Looking for a new hors d'ouvre? This arancini appetizer is a creative dish to serve at your next get-together. They resemble falafels, but actually contain a delicious center of creamy almond milk rice risotto with zucchini, parmesan and mozzarella cheese, and garlic.

Zucchini Brown Rice Arancini [Vegan]



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups short-grain or medium-grain brown rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces vegan mozzarella, chopped into small cubes
  • 2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Heat oil in medium high-sided pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic and zucchini and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until browned and fragrant. Add brown rice and stir over heat for about 5 minutes until starting to brown. Pour in wine and cook until mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, thyme, and 3 cups of water to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
  2. Start adding almond milk, a 1/2 cup at a time and stir gently while keeping heat at about medium-high. When the liquid is almost completely absorbed add another 1/2 cup. Continue adding the almond milk until all 3 cups have been added and the rice is mostly soft. You can add a bit more water and cook for longer if you'd like to get it completely soft.
  3. Add coconut milk and continue stirring until rice becomes very thick. Remove pan from heat and add the parmesan cheese, then salt and pepper to taste. Allow risotto to cool for about 15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle, then stir in mozzarella and form into 2 inch balls and dip into breadcrumbs. Place balls on a parchment-lined tray and cover with plastic wrap then place in fridge for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  4. Once completely chilled and fairly solid, remove rice balls from fridge. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until a thermometer registers 350°F. Carefully drop a few balls at a time into oil and fry on each side for about 1 minute until golden brown. Remove gently with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Continue frying until all are cooked.
  5. Serve hot.