Baked Rice Balls Recipe
An Italian Treat… That You Can Have for Breakfast!
Side note: I hate it when food blogs go extensively into the author’s life story, leaving you scrolling exasperatedly for the actual recipe. But hang in there – I have a quick but important anecdote before the baked rice balls recipe.
Just a few hours ago, I was having coffee with an RD friend of mine, and we commiserated on the fact that our clients often think that us professionals are free from the “burden” of loving or enjoying food.
“I’m Italian!” The dietitian Catherine laughed. “I’m a foodie.”
I relate! As I communicate to my clients, these three concepts are not mutually exclusive:
- Loving food
- Having an emotionally healthy relationship with food
- Understanding how to manage food to promote physical health
So when it comes to making “healthier” versions of recipes, I love to get creative, but part of me says, “Why not just enjoy the ‘regular’ version, but less often?”
The reality is that this is one option for eating healthfully. The question is, “How often do you want to eat a particular food?” Once you know how often you want to enjoy something, you have options for using various strategies.
For example, let’s say you love ice cream. If you want to eat ice cream every day and you’re trying to balance that with a weight loss or health goal, then you have the options of:
- Eating a smaller portion of ice cream daily
- Eating a “regular” portion of a lighter ice cream (like Enlightened)
- If you don’t like either of those options, what’s remaining is having ice cream less frequently
- …. and maybe more options I’m not thinking of right now!
Another way to look at it is to compare it to money. If a brand-name item costs $100 and the generic item costs $10, you could ask yourself, “Would I enjoy the brand-name item ten times as much as the slightly-less-nice generic version?”
Sometimes the answer is “yes,” and that’s fine!
For some people, they like the regular version of something so much, that they’d rather have it less often and do the real deal. I feel this way about pizza, for example. I would rather have pizza once a month and enjoy it just the way it is, than to have cauliflower pizza every day or every week. In other words, I do enjoy the real deal ten times as much!
But when it comes to “arancini,” our joint love for fried rice balls isn’t limited to the deep-fried version. I knew that we could craft a recipe that would cut the calories by 50% but the enjoyment only by 1%.
And I think we succeeded.
In fact, they’re so benign, I ended up having them for breakfast this week. Here’s the recipe…
Baked Rice Balls Recipe
Here’s how to do it.
- 1 cup short grain brown rice
Then, create a fast “risotto” (we’re cheating here by not making risotto correctly), by adding in:
- 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella
- 1/2 cup peas (cooked)
- Salt and herbs to taste
Let it all combine, melt, and cool.
When you’re ready to bake the rice balls, pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Then, assemble three plates:
- One plate of brown rice flour
- One plate of two beaten eggs
- One plate of bread crumbs
Prepare a baking sheet with wax paper.
Using wet hands, roll your cooled risotto into 10-12 balls, roll through the floor, then the eggs, and then the bread crumbs. You should end up with beautiful, fried-looking rice balls ready to go.
I will be honest – this was fun. It’s a get-your-hands-dirty cooking experience that would be great for kids or for a social cooking occasion.
Place the balls on the baking sheet, and bake for 20-30 minutes.
I ended up having them for breakfast this week! Even though I eat breakfast at home, it occurred to me that these rice balls would be fantastic to-go breakfasts. You could have two of the rice balls with two hardboiled eggs, for example.
I estimate that the rice balls (the way we made them) were about 90-100 calories each, and they’re mostly carbohydrate. So if you use them as part of your meal prep, keep in mind that they serve as your carbohydrate energy source for that meal.