Sometimes I have a craving for something that is sooo not Paleo. Instead of admitting defeat however, I will always try to come up with a way to Paleoize the dish so that I can get a similar and sometimes better taste with none of the associated guilt. Today that craving was arancini. For those of you that have never tried this delicious Italian dish, arancini are mozarella-stuffed rice balls which are breaded and deep-fried. I know, you can get much less Paleo than that!
Challenge accepted! The toughest part was thinking of something to replace the rice. Since rice is what 90% of the ball is comprised of, I had to get that taste and texture as close as possible. Then my good friend quinoa popped into my head. Of course! It has very similar properties to rice but it is technically a seed, so that can work! With the hardest substitution solved, I then figured I would do a spice-almond flour blend for the breading and I would bake instead of fry. Lets just see if all these substitutions lead to a dish that resembles arancini!
Success! After baking for about 40 minutes, the balls came out golden brown and smelling delicious. I defrosted some of my homemade spaghetti sauce from the freezer and used that as the base for my dish. I was surprised at how filling it was; only three medium sized quinoa arancinis and I was full! I also had a nice side salad to round it out and I was surprised at how satisfied both myself and Vegetable Hater were after this *gasp* vegetarian meal!
So many Italian dishes are chalk-full of carbs, what are some of your favourite substitutions?
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350
Cook quinoa and set aside
Combine almond flour, Italian spice and Parmesan for “breading”
Beat one egg in separate dish
Add Parmesan, salt & pepper, Italian spice and avocado oil to quinoa mixture.
Combine and form little balls, making a hole with hands and stuffing with mozzarella.
Brush with egg-wash and cover with breadcrumb mixture.
Repeat until all are done and bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Top with fresh Parmesan and fresh parsley.
As a Paleo devotee, my successes and failures are dedicated to leading a healthy Paleo-inspired lifestyle.
Most of my recipes do not include exact measurements because I rely heavily on my intuition when cooking. These measurements also fluctuate depending on how many people you are cooking for and your personal preferences so I invite you to put your own personal spin on any recipes I post.
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To check out more of Kristin’s recipe’s you can read her blog by clicking HERE.