These are mozzarella stuffed risotto balls that are coated in panko breadcrumbs, deep-fried, and dipped in marinara sauce! These are creamy, cheesy, crispy, crunchy, and packed full of flavor. These vegan arancini are a labor of love but easy to make and worth it nonetheless!
What are arancini?
Arancini are Italian rice balls made from risotto that are stuffed, coated in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried to crispy, golden-brown perfection. So what is risotto, you ask? Risotto is a creamy, slightly cheesy, and sticky-like rice. The arancini filling is often mozzarella, but it’s not uncommon for arancini to be filled with ragu(a meat and tomato sauce). Then, after the arancini are deep-fried, it’s common to dip them in a sauce, like marinara. If you feel like going all out and making this entire dish from scratch, you should check out my Easy Homemade Vegan Marinara Sauce! It is incredibly flavorful, quick, and easy to prepare.
Arancini are a labor of love!
These fried balls of creamy rice goodness do take some time and effort to make. However, they are EASY! Don’t let the long step of directions intimidate you. I swear they are much more straightforward to make than it looks. To sum the recipe up, I first make mushroom risotto by slowly cooking rice in vegetable stock and white wine while stirring it constantly. Stirring the rice continually helps release the rice’s starch, which makes the risotto nice and creamy. Then I let the risotto chill in the refrigerator until cold and firm. Lastly, I stuff balls of the risotto with mozzarella, bread and deep fry them. These vegan mushroom arancini are simple to prepare, I promise!
Before beginning the recipe, make sure to read my “tiparooskis.” They are located below the written recipe, and I provide a handful of tips and ingredient substitutions.
If you make my vegan arancini, don’t forget to post a picture to Instagram, tag me @chefsummerstorm, and #gardengrub so I can see your recreation!
How to Make Vegan Arancini (Deep-Fried Risotto Balls)
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable or vegan chicken stock
- 1 cup vegan dry white wine, I use a pinot grigio
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, small diced
- 2 cups baby bella mushrooms, medium-small diced (Feel free to leave out the mushrooms)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 cup arborio rice (You MUST use arborio rice!)
- 1/2 cup vegan parmesan (I use Follow Your Heart's)
- *Optional: 1 tsp TRUFF black truffle infused olive oil
- 1 quart vegetable or canola oil, for deep frying
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup liquid Just Egg (See "tiparooskis," located below the recipe, for a substitution)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 10 one inch cubes of vegan mozzaralla, (I use Follow Your Heart's block of slices and I carefully cut it into cubes)
- Kosher salt, for seasoning the arancini at the end
- Marinara or pasta sauce, for dipping (I used TRUFF's truffle-infused pomodoro pasta sauce!)
- Add the stock and white wine into a medium-sized saucepan and place it over medium-low heat. This should never simmer, but it needs to stay warm.
- Place a large saute pan over medium heat. Once hot, add in the olive oil and butter.
- Once the butter is melted, add in the diced onions and saute them for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Now, add in the diced mushrooms, stir, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the salt and pepper into the pan, stir well, and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic and rice into the pan and constantly stir for 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat down ever so slightly, so it's at a medium/medium-low heat. Then, add 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock/wine mixture. Stir the rice constantly-IMPORTANT.
- Once all of the liquid has absorbed into the rice, add another 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock/wine mix, and stir constantly. Repeat this step until all of the stock mix has been added. NOTE: You need to stir the rice constantly until the very end. You will be cooking and stirring the rice for about 25-28 minutes.
- Once you've added in the last 1/2 cup of stock mix, continue cooking the rice for two minutes, then turn the heat off. Now add in the vegan parmesan and stir until the parmesan has melted. This is optional, but it adds a lovely flavor, add the TRUFF truffle oil into the rice and stir well.
- Allow the risotto to cool down to room temperature. Then, if you plan to make the arancini on the same day, scrape the risotto onto a parchment paper-lined large sheet pan, cover it with a piece of plastic wrap, and let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Alternatively, you can put the risotto in an air-tight container and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
- Line a medium-sized sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper.
- Divide the risotto into 1/4 cup portions. Then, flatten one in your hand at a time and place a vegan mozzarella cube in the center. Form the risotto into a ball, enclosing the mozzarella inside. Put the rice ball on the sheet pan and place it in the freezer to keep cold while you repeat this step with the other portions of risotto.
- Pour the vegetable oil into a medium-sized saucepot and preheat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Please use a thermometer, as these need to be fried at the correct temperature.
- Place the flour, panko, and Just Egg in three separate wide, shallow bowls.
- To bread the risotto balls, coat one at a time in the flour entirely, and then shake off the excess.
- Then coat it entirely in the Just Egg, making sure to miss no spots.
- Lastly, coat it in the panko bread crumbs and pat the breadcrumbs on the ball as necessary. Repeat this step with a couple more balls.
- Gently place them in the fryer and fry them for 5 minutes, turning them over and around as needed.
- Place the arancini on a wire rack lined sheet pan and season them with a sprinkle of salt.
- Dip in marinara or pasta sauce of your choice and enjoy!
Welcome to my tip section of the vegan mushroom arancini! Here I provide my top tips to help you perfect the recipe. Sometimes, I also give substitute suggestions that I think you may find helpful.
- You MUST stir the rice constantly while cooking, which will be for about 25 minutes or so. This is extremely important, as stirring helps release the rice’s starch, which creates a velvety smooth sauce-like consistency to the risotto.
- If you despise mushrooms, skip adding them to the dish. The risotto will still taste delicious without the mushrooms. On the other hand, if you love mushrooms, feel free to use any kind that your heart desires!
- If you’re wondering if you can make the risotto without wine, I have to tell you no. An authentic risotto is made using dry white wine. I mean, yes, you could TECHNICALLY make the risotto without wine and substitute more vegetable stock instead. But then the dish will lack important flavor and shouldn’t be thought of like risotto.
- Should I use vegan chicken stock or vegetable stock? This is totally up to you! I typically gravitate towards using vegetable stock because I want the flavor of the mushrooms to shine through versus fighting the flavor of the vegan chicken stock. However, vegan chicken stock does taste delicious in the risotto as well! I make my FAVORITE stock by using the Better Than Bouillon vegetable base. I mix it with water and instantly have super flavorful vegetable stock. It is so convenient.
- Can’t get your hands on liquid Just Egg? First of all, I am sorry, and I have my fingers crossed this product makes its way to your area sooner than later! Instead, you can use the vegan egg replacer by the brand Ener-G. The product comes in powder form, and all you have to do is whisk it with water!
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