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Brown Rice Marinara Balls

 

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.

IMG_6611

Brown Rice Marinara Balls

by Meghan Telpner

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

Instructions

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.
    IMG_6603
  • Spoon a dollop of marina into the brown rice ‘cup’ leaving about a ¼ inch space at the top
    IMG_6606
  • 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’.
    IMG_6605
  • 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.

IMG_6610

27 Responses to “Brown Rice Marinara Balls”

  1. Again with this Josh? :-) Seriously, those rice balls look yum-o! A recipe to try.
  2. Michal Mymo said…
    Hello there! I happened to come across your blog and it looks great, this recipe looks too yummy! Its such a creative idea and I have never even thought about doing that. I cant wait to see what else you post about! Michal
  3. Alex said…
    Ohh! They're so cute! I love when food is delicious AND crafty! I have that annoying habit too. My dinner-mate will be like, "Mmm, this is yummy!" and I will be like, "Mmm...Let's go home immediately so I can try to duplicate it."
  4. Cindy said…
    what a clever recipe...would make fun appetizers too! MMM
  5. Andrea said…
    This is a great idea! I actually just had a Japanese-inspired rice ball (wrapped in nori. Yum!) yesterday from the Trinity-Bellwoods farmer's market and was wondering how I might make one at home. Thanks for the tips! Once I had a taste for nori, I ran home to make myself some miso soup!
  6. elain said…
    what about just using the traditional 'sticky' rice recipe for the rice (with rice vinegar)? and isn't there some Chinese recipe somewhere for rice balls as well that you could get indeas from? these do look jummy. (scuse the 'j', but my Dutch friends have influenced me)
  7. Laurie said…
    Yep, you are definitely a ballsy woman Meghan!
  8. Jen said…
    I'm with The Veg Next Door... you're going a lot of places with Josh ;) These look yummy! I have never thought about soaking rice. I'm a little slow. :)
  9. Jes said…
    I love these rice balls! They look so delicious and perfect for a make-ahead-of-time dish!
  10. VegNextDoor and Jen... or perhaps I should call you Meddling Melodies... The dinner was the same night as the fig from a few weeks ago. Simmer down ladies! Elain- I try and avoid vinegar as much as possible and rice wine vinegar does not so fun fermenting stuff in my tummy. Glad I helped inspire with these balls, let me know what you come up with! And Andrea, I am at the Trinity Bellwoods market almost every Tuesday. If you ever see me there (I'll have the flowered bicycle) please come say hello.

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