Crispy Spanish Rice Arancini (simple appetizer recipe for a party!)

This post sponsored by VeeTee Rice. Read my disclosure statement here.  

Here’s a simple appetizer recipe for a party that you can whip up in under 20 minutes! Spicy Latin flavors combine with a classic Italian appetizer to create these Crispy Spanish Rice Balls.

Spicy Spanish rice is bound with egg, coated in breadcrumbs, fried crispy, and studded with melty pops of soft Spanish cheese. It’s a simple appetizer recipe for a party that you can throw together with just 4 ingredients!

I’ve mentioned this before, but we’re rice fiends in our home. I love how versatility and inexpensive it is, and how it bulks up pretty much any dish.

We eat rice spicy, cheesy, fried with kimchi, made ahead as meal prep, bulked up under a fast weeknight curry, and a million other ways.

These Spanish style rice balls are a cross between two of my favorite ways to use rice, Spanish rice, and Italian arancini.

Spanish rice, that bright and fiery rice usually served alongside Mexican dishes like burritos or enchiladas, isn’t really “Spanish”, as in from Spain. It’s an Americanized term that refers to a Mexican style of cooking rice with cayenne, garlic, chicken broth, and tomatoes.

And Italian arancini is an appetizer usually made with leftover rice. They’re small, crispy fried balls of rice and cheese, usually served as an aperitif alongside a cool glass of white wine.

Arancini makes a perfect simple appetizer for a party; they’re just the size to pop in your mouth as you mingle and drink with friends.

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But what if you don’t have leftover rice to make into arancini? That’s where VeeTee rice flavors come in.

I’ve spoken before about my unabashed love of VeeTee Rice (especially since they have since become a sponsor of Percolate Kitchen, thanks guys!)

VeeTee, a US company based out of Virginia, sell packs of par-cooked rice that are done after just 2 minutes in the microwave.

Where other ‘instant’ rice brands can often become soggy or oddly textured after cooking, VeeTee rice cooks to the perfect al dente, and in only 2 minutes! It makes for a really quick way to add rice to your weeknight meals without having to babysit a pot on the stove.

VeeTee sells a number of different flavors of rice, including everything from plain, whole grain, mixed with quinoa, lemon, and the flavor I used to create this Spanish-Style Crispy Rice Balls: Spicy Spanish.

VeeTee’s Spicy Spanish rice has flavors of paprika, smokey adzuki beans, sweetcorn, tomato, and jalapenos, making it more than just a standard side dish; it’s a whole meal to itself.

But when you’re short on party appetizer recipe ideas, this spicy rice can turn into a perfectly quick dish in under 20 minutes.

Simply take a package’s worth of cooked Spicy Spanish rice, mix it with crumbled queso blanco, and roll in breadcrumbs. Dry the little balls over medium-high heat, then drain any excess oil on a paper towel.

What you’re left with are crispy little balls of spicy rice, cooled slightly with melty chunks of queso blanco, that are perfect for popping in your mouth as you mingle with friends. It’s a seamless blend of Latin heat and Italian cuisine, and the perfect simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season (or any time of the year!)

Spanish-Style 'Arancini' Rice Balls
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Crispy Spanish Rice 'Arancini' is spicy Spanish rice studded with melty cheese and coasted in crispy breadcrumbs; make this simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season- or any time of the year! 

Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 1 package VeeTee Spicy Spanish Style Rice (9.9 ounces)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/3 cup crumbled queso blanco
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the rice, egg, and cheese. Use your hands or a large spoon to mix and combine thoroughly.
  2. In a large stainless steel pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  3. Pour the breadcrumbs onto a plate. Using our hands or a small handheld ice cream scoop, scoop the rice mixture and roll into balls. Toss the balls in the breadcrumbs until coated, then place carefully in the hot oil.
  4. Fry, turning the balls in the oil until they are browned on all sides.
  5. Place cooked balls on a plate lined with paper towel to drain off any excess grease, then serve hot.

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Crispy Spanish Rice 'Arancini' is spicy Spanish rice studded with melty cheese and coasted in crispy breadcrumbs; make this simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season- or any time of the year!

Crispy Spanish Rice 'Arancini' is spicy Spanish rice studded with melty cheese and coasted in crispy breadcrumbs; make this simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season- or any time of the year!

Crispy Spanish Rice 'Arancini' is spicy Spanish rice studded with melty cheese and coasted in crispy breadcrumbs; make this simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season- or any time of the year!

Crispy Spanish Rice 'Arancini' is spicy Spanish rice studded with melty cheese and coasted in crispy breadcrumbs; make this simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season- or any time of the year!

