I was visiting a friend’s house a while ago who randomly told me that you can make arancini balls with leftover risotto. It’s something that I had never considered before but it makes perfect sense because risotto is sticky so if you roll it up in a ball it will likely stick together. I decided to make a big batch of my usual vegan pumpkin risotto and experiment. The risotto stuck together very well but they were a bit soft. Traditional arancini balls are deep-fried but I do not have a deep fryer nor do I believe deep drying is the healthiest option so to speed up the process I decided to try them out in an air fryer using no extra oil. They turned out perfect and only needed about 10 minutes in the air fryer. You could of course pop them in the oven instead but I think the process would take around 4o minutes or so in the oven. I don’t actually think I will be making my pumpkin risotto anymore because the arancini balls are so much better! The extra crunch from the bread crumbs just took the risotto to a whole new level. I experimented with putting a little vegan cheese in the middle of some of the balls (not all) and it did add a nice creaminess but I couldn’t get a stretch from it. I think this would depend very much on the cheese that you use. I am very picky with my vegan cheese as most of them are highly processed so I just use nice healthy cashew-based fermented cheese. It doesn’t need the cheese but it is nice if you feel like it. The recipe comes together much quicker if you have precooked brown rice on hand. I batch cook my whole grains and freeze them. I then thaw them out before using or quickly heat them in the microwave. I also like to use organic microwave brown rice at times because it is so much quicker, I just make sure to take the rice out of the plastic packaging before microwaving so I don’t heat my food in plastic (heated plastic may leach chemicals into food which have been shown to interfere with hormone function)
I have actually had a bit of a love-hate relationship with pumpkin. Pumpkin always tastes so different to me. If it’s a good pumpkin I can’t get enough of it but some pumpkins have a weird taste and texture and they really put me off my food. But I do like to add them in because pumpkins are a good source of beta carotene which can help support progesterone production and also because they are one of the highest fibre vegetables. Fibre is essential in gut health but also to help move the extra estrogen the body no longer needs out of the body. That’s why I tend to reach for things like pumpkin in the luteal phase (in between ovulation and menstruation) because it’s a perfect hormone-balancing food and it’s also warm and comforting.
The recipe is vegan and dairy-free if you want to keep it gluten-free, sub with gluten-free bread crumbs.
Get the recipe in my new book “Eating for Hormone Balance, a Plant-based Guide” Click this text to purchase