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overhead shot of three rice balls on a blue plate with marinara sauce in a dish

Cheesy Vegan Spinach Rice Balls

  • Author: Allison
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16-20 balls 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Incredibly healthy, flavourful, easy to make vegan spinach rice balls- an inspired take on traditional Italian arancini!


  • 6 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 3 cups cooked short grain brown rice (from 1 cup dry brown rice)*
  • 1 cup vegan parmesan**
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley or basil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp ground flax, or more as needed



  1. Place the chopped spinach in the food processor and pulse several times until very finely minced. Work in two batches. Transfer the minced spinach to a large mixing bowl and add the cooked brown rice and parmesan.
  2. Warm the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste and chili flakes. Add the cooked onion and garlic to the mixing bowl.
  3. Add the chopped herbs, lemon juice, and ground flax to the bowl. Stir well to combine everything. Taste and season with additional salt or pepper if desired. They should hold together when you firmly press a handful into a ball. If, for some reason, they are not sticking together, add two more tablespoons of ground flax.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Form the mixture into balls and place on the baking sheet. The size is up to you. I went with a size slightly larger than a golf ball.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and fragrant.
  7. Serve with warm marinara sauce, cashew cream sauce, and additional cashew parmesan.


*To cook 1 cup dry brown rice, combine rice with 1 3/4 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Add a pinch of sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low, stir, and cover. Cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

Short grain brown rice works best for this recipe, since it is stickier than long grain or basmati brown rice.

**The parmesan can really be made with any nuts or seeds you like. Try almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans, etc. if you don’t have hemp and cashews.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Lunch, Supper, Appetizer, Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: vegan spinach rice balls