Are all arancini vegan?
Just like for pizza, there are tens of different flavours of arancini. The classic Sicilian rice croquette is not vegan, as it contains bolognese sauce made with beef and pork. Many other well-known arancini also contain either meat or dairy.
But who's to say we can't turn this tasty snack vegan? We did it with our asparagus arancini recipe above, and so did many other chefs and bloggers.
Let us give you some inspiration for more vegan arancini fillings:
The message here is simple: there are no rules when it comes to crafting the perfect vegan rice ball. It's all up to you. Do you have a favourite vegetable? Stick it in there!
How to make gluten-free arancini?
You can easily make gluten-free arancini balls just by changing the coating ingredients. The filling is made only with rice, which is naturally gluten-free.
The croquettes coating consists of a flour batter and breadcrumbs.
We have used plain breadcrumbs, so our recipe above is not gluten-free. But this is easy to fix. To make gluten-free arancini, you can:
Making breadcrumbs for arancini at home is easier than you think.
Start with your choice of gluten-free bread. Most bakers here use a combination of rice flour, buckwheat flour or maize flour.
Break the bread into tiny crumbs using your hands, and crisp them in the oven at low temperature. As soon as the bread bits turn light-golden, remove from the heat.
Wait for the crumbs to cool down completely and incorporate them with some parmesan and a pinch of salt. If you are vegan, you can replace parmesan with nutritional yeast. The ratio of parmesan to breadcrumbs should be 10 grams of cheese for every 100 grams of crumbs.
Now put the mix in the blender and pulse a few times. Be gentle here: you don't want to blitz the breadcrumbs into a flour.
For the batter instead, you can easily replace the wheat flour with:
A gluten-free flour of your choice
Buckwheat flour, oat flour, or almond flour are all great choices.
These fantastic seeds absorb water and form a thick gel-like mix. They're also packed with omega-3 and fibres. It's a win-win!
Finally, follow our recipe above and use your homemade breadcrumbs. Et Voila! You made gluten-free arancini.
Should I bake or fry these asparagus rice balls?
Classic arancini are fried, but if you are after a healthier meal, then baking is the answer.
We opted to bake our asparagus arancini so that we could cut on excess frying oil fats. The result? Wonderful rice croquettes with a crispy crust and steamy heart of rice and asparagus cream. And only 6g of fats per rice ball, a fraction of the deep-fried counterparts.
But if today is your cheat-day and you want to treat yourself to some fried rice balls, we won't stand in your way! Just let us give you a few tips below on how to fry arancini effectively.
The best way to fry arancini is by deep-frying. Doing this guarantees that the entire surface gets crisped equally. Achieving the same homogeneous result in a skillet would be hard, due to the spheric shape of these croquettes.
Once cooked, let them cool down for a minute on a tray. Air must flow all around the arancini for a flawlessly crisp finish.
Finish by gently patting the fried arancini with a paper napkin to remove excess oil and serve hot.
Which is the best rice to make arancini?
The best rice to make arancini balls is the Italian risotto rice, which is also known as arborio, carnaroli, or vialone nano varieties. This type of rice is a short-grain rice, rich in starch, that packs perfectly into a ball.
It's important to cook and cool the rice according to the classic recipe to get the best results.
If you feel like experimenting with other ingredients, we then we recommend these risotto rice alternatives:
If you are using these variations, we recommend you add a binder to the rice. For example, you could add one egg or grated parmesan. If you're vegan, then a 'flax egg' (1 tbsp of ground flaxseeds whisked in 3 tbsp of water) or potato starch are both excellent alternatives.