These vegan arancini balls feature pumpkin and brown rice. | Hazel and Cacao

This vegan pumpkin arancini balls recipe is the fall-inspired dish you never knew you needed. They’re delicious and oh-so-easy to make!

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 frying 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 ten minutes in the air fryer.

You could of course pop them in the oven instead. But I think the process would take around 40 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.

The recipe comes together much quicker if you have precooked brown rice on hand. I batch cook my whole grains and freeze them. Then, I 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.

The recipe is vegan and dairy-free if you want to keep it gluten-free sub-gluten-free bread crumbs.

For more tasty, seasonal recipes, try making my warm and hearty vegan lentil shepherd’s pie. It features a delicious layer of lentils and other veggies under a heaping layer of creamy mashed potatoes. Garnish with parsley and enjoy!

This recipe was republished with permission from Hazel and Cacao.


LIVEKINDLY is here to help you navigate the growing marketplace of sustainable products that promote a kinder planet. All of our selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, LIVEKINDLY may earn a commission.