A couple of weeks ago, Josh and I were at Camros Organic Eatery, one of my new faves in the city. The way the restaurant works is that you can pick a plate and add to that plate a choice of two, three or four salads. We each went for the foursome and are pretty sure we also went through the same bizarre nutritional thought process in choosing the salads. Had to have some greens and so we each took the kale salad. Quinoa being the king of grains, we each chose that one too. Hmm… complete protein meant taking on some beans. I went for the black bean salad and Josh elected for some chickpeas. The final selection was a no brainer: a rice ball filled with lentils.
As we dug in to the vegan goodness, we contemplated this rice ball. We fully geeked out nutrition-style as we tried to work out how they got the curried lentils inside the rice ball. Not quite as mysterious as how they get the caramel into the Caramilk bar but we were intrigued none-the-less.
I am not one of those people that looks at art on the wall in a gallery and simply admires it. Nope. I have to go home and figure out how it was made and try and do it for myself. Apparently same goes for rice balls. And you know what? I did it. I went home and studied the Camros menu, which helpfully includes bips and bobs of ingredients. I decided I would make the brown rice and tomato marinara rice ball, mainly because I had some marinara in my fridge leftover from a cooking class I had taught a few days earlier.
Brown Rice Marinara Balls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: boil side snack appetizer dairy-free gluten-free vegetarian vegan soy-free nut-free tomatoes rice
Ingredients (serves 6)
For the Brown Rice Shell
- 1/2 cup brown rice, soaked for 6-8 hrs (not necessary but recommended)
- 1 1/4 cups water
- ½ zucchini, grated
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- ½ onion, chopped
For the Amazingly Simple Marinara Sauce
- 1 tomato, chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked
- 1 Tbs fresh basil (or 1/2 Tbs dry)
- 1 tsp fresh oregano (or 1/2 tsp dry)
- 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 8-10 black olives, sliced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- dash cayenne
For the Brown Rice Shell
Rinse brown rice thoroughly and put in a pot with water, onion and garlic.
Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for about 20 minutes.
Add zucchini on top and continue to simmer another 10-15 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is soft. We will be overcooking the rice a little to make it sticky.
Stir well to mix in zucchini.
For the Marinara
Place the garlic in the food processor and process until finely chopped.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes and process until well-chopped.
Add the fresh tomato, red pepper, and the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the container with a spatula.
This sauce can be enjoyed as a raw marinara, but for the sake of making awesome balls, throw it into a pan and simmer until the sauce thickens appropriately.
To make the Balls
Line a muffin tin with plastic wrap. I used one of my stray plastic bags and just cut it flat.
Line the plastic lined muffin tin with brown rice as you would a pie crust.
Spoon a dollop of marina into the brown rice ‘cup’ leaving about a ¼ inch space at the top.
Take another handful of brown rice and form a patty in your hands and gently place it on top of the marinara filled rice ‘cup’.
Ever so carefully, remove the plastic liner and rice from the muffin tin and flip it on to a plate. These babies are remarkably durable.
Step by step ball making guide.
- Line a muffin tin with plastic wrap. I used one of my stray plastic bags and just cut it flat.
- Line the plastic lined muffin tin with brown rice as you would a pie crust.
- Spoon a dollop of marina into the brown rice ‘cup’ leaving about a ¼ inch space at the top
- Take another handful of brown rice and form a patty in your hands and gently place it on top of the marinara filled rice ‘cup’.
- Ever so carefully, remove the plastic liner and rice from the muffin tin and flip it on to a plate. These babies are remarkably durable.