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Paneer Cauliflower Rice Arancini

Ingredients

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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.

a white platter with three paneer cauliflower rice arancini sitting on top with marinara sauce and garnished with fresh basil with a package of Gobi paneer in the background

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.”

For a list of Karoun’s product offerings, click here. To find these amazing products locally, click here!

Be sure to follow Karoun Dairies on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

Me holding a block of Karoun Dairies Gobi Paneer

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.

a white platter with three paneer cauliflower rice arancini sitting on top with marinara sauce and garnished with fresh basil with a package of Gobi paneer in the background

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:

  • marinara
  • tzatziki
  • labne sauce
  • aioli
  • hummus
  • tahini

If serving as a main dish, these Paneer Stuffed Rice Balls would go well with:

  • salad
  • pita
  • 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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a white platter with three paneer cauliflower rice arancini sitting on top with marinara sauce and garnished with fresh basil with a package of Gobi paneer in the background

Paneer Cauliflower Rice Arancini


Description

Paneer Cauliflower Rice Arancini is my appetizer submission for Karoun Dairies’ Blogger Recipe Challange and it is FABULOUS! Honestly, I was amazed how much this vegetarian version of Cauliflower Rice Arancini tasted 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. Gobi Paneer, although not much of a melting cheese, became super smooth and creamy, and complimented these rice balls so perfectly.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 16 ounces cauliflower rice, warm
  • 3 to 4 ounces Gopi Paneer
  • 2 tablespoons marinara
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon flour, plus
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, for garnish
  • marinara for serving

Instructions

  1. Cook the cauliflower rice according to package directions.
  2. Drain any excess liquid and place into a bowl.
  3. Add the Parmesan cheese, two tablespoons of marinara, black pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Mix. Check consistency.
  5. Add the flour. If the rice forms a ball, not need to add more flour. If not, add flour until the rice binds.
  6. Place two spoonfuls of the cauliflower rice mixture into the palm of your hand.
  7. Place a small chunk of Gopi Paneer in the center.
  8. Wrap the rice around the cheese to form a ball. Finish with the remaining rice mixture.
  9. Place on platter and into fridge for at least 10 minutes to set.
  10. Heat enough oil in a pan for a medium fry. Oil should not be too hot!
  11. Mix the both bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese in a separate bowl.
  12. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper.
  13. Dredge each rice ball into the egg. Fully coat in the bread crumb mixture.
  14. Fry until golden brown. 
  15. Salt immediately.
  16. To serve, add a spoonful of marinara onto a plate. Place a rice ball.
  17. Garnish with fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  18. ENJOY!

Notes

SEE POST FOR NOTES AND TIPS!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Moderate
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving

Keywords: what is paneer, what is paneer cheese, paneer cheese appetizer ideas, paneer cheese recipe ideas, how to make cauliflower rice arancini, what does paneer taste like, Indian cuisine appetizer ideas, easy appetizer ideas, cauliflower rice ball recipe,

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