Coconut Rice with Roasted Grapefruit and Molasses (vegan, gluten-free)


I often eat the same breakfast every day – oatmeal. When I’m feeling crazy, I might eat steel-cut oats or muesli. I’m a wild one. But it’s good to branch out, even if it is still a grain cooked in milk with fruit stirred in – and this is special enough to serve for brunch or if you are feeling fancy. The brown rice is nutty and filling and the coconut milk makes this creamy and decadent

I have always loved a particular brown rice, coconut milk, and molasses recipe of Mark Bittman’s but have never made it quite like he suggests (it’s not a very good recipe, honestly. Sorry, Mark.) This time I wanted to brighten it up a bit and roasted grapefruit was the first thing I thought of – it’s been pretty grey here in Oakland; thank god for winter citrus. Grapefruit is often roasted with sugar on the top, but since we are going to swirl it into the coconut rice at the end, you wouldn’t get that lovely crackly top anyway. So I’ve roasted this plain, which mellows out the bitterness of the grapefruit and leaves its lovely sweet flavors sans added sugar.


It’s topped with a swirl of molasses to sweeten and give it richness, and toasted coconut flakes are the final touch for both flavor and texture. Feel free to add some maple syrup when stirring in the grapefruit if you crave more sweetness, but I love it only slightly sweetened so all the creamy coconut flavors come out. It’s lovely cold, too, eaten like cereal with a splash of your favorite nondairy milk. 

This rice bowl is a great alternative to your usual ho-hum breakfast (not that I am calling oatmeal “ho-hum”), but It can also double as a cozy dessert – almost like a rice pudding, although you might like to add a bit of brown sugar or maple syrup to the mix (see note in recipe).


Coconut Rice with Roasted Grapefruit and Molasses
  1. 1 13-14oz can of full-fat coconut milk
  2. 1 1/2 cups water
  3. 1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
  4. 1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  5. 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  6. 2 grapefruit
  7. Molasses to serve
  1. See Note
  1. Bring the coconut milk, water, brown rice, and salt to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Stir, cover, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 50 minutes. Turn off the heat, let sit, covered, for five minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the coconut flakes. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread the coconut out in a thin layer and cook for 3 minutes, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. The coconut might be done by now, but keep checking after 1 minute increments if it needs longer (keep an eye on it - coconut burns easily). When golden-brown, remove from the oven and scoop into a bowl so it doesn't keep cooking on the pan.
  3. Turn the oven temperature up to 375°F to roast the grapefruit. Cut the grapefruit in half along their width (like you would if you were going to eat it with a spoon). Remove any seeds with the tip of a paring knife. Carefully edge the knife between the pith and the fruit and along the individual segments so that it can easily be scooped out after cooking. When the oven is preheated, place the halves cut-side up on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and scoop out the fruit when cool enough to handle - try to leave behind the tough membranes.
  4. When the rice is done cooking, stir in half the coconut flakes and the grapefruit pieces (leave behind any larger chunks for a garnish) until well distributed. Scoop the rice into bowls and serve drizzled with molasses and sprinkled with the remaining coconut flakes.
  1. For a sweeter, more dessert-like dish, add 1/4-1/3 cup brown sugar or maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the rice when you add the grapefruit.
Adapted from Mark Bittman
Adapted from Mark Bittman
chel rabbit

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