When Colombian chef Lauren Arboleda isn't spending some quality time with her family or winning cooking competitions, she's pursuing her first passion: cooking. Lauren grew up in Colombia, near the farms of the beautiful Cali, which means that she was surrounded by delicious and organic foods native to the area.
This aspect of her childhood went on to affect every other facet of her life moving forward. "Food has to be healthy; [it has to] nourish your body and your soul. When you eat, it reminds you of moments that connect you to your family with love," shared the season two MasterChef Latino winner in an exclusive with HOLA! USA.
She first realized her passion and love for healthy eats through her online platfrom Food from the Heart, where you can find everything from easy-to-make recipes to personalized coaching sessions aimed to help you and your family thrive in a healthier eating space.
She also recently published the cookbook Pregnancy from the Heart. “Food from the Heart has grown with me,” she says. “Early on, I published recipes ocassionally. It was with my first pregnancy that I decided to write a book and found a clearer market.”
Lauren loves to take Latinx classics and revamp with a healthier, lighter spin that doesn't skimp on the taste. Case in point: her rice pudding recipe aka arroz con leche. Check out the exclusive recipe that she shared with HOLA! USA for our November issue below.
Lauren's Rice Pudding Recipe
1 cup of brown rice
1 cup of water
2 cups of milk or nut milk
1 cinnamon stick
6 Tbsp. of hemp seeds
1 Tbsp. of maple honey
⅓ cup of chopped walnuts
½ cup of fresh berries (your choice)
½ tsp. of spirulina (optional)
- Rinse rice until water is clear
- Add the rice, cinnamon, water and milk to a pot and cook until boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes (check for doneness)
- Add hemp seeds, maple honey, nuts and spirulina (optional)
- Serve in a bowl with fresh berries. Drizzle with maple honey and garnish with mint leaves before serving
- If you want the pudding to be creamier, add a bit of milk or cream. Refrigerate any leftovers. When ready to serve again, heat the rice pudding with some milk to add texture.
Preparation using precooked rice
- For every cup of precooked rice, add 1 cup of milk and the same amount of cinnamon, hemp seeds and maple honey from the previous recipe. Mix and heat on the stove for 8 minutes
- Add spirulina (optional), fruit and some maple honey on top