Crispy Spanish Rice 'Arancini' is spicy Spanish rice studded with melty cheese and coasted in crispy breadcrumbs; make this simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season- or any time of the year!

Tabbouleh Salad (Easy to Make Side Dish & Meal Prep!)

This bright and zingy tabbouleh salad is an incredibly easy to make side dish since it can be thrown together in as little as 15 minutes!

Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad typically made by combining bulghar wheat (also known as cracked wheat), cucumbers, parsley or mint, fresh tomatoes, and lemon juice.

I’m changing the traditional version of this easy to make side by adding a few “extras” that I think brighten this dish as a whole.

I included bit of fresh mint leaves alongside parsley, sweet cherry tomatoes instead of the usual diced vine tomatoes, and lime juice in place of lemon. The mint adds a freshness that blends well with peppery parsley. Cherry tomatoes lend a pop of juicy sweetness, and lime juice is brightens with less of an acid overtone than lemon.

Depending on who makes it, it can be heavy on the veggies, or mostly parsley, or be made with a majority of bulghar. It’s super customizable and comes together crazy quick.

And speaking of customizable, just because there are traditional ingredients in a tabbouleh salad, it doesn’t mean you can’t play around with it. I don’t usually add cucumbers as I’m not a huge fan, but I will toss in diced bell peppers, cooked eggplant, grilled asparagus- namely, all the summer vegetables.

One thing that’s always served on top of my tabbouleh salad? A big dollop of Greek yogurt.

The tang of Greek yogurt paired with the zesty herbiness of a well-seasoned tabbouleh salad creates the perfect easy to make side.

But what really is my fave thing about a tabbouleh is this: while it comes together quickly, the real magic lies in letting this salad sit for a while. If you make a big batch of it and then portion it out into containers, you’re basically winning at life and meal prep. It’s a hearty and hardy salad that keeps, stored in a tightly covered container in the fridge, for up to 5 days.

Whip together this easy to make side dish for your next picnic, potluck, or meal prep session!

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Tabbouleh Salad
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

This is an easy to make side that comes together in under 15 minutes. Add in whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand for a fresh twist! 

Servings: 2
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
for the tabbouleh:
  • 1 1/2 cups bulghar wheat
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons torn fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoon roughly chopped Italian parsley leaves only
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • Salt to taste
for serving:
  • Greek yogurt to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat, then add the bulghar wheat. Boil, uncovered, for about 8-10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and drain the water. Fluff the wheat with a fork and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the bulghar wheat with the mint, parsley, cherry tomatoes and lime juice.
  3. Season to taste with salt, if needed.
  4. Serve chilled, with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top.

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Tabbouleh is an easy to make side and comes together in about 15 minutes! This simple version is tossed with torn mint, sweet cherry tomatoes, seasoned bulghar wheat, and lime juice.

Tabbouleh is an easy to make side and comes together in about 15 minutes! This simple version is tossed with torn mint, sweet cherry tomatoes, seasoned bulghar wheat, and lime juice.

Tabbouleh is an easy to make side and comes together in about 15 minutes! This simple version is tossed with torn mint, sweet cherry tomatoes, seasoned bulghar wheat, and lime juice.

Sheet Pan Portobello Tacos with Simple Salsa Verde

Today I’m guest posting over at HippieDippeiMom.com with these banging Sheet Pan Portobello Tacos! Made with a simple salsa verde, they come together in just under 20 minutes.

I mean, look at these babies! Sheet pan portobello tacos are the winner dinner you haven’t made just yet. SO Good, guys, for real. And so quick to put together, too!

Just perfection, right!?

You can grab the recipe over at HippieDippieMom! 


And while you’re at it, pin it so you don’t forget:

And if you love Sheet Pan recipes, you’ll LOVE this helpful cheat sheet of 10 DELICIOUS sheet pan meal ideas!!

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My favorite thing about these sheet pan portobello tacos with a simple salsa verde is that the whole recipe comes together in about 20 minutes!

My favorite thing about these sheet pan portobello tacos with a simple salsa verde is that the whole recipe comes together in about 20 minutes!

My favorite thing about these sheet pan portobello tacos with a simple salsa verde is that the whole recipe comes together in about 20 minutes!

My favorite thing about these sheet pan portobello tacos with a simple salsa verde is that the whole recipe comes together in about 20 minutes!

Easy Butternut Squash Pasta with Roasted Kale and Creamy Ricotta

This is such an easy recipe with only 6 ingredients! I like making it when it's cold outside, because it needs a pretty hot oven, but it's really simple to make. It stores pretty well, too, for making ahead of time.

This is such an easy recipe with only 6 ingredients! I like making it when it's cold outside, because it needs a pretty hot oven, but it's really simple to make. It stores pretty well, too, for making ahead of time.

