Monday Meal Makeover: Italian Rice Balls

Arancini di rosi (Italian rice balls) are typically not a healthy meal. They are traditionally made with leftover risotto, then breaded and fried.

To create a delicious low-calorie version of this Italian favorite, I use brown rice instead of risotto, and bake the rice balls instead of frying them.

By using brown rice instead of risotto, you increase the fiber and fortified vitamins and reduce the carbohydrates.

What you need:

6 ounces of Italian breadcrumbs

2 cups of brown rice

2 cloves of chopped garlic

3 whole eggs, beated

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

8 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cut in 1 inch cubes


Place the rice, minced garlic and 3 cups of water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the rice to simmer (15 to 20 minutes) until liquid has been absorbed. Place the rice into a sheet pan and allow to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Add 1/2 of the egg, fresh parsley, Parmesan cheese and 1/3 of the bread crumbs to the rice mixture. Place the remaining bread crumbs on a plate.

Form a rice ball in the palm of your hand and place 1-2 cube of mozzarella right in the middle of the ball with the pressure of your finger. Roll in the egg and the bread crumbs, place on a sheet pan. Repeat the process until rice is finished. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes until the bread crumbs turns golden brown.

Nutritional information:

Calories: 461

Fat: 19 grams

Saturated fat: 8 grams

Cholesterol: 43 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 47 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Protein: 26 grams

Enzo Febbraro is a well-respected executive chef at the politically acclaimed Washington D.C.-based D’Acqua Ristorante, a place frequented by former First Lady Laura Bush. Enzo graduated from culinary school at the age of 16 and embarked upon a culinary tour of Europe. He lives with his wife and daughter in Alexandria, Va.