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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 16 rice balls

Rice balls, or arancini, are a popular Sicilian snack of leftover cooked rice mixed with other flavorful ingredients (usually meat sauce), breaded, and deep-fried. This version is filled with a savory mixture of mushrooms, peas, and onion and then baked to crispy perfection. Dip these scrumptious finger foods into a side of tangy marinara sauce to get the full Italian experience. Perfect as a dinner party appetizer or an afternoon snack!  For more healthy meals inspiration, check out our best vegan recipes.

From Forks Over Knives: Flavor!

Sicilian Rice Balls with Mushrooms and Peas piled on a white platter with bowl of marinara sauce in background

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cubed Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups oil-free store-bought or homemade marinara sauce
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place potatoes in a steamer basket in a large saucepan. Add water to saucepan to just below basket. Bring to boiling. Steam, covered, about 15 minutes or until tender. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl; mash with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine rice, 1 cup of the marinara sauce, the milk, the ¼ cup nutritional yeast (if using), and 2 of the minced garlic cloves. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, 7 to 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the rice mixture to potatoes; stir to combine.
  3. For filling, in a large skillet cook mushrooms, onion, and the remaining 1 clove minced garlic over medium about 10 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently and adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (if using), 1 tablespoon of the bread crumbs, the peas, basil, thyme, crushed red pepper (if using), and salt to taste. Cook for about 3 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat. Let stand about 5 minutes or until mixture is cool enough to handle.
  4. Place the remaining bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Shape ¼ cup rice mixture into a 2- to 2½ -inch patty, dusting your hands with bread crumbs if the mixture sticks to them. Spoon 1 tablespoon of filling onto center of the patty; fold edges of patty over filling to cover and roll into a ball. Roll each ball in bread crumbs to coat; place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining rice mixture, filling, and bread crumbs.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Heat up the remaining 1 cup marinara sauce. Serve with rice balls.
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Comments (25)

(5 from 7 votes)
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Deb Sell2 months ago
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Very tasty and easier than expected to make! I made coconut cucumber Tzatziki instead of the marinara for dipping.

Roselyn1 month ago
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Scrumptious n easy to make

Dalia3 months ago
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Needs a video, please.

Barbara5 months ago
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Great!

Virginia5 months ago
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Hello Just wanted to know what kind of bread crumbs are correct for me to keep losing weight for this recipe. Or do I omit the bread crumbs?
Thanks

Stephanie5 months ago
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Is one supposed to peel the potatoes before cubing them?

Yes/No/Doesn’t matter?

Thank you

Deb Sell2 months ago
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I didn’t peel them and it was just fine 🙂

Stephanie5 months ago
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No response…so I ended up following my “cook-y” senses and peeled potatoes, steamed, cooked on counter and put the potatoes through the ricer. I’m happy with both choices.

Mary Slinskey5 months ago
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I haven’t made this yet, however, looking at the ingredients I began to prep, starting with the cooking the rice, because the second ingredient calls for 2 CUPS COOKED BROWN RICE. And I have cooked rice now cooling in the fridge. Upon further reading, I see the rice is to be cooked with some of the marinara, “milk”, etc. Please change the recipe to read 1 CUP RAW BROWN RICE. Second issue is the very first instruction is to preheat the oven. Then proceed with the recipe which will take at least an hour. I work as a professional chef. An oven will take no more than 8-10 minutes to heat. Please list the instruction to preheat closer to cooking time. Our planet will appreciate it. Thanks. Looking forward to trying these.

Jenn5 months ago
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I actually think the recipe is correct as written. Cook the rice first then cook it some more in 1 cup of sauce and 1/4 cup plant milk and help it get softer, soak up the flavor of the sauce, and easier to mix with the steamed mashed potatoes to make a ‘dough’ to fill with the mushroom mixture. 1 cup of sauce and 1/4 cup plant milk is not enough liquid to properly cook 1 cup of raw brown rice.

Traditionally arancini are made with cooked then cooled risotto so over cooking the brown rice will help mimic that texture.

Alexis5 months ago
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Has anyone made this using gluten free bread for bread crumbs?

Johnnie Hollaway5 months ago
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Absolutely the Best!!

Ann5 months ago
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Does anyone know, can these go in an air fryer? What temp and how long? Thanks.

Ali Gaylord5 months ago
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What can you substitute for mushrooms? This look delicious, but I’m allergic to mushrooms
S

Jorgina5 months ago
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I’d suggest peeled eggplant. I often use that as a sub for my friend who is allergic to mushrooms.

Yvonne5 months ago
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Arinola here’s the link to the contact page

https://www.forksoverknives.com/contact-us/

Ginger Conrad5 months ago
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Ooooo…I’m going to try this one soon. Yummy!

Cathy6 months ago
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Really enjoyed these with a variety of sauces.

Deborah Weisblatt6 months ago
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Do you think these would work with sweet potatoes?

Jenn5 months ago
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Brilliant idea – I bet that would be delicious!

Earlene6 months ago
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Also good with sweet chili sauce

Earlene6 months ago
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I screwed this up from the beginning, when I added all the sauce to the rice. I am used to recipes that say “divided” in the ingredient list when the whole amount is not used at once. Then came the garlic, yeast and breadcrumbs all of which were divided, and of course I didn’t. I ended up just throwing all the ingredients plus extra rice into the pot and scooping it up and rolling in bread crumbs. It’s in the oven now. Just went to the pantry and I have no more sauce, so maybe we will dip them in salsa or ketchup. Not my day in the kitchen, but as a good Sicilian grandmother would do, we will not let it go to waste.

Victoria4 months ago
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How did it turn out when you accidentally put it all in together? I am intrigued on if steps can be skipped a little lol

Jenn5 months ago
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I was just sitting here thinking – what if I just tossed all these ingredients together and made them that way? I think you actually won in the kitchen – so much less work!

Arinola5 months ago
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How can I speak to someone please

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about the author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a vegan chef specializing in whole-food, plant-based cuisine. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of the Forks Over Knives: Flavor! cookbook, recipe author for the book Forks Over Knives Family, and recipe contributor to The New York Times best-selling book The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives magazine, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit darshanaskitchen.com for more.

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