Rice pudding is close to a global constant, and comes in different varieties around the world. But one particularly comforting recipe comes from, surprisingly, Iceland.

During the long winters – and in glacier-covered Iceland, “long” is the operative word — there’s nothing cozier than a steaming bowl of sweet starch. It’s filling, easy, and revitalizing. And it will have the same effect when you make it at home, even if you’re not in the midst of a blizzard.

Rice pudding is a great way to get some simple nourishment if you’re feeling nauseated or if you just don’t have a huge appetite. It’s easy on the stomach and easy on the mouth, making it a great snack, warming breakfast, or simple dessert during treatment.

In Iceland, rice pudding is often eaten with milk or saft, a syrup made from red berries such as cranberries, raspberries or red currants. The addition of these berries lends not only color, but additional nutritional benefits. Red berries are high in antioxidants and Vitamin C, good for promoting general health and immunity.

You can come up with your own nutritious additions to rice pudding, depending on what you have on hand. Toasted nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts or pecans, are delicious. Dried fruits such as raisins, figs or dried plums are another good choice. All lend a satisfying chewy texture to the pudding as well additional fiber.

Though traditional Icelandic rice pudding is often made with large amounts of sugar and butter, you can make a healthier version by moderating the sweetness, and make it creamy by using short grain white rice that’s been cooked for a long time. This way you still get that comfort-food feeling without the saturated fat that comes from cream or butter.

This recipe is delicious plain, or you can add an easy saft-inspired sweetness by swirling in a spoonful of your favorite jam or preserves–red fruits go particularly well. 



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