My deep and unabiding love for roasted butternut squash knows no bounds, and this easy butternut squash recipe showcases just what I love about this versatile ingredient!

This isn’t the fastest recipe in the whole wide world, but it is incredibly simple. Olive oil, salt, and a hot oven will do most of the flavor building here.

And isn’t that what’s great about roasting vegetables? It completely turns their original flavor profile upside down. It brings sweetness to the forefront and just ups the game in terms of flavor.

In fact, if turning on my oven didn’t make my kitchen feel like a sweat lodge in the middle of August, I’d probably be roasting veggies straight up through summer.

Here’s why I love this butternut squash recipe, especially in the winter.

It combines chewy and creamy textures with sweet and nutty flavor profiles. it’s all topped with a delicious dollop of creamy ricotta cheese. Pretty tough to get any yummier than that, amiright?

In fact, due to my butternut squash love, I recently compiled this huge recipe roundup 12 Cooks Reveal Their BEST Butternut Squash Recipes for the Holidays

That post also includes my favorite tip on how you, too, can cut into a butternut squash and not feel like you’re about to cut your arm off in the process.

(Trust me. It’s a butternut squash recipe game changer!)

Don’t forget that roasted kale! (I know, right!?)

Have you had kale this way before? Tossed with olive oil and a bit of salt, roasted in a hot oven (~400*) for about 10-ish minutes, and kale is suddenly NOT the typical hipster food your vegan aunt is always gushing about (though her raw kale ways is pretty delicious too, just saying). It’s so much more.

Roasting totally changes the game when it comes to kale, and if you’ve never been a big kale fan, I really implore you to try it this way. It makes is ‘meatier’, blend-able, and gives it this nutty flavor that is hard to describe. You’ve got to try it for yourself!

Last but certainly not least, top the whole big bowl off with a spoonful of creamy ricotta cheese.

Ricotta is what really ties this dish together, making each and every component work.

(or is that werk? I’m not cool enough to know, I don’t think)

The ricotta becomes a defacto sauce, mixing with the creamy butternut squash and chewy tubes of pasta, with that roasty kale goodness.

This is a dish that winter meals are made of.

This is a dish that you make on a Saturday when you’re busy at home but want something simple and tasty.

This is a dish of just 5 ingredients that make you thank the lord for hot ovens and olive oil. Yes, please, and thank you!

Easy Butternut Squash, Roasted Kale, and Ricotta Rigatoni Pasta
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 


Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 1 large butternut squash peeled, deseeded and diced (about 4 cups)
  • 2 large bunches of curly kale stems removed and roughly chopped (about 2-3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil divided
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt divided
  • 12 ounces rigatoni pasta
  • 1/2 cup 4 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450*.
  2. While the oven is preheating, spread the butternut squash evenly between 2 rimmed sheet pans. Drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Toss with hands to coat.
  3. Place the squash in the oven and roast 35-45 minutes, or until soft and cooked through and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  4. While the squash is roasting, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.
  5. On a rimmed sheet pan, spread the kale evenly and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt and toss with hands to coat.
  6. When the butternut squash is roasted and removed from the oven, add the kale. Roast for 8-10 minutes or until the edges have begun to crisp and the kale has wilted and softened. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  7. Toss the pasta, roasted butternut squash, and roasted kale together in a large bowl. Taste and season with more salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
  8. Serve hot with dollops of cold ricotta cheese on top

Quinoa Risotto Baked Tomatoes

Creamy quinoa risotto stuffed baked tomatoes make a perfect vegetarian main course! This filling dish is sure to warm any heart.

Quinoa Risotto Baked Tomatoes
Ingredients
  • 1 small acorn squash seeds removed
  • for the quinoa risotto:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups tap water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • for the baked tomatoes:
  • 4-6 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • olive oil to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 450* and slice the acorn squash down the middle. Remove the seeds with a spoon, then place the squash on a baking sheet or wrap in aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and can be easily pricked with the tip of a knife or a fork. Set aside and let cool slightly. When the squash is cool enough to handle, mash the squash and reserve one cup. Any squash left over will freeze beautifully. (The squash can be roasted and mashed ahead of time)
  2. for the quinoa risotto:
  3. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions, cooking until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and quinoa and stir until the garlic is very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cup of mashed squash, vegetable stock, heavy cream, and tap water and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, and cook, uncovered and stirring often, for at least 1 hour to 2 hours. The risotto is ready when most of the liquid cooks away and the grains are soft all the way through.
  4. for the baked tomatoes
  5. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Cut a hole in the top of each tomato and, using a paring knife or a serrated spoon, dig a hole into the tomato, taking care not to pierce the bottom. Fill this cavity with the finished risotto, and top with a layer of panko breadcrumbs. Drizzle the breadcrumbs with a little olive oil.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the skin on the sides of the tomato has just started to split and the flesh is hot. If the breadcrumbs are not crispy enough, broil the tomatoes for a minute or two until the breadcrumbs have browned.
  7. Serve hot.

