while cooking without using heavy cream. or condensed milk. I'm also a fan of the striking and unexpected color, which makes this dish fancy enough for company as a brunch side or dessert with dinner. By using a crock pot to do the cooking, the recipe couldn't be simpler. Eat the rice pudding by itself hot or cold or serve it with fresh fruit on top.

Chef's note: I tried making a cherry cream topping as pictured in the photos. It was a blend of tart cherries, silken tofu, and a pinch of sugar. I thought it would contrast the sweetness of the pudding nicely, but it ended up being kind of gross. The pudding was much more delicious all by itself. 

Vegan Black Rice Pudding
Serves 6-8

1 Tbsp Earth Balance or butter
1/3 - 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
2 cups sweet black rice
5 cups coconut milk
2 cups water
2 Tbsp flax seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in the crock pot. Cook on high for four hours. 

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