Baked Arancini & Tomato Sauce | Low Fat Recipes

As part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge (where I’m aiming to cook every recipe from The 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes by Carolyn Humphries) I’m creating my own lower fat versions of my favourite dishes. I’ve used the internet to research calorie content, so please bear in mind it’s not 100% accurate but hopefully a good guide.

So when I said I was making lower fat versions of my favourite recipes, I lied. I’m also making lower fat versions of recipes I’ve never tried in their full-fat glory. This is likely a highly inauthentic recipe, but I’ve never tried a true Silician deep-fried version of arancini. This is, in fact, the only arancini I’ve ever tried. It’s tasty, fulfilling and gives you real satisfaction without leaving you feeling greasy and remorseful.

Be warned: this recipe is a bit of a faff, but it’s mainly because it has numerous stages. It can scale easily and, if the balls were rolled smaller, would make lovely warm buffet nibbles.

Baked Arancini Recipe

Baked Arancini Recipe

Baked Arancini & Tomato Sauce | 500-600 calories per serving | Serves 2 (5 balls each)


For the arancini

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 75g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 75g arborio rice
  • 350ml stock
  • 65g grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices bread (white, wholemeal, it’s up to you – recipe is based on worst-case-scenario, scurmmy white bread)

For the sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • dried mixed herbs
  • 1 can tinned tomatoes

How to make Baked Arancini

  1. Gently fry the onion, mushrooms and garlic over a gentle heat for a few minutes until softened. (I use water to moisten ever so slightly and dry fry)
  2. Add the rice, salt, pepper and herbs.
  3. Pour in the stock and cook over a gentle heat for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in half the cheddar cheese.
  6. Spread the arancini mixture onto a cling film-lined tray and leave to cool. (I usually go to work at this point…)
  7. Once the arancini mix is chilled and firm, tip into a bowl and stir in the remaining cheddar cheese. The mix should be sticky and fairly easy to handle.
  8. Pre-heat your oven to 210 Celsius.
  9. Whizz the bread in a food processor to make bread crumbs, and turn out onto a plate
  10. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl
  11. Make the mixture into 10 balls – about the size of golf balls.
  12. Roll first in the egg, then roll in the bread crumbs.
  13. Place the balls on a baking tray (lined with baking paper for safety).
  14. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the balls are golden on the outside and hot all the way through.


How to make the Tomato Sauce

  1. Tip tinned tomatoes into pan.
  2. Add garlic, salt, pepper, mixed herbs.
  3. Cook over a medium heat for the time it takes to cook the arancini balls – sauce should be thickened, reduced and rich.

Serve the balls warm and delicious on the tomato sauce and serve with a big green salad. Or, make smaller balls for warm buffet nibbles.

The Verdict

Flavour: 4
(1= flavourless, 5= delicious)

Satisfaction: 5 – gives you a feeling of fullness and satiety, without grease or remorse
(1= unsatisfying, 5= satisfying considering low cal!)

Ease of Preparation: 1 – not difficult, but lots of stages to go through
(1= difficult, 5= easy)

Aftermath Factor: 4
(1= tons of washing up, 5= one pot wonder)

Oh yes, it’s a bit fiddly but it’s worth it and I often have the ingredients in the cupboard/fridge. This is a recipe I cook when my not-very-tolerant-of-vegetarian-food husband is away. I use the leftovers to go with plain tomato soup for lunches at work (only a ball or two at a time at lunch). Or, indeed, if I’ve injudiciously tweeted the recipe and everyone wants to sample a leftover ball…

I served this with a really flavourful rocket salad, dressed with balsamic vinegar and a teeny bit of grated Parmesan cheese and a sliced avocado. I feel it makes me happy and full without feeling stuffed, and leaves me with plenty of energy the next morning.


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