Make Ahead Breakfast Egg Muffins, 3 Different Ways

I am LOVING these easy, low-carb make ahead breakfast egg muffins on busy mornings! I just make a tray ahead of time, pop in the freezer, and we can eat them for a healthy breakfast throughout the week. This post has three different kind of fillings ideas, too!

I am LOVING these easy, low-carb make ahead breakfast egg muffins on busy mornings! I just make a tray ahead of time, pop in the freezer, and we can eat them for a healthy breakfast throughout the week. This post has three different kind of fillings ideas, too!

I am LOVING these easy, low-carb make ahead breakfast egg muffins on busy mornings! I just make a tray ahead of time, pop in the freezer, and we can eat them for a healthy breakfast throughout the week. This post has three different kind of fillings ideas, too!

I am LOVING these easy, low-carb make ahead breakfast egg muffins on busy mornings! I just make a tray ahead of time, pop in the freezer, and we can eat them for a healthy breakfast throughout the week. This post has three different kind of fillings ideas, too!

I am LOVING these easy, low-carb make ahead breakfast egg muffins on busy mornings! I just make a tray ahead of time, pop in the freezer, and we can eat them for a healthy breakfast throughout the week. This post has three different kind of fillings ideas, too!I am LOVING these easy, low-carb make ahead breakfast egg muffins on busy mornings! I just make a tray ahead of time, pop in the freezer, and we can eat them for a healthy breakfast throughout the week. This post has three different kind of fillings ideas, too!

These easy, low-carb, make ahead breakfast legg muffins a just the thing for busy mornings!

They’re so easy to make the night before and then pop into the freezer once cool. You can also fill them with leftovers, extra veggies, and CHEESE.

The word ‘cheese’ is capitalized because cheese is life around here.

And did I mention the leftovers part? Other than glorious cheese, using up leftovers is totally my jam.

Shredded chicken from tacos? Add it in with some onions and cheddar.

Leftover spinach from dinner’s salad? Toss with some tomatoes and add it in!

Leftover roasted broccoli? Add those babies in!

It’s up to you, and I love that.

These make ahead breakfast egg muffins are made 3 different ways.

I played around with the fillings, but I have a basic ratio for you: For every four cups, you’ll need:

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk (doesn’t even have to be dairy! Coconut milk worked great in these muffins)

2 tablespoons filling, whatever you choose that to be.

That ratio will vary slightly depending on your filling, but it’s pretty standard. Just double it or triple it depending on how many breakfast egg muffins you feel like making!

A note about the coconut milk I used in these breakfast egg muffins:

It totally works just like milk! Those of you who have always been down with milk alternatives probably knew this, ut if you’re like me, or you’re new to the world of living dairy free, this may make your day.

Make sure it’s unsweetened (for no other reason than vanilla egg muffins might be…. odd tasting. But you do you, boo). And try other plant based milks, like almond milk, or cashew milk, or even soy milk.

The world is your milk oyster.

Below, I’ve written out the ‘recipes’ I used, although like I said earlier, making a make ahead breakfast egg muffin is more about playing around with ratios than anything.

But this is a recipe post, and thee shall have a recipe.

But I’d love to know what kind of combos you guys dig! Have you tried making make ahead egg muffins? Have you tried making eggs with plant based milks?

Make Ahead Breakfast Egg Muffins, Three Ways
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Use the recipes below as guidelines; depending on your fillings, your egg muffins mixtures may make one or two more muffins than what is described below. Typically, the different recipes below will make about 4 muffins each. 


Servings: 3 people
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
For the Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach:
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced sundried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons shredded spinach
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
For the Asparagus and Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced asparagus about 3 trimmed stalks
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Spanish chorizo and potato
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced Spanish dry-cured chorizo sausage
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced white potato
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Instructions
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375*F
  2. Spray a muffin tin with vegetable or coconut oil, or line with paper liners.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the bottom of each muffin cup.
  4. Combine the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.
  5. Evenly pour the egg and milk mixture on top of each, evenly distributing between each. Leave at least 1/2" space below the rim of the cup.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until the center has set and is no longer jiggly.
  7. Remove and let cool, then remove from the muffin tin.
  8. Eat immediately, or store, tightly covered. These will last up to 6 weeks in the freezer if tightly wrapped, or up to 5 days in the fridge.