Baking Burn Out

Baking holiday cookies and cakes at such a break-neck pace, I suppose it was bound to happen; Palate fatigue of the worst sort. A sweet tooth turned sour, here we stand with just a few days remaining until the big x-day, and the last thing I want to think about are treats filled with sugar and spice. Yes, even a dessert-obsessed vegan baker has her limits.

But, a girl’s still gotta eat, and in many cases I’m sure, feed lots of hungry guests descending upon the house and expecting goodies of all variety. Rather than assaulting them with sweetness, try easing into the festive feast, and passing out a few savory appetizers. Especially if you have a big dessert planned for later, it’s best to shy away from excess candies before the big event anyway.

Tasty enough for omnivores and vegans alike, these easy, cheesy rice balls are an Italian classic, with a little seasonal twist. Although the time for Hannukah has long passed, it could still tie in the tradition of cooking in oil, if you’re a multi-holiday family like us. The only thing you need to plan in advance is cooking and cooling the rice, and deciding on your favorite red sauce to accompany these moreish little morsels.

Yield: Makes About 12 Arancini

Pumpkin Arancini

Pumpkin Arancini

These easy, cheesy rice balls are an Italian classic, with a little seasonal twist.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


Pumpkin Arancini:

  • 2 Cups Cooked and Cooled White Rice
  • 2 Tablespoon Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • 2 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Sage
  • 1 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • Pinch Black Pepper
  • 4 Ounces Vegan Mozzarella
  • 1 Cup Seasoned Vegan Bread Crumbs
  • Canola Oil, to Fry

To Serve:

  • Marinara Sauce
  • Fresh Herbs


  1. To assemble your rice balls, simply place the cooked rice, garbanzo flour, nutritional yeast, pumpkin, and spices in a large bowl. Mix together thoroughly until fully combined. Set aside.
  2. Cut your vegan mozzarella into little cubes, each about 1/2-inch on each side. Use two spoons or a 3-tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop out balls about the size of golf balls, and press one “cheese” cube into the center of each. Use your hands to gently round the rice balls out, fully covering the little “cheese” nugget inside. Make sure no parts of the “cheese” are sticking out, or else it will melt and ooze out into the oil. Toss each ball gently in bread crumbs to fully coat the exteriors.
  3. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a high-sided sauce pan or skillet to about 350 – 375 degrees, and add in 3 – 4 rice balls at a time, depending on the size of the cooking vessel. Fry for about 1 minute on all sides, until evenly golden brown all over. Carefully remove finished arancini and let drain on wire racks briefly, until cool enough to handle. Repeat with the remaining rice balls. Serve as soon as possible, with marinara sauce and fresh herbs on the side, or spooned right on top.
  4. Makes About 1 Dozen Arancini

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 102Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 132mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.

52 thoughts on “Baking Burn Out

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! Hannah, when I studied in Italy for a month in 2008, during our class breaks, my friends and I would visit a bakery that was near the university. Everyone would stock up on these arancini while I looked on, envious, and I still haven’t had a chance to make a vegan version of these. I think you may have provided me with the inspiration to get on it! Thank you again :)

    P.S. I understand the sweet-tooth holiday burnout. I hope you recover soon!

  2. I always get sick of sweets around this time of year…and I usually have a huge sweet tooth as well. These look like a great change of pace!

  3. Adorable. I love the sound of these. Arancini are always so satisfying and a pumpkin version, even better. I’ve been suffering from the same kind of burnout except that for me it also means that I’ve been getting a wee bit frustrated and not everything has turned out as well as I hoped. :-(

  4. Boy do I know what you are talking about! I got so burnt out last year that I didn’t bake at all this year for the holidays. Your peeps are so lucky to have you with all your beautiful and lovingly made food.
    Eco Mama

  5. Wow! Those looks truly amazing. Unfortunately, there’s no garbanzo flour, nutritional yeast nor vegan mozzarella anywhere near hear so I can’t make them. So I’ll just dream about it I guess.

  6. Although my sweet tooth is still hangin’ in there, I’m definitely drawn to these arancini. Your pumpkin version sounds so fantastic that they might be my first foray into making arancini at home!

  7. OMG, those look so good. It’s also funny that just minutes ago I was looking up chickpea flour recipes for an upcoming article of mine.

