With this keto cauliflower arancini recipe, you can satisfy your craving for the classic Italian rice balls while sticking to your low-carb or keto lifestyle. The combination of tender cauliflower rice, gooey cheese, and aromatic seasonings creates a delightful and guilt-free treat.
Traditionally, arancini are Italian rice balls stuffed with mozzarella or meat and are coated with bread crumbs then deep fried. So, I looked to make a healthier version. Why should we miss out just because we follow a different lifestyle? I wanted a low carb and gluten free arancini.
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Carbs in Arancini
Arancini is an Italian dish consisting of rice balls that are typically coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. The exact amount of carbohydrates in arancini can vary depending on the recipe and size of the rice balls.
On average, a single arancino (rice ball) may contain approximately 20-30 grams of carbohydrates. This estimate includes the carbohydrates from the rice, breadcrumbs, and any fillings or ingredients used in the recipe. Our keto arancini balls are just 4 grams of net carbs per ball.
Cauliflower rice was the obvious choice in place of the traditional risotto rice since I enjoy a cauliflower rice risotto. They are coated with Parmesan cheese instead of breadcrumbs then baked or air fried.
- Cauliflower rice - It’s best to cook the cauliflower rice beforehand so it reduces the water content as you want the cauliflower arancini balls to hold together and not fall apart in your hands.
- Cheddar cheese - helps bind the arancini and gives it a cheesy flavor too.
- Parmesan cheese - is used for the coating. Ground pork rinds could be substituted.
- Mozzarella - fresh mozzarella balls or fresh mozzarella cut into small pieces.
- Red chili flakes - entirely optional. Gives a touch of heat to the keto arancini balls but can be omitted or replaced with fresh basil.
How to make keto cauliflower arancini
This can be a messy dish to make as you mold the cauliflower rice around the mozzarella balls. Make sure your hands are wet (and clean) to make it easier. I squashed the cauliflower ball in the palm of my hands and then squeezed it up and around the mozzarella and chili filling. I then molded the rice around the centre filling. I’ve made messier dishes but once you make a couple you should have the hang of it!
Flatten a ball of cauliflower rice mixture.
Add mozzarella and chili flakes.
Squeeze into a ball covering the filling.
Air fry or baked until golden.
Any leftovers should be stored in the fridge in an air tight container and will last up to 3 days. Reheat them in an air fryer, microwave or oven before serving.
If your arancini balls are wet, chill them in the fridge for 30 minutes before cooking to firm them.
For a less spicy filling, omit the chili and use fresh basil leaves, with a slither of sun dried tomato too.
Chopped cooked, ham can be added to the cheese filling.
The Parmesan cheese for the coating must be grated finely, whether it be fresh or the cheese in a tub. Alternatively, you could use a hard piece of fresh Parmesan and grate it yourself using the small holes on your grater. Just watch your knuckles though!
How to Serve Cauliflower Arancini
- Serve the cauliflower arancini on a platter with toothpicks inserted into each ball, making them easy to pick up and enjoy.
- Accompany them with a dipping sauce such as marinara sauce, garlic aioli, or a creamy ranch dip.
- You can also top the arancini with a tomato-based sauce, such as marinara or arrabbiata, and sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top.
- For a heartier meal, consider serving the arancini alongside grilled chicken or baked fish.
Keto Arancini Variations
Here are a few variations of cauliflower arancini that you can try:
- Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Cauliflower Arancini: Add chopped cooked spinach and artichoke hearts to the cauliflower mixture for an extra burst of flavor and nutrients. Incorporate shredded mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and cream cheese into the mixture for a creamy and gooey filling. Roll the arancini in a combination of almond flour and crushed pork rinds for a crispy coating before frying.
- Buffalo Cauliflower Arancini: Mix cooked cauliflower rice with buffalo sauce, crumbled blue cheese, and cooked shredded chicken. Shape the mixture into arancini balls and coat them with a mixture of crushed pork rinds and almond flour.
- Mediterranean Cauliflower Arancini: Combine cauliflower rice with chopped sun-dried tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and fresh herbs like basil and oregano. Add some garlic powder, lemon zest, and a dash of olive oil to enhance the Mediterranean flavors. Roll the arancini in crushed almond flour or a mixture of almond flour and grated Parmesan cheese before frying.
- Pesto and Mozzarella Cauliflower Arancini: Mix cauliflower rice with homemade or store-bought pesto sauce for a burst of herbal and garlicky flavors. Place a small cube of mozzarella cheese in the center of each arancino before shaping them into balls. Coat the arancini with crushed pork rinds or a mixture of almond flour and grated Parmesan cheese for a crispy exterior.
- Mexican-Inspired Cauliflower Arancini: Add diced bell peppers, jalapeños, chopped cilantro, and a sprinkle of chili powder to the cauliflower mixture. Incorporate shredded Mexican cheese blend and a dollop of cream cheese for a melty and creamy filling. Roll the arancini in a mixture of almond flour and ground cumin for a spicy coating.
How to make cauliflower arancini video
Keto Cauliflower Arancini
- 3 cups cauliflower rice
- 1 tablespoons oregano
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 medium egg beaten
- ½ cup Cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 balls fresh mozzarella
- 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the cauliflower rice. Cook for about 10 minutes until cooked evenly, stirring occasionally.
- Allow to cool.
- In a bowl, place the cauliflower rice, add the egg, Cheddar cheese, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Combine well into a wet dough mixture.
- Take a small handful of the cauliflower mixture in your hand and fashion into a ball. About the size of a large walnut.
- Flatten the ball out then place of the mozzarella balls and a sprinkling of chili flakes in the center.
- Gently squeeze and mold the edges of the cauliflower rice around the mozzarella ball until it is covered. You may need to pat the cauliflower into a ball shape.
- Dip the ball into the Parmesan cheese and roll until covered.
Bake in Oven
- Preheat the oven to 180C/375F degrees.
- Place the arancini balls on a parchment paper lined baking tray.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden.
- Serve warm with a side of marinara sauce.
Cook in Air Fryer
- Preheat the air fryer as per the manufacturer's instructions.
- Lightly spray the air fryer basket with oil and place the cauliflower arancini in it, in a single layer.
- Cook for 10 minutes at 190C/380F degrees.
- Serve warm with a side of marinara sauce.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.