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Cauliflower Rice (Arancini) Balls

These Italian Cauliflower Rice Balls (Arancini) are made with cauliflower in place of rice! Lower in carbs and baked or made in the air fryer!

Cauliflower Rice (Arancini) Balls

I love Italian rice balls, which are traditionally filled with rice, sausage and cheese, rolled into balls, breaded and fried. My lighter versions swaps the rice for cauliflower rice and rather than frying, I made them in my air fryer or oven!

Cauliflower Rice Ball Tips and Variations:

  • The trick is to add the mozzarella cheese while the cauliflower is still hot so it all melts together. Then let it cool a few minutes before rolling them up into balls.
  • For perfect balls, take 1/4 cup measuring cup, spray it with cooking spray and fill it. Level it, then use a small spoon to scoop it out into your palm, then roll.
  • If you have problems with it sticking to your hands (I did not) you can add a little oil to your hands.
  • To make them meatless, swap out the sausage for 1/3 cup peas and add more salt or Parmesan cheese for flavor.
  • To make them gluten-free, swap the breadcrumbs for gluten-free crumbs.


  • ▢1 Italian chicken sausage link, casing removed (2 3/4 oz)
  • ▢2 1/4 cups riced cauliflower, frozen works great
  • ▢1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ▢2 tablespoons homemade marinara, plus optional more for serving
  • ▢1/2 cup part skim shredded mozzarella
  • ▢1 large egg, beaten
  • ▢1/4 cup bread crumbs*, or gluten-free crumbs
  • ▢1 tablespoon grated Pecorino Romano or parmesan*
  • ▢cooking spray


  • Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking the meat up with spoon as it cooks as small as you can, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower, salt and marinara and cook 6 minutes on medium heat, stirring until the cauliflower is tender and heated through.
  • Remove from heat and add the mozzarella cheese to the skillet and stir well to mix. Let it cool 3 to 4 minutes, until it’s easy to handle.
  • Spray a 1/4 cup measuring cup with cooking spray and fill with cauliflower mixture, leveling the top. Use a small spoon to scoop out into your palm and roll into a ball. Set aside on a dish.
  • Repeat with the remaining cauliflower, you should have 6 balls.
  • Place the egg in one bowl and the breadcrumbs in another.
  • Add the parmesan to the crumbs and mix.
  • Dip the ball in the egg, then in the crumbs and transfer to a baking sheet. Spray the top with cooking spray.
  • If baking in the oven, bake 425F 25 minutes, until golden. If making in the air fryer, bake 400F for 9 minutes turning halfway until golden.
  • Serve with marinara sauce, for dipping.

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