    The only problem is that no decent vegan mozzarella (or any decent vegan cheese) is sold in this part of the world. :-(

  8. These look nummy, Hannah. I’m with you on the sweet tooth burnout. Is there a particular reason for the garbanzo bean flour – like does it affect the flavor? I’ve got rice flour and tapioca flour but no garbanzo bean flour.

  9. OMG it’s my favorite plat !

    My mother made me when I was little! It’s delicious!

    I keep the recipe and I’ll try to do in a few days! Wow, perfection!

  10. I can relate to burn out as I went to a Christmas pudding tasting last week and hav vowed never to eat it again, ever, after I sampled 8 of them.

    These look amazing and have gone in at the top of my 2011 To Cook list!

  11. I’ve actually taken a sugar hiatus for the past two weeks because I was on overload there. I”m going to start my holiday baking on Wednesday or Thursday…can’t overload the taste buds too much in only two days, right?

    Oh these arancini look wonderful! I could be happy eating only these for dinner!

  12. These look awesome. I did very little baking this holiday season, but I’m burnt out from reading about everybody else’s baking marathon! These meatballs are refreshingly different. Love the presentation.

  13. These are so pretty! I could use either almond flour or gluten-free breadcrumbs, and make these gluten-free with no issue. What kind of rice did you use? A short-grain (what I’m used to with arancini)?

  14. I know the feeling! In fact, I just posted about a not-very-good granola I made so as to save readers from yearning for yet another sugary delight when it’s all we’re seeing these days ;) Thanks for the lovely savoury recipe… this Hannah needs some salt right now too!

  15. happy holidays, hannah! for the first time that i can remember, i am totally burnt out on sweets, too. hopefully it doesn’t last too long because i like sweets too much!! :)

  16. Oh my, I know exactly what you mean. I feel like I dont want to see a cookie for a week.

    I love arancini. Havent made it in a while. I really must! I love your photo.

  17. Muchas gracias!!! deliciosa receta, ideal para estas fiestas.
    Quiero desearle una linda y hermosa Navidad junto a su familia y que en este 2011, Dios le colme de bendiciones, salud y de muchos exitos.
    Un gran abrazo.
    :) :) :)

  18. I know what you mean…but I find that when I take a baking break, I return more excited, refreshed, and with new ideas…
    On another note, the arancini looks and sounds amazing.

  19. These look amazing!!! I’m going to make them. Maybe even tonight. Thanks for such wonderful recipes throughout the year. Happy holidays!

  20. I know exactly how you feel. I have all kinds of sweet stuff in the freezer ready to be thawed and baked tonight – I so wish I didn’t have to. The promise of another sweet sample has lost some of its luster. I could go for some Pumpkin Arancini right now though!!

  21. Hi!
    My name is Micah, and after reading blogs for years, I’ve finally started my own. You, along with many other lovely bloggers have inspired me to document my journey to culinary school. I’d love it if you would check out my blog Sweet Like Tea, and tell your friends about it!
    Happy holidays and hope to keep in touch!
    Ps. love the “honey” semifriddo- always looking for a rosh hashana alternative!

  22. Hey, thank you! These look like a great alternative to those sausage balls that aren’t so vegetarian-friendly. Wish I was more caught up on blog reading before the holidays! Will mark for future use, though.

  23. Made these last night along with your Nanakusa-Shiru recipe. I had pumpkin puree that needed some inspiration. Ours turned out kind of large, but were so delicious. Brilliant!

  24. I made these tonight – so simple and perfect! I used panko on the outside, which really gave them great texture. I will definitely make again.

  25. Made these today and they were PHENOMENAL! As good as the real ones in Rome (I’m talking about the dairy filled ones too). I made them as directed except used butternut squash puree instead of pumpkin, italian seasoned breadcrumbs, fresh sage, italian parsley and chevril, and almond based faux mozerella. Will definitely make again. Thanks for the recipe!

  26. These were very good. Light and crispy on the outside with the melted cheese on the inside. I did make a couple minor differences in the recipe. I used brown rice instead of white. I also added some dried Italian seasoning blend along with some chopped fresh sage and some red chili powder to the rice mixture. For the bread crumbs, I had toasted some rosemary sourdough and gave it a whirl in the food processor to make coarse crumbs. Thanks for the recipe. It is a keeper!

  27. […] the young at heart) on board by transforming the leftovers into finger food! Think of hearty, baked arancini, and you wouldn’t be too far off. Anything you can pick up and dip has an added fun factor, […]

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