Baked Spinach Rice Balls

“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by USA Rice Federation and am eligible to win  prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

In honor of National Nutrition Month the USA Rice Federation challenged Recipe Redux members to come up with a nutritious and delicious recipe that features U.S.-grown rice. Rice is a staple in our pantry and as someone who uses it a lot in our weekly meals I was excited to spread the love for this healthy grain. There is a wide variety of ways to incorporate rice into a well-balanced meal and it goes perfectly well with fish, chicken, beef and even eggs and tofu for those who live a vegetarian lifestyle.


Rice balls, also known as Arancini, are stuffed rice balls coated with breadcrumbs and deep-fried to give them a crunchy golden outer layer. My first experience with this classic Italian food was in New York during our Greenwich Village food tour.  We stopped outside of Faicco’s and due to its size our guide asked us to wait outside while he ran in to grab a tray full of these hot out of the fryer rice balls. I can recall standing on the side of the road during a chilly New York winter and taking a bite into its golden crunchy outer layer revealing in a delectable and creamy interior.We tasted a lot of good food during this tour but the rice balls were by far my favorite and my husband and I still talk about them to this day.


I chose to use U.S.-grown brown rice for my twist on this Italian dish. In order to make the rice balls healthier, I used egg whites, less cheese and instead of frying them like most of the traditional recipes call for these are baked. The spinach is added for a boost of vegetables and nutrition. These rice balls are Crunchy and golden brown on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, just as I remember them being on the sidewalk in New York. Serve them as an appetizer, side dish or even as a main course alongside a green salad for a healthy vegetarian meal.


Next time you’re planning out your weekly meals be sure to “Think Rice” for its nutritional benefits, versatility and affordability.


Baked Spinach Rice Balls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10 Balls
  • 1 cup cooked U.S.-Grown brown rice, (rice should be warm to hot )
  • ⅓ cup shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup chopped fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 egg white
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Marinara sauce for dipping
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In 3 separate bowls place the flour, beaten egg, and the breadcrumbs with the parsley in each bowl and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine rice, spinach, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg white, salt and pepper, mixing well.Using your hands form the mixture into balls (1½"- 2" round).
  4. Roll each ball first into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes, turn over and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or till golden brown.
  6. Serve with hot marinara for dipping.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 Balls Calories: 149.2 Fat: 4.4 Saturated fat: 2.3 Carbohydrates: 18.6 Sugar: .1 Sodium: 199.4 Fiber: 1.8 Protein: 8.5 Cholesterol: 45.1

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By | 2018-06-01T09:37:54+00:00 March 9th, 2015|Recipe ReDux|15 Comments


  1. Farrah March 9, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Yummy! <3 These look delicious!

  2. admin March 10, 2015 at 7:13 am


  3. Katie @ Mom to Mom Nutrition March 10, 2015 at 7:46 am

    I grew up in an Italian household and we always ate “rice balls.” I love that you made yours with brown rice. My toddler would gobble these up in a heartbeat. Mom too 😉

  4. Lauren @ Eating with a Purpose March 10, 2015 at 7:59 am

    What a great use of leftover brown rice- we love anything spinach, so these are a must try- pinning to make!

  5. Deanna Segrave-Daly March 10, 2015 at 10:37 am

    My daughter would have so much fun making these (and perhaps this would get her to eat some spinach….)

  6. Serena March 10, 2015 at 11:40 am

    You are a magician! I didn’t know you could make arancini that wasn’t fried! Love the story about NYC. I remember a similar arancini in Boston’s North End…can’t wait to make these to relive my memories. (:

  7. admin March 10, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Thanks. I am happy with the way they turned out

  8. admin March 10, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Yes. They are kid friendly and my daughter who is very picky even ate them

  9. admin March 10, 2015 at 2:16 pm


  10. admin March 10, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    My daughter ate them and she doesn’t eat anything:)

  11. Karli March 10, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Those look so good and how creative! 🙂

  12. Alex Caspero MA,RD (@delishknowledge) March 10, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I love rice balls! They are my favorite appetizer, we even served them at our wedding. Can’t wait to try this healthier option!

  13. admin March 10, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Oh fun. I love them too:)

  14. admin March 10, 2015 at 7:54 pm


  15. Jessica @ Nutritioulicious March 11, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    totally with you on the rice balls! Great minds think alike when it comes to rice!

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