Paneer Cauliflower Rice Arancini is my appetizer submission for Karoun Dairies’ Blogger Recipe Challange and it is FABULOUS! Honestly, I am amazed how much this vegetarian version of Cauliflower Rice Arancini tastes so much like the traditional Italian appetizer.
Cauliflower rice is mixed with a blend of ingredients not only to bind, but to also add so much flavor. Gopi Paneer, although not much of a melting cheese, became super smooth and creamy, and complimented these rice balls so perfectly.
KAROUN DAIRIES GOPI PANEER
In keeping with a “traditional, healthy Mediterranean diet, one that is rich in nutritious cheeses and yogurts,” Karoun Dairies’ food products are only made using “fresh, growth hormone-free, real California milk.”
WHAT IS PANEER CHEESE?
Paneer (ponir), also known as Indian cottage cheese is a fresh cheese (as opposed to aged) that is made by curdling milk with some type of vegetable-based acid. Lemon juice is commonly used.
Paneer is a non-melting cheese, but becomes soft when heated. So, even though you won’t get a big cheese pull opening into one of these rice balls, you will love the creamy texture from the Gopi Paneer.
WHAT ARE ARANCINI?
Arancini di riso are a staple in Sicilian cuisine. Rice balls are stuffed, coated and deep fried. Traditionally, arancini are stuffed with meat sauce, mozzarella cheese and oftentimes, peas.
In keeping with a bit of Italian tradition, marinara sauce was used in this recipe for Paneer Cauliflower Rice Arancini, as a binder. Paneer cheese is often used as a substitute for meat. So, it was only fitting that I keep this recipe vegetarian-friendly and replace the meat with this versatile, firm cheese.
Gopi Paneer is a perfect meat substitute for curry and vegetable dishes.
WHAT IS CAULIFLOWER RICE
Cauliflower rice is cauliflower that has been processed to mimic the texture of rice. It is a healthier, and keto-friendly option. For ease, I recommend using packaged or frozen.
TIPS ON MAKING PANEER CAULIFLOWER RICE ARANCINI
Risotto (usually day old) is typically used to make arancini. Arborio rice, the rice used to make risotto, is quite starchy and will easily mold around the cheese.
However, cauliflower rice contains very little starch. So, in order to mold around the paneer, cauliflower rice will need the help of binding agents to form balls.
Here are a few tips to ensure these Paneer Stuffed Rice Balls hold together:
- drain excess water from the cauliflower once heated (according to package directions)
- add in the Parmesan cheese while the rice is still warm
- slowly incorporate the flour (you can always add, but you can’t take away)
- if the rice is still not binding, add a touch more flour
- completely wrap the cauliflower rice around the piece of paneer
- allow to set up in the fridge after you have molded each cauliflower rice ball
- oil should not be too hot
- hands off the arancini balls as they are frying until ready to flip, or turn
How to cook paneer cauliflower rice arancini
Traditional arancini are prepared in a deep fryer. However, this recipe will also work in an air fryer, or traditional oven. Air fryer arancini should take about 10 minutes at 400°. Be sure to spray the tops with a bit of cooking spray.
HOW TO SERVE PANEER STUFFED ARANCINI
Pair this Paneer Cauliflower Arancini appetizer with a great dipping sauce:
- labne sauce
If serving as a main dish, these Paneer Stuffed Rice Balls would go well with:
- sautéd spinach
- roasted vegetables
- grilled vegetables
GLUTEN-FREE PANEER CAULIFLOWER RICE ARANCINI
To make these cauliflower rice balls gluten-free, replace the all-purpose flour and breadcrumbs with gluten-free alternatives.
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER CAULIFLOWER ARANCINI
In the fridge, arancini will last up to four days, if stored properly. Yes, you can freeze these Paneer Cauliflower Rice Arancini. Flash freeze after each rice ball has cooled completely. It’s best to fry prior to freezing.
To reheat, place back in the deep fryer, or bake in the oven.Print
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