Italian (Sicilian) Rice Balls w/ Chicken, Peas & Tomato Sauce

Rice balls are fabulous as a side dish or an entrée. This dish can be modified in various ways; for a healthier version opt for ground turkey or chicken rather than beef, or if you are a vegetarian omit the meat altogether. We hope you enjoy our first Italian recipe!


1 pound ground beef / turkey / chicken
1 jar of tomato sauce
2 tsp salt
1 bag sticky rice
½ bag frozen peas
1 small brick of mozzarella cheese
2 tsp parmesan cheese
1 small onion chopped
1 tbsp garlic finely chopped
1 package of bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying


Sauté the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes with a little oil, then add the ground meat. Sauté the meat until it is fully cooked. Season the meat with a pinch of salt.

In the meantime, begin to boil the frozen peas in a pot of water on the stovetop.

Cook the rice on the stovetop. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package. Once the rice is cooked, add some tomato sauce a little at a time to ensure that the rice remains sticky. Then add the parmesan cheese and mix well. Let the rice cool for 5 minutes. The rice needs to be fairly hot to make it easier to work with when forming the rice balls.

Place the bread crumbs into a large casserole dish. Cut up the mozzarella into small cubes and place into a bowl. Place the cooked meat and peas into two separate bowls.

Form a ball of rice in the palm of your hand. Insert your finger into the ball, and place a small amount of peas, ground meat, and 1-2 cubs of cheese into the middle of the ball. Close the ball by adding more rice.

Roll the ball into the bread crumbs until the ball is completely covered.

Fill the deep fryer pot with vegetable oil and place the rice balls into the oil until the ball becomes a light brown colour, approx 5-8 minutes.

Heat up the tomato sauce and generously slather some sauce on each ball before you serve.


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49 Responses to “Italian (Sicilian) Rice Balls w/ Chicken, Peas & Tomato Sauce”

  • Molto buono! The balls are perfect in size, color and doneness. I learned 2 things here: 1) I never thought about putting some sauce inside and 2) that you can buy ‘sticky’ rice. I had it in Thailand where they serve it as a dessert with mango and sesame seeds. I’m going to have to check my Asian market. It makes a lot of sense for this application.

  • Agreed that the sauce inside is a good idea. A must try!

  • I cant wait to try this. I am looking for meat free recipes to cut down on meat for my family, I think these would be tasty even with out the meat. I wonder if plunging them in sauce like traditional meatballs would ruin them? Already printed it out, cant wait to try!

  • Arancini Siciliani…..originally made with saffron,which gives the rice an orange color…giving them the name “little oranges,or Arancini”

  • About How many servings does it make?

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