Quinoa Zambita (Dark Quinoa Pudding)

Recipe and photo contributed by Morena Escardó Yield:  4 servings
Prep Time:  15 minutes Cook Time:  40 minutes

Quinoa Zambita (Dark Quinoa Pudding)

Arroz zambito is a Peruvian variation of rice pudding, created in Lima at the beginning of the 20th century. This recipe is darker than a regular rice pudding, and has a deep, earthy flavor, thanks to the use of molasses to sweeten it, and the addition of aniseed, coconut, raisins, and spices. I’ve created this Passover-friendly version of arroz zambito using quinoa instead of rice. I have also replaced butter with coconut oil, and regular milk with almond milk, making it pareve and vegan. You can choose to prepare it either way, depending on the dietary needs of your family, the taste you want to achieve, and the other dishes on your menu.


⅓ cup quinoa

2 cups almond milk (or regular milk)

1 cinnamon stick

2 cloves

¼ teaspoon anise seed

¼ cup raisins

¼ cup dried coconut

3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses (or more, if you like it sweeter)

1 teaspoon coconut oil (or regular butter)

¼ cup chopped pecans


  1. Combine the quinoa and 1 cup water in a small pan and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes, until a white ring appears around each seed.
  2. Pour the almond milk into the pan, together with the cinnamon, cloves, aniseeds, raisins, coconut, and molasses. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring every now and then, making sure nothing sticks to the bottom or sides of the pan.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the coconut oil and pecans. Stir. At this point you may add more molasses if desired, or honey if you want a sweeter, lighter taste. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves. Let the pudding sit until it cools from hot to warm and has absorbed the liquid left in the pan. Serve warm.
  4. This pudding can also be refrigerated once it has cooled, and served cold, straight out of the fridge. If you want to reheat it, add 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (almond or regular), stir, and simmer for a couple minutes.

Kitchen Tips

  1. A different version of this dessert can be made using dark maple syrup instead of molasses.
  2. To make it in a more traditional way, simply use rice instead of quinoa. Cook the rice as you normally would, and then follow the rest of the instructions of this recipe. Oatmeal is another good option.

From the Test Kitchen:

  1. If you like a sweeter pudding, Morena recommends adding honey to taste. But if you would like to keep this dessert vegan, agave nectar is an excellent option.

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