R n B Episode 7: Vegan Mozzarella Brown Rice Balls With Smoky White Bean Hummus

I wanted to mix up the rice and beans series a bit. Rice and Beans, the vegan nutritional powerhouse is SO much more than a bed of rice and some flavoured beans on top. Allow me to introduce you to Vegan Mozzarella Rice Balls with Smoky White Bean Hummus. That’s a long name.

I find vegan rice balls to be really hit and miss. In fact, I have had some damn minging ones (no offence to anyone reading this who has made me rice balls, I am sure yours were great!). The problem is that no love is put in, they are made to “get the job done”. If it sticks and can be moulded into a ball, then they are rice balls! Without parmesan (and egg), it is difficult to load the flavour in, so we have to make sure a few things take place…

Firstly, you have to get the rice tasting great before doing anything with it. You should be happy to eat the rice before doing anything with it. Then get some nutritional yeast into to replicate the parmesan, but that is not enough, you also want to make a batch of vegan mozzarella, cube it and fold right into the balls. That way, when they cook, you get oozy, melty cheese right in the middle that will make the cheesiest of cheese mongers happy.

Finally, you gotta choose if you want to be healthy or not. There is absolutely no doubt that frying these bad boys tastes much better. It is less dry and the intense heat really helps the flavour, but they are still really good baked. Far less oil and if your body is a well honed, killing machine like mine is, it will thank you for it! The ones in the photo are baked by the way.

Oh one more thing. These go REALLY well with my smoked white bean hummus. Serve these at a party and people will love you. And you will love me for showing you them. What a great World.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper (capsicum), diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • small glass white wine (optional)
  • ½ cup of my tomato sauce, recipe here, or store bought if you are a crazy fool
  • ½ serve of my vegan mozzarella, cut into small 1.5-2cm cubes
  • panko breadcrumbs, to coat
  • batch of smoked white bean hummus, to serve

Cook it:

  1. Boil the rice for 25 – 30 minutes
  2. With about 15 minutes to go before the rice is ready, heat a sauté pan over a low/medium heat and add oil
  3. Add the onion and red pepper and fry for about 8 minutes, stirring regularly
  4. Add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes
  5. Drain the rice and add to the pan with the veg
  6. Add the nutritional yeast, oregano, basil, celery salt and pepper. Stir to coat
  7. If using wine, and I recommend you do, deglaze the pan by adding it and cooking until the wine has evaporated
  8. Add the tomato sauce and stir well. Cook for 5 minutes
  9. Put everything into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes
  10. With wet hands, take a handful of rice, place a mozzarella cube in the middle and mould the rice around it. You will need to apply a little force, but be careful not to break it. When you are ready, hold the rice in one hand and then take a handful of panko breadcrumbs with the other and sprinkle over the rice ball until completely covered. Then mould the ball again, it will be easier now
  11. Now you got a choice, be Cliff Richards or Keith Richards. For Cliff – bake these at 200 degrees celsius for 15 minutes, turn over and bake for another 15 minutes. For Keef – add a couple of inches of vegetable oil to a saucepan and fry for a few minutes, until golden brown and then turn over and repeat. Unfortunately, because I lived like Keef for so long, I have to go the Cliff route these days! But it still tastes great
  12. Serve with Smoked White Bean Hummus
  13. Get it into ya!

Recommended Tunes:

Run The Jewels “Run the Jewels 3”

This is a superb (but unimaginatively named) album.

I know this is a cliched thing to say for someone whos youth is behind them (am I old enough at 36 to say that? I feel I am!) but guitar music doesn’t have the same grunt for me these days. It has totally changed in relevance from when I was 16. I was a proper enthusiast of the old school of hip hop – Run DMC, Public Enemy, Eric B and Rakim, Nauthy By Nature, De La Soul, NWA etc and felt that it got lost in a big way after Eminem made it huge. In the last few years though, it is back to its heights. Hip hop artists have the most to say and are completely unafraid of stepping onto new grounds.

My two favourite modern hip hop acts are Kendrick Lamar and Run The Jewels. Both have exceptional lyrics and also have great production where things are REALLY pushed to their limits. They show just what you can do with digital technology and why the analogue values that I hold for guitar music are not always the right way.

Get this album into your ear holes.

Listen – but do yourself a favour and buy it on vinyl!!
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