Have y’all had Baked Italian Rice Balls otherwise known as Arancini before?! They are simply perfection – a soft, slightly cheesy and risotto-filled centered PLUS a crisp, herby and lightly breaded exterior. The ones I’ve made here are baked until supaa crispy instead of fried and use a few healthy subs to make these Vegan Italian Rice Balls the perfect light appetizer or side!
I grew up in an Italian-Canadian area of the Toronto suburbs. And I was seriously always spoiled with delicious Italian food when I’d visit my friends growing up – homemade fresh pasta, tomato sauce that’s been simmering on the stove all day, wine made and aged at home in the cantina and one of my favorites – these Italian Rice Balls dipped and smothered in a Creamy Marinara Sauce, YUM!
Guys, I just got home from Amsterdam last night after a wonderful European tour with my family and we honestly walked, enjoyed and ate our way through the three European countries we visited! We had SUCH an amazing time catching up, laughing, road-tripping, BBQing, picnicking, window shopping, sipping wine and enjoying the beauty of quality family time among the metropolises of Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.
I have to say, my favorite city in Europe has to be Amsterdam. It was my fourth time visiting and every-time I visit, I discover something new. It is such a charming, stunning, live-able, open and vegan friendly city. A highlight of the trip was enjoying a picnic with local foods (hello hummus bagel-wich from Bagels & Beans) on a boat tour of the canals given to us by a local Amsterdam gentlemen named John. It was truly an unforgettable and amazing trip!
I’m back at home now recipe developing, photographing and writing for the blog – it feels great to be back! NOW for the recipe of these Vegan Healthy Baked Italian Rice Balls, yum! 😉
- 1 cup arborio rice (risotto rice) (cooked in 1 cup water + 1 cup vegetable broth)
- ¼ heaping cup plain tomato sauce
- 2 tsp herbes de provence
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 - 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp dried chives
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp sea salt
- pinch black pepper
- ⅛ tsp cayenne powder (optional)
- Simmer risotto rice in 1 cup of water + 1 cup of vegetable broth with tomato sauce, herbes de provence, sea salt and paprika.
- While the rice is cooking, prepare the bread crumb mixture. Stir together all of the bread crumb ingredients in a medium size bowl (breadcrumbs through to optional cayenne powder). Set aside 3 tbsp of the bread crumb mixture (you will mix this in with the cooked rice).
- Once the rice is cooked, add in the nutritional yeast and 3 tbsp of the bread crumb mixture to the warm rice. Stir together, cover and leave to cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Once rice is cool, pre-heat oven to 400F/200C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With an ice cream scoop (or spoon), scoop rice mixture onto a lined baking sheet. You should have 11 equal sized balls on the baking sheet.
- Prepare a small bowl of cold water to dampen your hands slightly before rolling the rice balls. This helps the breadcrumbs to stick to the rice balls and helps the rice to not stick to your hands. Roll the rice mixture into round balls. Dip them generously into the breadcrumbs and place again on the baking sheet. Do this with all the rice balls until they are all evenly round and coated with the breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake for 25 minutes until crispy and brown. Broil for the final two minutes (but watch them closely not to burn the rice balls) to make them extra crispy. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before eating - they are hot!
- Toss all the ingredients for the dipping sauce into a blender and blend until creamy (I used an immersion stick blender but any blender should do). Serve the warm rice balls fresh out of the oven with the cold creamy marinara dipping sauce.
2) Substitute herbes de provence with equal parts dried basil and oregano.
3) Substitute coconut sugar with plane white or light brown sugar or sweetener of choice.
And guys, it seriously makes my week hearing your feedback and seeing your delicious #CearasKitchen creations 🙂 If you do try these Vegan Healthy Baked Italian Rice Balls, leave a comment below and share your photos with me on Instagram @CearasKitchen (and remember to tag #CearasKitchen so I don’t miss it!) or share it on my Ceara’s Kitchen Facebook page. Have a wonderful end of week everyone!