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  • Writer's pictureMeagan Currell

air-fried mozzarella balls with parsley, jalapeño, and marinara sauce

These crispy, cheesy rice balls with marinara sauce to dip are a delicious and festive appetizer! They're the perfect cross between a fried mozzarella stick and an arancini. I made these using an air fryer but you could also bake them in the oven (they'd just take a little longer to crisp up!). Topped with parsley for color and jalapeños for a kick, these are a crowd pleaser!

Hope you enjoy xo


2 cups cooked long grain white rice

3 eggs

3/4 cup italian bread crumbs

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp garlic powder

4 oz fresh mozzarella pearls

1/2 jalapeño, thinly sliced

avocado oil spray

1 tbsp parmesan cheese

2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

1 cup marinara sauce

recipe (makes 7 servings, or about 35 rice balls)

  1. cook rice according to package instructions

  2. add rice to a medium mixing bowl and loosely mash with a fork (this makes it easier to form into balls later)

  3. add 1 egg to rice along with 1/4 cup bread crumbs and sea salt, and mix to together

  4. form rice mixture into flat circles about 1.5" thick, place a mozzarella pearl in the center of each, and fold the rice around the cheese to form a ball

  5. place remaining 2 eggs into a small mixing bowl and whisk, then set aside

  6. add remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs to another small mixing bowl along with oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder

  7. dip each rice ball into egg wash and then into breadcrumbs (roll balls in breadcrumbs to coat evenly)

  8. place rice balls into air fryer basket, spray with avocado oil, and bake at 375F 12 mins until crispy and golden brown on the outside

  9. plate mozzarella rice balls with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, and jalapeños

  10. serve with marinara sauce to dip and enjoy!

prep time: 45 minutes

nutrition per serving: 204 calories, 9g protein, 24g carbohydrate, 6g fat, 2g fiber, 566g sodium

nutrition per rice ball: 40 calories, 2g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 1g fat, 113g sodium


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