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Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto

Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto—sounds perfect for a cold day in January, don’t you think?

That’s exactly what we’ve got here in the northeast. A cold and somewhat gloomy day. Lots of snow on the ground. A nip in the air. All I want to do is hibernate.

Not possible. The little dogs still get excited about going for a walk—and if they don’t get one they add to the chaos that’s already my home. Holiday stuff is still hanging around waiting to be stored for another year. The kid is making camping stoves from empty soda cans. Laundry is overflowing its basket.

So, we get bundled up and out we go. Every now and then the little boy dog picks up a paw and begs to have it rubbed vigorously until warm. Yes, he’s very spoiled.

Despite the frosty temperatures my husband is camping with the Boy Scouts. It’s the annual Freezeree. He looks forward to it every year. I know. It’s a little crazy. But, it makes him happy. He’s happy. I’m happy. Besides, I’m sleeping in a warm house under a big quilt.

When I got up this morning he was already gone. Lucky me, he made the coffee before he left. I woke up to a quiet house lightly scented with coffee and filled with a sleeping college kid and snoozing dogs. Just enough time for a few hours of just me and…well, whatever.

Seemed like a good time to make a warm, delicious breakfast. Coffee in hand I pulled out all the ingredients and started stirring. About a half hour later I was savoring a bowl of steaming Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto

Heat a small cast iron frying pan over a low heat. Add:

½ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Gently brown the coconut while tossing it lightly with a silicon spatula. The pan retains heat and will continue to brown the coconut so once you get it lightly browned remove it to a dish to cool.

Bring to a simmer in a medium saucepan then turn off the burner keeping the water there to remain warm:

2½ cups water

In a separate saucepan over medium heat add and heat for a minute:

1 tablespoon grapeseed or other vegetable oil

Stir in, coating with oil, and heating for another minute:

½ cup Arborio rice

Add and stir in:

¼ cup dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, raisins)

Now you’re going to add the hot water ¼ cup at a time. The first addition will create a bit of steam so add it carefully. Stir the risotto until the water evaporates and then add another quarter cup. Continue in this manner until all the water has been absorbed and the risotto is plump, soft, and creamy.

Caution: this requires a lot of attention and stirring. If you walk away to do some other tasks you may easily burn the risotto. Trust me on this.

When all the water is absorbed and the risotto is soft and creamy remove it from the heat.

Stir in the remaining ingredients:

¼ cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg (optional)
sea salt

Let it sit for a minute or two to cool and then gently stir in all but a heaping tablespoon of the toasted coconut. Serve in a bowl topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, brown sugar and the remaining coconut.

Makes about 2 or 3 servings.


Risotto is a wonderful naturally gluten-free food that lends itself to so many flavoring options. Here are a few to get the ideas sparking:


Sensitive Pantry—Carmelized Fennel & Onion Risotto

Gluten Free Goddess—Roasted Acorn Squash Risotto

Gluten Free Girl—Bacon Spinach Risotto

Book of Yum—Seven Herb Risotto

Celiacs in the House—Crispy Vegetable & Risotto Cakes

« Hot Pomegranate Cider {with a White Tea Kicker} | Main | Savor {Orange Oatmeal Scones} »

Reader Comments (30)

This sounds and looks totally scrumptious!

Jan 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMia

Brilliant idea!!!

Jan 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

Risotto?! Breakfast?! Two of my favorite things. I'm loving this and I haven't even made it yet. Thanks!

Your tweet about this had me curious, but your recipe has me wanting some right now. Wish we lived closer so you could make it for me. I have everything but the rice to make it, so no excuse after my shopping trip. It just sounds so warm and comforting after all this snow and cold. Even your photos warmed me up, Nancy.

Mmmmmm - it's like rice pudding without the oven. Delicious idea!

Jan 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna

What a GREAT idea! Love it!

Nancy, this looks soooo tasty. I never thought of risotto in a sweet application, but why the heck not? Beautiful photos, doll.

What a beautiful and healthy and delicious sounding recipe... thank you so much for sharing this!!

Jan 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

This looks beautiful. Once I finish my cleanse I will have to try this out!

Jan 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

Nancy, this sounds like rice pudding for breakfast. I love it!

Okay this is a great idea. I can't imagine aborio rice without the wine though :) Suppose I could throw some in, maybe ice wine :)

Jan 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

Oh, Nancy, love this risotto! You had me at toasted coconut by the way. ;-) I'd much rather make and eat this dish, and sleep under the big quilt in a warm house than participate in a freezeree, too. LOL Oh, and I wouldn't mind the spoiled dogs either. :-)


Jan 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShirley @ gfe

Now that's what I call thinking outside of the box! I would've never thought to use arborio rice for breakfast or for a sweet application. Great idea! Next time, please make extra and give me about 5 hours to drive down to your house!

Jan 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGluten Free Diva

When I saw you tweet this, I wanted it immediately. I love the idea of breakfast risotto, and I can't wait to make it. I always do savory risotto, and I think this is just brilliant.

Jan 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris @ The Peche

This looks fabulous! Looks like the perfect breakfast to me.

Um, this is breakfast heaven. I love this recipe and can't wait to make it!

Jan 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternaomi

and you have just given me yet another reason why breakfast is now one of my favorite meals of the day!

Jan 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSMITH BITES

I have never thought to make a sweet risotto, and now I'm dying to try it! Just lovely!

Jan 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

Oh I am going to have to make this one morning this week, my surfer will love it! He's a warm oatmeal kinda of guy in the mornings so this would be a nice bright change to his morning :)

Jan 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTickled Red

I don't even care for coconut Nancy, but looking at this, I think that I may just change my mind! :)

Jan 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwenderly
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