Vegan & Breadcrumb-Free Arancini a.k.a. Italian Rice Balls Redefined!

Vegan & Breadcrumb-Free Arancini a.k.a. Italian Rice Balls Redefined!

Hey babes!

I’ve been DYING to make my own healthier version of arancini & I simply never got around to it, but yesterday, I FINALLY DID! FYI, in case you didn’t grow up an ARANCINI fiend like me, it’s an Italian dish made up of rice balls stuffed with cheese, rolled in bread crumbs & deep fried. YEP, you read right. HEAVENLY, CRISPY, DELICIOUS & CHEESY!

Let’s just say, tonight I whipped up a slightly healthier version that also happens to be made with sprouted grains & it’s vegan, gluten-free, bread-crumb free & BAKED (not fried!!).

It’s BURSTING with cheesy flavour thanks to the nutritional yeast & I swapped breadcrumbs for fibre-packed psyllium husks, not to mention all the savoury spices & dried herbs I used!

The result? CRISPY CRUNCHY ON THE OUTSIDE, TENDER ON THE INSIDE, HEALTHY DELICIOUSNESS that reminds me of my childhood ordering these babies off the menu in EVERY Italian restaurant! I mean, I don’t know about you guys but I was the kid who chose arancini over pizza. Call me crazy, but I swear, if you’ve never tried ’em, your first bite will help you understand why! They’re basically pizza in ball form… rice, dough, same thing + marinara sauce + tons of cheesy flavour spiced up with garlic & herbs!

Before I get into the recipe, now’s your cue to sttart plotting all the DELISH meals you’ll serve these babes with as a side dish! You’ll want to bust out some marinara sauce for sure! You can either make it homemade or get a store-bought one – just make sure it contains no added sugar, preservatives or table salt!

I made them with organic sprouted brown rice & quinoa because I had it ready in the fridge, but you can literally use any grain of your choice for these! Have fun with it: cooked quinoa, buckwheat, freekeh, amaranth, brown or wild rice, basmati, risotto… they’ll all work & they’ll all come out delicious! All this to say, this is one of those recipes that you most probably won’t have to run to the grocery store for (unless of course you aren’t obsessed with psyllium husks like me… you may need to run out for those or simply use your fave gluten-free breadcrumbs!). 

What’s great about this recipe is you can plan for it! It’s important to prep the grains a bit in advance so that you can refrigerate them for at least half an hour to allow them to firm up a bit & make rolling them into a ball easier. You can also use this recipe to finish up any cooked grains you may have meal prepped at the beginning of the week! If you plan to make these babes for dinner, you can even prep the grains in the AM & come home from work & have these babies in your life within 30 minutes. YES, you read right, 30 MINUTES!

THEY’RE SO DELICIOUS THAT EVERYONE WILL LOVE THEM! (EVEN THE KIDS). And you know what? You’ll probably get away with tricking them into thinking they’re full of cheese!

BTW, you can customize these to your liking. If cheese isn’t a concern for you, swap the nutritional yeast for parmesan or Romano or half/half it to get some of the amazing benefits of nutritional yeast too! You can also swap the psyllium husks for your fave gluten-free breadcrumbs or panko!

INGREDIENTS:

ARANCINI FILLING:

  • 2 cups COOKED organic sprouted brown rice & quinoa
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. raw organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 flax egg (Mix 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed with 2.5 tbsp. warm water & let sit for about 5 minutes to gel up)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husks
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 2 tsp. dried organo
  • Sea salt & black pepper to taste

 

COATING/”BREADING”:

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husks
  • garlic powder drizzle

TO MAKE:

  • Prepare your flax egg in a small bowl.
  • Prepare your grains if they weren’t ready already. Set aside to cool off. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to chill & allow it to slightly firm up to make rolling easier.
  • Add the brown rice & quinoa to a large bowl. Add the rest of the filling ingredients to the brown rice & quinoa & mix until combined & incorporated.

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  • In a small bowl, add the coating ingredients & mix.

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  • Preheat oven to 350F & line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Roll the rice/quinoa mixture into medium-sized balls & roll them in the bowl with the coating ingredients. Place the balls on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat until you have no more filling left.

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  • Bake the babes for 30 minutes at 350F.
  • Once baked, broil on high for 2 minutes, but watch closely so they don’t burn! The balls should be crispy & browned once broiled.
  • ENJOY! 🙂
    • To reheat: Use a toaster oven or regular oven as opposed to microwave to keep them nice & crispy!
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