Quinoa Arancini

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on August 4, 2015

Quinoa Arancini, www.goodfoodgourmet.comMany people are trying to eat healthier these days, and are changing out many of the starchier side dishes they have been used to using, and replacing them with more nutrient dense options. One of my favorite side dishes of all time is something called arancini – if you’ve never had them before, you’re missing out on a real treat.

I often cook with long grain rice and am always looking for ways to use up leftovers. Making arancini with my long grain rice leftovers made sense, but I had one big problem — long grain rice is not as sticky as Arborio rice, which is traditionally used to make arancini. I wasn’t going to let this get in my way, so I created a delicious, cheesy sauce to toss in with all of the other ingredients. The results were absolutely perfection combining the right amount of rice and the right amount of sauce.

My other dilemma this time around was would this technique work with quinoa?

I’ve been working on a few gluten free recipes these days and have been experimenting a great deal with quinoa. I had some leftover so I decided to try it – the results were just as delicious as the ones I make with the long grain. I made small ones and the surface was sticky enough with the cheesy sauce, so I just rolled them in bread crumbs and then fried them. If you choose to make larger ones AND use a knob of mozzarella in the center, you may have to use the traditional breading steps with flour, egg and bread crumbs. What is most important here is that they do not stick to the frying pan once they are in the oil.

So, if you’re like me and want to add some healthier meals to your weekly menu planning, then these are the way to go. They are less starchy and higher in protein so they will be more filling —  but they are still sinful enough to keep everyone happy.

Quinoa Croquettes (Arancini) (20- 1.5 oz pieces)
2 cups cooked quinoa
3/4 cups grated parmesan
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 T dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dehydrated onion pieces
Mini mozzarella balls **use this for larger arancini, optional for extra cheesiness

1 egg + water
1/2 cup flour
2 cups Japanese breadcrumbs (for rolling)

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup warm whole milk

Cook the quinoa according to the directions on your package and allow it to cool completely before using. Follow the directions on the original arancini link for step by step directions on how to prepare the cheesy sauce and hot to scoop out the arancini. The process is exactly the same, except you are using cooked quinoa instead of rice. If you make small pieces, keep in mind that you can just roll them in the breading and then fry. If you are making larger pieces and adding some extra mozzarella pieces in the center, you will probably have to use the 3 step breading process to keep it all together. This makes a delicious and healthier option for an appetizer, side dish or even a meal.

This is what cooked quinoa looks like…you see that each seed begins to sprout when soaked overnight. To learn more about how to cook quinoa, click this link.

Quinoa Arancini, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

This is the thickened cheesy roux that is combined with the quinoa…

Quinoa Arancini, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

The combined mixture of cheesy roux and quinoa…

Quinoa Arancini, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Here are the mini scooped out arancini being breaded…

Quinoa Arancini, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Make sure you have a nice thick layer of breading on each arancini…

Quinoa Arancini, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Fry in a few inches of moderately hot vegetable oil until golden brown…

Quinoa Arancini, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Drain on a paper lined plate and serve warm…

Quinoa Arancini, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

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