Wednesday, August 20, 2014 / ... comments / , , , ,

Baked Spinach Arancini Balls

Arancini are a typical Italian snack. They are tasty fried balls of rice stuffed with cheese. Who wouldn't love that?! My 4 year old and I made a healthier batch this week with a spinach filling. Instead of deep frying we baked them off in the oven. They were just as crisp on the outside and ooey gooey on the inside. So satisfying.

To make the balls, stir together some cooked rice, spinach and Parmesan. ​Have a helper make an indentation in each ball and fill it with a piece of fresh mozzarella cheese. If she refuses to take off her flannel Frozen nightgown, that's okay, just carry on. I cook with my Frozen-clad 4-year-old almost every day. If you cook with your kids (or want to start!) there's a great contest right now from Uncle Ben's. Make a video of yourself and your child cooking a simple rice based recipe and you could win $15,000 for your family and $30,000 for a cafeteria makeover at your school! Check out Ben's Beginners for more information and good luck! I'll give you some tips to make your video after the recipe. To hold the filling together well and give them a nice crisp crust, roll them in all-purpose flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Give the balls a good coating of olive oil cooking spray or an olive oil drizzle and bake them in the oven until golden.

And serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Bakes Spinach Parmesan Arancini Recipe
printer friendly recipe

yield: makes about 10 balls


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (gluten free if needed)
  • 2 eggs, lightly scrambled
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs (or panko or gf plus 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning)
  • 2 cups cooked short grain rice (white or brown)
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out (about 1/3 cup drained)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • marinara sauce for dippinig
  • fresh basil leaves, for garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Place the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs into separate shallow dishes.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together the rice, spinach, Parmesan, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
4. Roll rice mixture into about 1/3 cup balls. Make indentations with your finger and insert a piece of mozzarella cheese. Press rice up and over to seal and reform the balls.
5. Place rice balls on a tray and place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to help set.
6. Roll balls in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs to coat and place on a cookie sheet generously coated with cooking spray or brushed with olive oil. Coat the balls well with cooking spray or brush olive oil over the balls.
7. Bake for 7 minutes, then turn over and continue baking another 7 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with warmed marinara sauce and fresh basil leaves.

How to Make a Cooking Video
If you would like to make a video for the contest, here are some tips to get you started. All you need is a video camera (even a smart phone will do), some simple ingredients, and fun with your kid! My kids love making and watching cooking videos.
1. Plan your recipe ahead of time. Choose something simple that only takes a few minutes so that you don't have to do much, if any, video editing. What ingredients do your kids love? Play with those ingredients to make something original.
2. Prep, prep, prep! You don't want to be fumbling around for bowls and ingredients while the camera is running. Get as much prepared as you possible beforehand. Place a step stool at the counter for your little one.
3. Get your child excited about the cooking project. Allow her to participate in as much of the cooking as possible. Kids love getting their hands on ingredients and washing, measuring, and stirring.
4. Have a friend make the video of you cooking with your child or set up a tripod in front of you.
5. The most important ingredient to a good video is FUN. Have fun playing in the kitchen with your child.
Cooking with your children makes for a great beginning! Visit and click on The Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest page to learn more!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Uncle Ben's. The opinions and text are all mine.

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