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Mexican Arancini

Alright team. Raise your hands if you’re not drooling over this pic…

(Everyone’s hands are down as they rapidly scroll through this post to get the recipe.)

What even are these?

What’s crispy, spicy, cheesy, fried, and actually good for you?

Dairy-free, gluten-free, air-fried Mexican Arancini.

Arancini – cheese-stuffed fried rice balls dunked in marinara – are traditionally Italian. But in true Katie fashion, I took a leap away from tradition. Homemade dairy-free cauliflower “cheese”, chickpea “rice”, bean tortilla chip “breadcrumbs”, and vegan queso. Totally not traditional. But totally DELISH.

Now my first call to action: DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED.

These are deceptively easy to make. And you really don’t need to be all fancy with the boujie ingredients. Normal cheese and rice will work just fine if you’re down for that. Pick your battles people.

First things first, let’s cut the cheese.

It’s made with steamed cauliflower, coconut oil, roasted hot peppers, some other spices, and gelatin.

Say what? Guys. It works. Just look at these cubes of delish pepper jack “cheese”!

The cheese also shreds like a charm. Which makes it a perfect addition to the arancini rice mixture.

Just combine with Banza chickpea rice, arrowroot powder, and an egg and you’re good to go.

To form the arancini, scoop a couple tablespoons of the rice mixture into your hand (helps if it is slightly damp).

Enclose a cheese cube in the center and place on a parchment-lined plate. Repeat.

Once you’ve formed all the balls, freeze them for at least 30 minutes.

It will be immensely helpful when it’s time to coat them for frying.

Speaking of coating, lets talk about this flavor-packed combo that’s gonna turn into crispy goodness.

Three different steps: a light arrowroot flour coating, and egg dip, and crushed toritlla chips for the final layer.

I used Beanfields Pico de Gallo flavored chips. And bam. They’re goooood. And made from beans! Hello delicious protein.

When all of the arancini have been rolled, dipped, and coated, it’s time to fry.

I used my air-fryer. I’m kind of obsessed. So quick. So easy. So healthy. And minimal clean-up. Just 12 minutes and you’ve got crispy golden perfection.

The arancini are done. It’s time to devour.

Let’s get saucy with some vegan queso and fresh salsa.

Sound like a plan?

Great. Now dig in people!

Mexican Arancini

Spinning tradition on it's head with these dairy-free, gluten-free, crispy bites of goodness. Dip them in salsa and/or queso and head straight to flavor-town heaven.


Homemade Pepper Jack "Cheese"

  • 2 cups pureed steamed cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 3 roasted mini hot peppers
  • 3 tbsp gelatin
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Rice Mixture

  • 2 cups cooked rice *I used Banza chickpea rice
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 egg *beaten
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano


  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips *I used Beanfields


For the Cheese:

  • Puree all ingredients until smooth.
  • Scoop into a lined loaf pan and smooth out.
  • Chill in fridge for at least 3 hours to set up.

For the Arancini:

  • Shred some of the cauliflower cheese (1/2 cup worth).
  • Mix the cheese, rice, egg, arrowroot, and seasonings.
  • Scoop 2 tbsp of the mixture into the palm of your hand. 
  • Place a cheese cube in the middle, and form the rice mix around to enclose it.
  • Repeat with the remaining mixture, placing formed balls on a parchment-lined plate.
  • Freeze the balls for at least 30 minutes. (Will make breading so much easier!)
  • Mix the arrowroot powder and spices together in one bowl.
  • Beat the egg and almond milk in a second bowl.
  • Have the crushed tortilla chips ready in a third.
  • Take the balls out of the freezer. 
  • Roll one of the balls in the arrowroot mix, dip in the egg wash, then coat in tortilla chips.
  • Place coated arancini to the side and repeat with the remaining balls. 
  • When all arancini are breaded, set your air-fryer to 400 degrees.
  • Working in batches, fry them at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.
  • Serve with queso and salsa.

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