Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spanakopita Rice Balls

I just whipped up this fun, little recipe that I found in Vegetarian Times Magazine. It was a fast dinner and definitely yummy. I served these rice balls on top of a high-end jarred marinara sauce (our favorite brand is RAO's - LOVE!!!). Enjoy!
  • 1/2 cup short-grain white rice, rinsed <I used 1 cup pre-cooked, frozen brown rice>
  • 1 10-oz. pkg. frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tbs. pesto
  • 1 Tbs. dried dill
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup panko crumbs, for rolling
  • 1 to 2 cups marinara sauce, I like Rao's <this is my own addition to this recipe>
Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil.

If you are using uncooked rice, bring 2 cups salted water to a boil in medium saucepan, and add rice. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. To make my life easier, I used 1 cup of pre-cooked frozen brown rice. I always keep a few of these convenient little pouches of cooked rice in the freezer.

In a large bowl, stir in spinach <make sure the spinach has been thoroughly SQUEEZED dry!!>, green onions, Parmesan, feta, pesto, dill, and egg, and season with salt & pepper, if desired.

Divide rice mixture into Ping-Pong-ball-size spheres. Roll in panko crumbs, and place on prepared baking sheet.  <I brushed the rice balls with a little bit of olive oil before cooking> Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.

While the rice balls are cooking, warm up a cup or two of marinara sauce, depending on how much you like. Spoon warm marinara in a shallow bowl and place rice balls on top.

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