October 1st is World Vegetarian Day, and is the annual kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month. Originally founded in 1974 by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) the aim of the organisation is to promote the ‘joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism’. They hope to create a better world through the health benefits that a vegetarian diets has, as well as saving animals’ lives, and helping to preserve the Earth.
With that said you don't necessarily have to be a vegetarian to enjoy the meals designed for them, and with that may we provide you with a recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Arancini.
Now for those not sure what Arancini is, it is an Italian dish consisting of rice balls stuffed with cheese, coated in bread crumbs, and deep fried. The result is a crispy, savoury ball of goodness with a cheesy center, perfect for dipping into marinara sauce.
They are savoury, flavourful, tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, satisfying and surprisingly healthy.
They make the perfect side dish or appetiser for Italian night or when you want a hearty snack, and are loved by young and old, and with the ‘rice’ being made out of cauliflower, it can be a nice trick into getting children to include more vegetables into their diet.
So without further ado here is the recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Arancini.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 40 mins
Serves: 14 arancini
• 3 cups cauliflower rice (~ 1 small head cauliflower)
• 4 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp, 12 g)
• 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil, divided plus more for sautéing
• 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp (7 g) flaxseed meal + 2.5 Tbsp (37 ml) water)
• 1/2 cup (55 g) sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
• 3 Tbsp (10 g) fresh basil, chopped (or 1 Tbsp dried basil), plus more for serving
• 2 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 cup (40 g) vegan parmesan cheese
• 1/2 cup (34 g) panko bread crumbs
• 1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper, plus more to taste
• 3 Tbsp (13 g) panko bread crumbs
• 1 Tbsp (5 g) vegan parmesan cheese
For Serving (optional)
• 1 cup (256 g) favourite marinara sauce
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté cauliflower rice and garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil for 5 minutes, with a lid on, stirring frequently. Set aside.
3. Add flax egg to blender or food processor. Wait 5 minutes.
4. Add sun-dried tomatoes, basil, oregano, vegan parmesan cheese, and panko bread crumbs, and pulse/mix to combine.
5. Add cauliflower rice to food processor or blender, along with salt and pepper and remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil. Pulse/mix a few more times and then transfer to a mixing bowl to avoid getting the mixture too paste-like.
6. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more bread crumbs and/or vegan parmesan cheese if the mixture feels too wet. It should be moldable when squeezed together.
7. Transfer mixture to refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes, or freezer for 15 minutes. At this time, mix together panko bread crumbs and vegan parmesan cheese in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
8. Once chilled, use a Tablespoon or cookie scoop to scoop out rounded Tablespoon amounts of the arancini mixture.
9. Carefully form into balls by resting the arancini in your palm and using your other hand's fingers to gently roll until a ball is formed. They are fragile, so work carefully. There should be 13-14 total.
10. Coat arancini one at a time in the panko-vegan parmesan mixture, then set aside on a baking sheet.
11. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1-2 Tbsp oil and brown 6-7 arancini at a time for 4-5 minutes total, rolling with a spoon or fork to brown on all sides. Turn down heat if browning too quickly.
12. Once all are browned, place back on a baking sheet and bake in a 375 degree F for 15-20 minutes. In the meantime, prepare/heat sauce (optional) and any other desired toppings or sides.
13. Let arancini cool for 5 minutes, then serve with marinara and additional vegan parmesan cheese. These are best eaten with a fork as they are tender.
14. Leftovers keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, though best when fresh. Reheat in the microwave or in a 375 F degree oven until warmed through.
For this and more great recipe please head on over to minimalistbaker.com and for more on World Vegetarian Day & Month please visit here.